Softube & Empirical Labs: FrEQs and Geeks


Sometimes, the nerds get to hang with the cool kids and find out that they’re kindred spirits. Check out what the epic Softube + Empirical Labs collaboration has wrought.


Superior, innovative, enduring, fun. The ethos of Empirical Labs, at its most economical, could stand in for ours. Both Softube and ELI take pride in the high standard of quality and craftsmanship in their work. Both companies tell the status quo to kick rocks. Our philosophies are so similar it’s a wonder we didn’t get into bed together sooner. What can we say? We like a long courtship.

Now, after fifteen years of beers, gear talk, and karaoke with one of the most influential, charismatic audio processing designers in the world of pro audio, Mr. Dave Derr, we’re making it official. Don’t worry. It was well worth the wait.

Come see the results of this match made in sonic heaven. Read on to learn more about the Softube + Empirical Labs suite of products.




"We’re really excited about this collaboration because Softube captured the sound, the ease-of-use, and just the general funness of our products."

Dave Derr
Founder of Empirical Labs


Mike-E Comp


Mike-E is compression and saturation based on the famous ELI Distressor with a punchy preamp riding shotgun. Precisely modeled in collaboration with Dave Derr himself, our native software version tethers unabashed analog flavor to an uncomplicated, modern interface. Individually or as a module in Amp Room, Mike-E makes it fun to push it past the extremes without brittleness. Do anything from giving credibility to vocals in a mix with soft-knee compression and warm saturation to smashing drum room mics with the famous NUKE mode. Whatever you use it for, you can be certain that Mike-E will deliver superb sound quality and brazen aggressiveness.

Go to product page

Lil FrEQ


Empirical Labs Lil FrEQ rocks a warm yet extremely punchy retro sound uncommon to equalizing. A unique and varied combination of features--classic EQ sound in a modern parameter set, eight processing sections with independent bypass, punchiness galore, and de-essing with a soft knee high-frequency limiter—make it hard to think of a more potent analog EQ. It's why mixing pros and top tier recording engineers crush on Lil FrEQ so hard. There’s no need for other plug-ins when your EQ is this proficient. And our native software version—precision-modeled in close collaboration with Dave Derr—gives you all that dynamism plus remarkable sound quality. Lil FrEQ may be an oddball, but that's her superpower.

Go to product page

Trak Pak for Console 1


In proud partnership with Dave Derr and Empirical Labs, we made a meet-cute for Console 1 featuring the toasty, fat-sounding Mike-E saturator/compressor and the hella-punchy Lil FrEQ analog equalizer/de-esser. The result couples the beloved Console 1 workflow and the legendary ELI sound in a channel strip party of one. With Lil FrEQ’s De-ess/HF Limiter in the Shape Section and Mike-E on the CompSat, Trak Pak is packed with so much power, punch, character, and warmth it might be illegal in some places. Unprecedented in the Console 1 ecosystem, and the pro audio world in general, Trak Pak puts to bed the question of how an Empirical Labs console would sound.

Go to product page

ELI Complete Collection


It's the plug-in pack your mama warned you about. Made in cahoots with ringleader Dave Derr, the Empirical Labs Complete Collection brings ELI's too-cool-for-school analog sound into the modern, DAW-based studio. Masterfully modeled and fine tuned for mixing professionals and recording engineers, the ELI Complete Collection offers the charmingly-bold compression and saturation stylings of Mike-E, the complex-power of the Lil FrEQ equalizer and de-esser, and the punchiest channel strip on offer for Console 1 with Trak Pak. This clique of software grunge kids is always aggressive, but never harsh or brittle. Even when pushed to the wall. Light some incense and open a window. The gang’s all here, and they know your parents aren't home.

Go to product page