Manley CONTROL MASTER PREAMPLIFIER Owner`s manual

MANLEY
LABORATORIES, INC.
OWNER'S MANUAL
MANLEY TAPE HEAD
PREAMPLIFIERS
MANLEY LABORATORIES, INC.
13880 MAGNOLIA AVE.
CHINO, CA. 91710
TEL: (909) 627-4256
FAX: (909) 628-2482
EMAIL: emanley@manleylabs.com
www.manleylabs.com
CONTENTS
MANLEY TAPE HEAD PREAMPS
USER and TECHNICAL MANUAL
3) INTRODUCTION
(mostly hype but you can quote us)
4) IMPORTANT
(read this even if you hate manuals)
5) WARNINGS
(because we have to)
6) TECHNICAL DETAILS (for the person who has to plug it in)
7) ALIGNMENTS
(for the person adjusting it daily)
8) PLAYBACK HEADS
(yes, you now need special heads)
9 & 10) ALTERNATIVE VERNIER CALIBRATION (cool trick)
10) OTHER LITTLE HINTS(more hints for the cable builder)
11 & 12) EQ
( tech talk)
13) REPLACING TUBES
(general tube info)
14) WARRANTY
(legal stuff no one ever reads)
15) REGISTRATION CARD (yes, please do send this in to activate your warranty)
INTRODUCTION
THANK YOU!...
for choosing the Manley and congratulations on your purchase of MANLEY LABS TUBE
TAPE PREAMP. This product is the result of continual evolution from the era when all tape
machines were vacuum tube based to the present with refinements and improvements virtually
every year. This preamp was designed to meet the extreme requirements of Mastering
Engineers and Audiophile Record Labels. Earlier versions have been used for years by many
of the most respected Mastering Studios in America as well as England and Japan. It is very
likely some of your favorite records and CDs have passed thru a Manley Tube Tape Preamp
and a Manley A to D Converter.
The preamp provides a minimal path thru maximum quality components. The amplififcation is
entirely "Class A" low noise triode vacuum tube based. The line driver is a high current, low
output impedance, high voltage design. The transformer power supply is external to minimize
hum radiation. Once the voltages are in the individual chassis they rectified, filtered, regulated
and well filtered again at all stages. These design philosophies help recover the delicate sonic
details from the tape with all the spatial and spectral infomation intact and with minimal added
noise and distortion. The Preamp combined with the Manley Hi-Z heads truly reproduces
music from tape with clarity and beauty and with solid impact and excitement.
All user adjustments are brought to the front panel. The most used controls feature high
resolution "Vernier Control Knobs". These not only provide very fine adjustment but also
repeatability required by most Mastering Engineers. The preamp has the common adjustments
for "GAIN", HIGH FREQUENCY EQ" and "LOW FREQUENCY EQ" and has unusual
adjustments for "VERY HIGH FREQUENCY" and "VERY LOW FREQUENCY" that allow
the engineer to obtain a more accurate and flexible reproduction than is normally possible.
The preamp also features switches to allow 15/30 IPS selection and polarity reversal. There is
also a provision to use of an external head preamp to feed the tube line drivers. Optimized for
the Ampex ATR series, this feature provides the user with a choice of the stock line driver or
the Manley Line Driver. There is a convenient VU meter on each preamp.
The expected improvements over stock solid state electronics include:
-Much greater rendering of acoustic details and transients.
-Wider and smoother frequency response and “liss hess”.
-Significant improvements in stereo imaging including front to back depth.
-Natural reverbs once again sound natural.
-More musical, emotionally stirring, more enjoyable sound overall.
-Cleaner and more open reproduction compared to the smeared, muddy and harsh sound
you may have gotten used to.
(The better the monitor system - the clearer the benefits.)
