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Voxbox experiences?
Old 14th March 2016
  #1
Gear Head
 

Voxbox experiences?

I am a primarily a vocalist and have been recording my own songs. I have a friend in the business that loved his Manley Voxbox.

In your experience, is this a good one-unit-does-all for vocals? Thanks!
Old 14th March 2016
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Led Music's Avatar
I've never owned the VoxBox, but have used other Manley products and the quality is excellent.
A channel strip in general is a great place to start. There are less expensive options out there that you could look at as well. Even within the same company, the Manley Core is significantly cheaper than the VoxBox and has lots of the same features.
Old 14th March 2016
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Led Music View Post
I've never owned the VoxBox, but have used other Manley products and the quality is excellent.
A channel strip in general is a great place to start. There are less expensive options out there that you could look at as well. Even within the same company, the Manley Core is significantly cheaper than the VoxBox and has lots of the same features.
There was a studio I frequented years ago that had one and I often used it for bass, but used other things on vocals. It's good quality and you could do far worse for a vocal, but there were other things I preferred. It was really cool for bass though.
Old 14th March 2016
  #4
Gear Head
 

Yeah, over $2k less! The Core looks nice and probably has plenty of features for me.

Last edited by DeeLo; 14th March 2016 at 07:01 PM.. Reason: typo
Old 15th March 2016
  #5
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ghostwriter's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeeLo View Post
I am a primarily a vocalist and have been recording my own songs. I have a friend in the business that loved his Manley Voxbox.

In your experience, is this a good one-unit-does-all for vocals? Thanks!
YES!!!

It's brilliant.
Old 15th March 2016
  #6
You should demo The retro powerstrip
IMHO way better than the voxbox
When I demoed the vbox I found the pre to be too dark for my taste.
Old 15th March 2016
  #7
I have a Voxbox in my studio and I basically use it on every session for something. Any of my solid state microphones sound wonderful with the Manley mic pre. Compressor is great on bass and acoustic guitar, and the ELOP is great on vocals. You can use the compressor as well for vocals if you want a less heavy handed reduction. EQ is clean and it is just wonderful. To m it's like owning a Mercedes Benz channel strip. I smile every time I use it.

Here is my review of the unit. Manley Voxbox
Old 15th March 2016
  #8
It's worth the price of admission just for the two comps and the eq. Most people have a variety of preamps, so if you need another flavor for whatever reason, you can go line in and it would be the best of both worlds. No one preamp, especially of the more colored variety will work on every vocal. The Manley is relatively neutral (I disagree with the "too dark" comment above, I would say it's neither bright or dark, and with a small turn of the eq it can be very present or airy) leaning towards the very slightly colored/euphonic side of the spectrum so it depends on what you need; my point being that a neutral preamp will work the majority of times nicely. The 3:1 and 10:1 comps (and the 10:1 does de essing) are both super easy to use, as is the pultecish eq, and it's easy to dial in great results quickly.
Old 15th March 2016
  #9
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeeLo View Post
Yeah, over $2k less! The Core looks nice and probably has plenty of features for me.
The Manley CORE is hella-nice. I've been using the Manley CORE as my primary input channel for about 4 months now, and I like the sound and functionality of it so much, I've basically stopped shopping for outboard recording gear.

EveAnna Manley has described the CORE as "the baby VoxBox." If you're a vocalist recording your own material, the CORE might work better for you than the VoxBox, due to the relative simplicity of its interface.

I'd recommend ordering a unit from Sweetwater, and demo'ing it for a few weeks. Sweetwater will allow you to return the unit if you're not entirely happy with it.

