Empirical Labs Trak Pak Recording Channel Preamp EQ Compressor  From Empirical Labs

Tracking Combo from Empirical Labs - Mike-E and Lil FrEQ

Empirical Labs

$4,699.00

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Manufacturer's Description from Empirical Labs

Trak Pak

There are engineers who enjoy the flexibility of being able to EQ audio signals when they’re tracking.  For them, we offer the Trak Pak – a combination of our Mike-E and Lil FrEQ processors set up for seamless integration.  With a killer mic pre, famed ELI compression, tape saturation and eight individually defeatable EQ sections, we feel it’s simply the most powerful and flexible “channel strip” solution available.

Mike-E

When the engineering team at Empirical Labs sets out to build a microphone preamp, you can be sure it’ll deliver spectacular sound, be effortless to work, and will provide features unlike any other device in its class. To that end, we proudly present Mike-E, a high performance transformer-coupled mic preamp with a noise floor far below any microphone’s self noise, combined with a one-of-a-kind compressor/saturator circuit that delivers classic knee compression as well as versatile tonal ‘coloring’ that can replicate many of the best characteristics of vintage analog recording equipment.

 In today’s modern age of digital recorders, DAWs and software plug-ins, Mike-E is the ultimate solution for getting a clean and strong, yet warm and musical signal into the box…and it couldn’t be easier to work – its front panel layout is so straight ahead that even inexperienced engineers will have no problem moving around on it right away.

Mic Preamp

This is a super low noise transformer input amplifier section with the gain under precise digital control. The signal to noise far exceeds any microphone in existence. Having used many mic preamps over the years, we’ve implemented a unique stepped gain control that should be impervious to the normal flakiness that age causes to pots and detented switches.  A “Bad!” LED indicates when the input signal is overloading the circuit.

CompSat™

The CompSat's unique circuitry sets the Mike-E apart from all other mic preamps.

SATURATOR -  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 starts to more severely flatten out the peaks.

COMPRESSOR - based on ELI’s world famous Distressor, but with other characteristics (including a much longer attack time).  Preset ratios include: 2:1, 4:1, 8:1…and, of course, Nuke.

EMPHASIS - a two-stage circuit that boosts and soft clips high frequencies before the CompSat™ circuit, and then cuts the frequencies after it. Emphasis has the added perk of improving signal to noise, and is the reason analog tape decks used emphasis to begin with.

MIX - provides “parallel compression” technique achieved by 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.

Other features include a front panel instrument input that allows the unit to function as an ultra-clean Direct Box and stereo-linking capabilities. Mike-E can also be combined with an EQ (such as the ELI Lil FrEQ), transforming it into one of the most powerful, flexible and complete channel strips on the market.

Mike-E’s Seven Circuits

1. Mic Preamplifier with super low noise and stepped gain switching.

2. Built in ‘Direct Box’, called the ‘Inst In’, offers unparalleled distortion, noise, and frequency response when pre-amping instruments.

3. ‘Colored’ 80Hz High pass filter emulates the warm low frequency cut of our favorite vintage equalizers.

4. Phase Switch to invert the audio signal 180 degrees.

5. CompSat offers both a musical Compressor/Limiter and a unique tape-like saturation circuit.

6. Emphasis high-frequency emphasis system softens high frequency ‘pile-ups’ and further the creamy color of the Mike-E.

7. Mix Control allows the blending of the Compressed/Saturated signal with the clean unprocessed “Dry” signal.

Lil FrEQ

As with ELI’s other signal processors, the Lil FrEQ Equalizer takes a somewhat unique approach to its job.  Instead of daisy chaining several equalizers and frequency processors, we combined most of the sound sculpting tools an engineer needs into a compact single rack space box, while still offering the highest performance of any design in its class.

The EQ Sections

There are eight sections of processing – what other EQ offers that?  Even better - in addition to a master bypass, each of the Lil FrEQ’s sections features its own dedicated bypass switch, letting you instantly A/B the effect of each section as you adjust and fine-tune them.