3
IMPORTANT
Do NOT connect or disconnect the POWER SUPPLY CABLES with the power on. Disconnect the
mains plug first. Wait 3 minutes after powering off to remove the power supply cable. This allows
various capacitors to discharge. We do not want anybody electrically shocked. The power supply
cable carries about 470 VAC and 17 VAC. Several reasons less important than safety exist for the
above warning. Accidentally mis-aligning the connector as it is being inserted can force the 470
VAC into the 17 VAC circuits. This will very likely destroy the 12 Volt Regulator for the tube heaters
as well as the electrolytic caps in that circuit and likely burn out a few tube heaters. Even if one was
extremely cautious, connecting or disconnecting the power cable would cause arcing in the
connector and damage its integrity .
Monitors should be muted while the Preamps are warming up. After turning on there are large
“thumps” at the outputs during the first minute or so.
Mount the power supply as far from the heads as practical with 6 foot cables.
Power Transformers generate magnetic fields and repro heads do what?
The mains fuse is mounted on the power supply. Replace only with the same type and value. For
100 and 117 volt countries, use a 2 amp fuse. 220 volt units get a 1 amp fuse.
There are 4 tubes in each preamp. The units will get excessively warm unless ventilation is given
below and above the preamps. Allow 1/2” minimum to 1U or 1 3/4” above and below. You may or
may not allow space between the units. Anticipate 1U or 2U of Dolby as well.
Do not allow the units to be exposed to moisture. The tops and bottoms are perforated steel, and
while the drainage is good, the perforations are meant for ventilation. Not a good place for the
alcohol container.
DO NOT plug in the heads or switch in heads in general with our electronics or other electronics
powered up and particularly if a clients valuable master is across that head. There may be a
residual DC voltage that can magnetize the head or put a big pop or worse on tape.
The sequence is:1)wind the tape off or pull the tape away from the heads
2) monitors down
3) power off ATR & pre’s
4) wait 3 minutes
5) switch
6) power on ATR & pre’s
7) rethread tape
8) monitors back up
DO NOT have the preamps powered on if there is no head connected. We can only guarantee
plenty of ugly hum and noise doing that.
4
WARNINGS
WATER & MOISTURE
As with any electrical equipment, these preamplifiers should not be used near water or moisture. If liquid enters the
preamplifier, it must be immediately returned to your dealer or the factory for servicing.
SERVICING
The user should not attempt to service the preamplifier beyond that described in the owner's manual. Refer all servicing
other than biasing and tube replacement to Manley Laboratories
SPECIAL NOTES
Tubes may become loose during transit. Straighten and press down each tube before plugging the preamplifier into the
mains socket. Furthermore, do not touch the tubes after the preamplifier has been switched on, as the tubes become very
hot during operation and should only be handled after the power has been turned off and the tubes have cooled.
WARNING!
!
TO PREVENT THE RISK OF ELECTRIC SHOCK
DO NOT OPEN THE CABINET
REFER SERVICING TO
QUALIFIED PERSONEL
Your preamplifier has been factory set to the correct mains voltage for your country. The voltage setting is
marked on the serial badge, located on the rear panel. Check that this complies with your local supply.
Export units for certain markets have a moulded mains plug fitted to comply with local requirements. If your unit
does not have a plug fitted the coloured wires should be connected to the appropriate plug terminals in accordance
with the following code.
GREEN/YELLOW
BLUE
BROWN
EARTH
NEUTRAL
LIVE
terminal
terminal
terminal
As the colours of the wires in the mains lead may not correspond with the coloured marking identifying the
terminals in your plug proceed as follows;
The wire which is coloured GREEN/YELLOW must be connected to the terminal in the plug which is marked by
the letter E or by the safety earth symbol or coloured GREEN or GREEN and YELLOW.
The wire which is coloured BLUE must be connected to the terminal in the plug which is marked by the letter N
or coloured BLACK.
The wire which is coloured BROWN must be connected to the terminal in the plug which is marked by the letter L
or coloured RED.
DO NOT CONNECT/SWITCH ON THE MAINS SUPPLY UNTIL ALL OTHER
CONNECTIONS HAVE BEEN MADE.
5
TECHNICAL DETAILS
The tape inputs are unbalanced however the POLARITY switch governs which XLR pin is used
for “positive” signal from the “floating” head coil. Normally Pin 2 is signal, Pin 1 and Pin 3 are
grounded but if the switch is set “180” then Pin 3 is signal and Pin 1 and Pin 2 are grounded. The
input impedance is variable from 4K to 250K depending on the setting of the VHF control.
