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Empirical Labs ELQ Lil FrEQ Equalizer  

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  • Empirical Labs

    Fantastic-sounding EQ, de-esser, and instrument DI in one.

    The Lil FrEQ Equalizer is a modern digitally controlled analog EQ offering unprecedented performance, and control over equalization. In a single height unit, Empirical Labs offers seven frequency shaping controls and one dynamic section and every frequency is covered in at least two sections.

    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
    The ELQ Equalizer offers 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.

    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. The ELQ equalizer has 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.

    About Empirical Labs:
    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 and was one of the core designers of their legendary H3000. EL's first product, the EL8 Distressor (#501578) immediately took the recording industry by storm and hardly a record has been made without it since. With a mission "to make products that work a little easier, a little better, a lot longer, and are fun to use," Empirical Labs continues to create unique and innovate products that quickly find homes among the top professionals of the audio industry (and anyone else who wants in on the Empirical Labs sound).

    Empirical Labs Users:
    Aerosmith - Joe Perry (8 Distressors)
    Al Schmidt
    Alanis Morrisette
    Angela Piva - Mary J Blige, Naughty by Nature, Janet Jackson
    Ashes dIvide
    Billy Howerdel
    Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, Niacin, David Lee Roth)
    Bob Clearmountain - Journey, Bryan Adams, Stones, Springstein, etc, etc, etc!
    Bob Dylan
    Bob Powers
    Bon Jovi
    Brendan O'Brien -Producer Mixdown Engineer
    Bruce Calder - (Electric Lady Studios, Degeneration)
    Butch Vig
    Chris Lord Alge
    Chuck Ainlay
    Clair Brothers
    Cold Play
    Craig Melvin (Gloria Estefan)
    Creed - Eight Distressors on their 2003 tour
    D & D Studios NYC
    Daniel Lanois (U2)
    Dave Hewitt - Remote Recording Services
    Dave Matthews —
    David Kahne
    Death Cab for Cutie
    Dolly Parton
    Don Was
    Dust Brothers (John King)
    Ed Cherney -
    Ed Kowalcyzk - Live
    Eddie Kramer (JimiHendrix)
    Effanel Remote recording - Randy Ezratty, 2003 Grammys
    Elton John
    Eric Schilling - Gloria Estefan, John Secada
    Finn Halle - Germany
    Fiona Apple
    Five Towns College (6 Distressors)
    Fleetwood Mac
    Full Sail School for the Recording Arts
    George Massenburg
    Goo Goo Dolls
    Greg Calbi - Sterling Sound
    Gungi Patterson
    Jason Slater - Snake River Conspiracy
    Jay Baumgartner - NRG Studios
    Jay Gordon - Producer, Lead Vocalist of Orgy
    Jerry Harrison - Live, Verve Pipe, (12 Distressors)
    Jerry Only - The Misfits
    Joe Berisi
    Joe Chicarelli - Hole, Beck, U2, etc!
    Joe Satriani
    John Agnello - Producer, Engineer, Mixer
    John Kurzweg - Creed
    John McBride at Blackbird Studios - 8 Distressors, 4 Fatsos, 2 Lil FrEQs
    John Paterno
    John Patterson —
    John Sicket
    Josh Abraham (Orgy, Staind, Korn, Limp Bizkit)
    Judy Saiya
    Julien - K
    Kevin Killen
    Kip Winger
    Kooster McAllister - Record Plant Remote
    Linkin Park
    Marc Costanzo, Len
    Mark Anthony
    Mark Plati - David Bowie
    Maroon 5
    Matt Wallace
    Michael Bienhorn
    Michael Wilton (Queensrych)
    Micheal Brauer - Sony Studios NYC
    Mick Gazauski — (Mariah Carey, Boyz 2 Men, Toni Braxton, etc.)
    Mick Hughes - Metallica FOH Engineer
    Mike Keating (Sting, Bush, Springstein live)
    Mike Shipley
    Millbrook Sound
    Mitch Goldfarb
    Mutt Lange
    N SYNC
    Natalie Merchant
    Nate Kunkel
    Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue)
    Nine Inch Nails
    Outsmarting Simon
    Paul Tennebekk (Norway's Midwest Audio)
    Peter Denenberg
    Phil (the Buther) Nicolo (The Stones, Amy Grant, Sting, Aerosmith, Judy Saiya)
    Phil Ramone/John Patterson
    Real World Studios - (Peter Gabriel's facility in England)
    Ricky Martin
    Roey Shamir - Information Society, Al B Sure
    Ross Hogarth - (Jewel, Coal Chamber, Grade 8)
    Ryan Hewitt - Engineer Extraordinare
    Scott Anthony - Dessau recording, Beastie Boys
    Seal - on tour
    Sean Beresford (3rd Eye Blind)
    Shania Twain
    Sheryl Crow
    Sound Kitchen
    Stone Temple Pilots
    Sue Shoemaker - Blues Traveler
    Tchad Blake - Sheryl Crow, Richard Thompson, Crowded House, Pearl Jam, Bonnie Raitt
    The Academy Is
    The Police
    The Voyager Remote Truck in Paris
    The Who
    Tom Lord Alge
    Tony Levin
    Whitney Houston
    Woodland Studios - Robert Solomon


