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Manley's new Ref Silver–How does it compare to Gold/RefC? Hear here.
Old 23rd August 2017
Manley's new Ref Silver–How does it compare to Gold/RefC? Hear here.

I thought some here might be interested in hearing the Manley Gold and Reference Cardioid along side the new Silver on all the same sources.

These are offered as a way to audition the differences and we were very careful to make it a fair and equal comparison. I don't know of anywhere else you can hear these three side by side unless you go to a dealer who has all three set up.

Last edited by Lynn Fuston; 23rd August 2017 at 04:17 PM..
Old 26th August 2017
Lives for gear
I could only hear a difference in the tone of the mic itself (rather than the performance) on the electric guitar. The Reference seemed to have a softer sound, like a LPF was applied. Both Gold and Silver had the same tone with the silver focused a little more mid-present compared to the Gold which had more detail in the highs to balance the mids. I'm not surprised that the electric guitar was the only sample to show a difference. In my experience, guitar cabinets "couple" with mics in very specific ways.

I heard no discernible difference at all in the acoustic guitar samples as far as the mic is concerned, which is a testament to the consistency of Martin D-28 vintage replica that was used, as well as the player.

If I didn't require the polar pattern selection of the Gold, I would pick the Reference over the Silver based on price; which is probably the result Manley was going for. More people can afford the Reference, so more sales volume. Those that can afford any of them would buy the Gold instead of the Silver, which means getting that extra revenue. That leaves the Silver as a buffer piece and probably a rare used-market treasure a few years from now.
Old 3rd September 2017
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This is another excellent test for me, I can't thank you and Sweetwater enough Lynn, perfectly recorded!

I contacted my Sweetwater rep who provided the 24/96 wav download link.

On my playback, mixing and monitoring chain the differences are quite obvious.

I feel like I have the Cadioid and Gold sound covered but the Silver is now at the top of my list.

VERY ribbon-like but with every advantage of a high-end tube LDC.

I did a few experiments with the acoustic and female vocal track, panned Gold 75% L, panned Silver 75% R; what a great sound.
Old 4th September 2017
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chrisdee's Avatar
After a quick listen I think I like the Gold best. Clear, open and even. The silver sounds warmer in the bottom but darker in the top and the Cardioid sounds a bit scooped.
Old 4th September 2017
Gold is very nice on all sources, Silver sounds too bright to me and Cardioid really just sound like a less expensive Gold

Last edited by cyjanopan; 4th September 2017 at 08:20 PM..
Old 4th September 2017
Lives for gear
Originally Posted by cyjanopan View Post
Gold is very nice on all sources, Silver sounds too bright to me and Cardioid is really sound like a less expensive Gold
I agree. The Reference is definitely closer to the Gold than the Silver is, which is a nice surprise.
Old 10th September 2017
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zohomoho's Avatar

Never got the Ref C hype. It has that hashy chinese capsule sound, especially in the sibilance region. Now the Gold is a magical mic.
Old 4th October 2017
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tkaitkai's Avatar

This is a great test.

To my ears, the Ref C sounded best for the male vocalist. I loved both the Gold and Silver on electric guitar, and the Gold and Ref C both sounded great on the acoustic. Absolutely loved the Silver for the female singer.

On all sources, the Silver seemed a bit hefty in the lower mids, but not offensively so. Could easily be taken care of with a little EQ or multiband comp.

All three are fantastic mics and the differences between them are minor. It's a matter of preference.

Originally Posted by zohomoho View Post
It has that hashy chinese capsule sound, especially in the sibilance region.
I'm not sure I would agree with that. As far as harshness and sibilance go, there's a pretty pronounced difference between my Ref C and any other cheap LDC I've tried. It's certainly a bright mic, but in a very tasteful way.

The capsule is sourced from China (which doesn't necessarily indicate poor build quality), but it's fitted & tested in the US and subject to high QC standards. Manley have been using this capsule for over 20 years, and from what I can glean, it was also used in one of their older Langevin mics.

I think the praise for this mic is warranted.
Old 17th February 2018
Lives for gear
WunderBro Flo's Avatar
My impressions: The Ref C makes the singers sound most strident/small, the Gold makes them feel more easy/natural/solid and the Silver, while being a little to heavy on bass, takes the top position for me: Full, round, exceptional effortless thick midrange. Emotionally the voices are right here with me as opposed to "there". After rolling off some bass it sounds like a dream to me. I need this, or the Josephson C715 in case they sound similar.....damn.

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