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Manley Reference Cardiod Tube Mod Demonstration Condenser Microphones
Old 6th December 2011
  #1
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Manley Reference Cardiod Tube Mod Demonstration

Okay so this is going to be a thread for those of you that can't afford the Manley Gold, U67, or Sony C800 like me. I chose this mic based off of feedback here at GS and from different colleagues suggesting this as an alternative.

If you have the Manley Reference already, you'll notice that it has an open sound on the top end. Very Modern Sound. The low mids are warm, smooth, but a little thin from the, "c800" sound. Let's face it we're not going to achieve the "sony" sound to a tee based off of the microphones stock sound. But we can try to get it close enough to be a different respectable sound with respective pres and compressors in our chains.

For the record this microphone sounds bad ass by itself and is already a respected microphone. I am just one of those guys that enjoy being different and I know there are lots of others out there just like me. I here a lot of, "If you have to modify something its not worth buying". Look people mind your business and let us be who we are. After all, at the end of the day we are making results by doing what we like to do. My bad for getting off subject just venting.

For this demonstration I will be modding my Manley Reference Microphone with (3) different tubes.

The Vocal chain will be this:

Manley Ref (12AX7 Telefunken Mod) > Avalon 737 (Telsa Tube Mod & No Compression) > 1176 Compressor > BLA Modded Digi 002 recorded at 48Khz.

Manley Ref (ECC81 12AT7 Telefunken Mod) > Avalon 737 (Telsa Tube Mod & No Compression) > 1176 Compressor > BLA Modded Digi 002 recorded at 48Khz.

Manley Ref (GE 5751 Mod) > Avalon 737 (Telsa Tube Mod & No Compression) > 1176 Compressor > BLA Modded Digi 002 recorded at 48Khz.


I have all 3 in my possession and am ready to go. Since I have allowed the 12AX7 to burn in I have already got the first demonstration ready to go.

Hope somebody appreciates this!!!


http://soundcloud.com/visionkings/manley-mic-new-12ax7
Old 6th December 2011
  #2
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Sounds good flat and with a little low-mid boost.
Old 6th December 2011
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yotonic View Post
Sounds good flat and with a little low-mid boost.
I agree, the low mid sounds awesome to me. I just changed the tube to the GE 5751 and I'm giving it 30 minutes to warm up. New demonstration will be posted in about an hour or so.
Old 6th December 2011
  #4
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By the way you unscrew the (2) screws on the red band towards the bottom of the microphone to pull out the guts. You only want to pull out enough to get to the tube. Once you see the tube, you just lightly rock it left to right until it unseats. VERY CAREFULLY. But its not hard at all. Then do the same for the replacement tube. Align the pins to the socket and light push in. Once you get it in place, lightly rock it left to right until you feel that it has completely been set in the socket. It takes less then 5 minutes. No need for a Manley tech. Just remember not to take the microphone all the way out to protect the capsule from debris or anything for that matter.
Old 6th December 2011
  #5
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What did you boost on the low mid? EQ Setting?
Old 6th December 2011
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yotonic View Post
What did you boost on the low mid? EQ Setting?
350 Hz
Old 6th December 2011
  #7
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Okay I may have to postpone the results on the GE5751 it may be a defective tube. All im getting is a saw wave type sound. REALLY BAD!!! :( Ill keep you guys posted.

I just put in the ECC81 12AT7 Telefunken Mod and its warming up. I did enable the record button just to make sure this tube was okay and it is. Its warming up for 30 minutes.

I'll try the GE5751 after the ECC81 12AT7 Telefunken Mod is done one more time to see if it was maybe a seating issue.
Old 6th December 2011
  #8
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Here's some pics of the tube boxes.
Attached Thumbnails
Manley Reference Cardiod Tube Mod Demonstration-imageuploadedbygearslutz1323143690.265516.jpg  
Old 6th December 2011
  #9
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[QUOTE=abrstudios;7301701]Okay I may have to postpone the results on the GE5751 it may be a defective tube. All im getting is a saw wave type sound. REALLY BAD!!! :( Ill keep you guys posted.

QUOTE]

So sorry to hear the dodgy tube. Hope you can get a replacement for free.
Also, thanks for doing the test. It's much appreciated! )

I have the Manley with the standard tube that comes with it and your first Tele test sounds a tad better for sure and around the 350 sounds great for your tone anyway. Obviously this would vary from voice to voice etc.

I would also love to hear your voice through the original stock tube that came with the mic as well.
Old 6th December 2011
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abrstudios View Post
Here's some pics of the tube boxes.
Thanks, also would love to know your general price points for these tubes as well as that would make a difference to a few folks out here in terms of how much improvement is affordable Thanks again!!
Old 6th December 2011
  #11
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[QUOTE=CJ1973;7301744]
Quote:
Originally Posted by abrstudios View Post
Okay I may have to postpone the results on the GE5751 it may be a defective tube. All im getting is a saw wave type sound. REALLY BAD!!! :( Ill keep you guys posted.