HIGH PASS - The High Pass section is a really easy to use sharp filter that cuts all content below one of eight preset frequencies from 30-330 Hz. This filter is very steep and has a special shape that prevents frequencies from thinning out just above the cutoff point. The corner frequency is selected using up/down buttons, and indicated by LEDs that glow softly when the section is bypassed, and brightly when the section is engaged.

HIGH & LOW SHELVING - These two knobs function similarly to the familiar “bass and treble” tone controls found on many consumer audio playback systems; however, these are designed to a much higher performance standard, providing exceptionally smooth and musical boost and cut on the high and low frequencies.

PARAMETRIC EQ - The Lil FrEQ has four sections of fully parametric EQ (LF, Lo Mid, Hi Mid and HF), with each section featuring individual gain, bandwidth (Q) and frequency controls.  It may be the cleanest parametric EQ section ever produced, operating below .0007% THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) even at extremely high audio levels. Try finding those specs anywhere else!

DS (DYNAMIC EQ) - The DS section provides the highest performance, easiest to use, and possibly most natural sounding “De-esser” ever built.  This powerful tool combines tunable filters with a compressor-like circuit that can help contain and control excessive high frequency content such as sibilants or other sharp transients, especially in the absence of other lower frequency content.  It can also function as a one of a kind soft knee High Frequency limiter, which is one of the main things responsible for the Lil FrEQ becoming the go-to vocal EQ for engineers everywhere.  It has been used on many acclaimed albums and major live performances all over the world, becoming the “go to” EQ for key tracks like lead vocals, snares, and bass.  There are now dozens of hit record vocals that were processed through the Lil FrEQ.

We’ve packed an awful lot of power and flexibility into the Lil FrEQ. We know you will love it!

Empirical Labs

About Manufacturer

Empirical Labs Inc. (ELI), designs and produces professional audio equipment and software. This includes equipment used in recording studios, live sound, broadcast studios and other audio production facilities etc. We also make software for digital signal processors. Most of you are here because you have heard about or used our Distressor. This product, which is our first hardware product, was designed in 1994, tested and revised for several years, and released in early 1996. The Distressor is the first in a series of audio products from ELI that will offer original features, ease of use, long product life, and a very musical audio path. Empirical Labs was started in 1988 and functioned mainly as a recording studio and electronics consulting firm. The founder, Dave Derr, was also employed at the time by Eventide as an audio engineer. Dave was part of the core design team for the H3000, H3500, and DSP4000. His experience at Eventide proved valuable for his later work. While working alongside Ken Bogdanowicz and Bob Belcher (both now at Wave Mechanics), Dave was exposed to great engineering and the modern world of digital signal processing (DSP).

Specifications

Mike-E

• Freq. Response is 3 Hz to 200 kHz on (No CompSat). CompSat is 3Hz – 150Khz. Optional Transformer output is 6Hz–80kHz.

• Signal to Noise - 130 dB signal to Noise.at 40dB gain. Maximum output is +28dBu.

• Distortion Ranges between .0006% and 15% depending on mode and settings.

• Transformer coupled Input, Active and Transformer Outputs available. High quality audio caps used internally.

• Input Impedance is above 600 Ohms at all frequencies, transformer coupled. Output impedance is less than 38 ohms.  Instrument In Impedance is 332K Ohms.

• Attack/Decay Ranges - .9 – 70mS attack. .15 – 1 Sec.

• Power Consumption – 15 Watts Max.

 

Lil FrEQ

• Freq. Response - 5 Hz to 140 kHz on transformerless inputs and outputs.

• Transformer Output response is 10 Hz to 110 kHz .

• Dynamic Range - 120 dB from maximum output (.1% clipping) to minimum output. Greater than 110 dB signal to noise.

• Distortion Ranges between .00056% and .005% depending on mode and settings. DS section has THD < .005%.

• DC coupled Input and Outputs and one transformer coupled output.

• High quality audio caps used internally.

• Dynamic Time Constants - Attack is approximately .5 mS. Release .04 sec, fixed internally.