The EL-9 Mike-e from Empirical Labs is a transformer-coupled mic preamp with compressor/saturator circuits that deliver classic knee compression, as well as versatile tonal coloring. This low noise transformer input amplifier section offers precise digital control over gain and has a signal-to-noise ratio of 130 dB. It features stepped control knobs for gain control and a "BAD!" LED indicator for alerting the user when input signal is overloading the circuit.
The front panel instrument input that allows the unit to function as an ultra-clean Direct Box. The saturator is a multi-stage soft-clipping circuit that provides triode-type saturation effects, while severely flattening out the peaks. The compressor circuit is based on the Distressor, but with a longer attack time. Preset ratios include 2:1, 4:1, 8:1, and Nuke. Emphasis improves the signal to noise ratio, while soft-clipping high frequencies before the CompSat circuit and cutting the frequencies after it.
Mix provides the parallel compression technique achieved by mixing between the compressed and the dry, uncompressed signal. This can often help maintain transients and a sense of dynamic range while enhancing the low level nuances. A stereo link connector allows two Mike-e processors to be used for stereo buss functions, while the optional send/return insert modification allows for additional processors, such as the Lil Freq EQ, to be connected between the mic preamp and compressor, forming a powerful and flexible channel strip. The Mike-e ships with a standard IEC power cord.