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Manley Reference Cardioid Preamp Pairing Single-Channel Preamps
Old 20th February 2017
  #1
Manley Reference Cardioid Preamp Pairing

Hey gentlemen.

I know there's been a million threads on this mic, and I've read most of them.

I just recently purchased a Manley Ref C and I'm looking to get a preamp to pair it with for my studio.

I'm wondering if it would sound better with a Neve style, or a neutral/less colored option.
I know it varies based on source, and rooms.. just looking to get a discussion going.


What has worked for you?

I know this mic is bright and I just wanted to get some opinions from everyone who may have
used this mic with success and what you may have been running it into.



Source:
I'll be mainly recording Vocals and Acoustic Guitar with this.




What I have now:
My preamp game is very weak at the moment; I've only got an A Designs P1, GAP Pre 73, and ART Pro MPA ii.

I'm most likely thinking about ditching the MPA and GAP and getting something else.

What I was thinking is maybe trying an Avedis MA5 or BAE Mpl/other BAE.




Budget: 1k

Unfortunately at this point I can't climb into the High End territory of preamps,
but I'd still take recommendations from that end of the spectrum too.





Recommendations?

What has worked for you? Would the Avedis/BAE be a good choice?
Would love to hear what has worked for you.

Thanks.
Old 20th February 2017
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Jantex's Avatar
 

I use Neve 1073DPA and it works great. But I also sometimes use UAD Apollo preamps and this combo also works perfectly. It really depends on source and application itself.

It really is my favorite mic for recording vocals. They have a nice presence and tightness and work in a mix with minimal EQ. As any bright mic it might be sibilant with some singers, but you can get this sorted with a mic setup or later in a post production.
Old 20th February 2017
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jantex View Post
I use Neve 1073DPA and it works great. But I also sometimes use UAD Apollo preamps and this combo also works perfectly. It really depends on source and application itself.

It really is my favorite mic for recording vocals. They have a nice presence and tightness and work in a mix with minimal EQ. As any bright mic it might be sibilant with some singers, but you can get this sorted with a mic setup or later in a post production.
Really glad to hear this.
I'm pretty vested in UAD and I have Apollo Pres, so I'll give those a go!

I've heard how little EQ this mic needs and that was a huge selling point for me.

Thanks for the response!
Old 20th February 2017
  #4
Lives for gear
 
mbvoxx's Avatar
Back in 2013 I did some mic pre tests with the REF C and mic pre's from BAE, Hardy, A Designs, & Fearn.
The best results, according to my results log, was the BAE 1073 MPF @ gain of 35,with the HPF set at 50, and a Purple Audio MC77 engaged, settings of 10-12-4. But the log also notes that the mic sounds almost as good, and a bit cleaner, without the compressor engaged. The MC77 added some extra punch and accentuated the low end a bit.
But the best pre among that bunch was the BAE, which is a Neve clone.
Old 20th February 2017
  #5
Great mic on the right voice and echo the BAE suggestion to refocus it a bit from that sibilance range. On my personal stuff, I use it with a much hated DBX576 that has a tube compressor. It just works, I'm still using the original 30 year old Chinese tubes, have tried many replacements but when those die a proper burial will ensue.
Old 20th February 2017
  #6
Ditto the bae 1073, ma5 sounds great too, a forsel 500 pre would be great gor your acc guit!
Or you can get get a shadow hills mono gama and have 3 transformer option ala Neve, API and clean.
Cheers
Old 21st February 2017
  #7
Lives for gear
 
andersmv's Avatar
 

A studio I work at regularly has the Manley. I pair it with one of their Vintech neve preamps all the time and it sounds great. It's nice to have a few little EQ points on the preamp as it can be a bit bright and sibilant on some vocalists. But overall the Vintech seems to round off those higher frequencies well. So I would agree with everyone else saying a Neve'ish preamp.
Old 21st February 2017
  #8
Mercury M72 is a good choice along with the Neve suggestions. It is a super rich preamp with lots of color, and having a stronger midrange it balances with the Manley nicely. Chandler Germanium is also a preamp with a lot of weight and color that will do great here.
Old 21st February 2017
  #9
Gear Head
 

I'm using mine with an RND 511/551/543 combo right now. The variable silk on the 511 adds a nice density (or whatever you want to call it) to the signal. Plus, turning off silk gives you a clean option, if you're recording something that needs that kinda sound.
Old 22nd February 2017
  #10
Thanks for all the responses! The Mercury M72 definitely sounds tasty..

Keep the suggestions coming.
Old 22nd February 2017
  #11
Lives for gear
 
antichef's Avatar
I use the 1073 DPA and also NPNG
Old 23rd February 2017
  #12
My choices would be the following

Avalon 2022
Rupert Neve 5012
Great River
Old 23rd February 2017
  #13
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mbvoxx View Post
Back in 2013 I did some mic pre tests with the REF C and mic pre's from BAE, Hardy, A Designs, & Fearn.
The best results, according to my results log, was the BAE 1073 MPF @ gain of 35,with the HPF set at 50, and a Purple Audio MC77 engaged, settings of 10-12-4. But the log also notes that the mic sounds almost as good, and a bit cleaner, without the compressor engaged. The MC77 added some extra punch and accentuated the low end a bit.
But the best pre among that bunch was the BAE, which is a Neve clone.
BAE 1073 MPF and Manley Ref C is a great combo. Also tried it with Avalon AD2022, but I prefer the BAE.