I'm keeping mine, and maybe ordering another so I can maintain a stereo pair.
Old 15th March 2016
  #10
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
I had a VoxBox for years and it was something I loved and also kind of drove me nuts. The compressor was the big issue for me. You couldn't just kiss the loud parts with it, because it would change the tone too much, so you had to have it always affecting the signal, so then you'd get to where you had too much squash if the singer got really loud. The preamp sounds really lovely and the limiter is really effective, but doesn't allow you to use the deesser along with the limiter. The EQ sounds really nice, though not for everything. Its a really well made piece of gear, and if I still had it I'd use the pre and the limiter a lot, but not the other sections, which it why I eventually traded it off.
Old 15th March 2016
  #11
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andychamp's Avatar
I use mine a lot for vocal tracking, but just the pre & comp.
I also often use the whole combo for analog "pimping" of signals of any kind before mixing ITB.
The compressor is very versatile, but you need to study it.
Old 15th March 2016
  #12
Atlas Pro Audio is a great resource for buying Manley gear as well. Not only does he sell the gear, he is very familiar with how they sound and he will provide great customer service.
Old 15th March 2016
  #13
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
I had a VoxBox for years... the compressor was the big issue for me. You couldn't just kiss the loud parts with it, because it would change the tone too much, so you had to have it always affecting the signal, so then you'd get to where you had too much squash if the singer got really loud.
Yeah, coloration. Back in the Barney Rubble-era of digital audio when the VoxBox was first designed and built, people really appreciated all that coloration. I recently had a phone conversation with EveAnna Manley about this very subject. Remember ADATs? And low-bit convertors? And how the Digi Audio Engine would degrade the signal when you adjusted the volume at the fader level? The Manley brand was built around providing tube warmth to pour like buttermilk over all that harsh digititus we all hated.

Things are a little different now, with hi-res digital audio now the norm. That's why Manley just recently released the ELOP+, which has a more clean and modern sound. EveAnna compares it to pouring sparkling water over your audio rather than buttermilk, and this is also the modern sound the Manley CORE has, which is why I encouraged the OP to give it a test drive.
Old 15th March 2016
  #14
You can't have my Voxbox; it's the center of the sound in my studio. I love the rich sound it provides. Saving up for a second one.
Old 15th March 2016
  #15
Lives for gear
 

I have 3 different rack units of Manley gear, it's well built, great sounding and maintains a certain sound that's distinctly Erm...kinda Manely!

I think all Manley gear has a light Manley sounding vibe, the Voxbox I've used and I would certainly say it's a great unit, though as with everything, when it works it works, though some stuff hits a sweet spot and for many the Voxbox is that unit.

When the Voxbox works it works really well!

I was disappointed with the Core, though hey, that box wasn't for me! I prefer the older Manley livery and units to the newer styles though aesthetics aside, ain't nothing wrong with Manley gear! It's a must have to add a certain colour palette.

Good luck!
Old 16th March 2016
  #16
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curve Dominant View Post
Yeah, coloration. Back in the Barney Rubble-era of digital audio when the VoxBox was first designed and built, people really appreciated all that coloration. I recently had a phone conversation with EveAnna Manley about this very subject. Remember ADATs? And low-bit convertors? And how the Digi Audio Engine would degrade the signal when you adjusted the volume at the fader level? The Manley brand was built around providing tube warmth to pour like buttermilk over all that harsh digititus we all hated.

Things are a little different now, with hi-res digital audio now the norm. That's why Manley just recently released the ELOP+, which has a more clean and modern sound. EveAnna compares it to pouring sparkling water over your audio rather than buttermilk, and this is also the modern sound the Manley CORE has, which is why I encouraged the OP to give it a test drive.
Bwahahahahha When I first started using it I was using ADATS.
Old 16th March 2016
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curve Dominant View Post
Yeah, coloration. Back in the Barney Rubble-era of digital audio when the VoxBox was first designed and built, people really appreciated all that coloration. I recently had a phone conversation with EveAnna Manley about this very subject. Remember ADATs? And low-bit convertors? And how the Digi Audio Engine would degrade the signal when you adjusted the volume at the fader level? The Manley brand was built around providing tube warmth to pour like buttermilk over all that harsh digititus we all hated.

