by Claudio

Sep 15, 2016

The Manley Core is a high quality tube-based microphone preamplifier, a compressor, an Equaliser and limiter all in one box. It combines the circuit design of a few different units Manley is famous for: the Voxbox, the Elop and the Slam.

On this video we show you how we mix vocal with the Manley Core:

On this video we show you how we track vocals and bass with the Manley Core Reference Channel Strip:

It sounds musical, smooth and with lots of detail. Designed specifically for tracking the Core is very flexible, capable of delivering a wide range of tones thanks to its many controls.

As you would expect from any Manley unit the Core is extremely well built, with its all metal case, a striking contemporary look and an attractive large blue backlit VU-meter.

Manley Core Reference Channel Strip Meter 565

To left of the Core’s front panel is the input section which conveniently features a Direct Input 1/4 inch jack, as well as switches for: Mic/Line, Low Cut (120 Hz), Hi/Lo gain (20dBs boost on Hi), Phantom power and phase flip. The sound of the preamp is round, clean, forgiving if not flattering especially on vocals and acoustic instruments.

Next is the Voxbox style compressor, with 4 simple and effective controls: Compression, Attack, Release and Bypass. Using it for 2 o 3 dBs of compression when tracking or mixing vocals is where this section really shines, delivering a focused, consistent and polished sound. When used more drastically, this compressor will deliver more character but without sounding obvious or unpleasant.

Manley Core Reference Channel Strip side 565

The EQ section has a High & Low Shelf controls centered around 12Khz and 90 Hz respectively. The mid-range section is continuously sweepable between 2 different ranges – 100Hz/1Khz or 1Khz/10Khz – which can be selected from the switch in the centre of the section.

The a high-ratio FET peak limiter to the right of the panel adds a layer of safety before the signal leaves the unit. With a final output gain control of 10dB of range, the Core can be used creatively with extreme compression and EQ settings, without the risk overloading the A/D converter.

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The VU meter can be selected to display the amount of signal coming out of the preamp (O/P 1) or the main Output (O/P 2) or the amount of the compressor’s gain reduction (GR)

The back panel has 2 XLR input (mic and line) and 2 XLR output, one for the direct signal coming out of the preamp, and one for the main output.

You can find out more about the Core on Manley’s product page.


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How To Mix Vocals – Podcast:

How To Mix Rock Vocals – 9 Tips:

How To Mix Drums, Bass and Vocals – A full video workshop:

– TYPE OF UNIT: Valve based mono Channel Strip
– SOUNDS BEST ON: Vocals, Bass,  Acoustic Guitars and String Instruments

– Preamp SPECS:
ALL-TUBE preamplifier audio path using 1 x 12AX7 for gain and 1 x 6922 White Follower
Balanced Transformer Coupled XLR Microphone Input Impedance: 1200 Ohms
Unbalanced Unbalanced 1/4″ Direct Input Impedance: 10 Meg Ohm
Hi-current drive Direct XLR output Impedance: 50 Ohms
Microphone preamp high pass filter starting at 120Hz with a 6dB/8va slope
Maximum gain +60db
Phantom power +48V
Phase Reverse

– ELOP Compressor SPECS
Fixed Ratio 3:1
Maximum Reduction 16 dB
Attack Time range 4mS to 70mS
Release Time range 100ms to 1.5s

LOW and HI Shelf bands at 90 Hz and 12kHz (Baxandall curves)
LOW and HI boost/cut range 12dBs
MID Frequency EQ range selectable between 100Hz to 1kHz, or 1kHz to 10kHz (Bell curves)
MID boost/cut range 10dBs
Sweepable frequency controls

– FET Limiter SPECS:
Attack time 115μs
Release Time 300 ms to 2.3 ms
Output Gain range 10dB

Main Output Impedance: 50 Ohms
Insert Send output impedance: 50 Ohms
Insert Return input impedance: 13 kOhms
Dynamic Range: >90 dB
Frequency Response: 10 Hz to 20 kHz ±0.5 dB
THD & Noise (1kHz @ +4 dBm): 0.02% at Low Gain setting
Noise Floor (Gain set to minimum): -70 dB wide-band typical

19 inch 2 rack units
HEIGHT: 9cm (3.5inch) – WIDTH: 48.2cm (19inch) – DEPTH: 17.7cm (7 inch)
Weight: 3.7kg – 8.3lbs.

– PRICE (new):
UK = around £2,200
USA = around $1,999
EUROPE = around €1,928

– PRICE (used):
USA = around $1,600

Download Manley Core’s user manual pdf file here.


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