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Empirical Labs Mike-E Mic Pre with Compression and Saturation

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SKU 
H72814 000000000
Product Price $1,699.0
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Open Box$1,495.12

Empirical Lab's Dave Derr is no stranger to creating game-changing audio processors, and his Mike-E preamp is no exception. Mike-E is a modern, digit...Click To Read More About This Product

Available 08-02-2018

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OVERVIEW

From the designer of the wildly popular Distressor, a game-changing microphone preamp with compressor and tape-like saturation.

Empirical Lab's Dave Derr is no stranger to creating game-changing audio processors, and his Mike-E preamp is no exception. Mike-E is a modern, digitally controlled microphone preamplifier chocked with unusual features to warm and soften sound sources, plus, it also has an excellent compressor/limiter. Mike-E, a transformer-coupled mic preamp, offers an incredible performance with a noise floor is far below any microphone's self-noise. And, the one-of-a-kind ˜CompSat' section is an uncompromising compressor and saturator circuit that offers versatile coloring, and classic knee compression.

Mic Preamp Section
The preamp section is a super low-noise transformer-input amplifier section with gain digitally controlled gain. This section comes standard with a shielded Lundahl transformer, but allows for a Jensen transformer also.

The signal-to-noise ratio far exceeds any microphone in existence; typically over 130dB with the input shorted and 40dB of gain. Having used many mic preamps over the years, Empirical Labs has implemented a unique stepped-gain control that is impervious to the normal flakiness that age causes to pots and detented switches.

Counting the output gain of 14dB, a total74 dB of gain is available to you with the CompSat section bypassed. Phantom power (+48V) is provided for condenser mics.

Exclusive CompSat Section
This unique circuitry is what sets Mike-E apart from all other mic preamplifiers. It has four sections:

1) Saturator: This is a multi-stage soft clipping circuit. At lower levels, triode-type saturation affects the signal. As the level increases, a second unique clip circuit that includes germanium semiconductors starts to flatten out the peaks more severely. An LED named "BAD!" indicates harder, un-musical clipping.

2) Compressor: This is an uncompromising compressor/limiter circuit with detented control of attack and release for easy repeatability. You adjust the amount of compression with the DRIVE knob, which determines the level going into the compressor. In ways it is like the Empircal Labs Distressor (see #501579), but has differing characteristics including a much longer available attack time and additional circuitry. Four ratios are provided; 2:1 being the gentlest with a long 20dB knee, good for subtle compression, such as while tracking or on the 2-Bus. Ratios 4:1 and 8:1 are steeper but still very smooth with long knees. "Nuke" is very steep (limiter-like) and has a different attack and release shape.

3) Emphasis: Emphasis is actually two circuits that surround the compressor and saturator. Pre-emphasis boosts the high frequencies before the compressor and saturator (CompSat), soft clipping them sooner than normal, while a de-emphasis cuts the complementary frequencies after the CompSat. Emphasis has the added perk of improving signal-to-noise, and is the reason analog tape decks used emphasis to begin with.

4) Mix Control: The modern recording engineer often employs the technique of 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. Mike-E has a built-in mix control to submix uncompressed signal along with the compressed signal. As you rotate the MIX control from full right to full left, you goe from the full compressed signal to the full dry signal (absent of any compression or saturation).

FEATURES
  • Mic Preamplifier with super low noise and stepped-gain switching
  • Built in Direct Box, called Inst In, offers unparalleled distortion, noise, and frequency response when pre-amplifying instruments.
  • "Colored" 80Hz high-pass filter emulates the warm, low-frequency cut of our favorite vintage equalizers
  • Phase Switch inverts audio signal 180 degrees.
  • CompSat offers both a musical compressor/limiter and a unique tape-like saturation circuit
  • High-frequency emphasis system softens high frequency "pile-ups" and furthers the creamy color of the Mike-E
  • Mix Control allows the blending of the compressed/saturated signal with the clean unprocessed "Dry" signal
  • Transformer-coupled input
  • Active and transformer outputs available
  • High-quality audio caps used internally

Track with clarity or color - control your sound source on the way in to your DAW with Mike-E. Order today!

SPECIFICATIONS
  • Frequency response: 3Hz - 200kHz (No CompSat); with CompSat: 3Hz - 150Khz Optional transformer output: 6Hz-80kHz
  • Signal-to-Noise: 130dB signal-to-noise at 40dB gain, maximum output +28dBu
  • Distortion: Ranges between .0006% and 15% depending on mode and settings
  • Input impedance: 600 ohm
  • Output impedance: Less than 38 ohm
  • Attack/decay ranges: - .9 - 100mS attack, .15 - 1 sec. decay
  • Power consumption: 15 watts max.
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Empirical LabsMike-E Mic Pre with Compression and Saturation
 
5.0

(based on 1 review)

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5.0

Best Secret Weapon

By Data-Bank-A

from Lowell, MA

About Me Experienced

Pros

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Home Studio
      • Professional Recording

      Comments about Empirical Labs Mike-E Mic Pre with Compression and Saturation:

      While UA and Avalon seem to get the most notice and praise, this guy is proving himself time and time again as a Beast of a machine!
      It may not look as sexy as other brands. But that's because the quality is inside, not in the looks.
      I've compared it to ART, UA, SPL and others, and it always wins.
      The controls are laid out beautifully, easy to navigate.
      The Pre-Amp is powerful and dependable. And the stepped control make the settings repeatable.
      The compressor is the best I've found in any channel strip. It just always works, smoothly, without any harsh pumping or breathing. It really is transparent.
      The only thing I wish it had is a noise gate.
      Otherwise, it's the perfect channel strip.

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