Notice that “loading” the head affects its hi frequency response.
The EXT inputs are unbalanced. The input impedance is 50K. Pin 2 is signal, Pin 1 and Pin 3 are
grounded. The line driver gain is variable and typically 15db . With an Ampex ATR series
machine the easiest location to get the signal is from the edge connectors in the meter bridge
(INPUT/OUTPUT PWA). We drill holes in the back panel to get the wire thru the chassis. Use
shielded cable - Solder the signal wire to pin 10 and the shield to pin 11.
The line outputs are also unbalanced. The output impedance is less than 200 ohms. The output is
capable of driving +36 dBv or about 32 dB of headroom. This is enough to “test” the next piece
of gear in the chain. Some OP-AMP inputs may be damaged if the designer did not expect better
than +/- 15 volt peak swings. This is unlikely, but it is likely that the input has nasty clipping
characteristics. We mention this because the first suspect if peak clipping is a problem is to check
the unit following the tube preamp.
The noise floor typically measures -75 dbv, A Weighted with an average responding meter. This
equates to a few dB improvement over most stock electronics and pretty close to theoretical
limits. There may be some worse very low frequency noise components - mostly due to
fluctuating AC mains.
The VU meter is factory trimmed for +4dBm. It can be adjusted internally on the METER PC
BOARD.
The tube complement is selected for low noise and microphonics. We expect that each tube
should last for 5 to 10 years, however sometimes they don’t. If replacing a tube is necessary then
either buy the tube from us or buy several very good tubes and select the quietest one.
Unfortunately the raw gain of this circuit and demanding performance requires better than
average tubes.
The first stage is particularly critical. This is a 12AX7WA located directly behind the HF control.
It is followed by another 12AX7WA located behind the GAIN control. The line driver uses a low
noise 6072A followed by a 7044. The line driver is the board closest to the back panel.
Best performance with most equipment means providing good ground paths.
With a device such as this with mucho LF gain, grounding may be critical. We have included
chassis and circuit ground terminals on the back panel. You may try disconnecting chassis from
circuit and/or running a separate ground wire to the monitor console / system. You may also try
disconnecting the shield at the XLR’s to eliminate any ground loops. In our experience most hum
is due to not enough shielding around the head and head wires.
6
ALIGNMENTS
ALIGNMENTS
Let us assume that the head has been properly mounted and the cables have been installed and the
preamps are solidly mounted.
Let us also assume you have access to an alignment tape or the reel to be played has well recorded tones
with 50Hz, 100Hz, 1KHz, 10Khz and 15Khz or 20Khz.
1)With the power off - Demag and clean the heads and tape path. Verify input, output and power cables
are correctly attached then turn the power on and wait 5 minutes for the preamp to be well warmed up.
The verniers should each be preset to "50" or a level you have determined through daily use.
The POLARITY toggle switch should be set to "0" not “180”. The INPUT toggle switch should be set
to "MANLEY" not “EXT”
The VLF rotary switch should be set to 12:00 or the middle position. Each step clock-wise adds 1 db at
50Hz. The setting that is generally "flattest" for the “EXT” position is fully counter-clockwise.
2)Play the 1Khz and adjust the vernier marked LEVEL for 0 VU on the meter.
Verify correct tape path, height, wrap, etc.
3) Play the 10Khz and adjust the vernier marked HF for 0 VU on the meter.
Verify correct azimuth and that the tape path is stable.
4) Play the 15Khz and adjust the vernier marked VHF for 0 VU on the meter.
Verify correct azimuth here too.
5) Play the 100hz and adjust the vernier marked LF for 0 VU on the meter.
6) Play the 50hz and adjust the switch marked VLF for the best setting.
7) Repeat steps 2 thru 7. If no adjustments are necessary then good - You have aligned and then checked
for any mistakes or drift.
