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The Lil Freq from Empirical Labs is a mastering quality equalizer with eight processing sections including two shelf equalizers, a high-pass (low-cut) filter, four fully parametric equalizer bands, and a dynamic equalizer section for de-essing and high-frequency limiting. The Lil Freq utilizes traditional and digitally controlled analog circuitry combined in a new topology, which offers a performance that exceeds most digital EQs in terms of distortion and noise.
The high-pass section offer eight preset frequencies covering 30 to 330 Hz to remove low frequency content, while the high and low shelving sections offer musically smooth boost and cut on high and low frequencies. The fully parametric EQ section covers 4 overlapping frequency ranges (LF, Lo-Mid, Hi-Mid, and HF) with complete control over frequency selection, cut or boost, and bandwidth. The DS or dynamic EQ section combines tunable filters with a compressor-like circuit that can help control excessive high frequency content, such as sibilants or other sharp transients. The circuit also functions as a soft-knee high-frequency limiter.
There are both XLR and 1/4" / 6.35mm line-level inputs, each being DC coupled. The XLR output includes a Class-A transformer, which offers isolation from ground loops and hum with soft saturation and a beefy low end often associated with vintage gear. Additionally, there is a 1/4" / 6.35mm instrument input on the front panel, which effectively turns the Lil Freq into an instrument DI for studio recording and live performance applications. The Lil Freq is hand-wired in the USA and ships with a standard IEC power cord.
Eight sections of processing
Two shelving equalizers, special 3rd order HP (Low Cut) section with 8 selectable frequencies, 4 fully parametric bands, and one dynamic equalizer section
Dynamic section that can be used for de-essing and high frequency softening
Movable dynamic section allows de-esser to be before or after EQ
High audio performance with the total harmonic distortion typically below .0006% with all EQ bands engaged
Built in Instrument Preamp/Direct box – Just plug a guitar or bass into the front panel and engage the instrument switch, and you have the high performance direct box. Distortion is below .0007% on the instrument preamp, 114 dB dynamic range
Three Outputs, including a Class-A transformer output to give you an isolated output with soft saturation and beefy low end often associated with vintage gear
Traditional and digitally controlled analog combined in new topology
Huge "DISTRESSOR" knobs with high resolution numbering offers easy readability and repeatable settings
A “BAD!” Hard Clip Indicator light that lets the user know they are within 1 dB of hard clipping. It monitors every section of the EQ for internal clipping
Locked and calibrated output level allows for speed in setting tape and live mix levels
Discrete and integrated combination offering the best of speed/linearity with repeatability. Hand tested & selected components. All metal film and Roederstein resistors in the audio path with top quality components, most being high temperature military spec parts
Switchable 115/230 volt operation - Extra fuse provided inside unit
True EQ bypass
XLR and 1/4" phone ins and outs. (XLR fully balanced design, pin-2 hot. Changeable by user to pin-3 hot)
No internal connectors, high reliability parts and military grade switches and relays. All contacts doubled up for maximum reliability
Limited three year warranty.
Hand wired, calibrated in USA.
In the Box
EMPIRICAL LABS Lil Freq Equalizer
Limited 3-Year Warranty
Table of Contents
Transformerless Inputs and Outputs (-3 dB points): 3 Hz to 180 kHz
Transformer Output: 6 Hz to 100 kHz
(Measurements with EQ "In" but 8 sections "Out")
Maximum Output: 122 dB (0.5% THD soft clipping) to minimum output
Transformerless Noise Floor: -95 dBV typical
.0005% and .005% depending on mode and settings
Inputs and Outputs
Input: XLR and 1/4" / 6.35 mm
Instrument Input: 1/4" / 6.35 mm
Output: XLR and 1/4" / 6.35 mm
DC coupled input and outputs and one transformer coupled output
< 38 ohms
D-S Dynamics Time Constants:
Attack Time: >1 ms
Release Time: .04 sec, fixed internally