BAE DMP fits your budget, maybe you'd try that one and hear if it is what you're looking for.
Old 25th February 2017
  #14
Gear Nut
 

Def go with a 1272/1073 type preamp. Having the option of taming some of the top end with the drive of the preamp is pretty awesome. You could go with the single channel Seventh Circle Audio N72 OneShot unit for 599.00.

https://www.seventhcircleaudio.com/products/PC01
Attached Files

Angela Cover Faithfully.mp3 (8.88 MB, 5205 views)


Last edited by dwdummer0; 27th February 2017 at 07:27 AM..
Old 25th February 2017
  #15
I also love my ref c going trough my Telefunken solid state pres, sounds gorgeous! A v72 would kill as well
Old 26th February 2017
  #16
I got the mic.

Tried it for the first time today. Never sang through one. So it was sort of an impulse buy.

Ran it through my P1 and 1176 with light compression. It has a nice bottom end that I wasn't very expecting. It does seem very spitty though. But this was just a quick test, didn't mess with much mic placement yet. Could find out the mic is not right for my voice though.

I'm thinking I'll opt for a Neve pre like you guys are talking about; I love my P1 and it seems like a nice pairing but I think it needs to be tamed more and I'm wondering if the compressor/pre brings out more of the 's' sounds.

I also have the option to swap tubes but I'm thinking I'll wait for last when/if I've exhausted all other options.

Anyway, I've got a lot more testing to do, sounds very professional!
Old 26th February 2017
  #17
...

Last edited by Lostinthamusic; 26th February 2017 at 06:45 AM.. Reason: Double Post
Old 28th February 2017
  #18
Gear Addict
Ua la 610

Last edited by kr1012; 3rd March 2017 at 09:38 PM..
Old 28th February 2017
  #19
Lives for gear
 
TS-12's Avatar
Vt737sp
Old 1st March 2017
  #20
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lostinthamusic View Post
I got the mic.

Tried it for the first time today. Never sang through one. So it was sort of an impulse buy.

Ran it through my P1 and 1176 with light compression. It has a nice bottom end that I wasn't very expecting. It does seem very spitty though. But this was just a quick test, didn't mess with much mic placement yet. Could find out the mic is not right for my voice though.

I'm thinking I'll opt for a Neve pre like you guys are talking about; I love my P1 and it seems like a nice pairing but I think it needs to be tamed more and I'm wondering if the compressor/pre brings out more of the 's' sounds.

I also have the option to swap tubes but I'm thinking I'll wait for last when/if I've exhausted all other options.

Anyway, I've got a lot more testing to do, sounds very professional!
I found that preamp choice had by far the greatest impact on the sound of the mic. But swapping tubes is really easy, so try a few different options.
Old 1st March 2017
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lostinthamusic View Post
I got the mic.

Tried it for the first time today. Never sang through one. So it was sort of an impulse buy.

Ran it through my P1 and 1176 with light compression. It has a nice bottom end that I wasn't very expecting. It does seem very spitty though. But this was just a quick test, didn't mess with much mic placement yet. Could find out the mic is not right for my voice though.

I'm thinking I'll opt for a Neve pre like you guys are talking about; I love my P1 and it seems like a nice pairing but I think it needs to be tamed more and I'm wondering if the compressor/pre brings out more of the 's' sounds.

I also have the option to swap tubes but I'm thinking I'll wait for last when/if I've exhausted all other options.

Anyway, I've got a lot more testing to do, sounds very professional!
I have a P1 and a 1073. I find when you pad the P1 and push the gain, the top end gets very close to the 1073. I think they are cousins and if you don't like the ref c with the A designs, I don't think a 1073 will make too big of a difference.
Old 2nd March 2017
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick8801 View Post
I have a P1 and a 1073. I find when you pad the P1 and push the gain, the top end gets very close to the 1073. I think they are cousins and if you don't like the ref c with the A designs, I don't think a 1073 will make too big of a difference.
I don't usually pad my P1, is it a much different sound? Maybe I should try it sometime.
Old 2nd March 2017
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lostinthamusic View Post
I don't usually pad my P1, is it a much different sound? Maybe I should try it sometime.
I mean it let's you drive the pre harder so you get a little more color from the transformer. I think it sounds a little thicker. Try it out!
Old 9th March 2017
  #24
Lives for gear
 
GearGuy's Avatar
 

I usually pair mine with my Manley Slam, using the Elop comp mostly. I've also have great results with Chandler TG2 and Germanium.
Old 9th April 2017
  #25
Gear Nut
 

i've used my Manley Ref C with a "Trident 4T" pre many times with great results! They're not currently made anymore and they went for around 1k new but you can find them for around $400 - $500 now!

I personally think it sounds amazing! I have a Neve 1073DPX and to be honest thats what i mainly use with the Manley (it has the name Neve and clients like that) but i would have no problem with the Trident 4t at any time!
Old 9th April 2017
  #26
How is the the Voxbox with the Ref mic?
Old 10th April 2017
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason rocks View Post
How is the the Voxbox with the Ref mic?
It sounds great with the Voxbox but bear in mind the modern opened detailed but gentle smooth sound the Ref has and many people love changes with the Voxbox. It provides a more colored sound providing a slightly thicker sound. It all depends on what kind of sound your looking for. The two together can be killer on a blues record for example.
Old 10th April 2017
  #28
Gear Guru
 
Animus's Avatar
 

I use my Ref C with a Mercury m76m/1. Very nice combo. Awesome mic. Definitely consider a NOS tube upgrade. I got mine from Bowie.
Old 11th April 2017
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Akoppenheffer's Avatar
 

I'm using mine with an Avedis MA5 (into a distressor). Sounds great, I usually work with two artists, one sounds great with that 28k button engaged, other one it's a bit much. But yeah, the sound has that 3D detail that everyone loves.
Old 11th April 2017
  #30
Gear Maniac
 

When I had one it sounded really great with a TG2.
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