8) If you are going to do a record alignment follow the procedure recommended by the machine
manufacturer. Start with bias, then 1Khz and 10Khz record adjustments. You may re-adjust the LF or
VLF particularly if you started with “Standard” alignment tape due to “fringing” with full track tapes.
9) Play music. You may want a towel to catch the drool.
If you are using the preamp in the “EXT” mode steps 3 thru 5 are not going to do anything. Follow your
usual procedure. Only the VLF and GAIN control will be active. Either use the Manley GAIN or original
REPR GAIN to adjust initial level or both if you intend to compare “sound”. In the EXT mode the
original preamp and EQ are used to drive the Manley Preamp’s vacuum tube output stage. This gives at
least an audiophile quality “Class A” line driver as opposed to a “Class B mini power amp” stage
feeding a questionable transformer, as is found in most machines. The resulting improvement is
substantial but not as complete as having 100% tubes in the chain. Having the option may allow some
tapes to be played - if for example, they are 1/4 track and you have 1/2 track HI-Z heads, or they are 3 1/
2 IPS, or the tape sounds weird enough to get you creatively experimenting with options.
7
Playback Heads
Manley Playback Heads are custom manufactured new heads of a better quality than can
be obtained in any stock tape machine of any vintage. They are manufactured by JRF
Magnetics. We strongly recommend that you only use playback heads supplied by
Manley Labs or those under licence from Manley Labs. The reason for this is that these
are vacuum tube based units designed for "high impedance" playback heads typically
500mH (mili-Henrys). Most playback heads are low impedance varieties (2mH to
10mH) designed for transistor or transformer input stages and will certainly not be
optimally "matched" or "loaded". Older heads designed for vacuum tube inputs will
almost always be worn away and out of "spec" even if relapped. We cannot guarantee
that customer supplied heads will provide satisfactory performance.
Manley Labs is manufactuing a replacement "Head Block" for Ampex ATR style
machines. This is a precision milled assembly that provides easy adjustment of
"azimuth", "height", "zenith" and "wrap".
We generally also recommend that mounting of the head be performed by Manley Labs
or JRF Electronics in New Jersey. Correct "height", "wrap", "zenith" adjustments are
usually performed by professional tape machine technicians. These procedures will be
covered in the technical manuals of your machine. However, if you will be mounting the
head, a single 6-32 machine screw attaches the head to the original plate.
High impedance playback heads can be significantly affected by the cable between the
head and the preamp. The requirements call for extreme low capacitance and best
quality shielding. The shortest possible length of wire is also important. We use Van
Den Hull MCD 102 Mark III. These two cables have to be soldered to the original
head block connector and generally run thru the machine. We generally use either
unused pins on the connector or pins normally used for tracks 3 & 4. This allows the
original heads to be used with the original electronics if or when the engineer would
desire that option. The other end of the cable should be a 3 pin male XLR with :
pin 1 = Shield
(ground at machine)
pin 2 = Positive phase (brown wire on head)
pin 3 = Negative phase (black wire on head)
There are two common locations for the preamps to be mounted. Considering the
requirement for a short "head to preamp" cable this narrows the options to directly
below the deck or above the meter bridge.
Usually above the bridge allows easier alignments but with a slightly longer cable.
A second but rarely used option is to have a 4P2T switch that routes the high impedance
head to either the Manley tube electronics or to the original electronics. Though the
impedance matching will likely be wrong there is a possibility that the the original
electronics will have enough adjustment range to compensate for the mismatch.
8
ALTERNATIVE VERNIER CALIBRATION
Some mastering engineers have found that the following procedure helps with their day to
day use of these preamps. The procedure essentially gives a reference vernier setting that
shows them immediately if todays tape is “unusual”. It simply involves “moving” the
verniers so that a typical tape will read “50” on each dial. This is easy on all but the LF
control where a reference setting of “30” may be needed simply to have sufficient range of
this control. While easy, we recommend that an experienced technician perform the
procedure due to the shock hazard that exists working on powered high voltage equipment.
One does not want to touch the wrong thing while doing this.
We set these vernier controls at the factory to correspond to standard AES curves. This
does not include the effect of the individual head itself or other external factors not within
our control.
