Product Description for the Empirical Labs Trak Pak Mic Pre + EQ Bundle
The Empirical Labs Trak Pak is a bundle of their EL9 Mike-E Mic Pre + ELQ Lil FrEQ EQ Strip
The Mike-E™ from Empirical Labs is a modern digitally controlled Microphone Preamplifier chocked with unusual features to warm and soften the source, along with an excellent compressor/limiter.
Mike-E offers an incredible performance transformer-coupled mic preamp, whose noise floor is far below any microphone’s self noise.
The one-of-a-kind ‘CompSat’ section is an uncompromising compressor and saturator circuit that offers versatile ‘coloring’, and classic knee compression.
Mic Preamp Section – This is a super low noise transformer input amplifier section, with the gain digitally controlled. This section comes standard with a shielded Lundahl transformer, but provides for a Jensen transformer also.
The signal to noise far exceeds any microphone in existence, typically over 130 dB with the input shorted and 40dB of gain. Having used many mic preamps over the years, we have implemented a unique stepped gain control that should be impervious to the normal flakiness that age causes to pots and detented switches.
Counting the output gain of 14 dB, a total 74 dB of gain is available to the user with the CompSat section bypassed.
A 48 Volt Phantom power is provided for condenser mikes.
Exclusive CompSat™ Section - This unique circuitry sets the Mike-E apart from all other mic preamplifiers. It has four sections:
1) Saturator – This is a multi-stage soft clipping circuit. At lower levels, a triode type saturation affects the signal. As the level increases, a second unique clip circuit that includes Germanium semiconductors starts to more severely flatten out the peaks. An LED named “BAD!” indicates harder un-musical clipping.
2) Compressor – This is an uncompromising compressor/limiter circuit that allows detented control of attack and release for easy repeatability. You adjust the amount of compression with the DRIVE knob, which adjusts the level going into the compressor. In ways it is Distressor-like, but has other differing characteristics including a much longer available attack time, and additional circuitry. Four ratios are provided, 2:1 being the gentlest with a long 20dB knee, good for subtle compression such as while tracking or on the Buss. Ratios 4:1 and 8:1 are steeper but still very smooth with long knees. Nuke is very steep (limiter like) and has a different attack & release shape.
3) Emphasis - The Emphasis is actually two circuits that surround the compressor and saturator, as shown in the block diagram. The Pre-emphasis boosts the high frequencies before the compressor and saturator (CompSat), soft clipping them sooner than normal, while a de-emphasis cuts the frequencies complementary after the CompSat. Emphasis has the added perk of improving signal to noise, and is the reason analog tape decks used emphasis to begin with.
4) Mix Control - The modern recording engineer often employs the technique of mixing between the compressed and the dry (or uncompressed) signal. This can often help maintain transients and a sense of dynamic range while enhancing the low level nuances. Mike-E has a built in mix control to submix in the uncompressed signal to the compressed signal. As the user rotates the MIX control from full right to full left, he goes from the full compressed signal to the full dry signal (absent of any compression or saturation).
The EL-Q Lil FrEQ. Instead of daisy chaining EQ's and frequency processors, we tried to cram most of what an Engineer needs into one single-height box, while offering the highest performance of any design we know of.
The EQ Sections
HP – The High Pass section is a sharp filter that cuts all content below one of eight pre-selected frequencies. We call this particular filter a “colored” filter since it is very steep and has a special shape that prevents thinning out frequencies just above the “cutoff” frequency. The corner frequency is indicated by LEDs that glow softly when the section is bypassed, and brightly when the section is engaged. As with all the EQ sections in the Lil FrEQ, there is a dedicated bypass switch.
High and Low Shelving – These are very similar to your standard “Tone Controls”, but extremely high performance, providing exceptionally smooth boost and cut on the “bass” and “treble” frequencies.
Parametric EQ Sections – There are four sections of fully parametric EQ… possibly the cleanest parametric EQ section ever produced- operating below .0007% THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) at extremely high audio levels. Try finding those specs anywhere else!
Dynamic EQ Section – The DS section combines filters with a compressor-like circuit that can help contain and control excessive high frequency content such as sibilants, especially in the absence of other lower frequency content. There are two modes of operation, with threshold control as well as a frequency select control. There are four LEDs that indicate the amount of Gain Reduction: -1.5dB, -8dB, -14dB, -24dB. The DS section provides the highest performance, easiest to use, and most natural De-esser ever built, as well as a one of a kind, soft knee High Frequency Limiter. You will love it!