QUOTE]

So sorry to hear the dodgy tube. Hope you can get a replacement for free.
Also, thanks for doing the test. It's much appreciated! )

I have the Manley with the standard tube that comes with it and your first Tele test sounds a tad better for sure and around the 350 sounds great for your tone anyway. Obviously this would vary from voice to voice etc.

I would also love to hear your voice through the original stock tube that came with the mic as well.
No problem. Ill post a sample with the stock tube after I try the GE 5751 again. I'll post the price points up after I hear how they all sound. That way I can tell you/let you hear what your getting into exactly with these tubes. Stay tuned
Old 6th December 2011
  #12
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Awesome. Thanks.
Anyone also know the difference between Diamond bottom / Fisher / Smooth plate / Ribbed plate etc and what differences these have in a 12AX7 tube?
Also, would the 6072 GE 5-Star Tube made by folks like RCA or Raytheon work on this as opposed to the stock 6072 GE triode tube?
Old 6th December 2011
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ1973 View Post
Awesome. Thanks.
Anyone also know the difference between Diamond bottom / Fisher / Smooth plate / Ribbed plate etc and what differences these have in a 12AX7 tube?
Also, would the 6072 GE 5-Star Tube made by folks like RCA or Raytheon work on this as opposed to the stock 6072 GE triode tube?
I would ask the man tube man himself these questions. He is who I spoke to and purchased all of my tubes from except for the 12AT7 ECC81 tube I purchased elsewhere. His name is Bowie. He's the only friend in my list so he's easy to find.
Old 6th December 2011
  #14
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Christian is the man when it comes to tubes.
Old 6th December 2011
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abrstudios View Post
For this demonstration I will be modding my Manley Reference Microphone with (3) different tubes.
...I'm just curious what the original stock tube was on your mic...prior to 2011 Manley offered that mic with two different stock tube choices, a 6072A or a 12AX7/5751...but according to the Manley website, actual capacitor modifications are recommended when going from the 6072A to a 5751 tube swap...so, is your mic the newer revised 2011 model with a 12AT7 or an older version with the 12AX7/5751 or 6072A as the original stock tube?...here's the recommended mods for the pre-2011 model as per the Manley site:

http://www.manley.com/content/produc...to-Convert.pdf

...if yours is the revised 2011 version that comes with a 12AT7 stock tube, you might want to look at GE 6021 (military grade 12AT7WA) tubes as an option...excellent for tube microphone applications...David Bock recently revised his 251 tube mic with stock 6201 tubes (previously came with stock 6072 tubes, which have become more scarce and expensive)...
Old 6th December 2011
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidvybes View Post
.....so, is your mic the newer revised 2011 model with a 12AT7 or an older version with the 12AX7/5751 or 6072A as the original stock tube?...

http://www.manley.com/content/produc...to-Convert.pdf
Mine is a newer model. There's actually only (2) screws to unscrew on mine compared to the .pdf file.
Old 6th December 2011
  #17
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Observations so far:


Vintage NOS 12AX7 Telefunken

MANLEY MIC NEW 12AX7 TELEFUNKEN TUBES - AVALON 737 WITH NEW TESLA TUBES - 1176 by visionkings on SoundCloud - Create, record and share your sounds for free

So far this tube seems to be the show off. The lowmids sound better flat but even with EQ around 350Hz it sounds great. The highs are open enough for me are sound smooth.

Vintage NOS 12AT7 ECC81 Telefunken

MANLEY MIC NEW ECC81 12AT7 - AVALON 737 WITH NEW TESLA TUBES - 1176 02-01 by visionkings on SoundCloud - Create, record and share your sounds for free

This tube is different. Its definitley not as thick as the 12AX7 and when boosting at 350Hz it really doesnt show too much. When I spoke to Bowie about this tube, he explained that this tube seems to lightly compress the lowmids and takes away from the, "thick" sound I am trying to achieve.


