Primarily, it is a voice processor which in itself is not a novel idea, but the time had come to pull out all the stops and make a truly professional high-end statement. One that covered the needs of the project songwriters and big-time major studios alike. One whose all-tube signal path could bring every instrument and overdub to life. One that, plain and simple, sounded unquestionably better than the rest, provided flexibility, simplicity, and well thought-out ergonomics. Full of features, timeless style, robust build quality, and that world-famous "Manley Sound", we present to you the MANLEY VOXBOX.
MICROPHONE PREAMPLIFIER SECTION: The preamplifier is a clone of a highly regarded and popular mic pre: the Manley Mono Microphone Preamplifier. The mic input transformer is our own design wound in-house at the Manley Labs factory. High current 48V Phantom power is switchable from the front panel. A simple and effective passive BASS CUT switch kills rumble and reduces popping. The INPUT ATTENUATOR is a variable pad control situated before the first tube stage allowing the preamplifier to accommodate +4 line level signals via the balanced LINE INPUT and instruments via the front panel 1/4" DIRECT INPUT. These inputs are selected in the middle position of the dual-function phase invert switch. We provide both transformer balanced XLR output as well as a transformerless "audiophile" 1/4" phone jack output. The Gain switch is actually a clever variable feedback control that changes not only the gain but the slew rate and flavour of the circuit. With it you can choose how laid back and mellow or how up-front and aggressive you want it to get. Headroom is a strong point in this circuit, +31dBu capable. This is 5 to 10 dB better than almost all other pro gear. The music passes through only our super-clean pure Class A vacuum tube circuitry. There are obvious advantages to our purist approach and foremost is the un-electronic final sound that carries emotion into the digital realm.
COMPRESSOR SECTION: This cool compressor design is the result of blending the control
ideas in our best selling Variable MU Compressor Limiter with the opto-isolator approach of the Manley Electro-Optical Limiter. We figured out how to compress the signal before it hit the tubes with no detrimental effect on distortion or frequency response. This way, it can prevent mic-pre clipping and eliminate whole stages of electronics. This cuts the typical path of mic to tape in half! We also pioneered new thinking in the sidechain. Rather than compromise, we developed a technique of using up to four different time constants simultaneously and controlling them with familiar simple attack, release and threshold controls. We call the approach "Parametric Compression". We developed optimum settings or presets based on the Light Dependent Resistors of our own fast ELOP, the quick LA-2A, the slower LA-3A and then created more complex special settings. This extended range and method of timing delivers fresh sounds from powerhouse punching drums to super-solid bass yet can also emulate the way good engineers delicately ride a
fader while recording. It is transparent and liquid-smooth on vocals, easy to use and accurate. Also rare for an opto-based dynamic processor, this compressor works great on mixes. Of course, you’ll be needing two VOXBOXes linked in stereo...
EQ SECTION: Lots of folks requested that we include the Pultec Mid
Frequency Equalizer in the VOXBOX, but they wanted MORE.... Now we’ve extended it to 33 frequencies in 3 bands with 6 new frequencies from 20 Hz to 150 Hz, and 6 more in the highs from 6.4 KHz to 20 KHz. Ever notice that only EQs with real inductors have the bottom end magic or that only Class A circuitry can keep the top end sweet? This is for you. The EQ INPUT switch patches in the Line Input, Preamp Output, or the INSERT return. This switch serves double-duty acting as a bypass switch for the preamp and/or external processors or for processing two different tracks.
DE-ESSER & LIMITER SECTION: Designed by folks with admittedly large gaps between their two front teeth, (Hutch and EveAnna) the VOXBOX also includes a de-esser & peak limiter based on our original ELOP design but with an added passive LC network to handle the de-essing– four carefully chosen notch frequencies from 3KHz to 12KHz. (That 3KHz setting really tames those annoying frequencies!) The fifth position gives you a limiter which totally mimics the famous LA-2A. This means you can both compress pre-EQ then limit here post-EQ. Another cool feature is the ability to insert this de-esser silently and smoothly as the music plays, using it as needed.
The METER is a full size illuminated Sifam VU meter. A five-position switch shows three audio levels: the line input, the preamp output and the final output. It also shows compressor gain reduction and the de-esser/limiter action. Other clever innovations incorporated into the VOXBOX include warm-up muting circuitry, extensive magnetic field containment, ‘smart -grounding’, and silent switching. The sum-total is more than the separate parts: consider the reduced patching, the short path to tape and you having this much immediate control.
As engineers, we choose what we use not based entirely on features and functions– there is a sound, a texture we reach for and the VOXBOX puts the ‘Manley Sound’ together with ‘Your Sound’.
Manley Transformers w/nickel laminations in mu-metal cases
2K ohm MIC INPUT Z w/High current 48V Phantom power built-in
Hi-Z (100K) Direct Instrument Input
LINE & INSERT INPUTS (balanced XLR & 1/4")
PREAMP & EQ outputs LO-Z (50 ohm)
Transformer balanced XLR output
Transformerless unbalanced 1/4"outputs
STEREO LINK for Compressor & De-esser/Limiter
SIDE CHAIN MONITOR for De-Esser
Large ILLUMINATED Sifam METER with FIVE readout modes
THD + N (1kHz @ +20 dBu): 0.3%
Maximum output: +31dBu
De-Ess Notch Frequencies: 3, 6, 9, 12KHz
Power Consumption: 24 watts
Dimensions: 19" x 5.25" x 10" (occupies 3U)