Empirical Labs EL-9 Mike-EItem ID: MikeE
Channel Strip with Microphone Preamp and Compressor/Limiter
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From Our Research Team:
A mic pre/compressor combo for any situation!The Mike-E from Empirical Labs manages to do many things very well! First and foremost, it's a modern digitally controlled mic pre. An extremely low-noise transformer on the input amplifier keeps the signal nice, strong, and clean. The next link in Mike-E's signal chain is the CompSat section, which is comprised of a Saturator, Compressor, Emphasis, and Mix control. These four elements come together to provide your tracks with anything from straight-up classic knee compression/limiting to coloring via compression with the Mike-E channel strip.
Empirical Labs Mike-E EL-9 Channel Strip Features:
Amazing mic pre
Mike-E is above all, a fine example of what a great preamp should be, chocked with unusual features to warm and soften the source, along with an excellent compressor/limiter. Mike-E offers incredible performance via the transformer-coupled mic preamp, whose noise floor is far below any microphone's self noise. This super-low-noise transformer input amplifier section boasts gain that is 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.
Unique compressor section
The one-of-a-kind 'CompSat' section is an uncompromising compressor and saturator circuit that offers versatile 'coloring', and classic knee compression. The exclusive CompSat section sets the Mike-E apart from all other mic preamplifiers. It's comprised of four sections:
Empirical Labs Mike-E EL-9 Channel Strip at a Glance:
A mic pre/compressor with cool touches that set it apart with Empirical Lab's Mike-E!
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Reviewsbased on 6 reviews
by Nick from NJTons of gain out of the preamp. Its got a very big clean sound, that stays nice and tight. The saturation cicuit is divine, and will fatten up anything you run through it without sounding harsh or too... read more [+] edgy. I love the compressor as well. It can be super transparent, or squash the crap out of whatever you run through it. The cool thing though is that it just never sounds bad! This is definitely a characteristic of the empirical labs products. They cover so much ground so well! A swiss army knife in the studio, and one of my new favorite toys. close [-]
April 25, 2013
Wow - Time to Sell Some Other Gear!
by John Ducci from CTTruly blown away by two things with this product - the audio quality and the ease of use/workflow.
December 5, 2012
First, the workflow - I spend hands down the least time dialing settings and tweaking ... read more [+]and the most time actually recording with this unit than any other preamp/compressor combination I have evry owned.
The premap is awesome - as transparent as they come, and very very sweet sounding without adding color. The comp section sounds just like the distressor but with a more streamlined workflow with easier settings recall. The HF focus option is very useful, and the saturation circuit is just what the doctor ordered more often than I could have imagined.
I own Vintech x73's, API's, LA-610's, Focusrites, and Chandler Germs, and the Mike-E is getting more use right now on acoustic, vocals, and mic'd electrics than all the rest combined, and the DI is spectacular on bass with the comp and sat. I really hate to say it, but the saturation circuit is so musical and useful that I think I'm going to unload my 610's and buy another. The analog warmth is so authentic and controllable that I just can't see myself using the LA-610 instead of this on anything, given the option to use both.
This is a game-changer for me - the range of sounds available and the lightning fast workflow to compare different sounds is second to nothing I've ever used. close [-]
Whatever you record Mike-E likes it!
by Chris Schlarb from Long BeachAfter much reading, researching, listening, and so on I finally picked up a Mike-E a few weeks back. Initially I was considering an API lunchbox (with Shadow Hills. Vintech, and Elysia modules) but de... read more [+]cided that I could get more stability and consistency out of the Mike-E.
April 16, 2012
Music Background: Musician, Composer, Producer
So far, I have used it on acoustic guitar, live drums, direct electric guitar, and vocals. The range of color that you can dial in is truly inspiring. Essentially, you get a Fatso-style saturation circuit, Distressor-style compressor (with 20:1 Nuke setting), and high performance preamp with mix controls for blending clean/saturated/compressed sounds. One of the great things about the Mike-E is the "mix" knob. Without the CompSat section engaged, the preamp is VERY clean.
I couldn't be happier with the Mike-E. It's made in the USA, built like a tank, and has very high quality components (Lundahl input transformer and Germanium semiconductors in the saturation circuit). I should also mention that the Mike-E manual is incredible.
Unfortunately, there aren't many audio/video examples about the Mike-E online. I made a quick demo video showcasing different settings on acoustic guitar and drums. You can search for it on Youtube. close [-]
by SuperMan from Los AngelesVery pleased with my purchase! Awesome Product!
August 8, 2011
Music Background: Producer, Engineer, Musician
The Empirical Labs EL-9 Mike-E is a hidden gem. Everybody knows about the Distressor and the Fatso, but this piece is a secret weapon, and every studio needs at least one secret weapon. Its beauty lies in its simplicity and quality. The pristine preamp has tons of gain, and the CompSat section has tons of mojo - and the ability to give a warm gentle squeeze to those sounds that need a little love before hitting your DAW. Great for gently hugging vocals and crushing synths and drums. It has quickly become the busiest workhorse in my studio.
Kathy, Wilmington, NC
Empirical Labs EL-9 Mike-E
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