You guys be the judge the 12AX7 sounds better to me. Even louder which is weird.
Old 6th December 2011
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abrstudios View Post
You guys be the judge the 12AX7 sounds better to me. Even louder which is weird.
...the gain rating (mu factor) on a 12AX7 tube is about 100, while the gain rating on a 12AT7 is around 60...as gain ratings go down, you need more gain from your preamp to achieve the same output from the mic...that accounts for the somewhat "compressed" effect of the 12AT7...if you swapped out to a 6072/12AY7 (with a even lower gain rating of about 44) your output would again drop a bit, but you would likely get a different tonality due to driving the preamp harder...many people prefer the sound of a good 6072 tube in mic circuits like this...of course, depending on the tube quality, YMMV...
Old 6th December 2011
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidvybes View Post
...the gain rating (mu factor) on a 12AX7 tube is about 100, while the gain rating on a 12AT7 is around 60...as gain ratings go down, you need more gain from your preamp to achieve the same output from the mic...that accounts for the somewhat "compressed" effect of the 12AT7...if you swapped out to a 6072/12AY7 (with a even lower gain rating of about 44) your output would again drop a bit, but you would likely get a different tonality due to driving the preamp harder...many people prefer the sound of a good 6072 tube in mic circuits like this...of course, depending on the tube quality, YMMV...
Awesomeness!!! Good to know. I just put in the GE 5751 again for attempt #2. standby
Old 6th December 2011
  #20
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Good news the GE 5751 is good. I must have not seated it in all the way the first time around. I'm going to give it about 30 minutes to warm up.
Old 6th December 2011
  #21
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I have tried many tubes in my ref C. Best one for me (and Robert next door, who has one too) was a nice Telefunken vintage 12ax7. If you are going for a beefier sound, you might prefer a vintage mullard 12ax7. That one had smoother highs and more in the 350 ish range. The Manley distorts easily, but nicely. Engaging the minus ten db pad is more or less mandatory for loud vocals, so a lower output tube might do it for someone looking for a cleaner sound. However, I think some of the magic might be lost.
Old 6th December 2011
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by World Studios View Post
I have tried many tubes in my ref C. Best one for me (and Robert next door, who has one too) was a nice Telefunken vintage 12ax7. If you are going for a beefier sound, you might prefer a vintage mullard 12ax7. That one had smoother highs and more in the 350 ish range. The Manley distorts easily, but nicely. Engaging the minus ten db pad is more or less mandatory for loud vocals, so a lower output tube might do it for someone looking for a cleaner sound. However, I think some of the magic might be lost.
Agreed....So far I am loving the 12ax7 telefunken....My ultimate goal was to get the thickness and highs similiar to the sony c800. I know its not going to be identical but close enough for paying waaaay less works for me. Do you think I need to test out a mullard?..
Old 6th December 2011
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abrstudios View Post
Agreed....So far I am loving the 12ax7 telefunken....My ultimate goal was to get the thickness and highs similiar to the sony c800. I know its not going to be identical but close enough for paying waaaay less works for me. Do you think I need to test out a mullard?..
I have owned a c800g for a decade and own a Manley Ref C for about 3 years. The Ref C is actually thicker in the low mids than the c800g but it is not as bright in the airy range as the c800g. The stock tube is fine.

They can get very close but your vocal chain is lacking. You are probably hearing c800g with neve pre's which is the preferred partner and gives you a thicker sound. Contrast that with your Manley and extra clean, no character Avalon set up and you will be thinner, smaller, etc.

Run the manely ref c with a neve/bae pre and boost to taste at 16khz on the way in. You will be about 85-90% there to the c800g. At that point it's just a matter of taste. The manley sounds great for modern vocals.
Old 6th December 2011
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PopularDemand View Post
I have owned a c800g for a decade and own a Manley Ref C for about 3 years. The Ref C is actually thicker in the low mids than the c800g but it is not as bright in the airy range as the c800g. The stock tube is fine.

They can get very close but your vocal chain is lacking. You are probably hearing c800g with neve pre's which is the preferred partner and gives you a thicker sound. Contrast that with your Manley and extra clean, no character Avalon set up and you will be thinner, smaller, etc.

Run the manely ref c with a neve/bae pre and boost to taste at 16khz on the way in. You will be about 85-90% there to the c800g. At that point it's just a matter of taste. The manley sounds great for modern vocals.

I have a vintech x73i coming in this week for that exact reason. Will this get me close enough sir?....Btw thank you for your input!
Old 6th December 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abrstudios View Post
I have a vintech x73i coming in this week for that exact reason. Will this get me close enough sir?....
I never used one but many say they are a decent Neve clone. If it has 16khz on eq boost that a few db and you will be good. If not boost that ITB.
Old 6th December 2011
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PopularDemand - You find the Ref C thicker in the lower mids than the C800G? That's interesting, but does the Sony have more proximity than the Ref C in your opinion?
Old 6th December 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PopularDemand View Post

Run the manely ref c with a neve/bae pre and boost to taste at 16khz on the way in. You will be about 85-90% there to the c800g. At that point it's just a matter of taste. The manley sounds great for modern vocals.
I would have to respectfully disagree. Have both Sony and Manley and use both with 1073/Tubetech CL1B. Sony is way ahead of the game and the most important test is when one is about the mix the record. With Sony, it just sits right in there and with the Manley I spend more time working on the Eqs. Manley is an awesome mic, but Sony is way better (not just 10-15%).
Old 6th December 2011
  #29
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I'm actually getting the Vintech x73 Vintech X73 | Sweetwater.com not the x73i for that specific reason. I remember seeing the x73i falling short on being able to boost that high.
Old 6th December 2011
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abrstudios View Post

Final sample will be the stock tube.
Of the 3 tubes you have tested, I have to say that the 12AX7 Vintage sounds the warmest to my ears (and I would say sounds closest to the Sony in terms of thickness).
There is a sense of honesty in the other Tubes as well, even though they sound a bit thin. I think this is where a 1073 (dark vibe) along with a Tube compressor may make more of a difference as well.

I must say in terms of speech, the words are more believable with the 5751 for some reason. It has a sense of honesty about it.
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