You will need a small Phillips screwdriver and a pair of insulated needle-nose pliers. The
thinnest needle-nose pliers are best for this. Rubber gloves are suggested for safety reasons.
1) This needs to be done in your normal set-up (not a shop), with heads and outputs
connected but monitors muted and preamps switched off.
2) Remove the small 4-40 machine screw holding the top perforated panel. It is located
above the back panel and towards the middle.
3) Slide the perforated top towards the back and remove it.
4) Set each vernier to “50” and loosen the Phillips set-screws that grip the shaft of the pots.
These will be just inside the front panel and now facing the top. Do not remove them - just
loosen them enough.
CAUTION -SHOCK HAZARD -THE FOLLOWING STEPS WILL BE DONE WITH
THE PREAMPS POWERED. HIGH VOLTAGE AND AND EXPOSED WIRING
EXISTS ON THE PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARDS. However there is only low voltages on
the pots and a metal shield between the pots and PCBs.
5) Power up the preamps, load a tape with good, typical tones and prepare toalign. Wait a
few minutes to allow for warm up (with monitors muted).
6) Use the needle-nose pliers to adjust each pot shaft while holding the vernier at a setting
of “50”. You will probably have to go back and forth between the 10 kHz VF vernier and
the 15 kHz VHF vernier to get it perfect due to some overlap or interaction. You may also
need to set the LF vernier to “25” or “30” in order to maintain the best control range.
7) Once you are happy with the alignment and the verniers are set where you
want
them - carefully tighten the screws holding the vernier to the pots.
Do not overtighten it is not necessary because the pots turn freely and damaging the plastic pot shaft is good
thing to avoid.
9
ALIGNMENT, CONTinued
8) Verify that each vernier freely adjusts from “0” to “100”. Hopefully they
should. If one doesn’t its because the pot is at the end of its travel. If this is the case either
decide that a number other than ”50” is OK or that it is unlikely that the extreme setting is
will ever be needed.
9) Power off, Wait a few minutes, Slide the top back on. The front panel has a notch to
accept the perf panel and it is sometimes a bit tricky to get it in right. If the panel is nicely
seated screw the 4-40 machine screw back in to lock the top.
10) Power on again and check that all is well and that the verniers are where you want them.
The only potential problems with this procedure is the possibility that the pots are now set so
that the maximum adjustment range is less than optimum. It would be wise to verify that one
can align to a variety of tapes including, at least, 15 and 30 IPS both NAB and CCIR tapes.
This is not a likely problem with Manley heads. It is wise to check these scenarios before a
client hands you a tape that is now a bit difficult to align. Sometimes the best answer is just
to use the original head and electronics for the unusual tape if it will solve that problem for
those rare tapes.
OTHER LITTLE HINTS
One last point worth mentioning to those that will be using these preamps with AMPEX
machines. They are factory wired for “Pin 3 HOT”. The Manley is “Pin 2 HOT”. If you
intend to typically just swap OUTPUT cables from one to the other you are going to be
probably introducing a polarity reversal. If the console input is unbalanced - only one set of
electronics will seem to pass audio. You could build a set of short polarity reverse cables for
this. Note that because the VU meter pick-off points are directly on the XLR outputs that a
shorted cable will cause the VU meter to also show little or no signal.
Keep in mind that a likely hook-up will be from preamp to DOLBY cards. Balanced inputs fine. Balanced inputs will provide hum rejection with balanced or unbalanced sources. The
point is that you should plan your wiring carefully to anticipate various set-ups and that it
may be smart to build a few extra cables - especially, if you use expensive wire. Plan it now.
At the factory we have found that some heat-shrink over the 12AX7WA’s helps dampen
microphonics. While we don’t usually recommend this, in this situation, the benefits outweigh the potential shorter tube life or potential slightly higher thermal noise. We select
these tubes for very, very low noise and minimum microphonics. Sometimes the
microphonic level changes over time or particularly over shipping . It does not seem possible
to predict that change. The shrink also shields from light hitting these 12AX7WA’s. We
found that even photons can affect the noise level here - very rare. These are the kind of
obstacles involved when a product has 90 dB of available gain at 20 Hz. That translates to a
power gain of 1 Billion. We do that with tubes......
