Empirical Labs Mike-e pre amp/ compressor

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by D.A.R.K., Aug 13, 2009.

  1. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    I'm a big fan of Empirical Labs products, especially the EL8 which I tour with regularly. (I am not affiliated with Empirical Labs in any way, I just like their stuff). I've always wanted a road worthy, high end channel strip that is equally suited for mics and as a bass pre, so when I heard about the Mike-e pre amp/ compressor announcement from namm, I figured it'd be worth giving it a try.
    so, here's some pics of the new arrival:
    Going to give it a work out today, and will post the initial thoughts later...
  2. chrisp2u


    Aug 15, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    Cool. I recently picked up a used/like new EL8 and EL8-x for a steal... basically the price of 1 new EL8. Haven't had a chance to really mess with them yet. Good stuff though. Curious to hear more about the EL9.
  3. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    i'll have to write up a technical review once i have more time with the unit, but i have had a couple opportunities thus far to use it in both home and live environments... it is definitely a straight up killer channel strip, no disappointment here in cost vs. features or build quality.
    the unit is super aggressive, both in preamp and compression traits.
    massive gain on the input and a saturation not unlike other high end pres like neve, but definitely it's own voice. from clean to some hair on it.. it offers an extremely tight frequency response, which especially noticeable when using with mics for lows (used with a beyer m88, i was able to a/b with a standard crest x8 mixing console pre. where the crest was loose and boomy, the el9 was tight and defined.)
    the comp section is very versatile, despite minimalist step ratios/ controls and offers even more over the top saturation possibilities, along with an emphasis circuit mode which clamps down on nastier high end transients which can occur from railing the comp.
    the really awesome feature is the mix knob, for adding as much or as little compression as desired to the signal chain. this allows for some very interesting possibilities, considering over the top settings like "nuke". harmonic heaven....
  4. synaesthesia


    Apr 13, 2004
    Nice. Let us know more.
  5. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Very interested! This is right up my alley.
  6. icebox


    Jul 16, 2009
    I own 2 of these boxes and they are knocking me out!! I've never used them live but in my studio they shine on everything, especially bass. Killer preamp.
  7. koobie

    koobie Supporting Member

    Jul 11, 2007
    Portland OR
    I bet I'd love that thing. The Distressor & Fatso are killer products in their own right, I didn't know about the Mike-e. So much time, so little money...
  8. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    sorry i haven't gotten to a real review yet- been touring for the last month... the el9 has been with me the whole time...
    i did buy a second unit, if that is any indication of how much i like it!
    amazing, no bs unit...
    heading back out for a short leg this weekend but will have a full report in november...
  9. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    Lompoc, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    bumping this thread to see if anyone else is using this. I got one for the studio mostly for tracking vocals (brilliant with an SM7b), but am finding that I *love* running this direct for bass. That is high praise since I typically am using Monique both live and in the studio. Am thinking that this with a basic eq setup and power amp could be a killer live rig as well.
  10. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    Guess I never did a proper review-
    I carried these things all over with me, as vocal channels, a mix buss sweetener and limiter, and of course as a recording channel for bass.
    They are absolutely road worthy and have a very clear, full range response. You can also use the comp and pre sections independently.
    I ended up selling them after 3 years to go with 500 series format (only because of ergonomics) but would not hesitate to have another pair given the opportunity!
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