Empirical Labs EL-9 Mike-E Mic Preamp / Channel Strip

95 out of 100. Incorporating 20+ ratings and reviews.
Empirical Labs

Gearank Recommendation

The Empirical Labs EL-9 Mike-E appeared on our recommended list for Channel Strips Over $1500 when we first published that category in December 2021 where it remained until October 2022 when it was out-ranked by the Manley Core Reference and Rupert Neve Designs Shelford Channel.


The Empirical Labs EL-9 Mike-E is a digitally-controlled channel strip with Lundahl transformer-coupled preamp for an absolutely low noise floor.

The “CompSat” circuitry effectively combines both compression and saturation that ranges from subtle character to fully emphasized harmonics. A mix knob enables easy parallel compression.

A sidechain input allows the compressor to press down on your track from a different source, making it perfect as both a standalone channel strip and as an insert.

The EL-9 Mike-E is a channel strip full of character that can be as subtle or as edgy as you want it to be.

Add the capability of sidechaining and effortless parallel compression and you have a winning formula.


  • Channels: 1
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR. 1 x 1/4″, 1 x 1/4″ (Hi-Z)
  • Outputs: 1 x XLR, 1 x 1/4″
  • Preamp:Solid State with up to +74dB dB gain with 48v phantom power
  • Compressor: ratio 1:1 to 8:1 with ‘nuke’ feature for additional saturation
  • Equalizer: 80Hz highpass filter
  • Rackmountable: Yes – 1U