10
EQ
There is a fair amount of confusion amongst engineers regarding record and repro eq
curves. The most important fact is that all repro heads have a frequency response
characteristic that rises at 6 dB per octave. The prime EQ curve of any head preamp is
the inverse of that rising response. A preamp “first” has to have a characteristic that
falls in a straight line at 6 dB per octave. This translates to over 50 dB more gain at 20
Hz than at 20 kHz (AES 30 IPS). This also “shapes” tape noise, distortion and preamp
noise.
Where it gets confusing is that different curves exist for different speeds and that there are
separate NAB and CCIR curves. Each specifies a variation on top of that 6 dB falling
line. In other words it makes that sloping line into a sloping curve. The numbers we see
associated with each standard, ie 17.5uS, 3180 & 50uS, 35 uS, refer to these where
these deviations from the straight line occur or ,basically, at what frequency. This part
of the curve is first applied one way to the record electronics and then the inverse added
to that 6 dB falling repro curve. All to help get the signal on and off moving rusty
mylar.
So what is the difference between 30 IPS and 15 IPS curves or CCIR curves? Lets start
with the NAB (USA) standard 30 IPS repro. It looks closest to that downward sloping
straight line but near the bottom at around 5 Khz it slightly straightens out.
15 IPS and 7.5 IPS NAB curves are the same curve. In the lows it starts as a shallow slope,
gets steeper around 100 Hz (that basic 6 dB per octave) and almost flattens out starting
around 3 kHz. The result is “only” 33 dB more gain at 20 Hz than 20 kHz. If one were
to only consider the variation from 6 dB per octave you would see an 8 dB cut at 20
and about 1dB cut at 100. The top end is boosted - 2 dB at 2K and 15 dB at 20K.
The European CCIR curves are the same for 15 and 30 IPS. They are pretty close to the
high freq boost of 15 IPS NAB but starting at a slightly higher frequency (35 uS instead
of 50 uS) and only boosting about +13 dB at 20K. Like 30 IPS NAB, the low
frequencies are not modified. You should use the 15 IPS setting on the preamp to be in
the best range for the HF EQ. While not “perfect” theoretically, once you align, the
error from the standard will be a fraction of a dB or less than machine to machine or
head variations.
CCIR 7.5 is similar to 15 / 30 but the HF boost begins an octave lower (70uS)
Once again, the 15 setting (50 uS) is close enough, after aligning, to be within a fraction of
a dB.
NAB 1.875 and 3.75 are the same curve and similar to 7.5 / 15 but the HF boost begins
around 500 Hz and ends with +20 dB at 20K. This is probably out of range of the
preamp but you woundn’t need this kind of a preamp for that kind of a tape.
11
MORE EQ
We have these variable trims on all tape machine repro cards to further modify those “standard”
curves to align a tape machine to another machine’s reality. Different manufacturers have
different ways of accomplishing this. Some vary the repro characteristic curves by making some
of the components involved variable. Others have fixed standard curves and add a basic high and
low shelving EQ stage after the first network. The former is simpler (and better sounding) while
the latter gives a great deal of EQ range.
We use three different techniques. The VHF adjusts the impedance that the repro head is looking
into. This quite effectively varies the extreme hi frequency response of the head itself and as a
side benefit that allows different heads to be used with one preamp without component changes.
We adjust the values of the components in the 6 dB falling network to adjust HF and LF and 15/
30 IPS selection. We found that adding an extra stage just to vary EQ to be counter to purist
philosophy in this design. Less is more. All of this is in the negative feedback network that is part
of the initial preamp stage. This ensures that the signal is kept as intact as possible. For the VLF
we use a simple equalizer without adding a stage or passing the signal thru extra circuitry. Here
again we modify, slightly, a negative feedback network. This time it is in the line driver section.
