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Does anyone here have any experience with the Manley VoxBox in comparison to other pro preamps such as GML or Flamingo? Anyone not like the sound from this unit?

Just looking for input before I plop down the major $$$ for the unit... I actually found a negative review online and it shook me... :eek:


anonymous Mon, 02/18/2002 - 10:05

I had one for a year, then sold it. It's very natural, clean and open. I don't see how anyone with ears could NOT like it or review anything about it "negatively." I'll try to remember everything bad about it:

1. I could never get enough gain. Apparently the design is such that it has one gain stage that drives the limiter, compressor and the eq. The newer ones have more gain and Manley will upgrade the old ones for not much money.

2. For me it was nice... and always sounded good but it NEVER delivered an unfreakin' believable orgasmic cosmic audio experience. (for that kind of experience you need a distressor)

3. It wasn't FAT or chunky sounding... don't let the "tube" word make you think it's going to be fat.

Guest Mon, 02/18/2002 - 13:21

For the record I found it to have the BEST De-esser on board I have EVER heard.

I didn't get one because I was already cool for pre's & compressors etc... but I enjoyed using it.

But, sometime later I spied a second hand Manley De-esser (model discontinued but favored by my favorite mastering engineer Ray Staff) for sale - I leapt at it! At the LA AES 2 years ago I bounded up to Eve-Anna proudly announced that I had bought it to get 'that VoxBox De-esser" Eve-Anna smiled and told me, that the one in the VoxBox was different! :)

Amazing De-esser on that thing.... IMHO

anonymous Mon, 02/18/2002 - 13:53

I dunno folks...I'm getting old here. So, just what IS all that it's cracked up to be? What doesn't have faults? Which piece of gear is perfect? Try before you buy and let your own ears judge. for everyone that tells you a piece of gear is great, someone else will till you it's crap.
Like all valve gear there are so many variables. Which valves you buy, their age etc. etc. Surely the deal with a "fat" sound (apart from compression) is the matching of the mic with your original scource..everything else is either "transparent" or adds it's own colour. Mix and match trust your ears and your brain will follow.
Kind regards

Mercuri Mon, 02/18/2002 - 15:12

Hee hee... Methinks Mike doth protest too much... Maybe he's secretly having an affair with the CEO of Manley is trying to get everyone to look the other way... ;)

But back to the topic at hand... Has anyone ever compared it to GML or Flamingo? I'm trying to get a really really good preamp that sounds awesome regardless of taste for gear.

drumsound Mon, 02/18/2002 - 20:52

I use a VoxBox a lot. I like for the purpose its name implies, and also for bass and for snare shell micing. I don't care for it on thick guitar. Thick on top of thick is a bit much for my tastes. I really like the presence it adds to rock vocals. The EQ is quite nice on some things. The compressor takes some getting used to. It's slow and sometimes very obvious, of course that is sometimes perfect. The de-esser works well. The metering is also very good. That can be very important and I don't think reviewers mention it often.

anonymous Tue, 02/19/2002 - 16:01

I've had the Voxbox for almost two years. It's certainly a quality unit, but...

Firstly, it doesn't strike me as a meat and potatoes piece, not something you'd want to buy if you can only have one good pre. It sounds "soft", the pre tends to soak up transients a bit (with compressor off). The low end doesn't seem tight or punchy to me. I often find it's less distinct than I'd like. However, you could also describe it as sweet, gorgeous on the right instrument. For me, it's more of a specialty sound.

Secondly, as long as I've had it, I've never gotten comfortable with the control layout. It's annoying. The variable input level feeds the compressor, which then feeds the gain switch...but the input level and gain switch are to the left of the compression controls... and the gain switch is not just gain, it changes the "character" or aggressiveness of the sound, so if you want to change the gain, you have to change the other two controls, 'cause there's no output control.
You can't easily compare compressed and non-compressed sounds because there are no input and output controls (the upside of this is less controls=higher sound quality throughput)

The EQ, I can't say anything bad about it, but every time I try it, I end up leaving it switched out. I dunno.
The De ess is the one part of the unit I've really never used...maybe I'm missing the best thing.

Oh, and my unit has a noticeably higher noise floor than my other tube pre, a Pendulum. It could be a maintenance issue, but I don't think so.