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Manley Reference Cardioid tube recommendations?
Old 24th March 2016
  #1
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Manley Reference Cardioid tube recommendations?

Hi all.

Recently I've purchased the Manley Reference Cardioid as a step up of my recording chain. It is pairing with a BAE 1073 DMP.

I'm quite happy with the result I get, but would like to know if there is any recommendations for potential tube swap. I will mainly record a high tenor vocal singing pop and musical.

Any advice will help a lot. Thank you.
Old 24th March 2016
  #2
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antichef's Avatar
There are at least three generations of tube circuits in those mics. I believe the most recent use 12AT7 (that was true last year anyway).

I almost always change tubes in stuff that I get. I got a matched pair of Ref C last year with the 12AT7s - they're new - one of those Russian brands - can't remember which. I have no desire to change them out whatsoever.

Partially it's because my two mics were factory matched, and I think the selection of the individual tubes was probably part of that process. Also, I have had a hell of time finding low-noise 12AT7 tubes in the past, whether NOS or new production - I'm kind of amazed that they found two that are so quiet. Thirdly, the mics sound fantastic as they are.
Old 25th March 2016
  #3
I love the way the new Ref mic sounds with the stock tube. You can always adjust things with mic placement, and EQ if needed. This tube mic just works well and does not need a change. However everyone has different taste.

There is a YouTube video of the mic with several different tunes in it so you can hear the difference. Some tune had a little less top end than another.
Old 25th March 2016
  #4
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I literally JUST googled this last night and ended up talking to Brent Jessee at audiotubes.com My new tube(Telefunken) is on the way. Great reviews and his reputation seemed to precede him.
Old 25th March 2016
  #5
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mbvoxx's Avatar
Highly recommend you contact Bowie, who is very active here on GS. Look him up in the GS members list and PM him.
He is the tube Yoda and will have recommendations for your C and tubes in stock ready to ship.
IF you want to cut to the chase, ask him about a Telefunken tube. You should be able to go with an AX or AT, both of which will change the character and output of the mic favorably. But he can help you dial it in. Personally speaking, I changed my C tube ( when the stock tube died during a tracking session) to the T funk tube Bowie recommended and purchased both an AX & and AT ( for back up) and installed the AX- the mic came with an AT - and keep the AT on the shelf for back up. The mic is quieter, and the top end is nicely tamed without losing any of the highs.
Old 25th March 2016
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antichef View Post
There are at least three generations of tube circuits in those mics. I believe the most recent use 12AT7 (that was true last year anyway).

I almost always change tubes in stuff that I get. I got a matched pair of Ref C last year with the 12AT7s - they're new - one of those Russian brands - can't remember which. I have no desire to change them out whatsoever.

Partially it's because my two mics were factory matched, and I think the selection of the individual tubes was probably part of that process. Also, I have had a hell of time finding low-noise 12AT7 tubes in the past, whether NOS or new production - I'm kind of amazed that they found two that are so quiet. Thirdly, the mics sound fantastic as they are.
I do like the result very much but I also have a habit (maybe a bad one) to change tubes in tube mics. So changing it in the future for different tone is the first thing that came to my mind.

Of course, if Manley is putting something into their product, it's going to be very good. There is no reason I must change it but I can't help it.

Thanks for the input.
Old 25th March 2016
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Bucci View Post
I love the way the new Ref mic sounds with the stock tube. You can always adjust things with mic placement, and EQ if needed. This tube mic just works well and does not need a change. However everyone has different taste.

There is a YouTube video of the mic with several different tunes in it so you can hear the difference. Some tune had a little less top end than another.
I love this mic too and most likely I will be happy to use it with any tubes (given it is in decent quality). I just can't help but to speculate if there is anything I can do to make it a better mic.

I've watched that video. The problem is I like all of them so it doesn't help me to make up my mind. I am so bad at making a decision.

Thank you for the reply.
Old 25th March 2016
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidangel13 View Post
I literally JUST googled this last night and ended up talking to Brent Jessee at audiotubes.com My new tube(Telefunken) is on the way. Great reviews and his reputation seemed to precede him.
Thanks for the suggestion. I am looking into it and find the website very useful. Looks like the Telefunken is the way to go, it is a little bit pricey though.
Old 25th March 2016
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbvoxx View Post
Highly recommend you contact Bowie, who is very active here on GS. Look him up in the GS members list and PM him.
He is the tube Yoda and will have recommendations for your C and tubes in stock ready to ship.
IF you want to cut to the chase, ask him about a Telefunken tube. You should be able to go with an AX or AT, both of which will change the character and output of the mic favorably. But he can help you dial it in. Personally speaking, I changed my C tube ( when the stock tube died during a tracking session) to the T funk tube Bowie recommended and purchased both an AX & and AT ( for back up) and installed the AX- the mic came with an AT - and keep the AT on the shelf for back up. The mic is quieter, and the top end is nicely tamed without losing any of the highs.
Thanks. You guys have been so helpful.

The Telefunken tube looks promising. And I've never used one before so it is very tempting to own one. Is it going to make the mic brighter (in a good way)?

Which one should I go for, the 12AX7 or 12AT7? My Ref C is the newest version with the 12AT7 as the stock tube. Other than gain, what is the sonic differences between them from your experience?

Thank you very much.
Old 25th March 2016
  #10
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antichef's Avatar
If you're determined to swap it, I can second the recommendation to work with Bowie. I usually just go with his recommendations for stuff and wind up really happy with the result. I imagine you'll want to stick with a 12AT7 if that's the circuit you have.
Old 25th March 2016
  #11
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mbvoxx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaa1232004 View Post
I do like the result very much but I also have a habit (maybe a bad one) to change tubes in tube mics. So changing it in the future for different tone is the first thing that came to my mind.

Of course, if Manley is putting something into their product, it's going to be very good. There is no reason I must change it but I can't help it.

Thanks for the input.
FWIW; the stock tube in my C was a Sovtek.
Old 26th March 2016
  #12
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mike-661's Avatar
I'm just another one writing to confirm Telefunken is the only way to go in my book...

We've tried everything possible in the Manley and that was by far the best tube to anyone's ears at my facility.
Old 26th March 2016
  #13
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scvo's Avatar
 

My experience trying other tubes was a significant tradeoff with the noise floor. Yes, I got many different flavors of sound from vintage tubes, but for me noise was an issue. I stuck with the stock tube which actually surprise me. By comparison, to NOS Telefunken's, Mullard's, and others... the stock tube rules!

Your milage (and application) may vary. The great thing about Ref C, is that it is very easy to change out the tube and experiment!
Old 26th March 2016
  #14
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cinealta's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaa1232004 View Post
Recently I've purchased the Manley Reference Cardioid as a step up of my recording chain.
A step up? There's no tube on earth which can enhance that bright, edgy Chinese capsule. Try another mic instead.
Old 26th March 2016
  #15
Has the ref c circuit changed at all over time with the new tubes being implemented? If the circuit has changed how does an old ref c sound compared to a new ref c?
Old 26th March 2016
  #16
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shelterr's Avatar
 

Get a good testing 60's Telefunken Smooth Plate 12AX7. I've tried a lot of NOS and modern tubes in mine and this is easily the best sounding.
Old 27th March 2016
  #17
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Thank you all for the inputs. You guys have been very helpful. I've decided to buy a telefunken NOS 12AT7 to try. I am not in a hurry though because the Manley is already giving great results. Thank you again for all the help.
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