By keeping this trim in a different stage from the main network the interaction is minimized. The
“turn-over” frequency of this “EQ” could be considered to be 40 Hz. Each step is 2 dB at 20 Hz
or 1 dB at 50 Hz and has no real effect at 100 Hz. The LF control begins its “knee” around 300
Hz but in EQ terms would be considered 150 Hz with progessively more effect at lower
frequencies. At 100 Hz the range is admittedly a small 5 dB but at 20 Hz it is about 20 dB.The
HF “knee” is at 2K and would be considered a 5 Khz EQ (3 dB point) with progressively more
effect with higher frequencies (12 dB @ 20K). At 10 kHz the range is typically 3 dB below the
AES curve to 7 dB above it. The VHF control has a tiny effect at 10 kHz but mostly controls 15
kHz and higher.
The above paragraph describes the 30 IPS setting. With the 15 IPS setting the highs are not cut as
much or effectively boosted to follow the standard NAB 15 and 7.5 IPS curve. The range of the
HF control is the same. The low frequency cut of the NAB curve is at the same frequency as the
LF control and well within its range.
In our own studios we usually record (and playback) to CCIR standards because we prefer the
increase in HF headroom and not for that few dB more tape hiss. We have no problem with the
preamps HF EQ point being slightly lower than the 35uS standard. Compared to new and vintage
machines these preamps reproduce “flatter” than the theoretically perfect 35uS cards. Part of
this, is being able to fine tune the extreme highs and lows. Other reasons can be attributed to real
world heads both in record and repro and thier slight imperfections and “head bumps” and
probably some variation in component tolerance (10% caps) and component aging. However if
you are a European customer and still not convinced we can either show you the curves or
change a few caps.
EQ being exhausted, don’t forget that azimuth, dirty heads, tension adjustments, worn heads, bad
record alignments (especially bias) and old tapes “kill” frequency response and are the most
likely culprits to mess up your day.
12
REPLACING TUBES
How long will these tubes last? We can't say for sure. Some die prematurely and some tubes last
more than 30 years. The average for the tubes in the Manley Tape Head Preamps seems to be 4 to 5
years depending on useage. As with all tubes, their quality degrades with age. This is due to
decreasing cathode emission, a natural process found in all tubes.
How can I tell when I need to replace them? The preamp tubes can become noisy (hiss) or the
preamplifier may exhibit audible distortion; substituting known good tubes is the best way find the
bad one. All tubes are "microphonic" to some extent- that is, they will make ringing noises through
the speakers when tapped or vibrated. Here again, substitution will detrmine which one is excessive.
Obviously, any tube that is totally dark inside while powered up or is cold to the touch (careful!) is
defective. Most tubes have a silvery coating deposited on some area inside the glass bottle. If this
has turned white (compare to another tube), then the tube has lost vacuum (or gained air!) and is
definitely bad. Replace at once- don't turn the preamp on.
Do I need to replace them all at once? No, at least not with these preamps. Some tube amps do
require that if one tube has to be replaced that a complete matched set put in but with these preamps,
you only need replace the offending tube.
Does the "sound" of the amp change as the tube ages? Yes, but not very much. It is just the tubes
and they can be replaced. It is not like big guitar amps where tubes are replaced every 6 months for
reasons of "tone". We run the tubes quite conservatively which allows a very long life and less
change between old and new tubes. This is where that 4 to 5 years of use comes from. You may
notice an improvement between tubes this old and new tubes depending on how critical you are.
Keep in mind the sound of new tubes changes most in the first weeks of use before they can be
considered "broken in". At first the sound may be a little "tight" and "direct" like some people we
know.
Is it difficult to replace a tube? Yes, if you have trouble replacing light bulbs. It is super easy. Turn
off the power. Just let the preamp cool a few minutes so that you don't burn your pinkies. It helps to
wiggle the tube gently rather than pulling it out straight. Even if you don't consider yourself
"technical" you probably have more technical ability than your parents and they used to fix the
family TV set by taking out the tubes and putting them on the tube tester at the local pharmacy. It is
almost as easy to re-insert a tube. Just make sure it is correctly lined up with the socket and you dont
bend a pin. You can wiggle it in too. If you had a solid state amp, it would be an unlikely repair. You
would have to open it up, diagnose the bad transistors and burnt resistors, de-solder, find
replacements (good luck) re-solder, and hold your breath as you turn it on. Or you could send it
back, be without music for a few weeks, pay for service by the hour and get real upset when it fries
again. If one transistor goes the system is dead, not so with power tubes, just limping. If you need a
tube or set of tubes Manley will be happy to sell you some (selected ones ) at a good price and if you
prefer to sent the unit back for repair or adjustment, our warranty covers about everything except
tubes (6 mo. only) and abuse and we handle ground shipping back to you - usually the same week.