    • 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. For instance, De-essing can be before or after EQ.
    • Highest audio performance of any Parametric EQ ever available. The total harmonic distortion is typically below .0006% with all EQ bands Engaged! (See specs). Empirical Labs had to buy a new analyzer to even measure the distortion.
    • Performance exceeds any digital EQ in terms of Distortion and Noise. There is no Analog to Digital Converter that can currently produce such low distortion and noise.
    • Built in Instrument Preamp/Direct box — Just plug a guitar or bass etc into the front panel and engage the instrument Switch, and you have the highest performance direct box currently available. Distortion is below .0007% on the Instrument Preamp, 114dB dynamic range.
    • Three Outputs, including a Class A transformer output to give you an isolated output with the wonderful soft saturation and beefy low end that you get from your favorite vintage gear.
    • Traditional and digitally controlled analog combined in new topology.
    • Huge "DISTRESSOR" knobs with high resolution numbering - For easy readability and repeatable settings. They also go to 10 1/2 .
    • A "BAD!" Hard Clip Indicator lights — A "Bad" Clip LED that lets user know he is within 1dB of hard clipping. It monitors every section of the EQ for internal clipping.
    • Locked, calibrated, output level - Allows speed in setting tape and live mix levels.
    • Foolproof operation - it's almost impossible to clip or get a bad sound.
    • Single height and light weight — More EQ processing than any other single height analog EQ.
    • Discrete and integrated combination -The best of speed/linearity with repeatability. Hand tested & selected components. All metal film and Roederstein resistors in the audio path - top quality components, most being high temperature military spec parts.
    • Switchable 115/230 volt operation - Extra fuse provided inside unit.
    • True EQ bypass - Know what it's really doing.
    • 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.
    • Three year unlimited warranty.
    • Interface and features found nowhere else.
    • Hand wired, calibrated in USA. Shipping weight 14 Lbs.

    With everything you could expect in a hi-end EQ and then some, at a price that won't break the bank!


    ELQ Lil FrEQ Equalizer Specifications:

    • Freq. Response:
    • 5 Hz to 140 kHz on transformerless inputs and outputs.
    • Transformer Output response is 10Hz to 110kHz .
    • 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 .5mS. Release .04 sec, fixed internally.
    Customer Reviews

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    Empirical LabsELQ Lil FrEQ Equalizer

    (based on 1 review)

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    Reviewed by 1 customer

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    So analog, so pure

    By Matthew Edwards

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about Empirical Labs ELQ Lil FrEQ Equalizer:

    Just awesome! Bought this a year ago. Recently ordered another one. Totally pure and analog, unlike like the digital coldness or noisy harshness of many EQ's. Does not color your sound in the least. I literally engaged all EQ's, set them to nominal and compared to the sound when completely bypassed - could not hear the difference. Never used a unit this transparent before. De-Esser works like a de-esser should, maybe even better. And here's the best thing about it: the manual tells you exactly how to set the EQ sections to get the "pro" sound for each type of instrument, and even your final mix if you buy a pair of them. Works with XLR, 1/4" TRS and TS connections. Since I bought it I use nothing else to EQ my tracks.

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