The Manley Voxbox is an all-tube based channel strip featuring a mic preamp, compressor, equalizer and de-esser/limiter.
MIC PREAMP SECTION:
The preamplifier is a clone of a highly regarded and popular mic pre: the Manley Mono Microphone Preamplifier. The mic input transformer is wound in-house at the Manley Labs factory. High current 48V Phantom power is switchable from the front panel. A simple and effective passive Basscut switch kills rumble and reduces popping. The Input Attenuator is a variable pad control situated before the first tube stage allowing the preamp 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 flavor 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 this purist approach and foremost is the un-electronic final sound that carries emotion into the digital realm.
This compressor design is the result of blending the control ideas in the Variable MU Compressor Limiter with the opto-isolator approach of the Manley ELOP Limiter. It compresses the signal before it hits 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! For the side chain, up to four different time constants work simultaneously, controlled by simple attack, release and threshold controls, an approach called "Parametric Compression". Optimum settings or presets are based on the Light Dependent Resistors of the fast ELOP Limiter, the quick LA-2A, the slower LA-3A and 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, when using two VOXBOXes linked in stereo.
This includes the settings of the Manley Pultec Mid Frequency equalizer extended 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 EQ s 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:
The VOXBOX combo also includes a de-esser & peak limiter based on the original ELOP Limiter design but with an added passive LC network to handle the de-essing: four carefully chosen notch frequencies from 3KHz to 12KHz. The fifth position gives you a limiter which totally mimics the famous LA-2A.