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WARRANTY
All Manley Laboratories equipment is covered by a limited warranty against defects in
materials and workmanship for a period of 90 days from date of purchase to the original
purchaser only. A further optional limited 5 year transferrable warranty is available upon
proper registration of ownership within 30 days of date of first purchase.
Proper registration is made by filling out and returning to the factory the warranty card
attached to this general warranty statement, along with a copy of the original sales receipt as
proof of the original date of purchase, or registration can be made online in the Tech Support
section of www.manleylabs.com.
This warranty is provided by the dealer where the unit was purchased, and by Manley
Laboratories, Inc. Under the terms of the warranty defective parts will be repaired or replaced
without charge, excepting the cost of tubes. Tubes are warranted for six months provided the
warranty registration is completed as outlined in paragraph 1.
If a Manley Laboratories product fails to meet the above warranty, then the purchaser's sole
remedy shall be to return the product to Manley Laboratories, where the defect will be repaired
without charge for parts and labour. The product will then be returned via prepaid, insured
freight, method and carrier to be determined solely by Manley Laboratories. All returns to the
factory must be in the original packing, (new packing can be supplied if needed), accompanied
by a written description of the defect, and must be shipped to Manley Laboratories via insured
freight at the customer's own expense. Charges for unauthorized service and transportation
costs are not reimbursable under this warranty, and all warrantees, express or implied, become
null and void where the product has been damaged by misuse, accident, neglect, modification,
tampering or unauthorized alteration by anyone other than Manley Laboratories.
The warrantor assumes no liability for property damage or any other incidental or
consequental damage whatsoever which may result from failure of this product. Any and all
warrantees of merchantability and fitness implied by law are limited to the duration of the
expressed warranty. All warrantees apply only to Manley Laboratories products purchased and
used in the USA.
Some states do not allow limitations on how long an implied warranty lasts, so the above
limitations may not apply to you. Some states do not allow the exclusion or limitation of
incidental or consequential damges, so the above exclusion may not apply to you.
This warranty gives you specific legal rights and you may also have other rights which vary
from state to state.
MANLEY LABORATORIES, INC.
13880 MAGNOLIA AVE.
CHINO, CA. 91710 USA
TEL: (909) 627-4256
FAX: (909) 628-2482
for Tech Support email: service@manleylabs.com
website: www.manleylabs.com
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WARRANTYREGISTRATION
We ask that you please fill out this registration form and send the bottom half to:
MANLEY LABORATORIES
REGISTRATION DEPARTMENT
13880 MAGNOLIA AVE.
CHINO CA, 91710 USA
OR you fax it in: +1 (909) 628-2482
OR you many go to the Service Form in the Tech Support section of our website and do your
registration electronically at www.manleylabs.com
Registration entitles you to product support, full warranty benefits, and notice of product
enhancements and upgrades. You MUST complete and return the following to validate your
warranty and registration. Thank you again for choosing Manley Laboratories gear.
MODEL ____________________ SERIAL No. ______________________
PURCHASE DATE ______________ SUPPLIER ______________________
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------PLEASE DETACH THIS PORTION AND SEND IT TO MANLEY LABORATORIES
MODEL: MANLEY TUBE TAPE HEAD PREAMPS
SERIAL No. ______________________________
PURCHASE DATE ______________ SUPPLIER _______________________
NAME OF OWNER _______________________________________________
ADDRESS ______________________________________________________
CITY, STATE, ZIP ________________________________________________
TELEPHONE NUMBER ___________________________________________
Comments???? ___________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
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