Things are a little different now, with hi-res digital audio now the norm. That's why Manley just recently released the ELOP+, which has a more clean and modern sound. EveAnna compares it to pouring sparkling water over your audio rather than buttermilk, and this is also the modern sound the Manley CORE has, which is why I encouraged the OP to give it a test drive.
I agree the CORE is a great piece, but I don't find from my experience that coloration has been invalidated due to 'more accurate' conversion that is available today. If anything it's more sought after like a magic bullet from many engineers. Better conversion just sounds less hazy, ADAT conversion was hazy regardless of whether it was a Neve or a GML preamp.
Old 18th March 2016
  #18
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vsthalion View Post
You should demo The retro powerstrip
IMHO way better than the voxbox
When I demoed the vbox I found the pre to be too dark for my taste.
Thanks...I'll look that one up.
Old 18th March 2016
  #19
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
It's worth the price of admission just for the two comps and the eq. Most people have a variety of preamps, so if you need another flavor for whatever reason, you can go line in and it would be the best of both worlds. No one preamp, especially of the more colored variety will work on every vocal. The Manley is relatively neutral (I disagree with the "too dark" comment above, I would say it's neither bright or dark, and with a small turn of the eq it can be very present or airy) leaning towards the very slightly colored/euphonic side of the spectrum so it depends on what you need; my point being that a neutral preamp will work the majority of times nicely. The 3:1 and 10:1 comps (and the 10:1 does de essing) are both super easy to use, as is the pultecish eq, and it's easy to dial in great results quickly.
Great information and thank you!
Old 18th March 2016
  #20
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Bucci View Post
Atlas Pro Audio is a great resource for buying Manley gear as well. Not only does he sell the gear, he is very familiar with how they sound and he will provide great customer service.
That's good to know for that kind of investment. Thank you!

Old 18th March 2016
  #21
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason rocks View Post
You can't have my Voxbox; it's the center of the sound in my studio. I love the rich sound it provides. Saving up for a second one.
You're safe...can't afford it right now!
Old 21st March 2016
  #22
Lives for gear
 
MickeyMassacre's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayfrigo View Post
There was a studio I frequented years ago that had one and I often used it for bass, but used other things on vocals. It's good quality and you could do far worse for a vocal, but there were other things I preferred. It was really cool for bass though.
Agreed, bass and kick were heavenly on this unit. Vocals... Not bad, but often found myself using John hardy or amek pres for vocals with an 1176.
Old 21st March 2016
  #23
Lives for gear
 
Blaine Misner's Avatar
 

use it all the time. love it. the comp can seem heavy handed until you realize that the compressor circuit is before the mic amp
Old 24th March 2016
  #24
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blaine Misner View Post
the comp can seem heavy handed until you realize that the compressor circuit is before the mic amp
Succinctly! This is a crucial point, and the circuit design is virtually identical on the Manley CORE. From what I understand according to my talk with EveAnna, the ELOP comp actually shares the circuit with the preamp, but with the effect that the signal hits the ELOP before it hits the mic pre, because the circuit is recursive. It's an ingenious design in that the result is you're unlikely to ever clip the mic pre. But! Your usual gain-staging orientation is going to feel a little scrambled until you get it reoriented with practice on the unit.

That practice and reorientation is worth it, though, once you get the signal to ride "between the ditches" so to speak. You have to hear it to understand and appreciate it.

Then, at the mixing stage, you REALLY start to appreciate it.
Old 7th June 2016
  #25
Gear Maniac
 
MarkH's Avatar
 

I've been on the fence about a VoxBox. I've been using the Manley Cardoid Mic (Black/Red) for about a year and love it. I record everything straight into an Avid Omni HD Mic Pre with no external EQ or Compression for an ultra clean, unaltered tone of the Mic's characteristic. However, short of riding the fader while tracking a vocalist, a hint of compression would be nice.

One setup I've seen others use is the Manley Variable Mu in dual-mono mode. The Mic Pre goes to the Mu left input set to Compress, the Mu left output goes to the Mu right input set to Limit, then to the Mu output to the computer's audio interface input.

Has anyone else seen or done this with external Compressor/Limiters?
Old 9th June 2016
  #26
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thetalkinghead's Avatar
 

Never been a big fan. It sounds good it's not bad. But you can do way better.

Get a BAE 1073 and a good 1176. Boom, insane vocals.
Old 9th June 2016
  #27
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thetalkinghead's Avatar
 

I will say that I do love the Manley ref c. I also have a c800g which I prefer most of the time but the Manley is an awesome mic. Never really fell in love with any other Manley products.
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