Manley FORCE Tube Preamp
The Manley FORCE Tube Preamp is the modern embodiment of the storied Mastering Labs preamplifier, but delivered in a very useful four-channel vacuum tube microphone preamplifier design from America's premier high-end studio gear manufacturer.
Housed in an exquisitely gorgeous chassis, meticulously hand-crafted, purposefully and efficiently built in Chino, California (not China), and delivered to you for under $2500 MSRP. That's right.
FOUR channels of real High Voltage vacuum tube mic preamps for well UNDER $2500, delivered! The Manley FORCE packs more value than ever before possible in a premium tube preamp design, available at a stunning price - a price normally reserved for 1 and 2 channel tube preamplifiers of similar quality. So, what IS the Manley FORCE, exactly?
Well, the Manley FORCE is...
A FORCE of Nature
Your relationship with the FORCE begins with the ergonomic facia through its thoughtfully organized controls, silky and bulletproof rotary potentiometers, positive latching feature switches, and convenient Direct Input 1/4" jacks. Seven-way LED metering for each channel provides instant visible feedback for audio levels which are enhanced with a double-inlay CNC-milled accent. A feast for the eyes, yeah, we know. This is investment grade audio equipment that you will be as proud to showcase in your studio as we are to handcraft it here in Southern California.
A Sonic Tour de FORCE
Your microphone signals enter through gold-plated XLR connectors straight into the MANLEY IRON Mic input transformer. Your line level or instrument level guitars and keyboards come in via the front panel 1/4" Hi-Z 10 megOhm jacks before hitting the input level control which also acts as a Variable Input Pad. Phase Reverse and 120Hz High Pass filters can be invoked here in the circuit and then we're into the 12AX7 dual triode amplifying stage operating in pure Class A, of course. The amount of GAIN for each channel can be selected as 40dB or 50dB via the front panel switches. An additional 10dB of gain is available via internal jumpers. The output stage "can drive a truck" as we like to brag.
A Powerful FORCE
The power supply is an innovative design developed specifically for Manley Labs - and even more specifically - for High Voltage vacuum tubes, and specifically for audio by the world expert team in this technology, led by Bruno Putzeys. Proven reliable and sonically superior in the Manley CORE, this power supply provides 300 Volt DC rails to run the vacuum tubes, beefy 6 Volt lines to power them up, along with several other voltage rails for the phantom power and various solid-state control voltages. High Voltage = High Headroom, folks. You will not get near this sonic performance with in any 500-series design. Trust us. This is Full FORCE audio excellence which starts with this superior power supply. All lines are importantly regulated, low impedance, efficient, and super-quiet in this low radiating high frequency design. The universal mains input accepts any voltage or frequency from anywhere in the world making travel with the FORCE a breeze.
A FORCE to be Reckoned With
The obvious question is, "How did Manley deliver all this at this price?" And the answer is "By prioritizing what really matters: that strong Manley sound, the proven componentry and rugged overbuilt construction, presented in an inspiring package. But engineered to build efficiently and by really paying attention to how it all goes together, proudly built by Manleys American workFORCE. A Compelling FORCE for you. This is our Driving FORCE. Let us share it with you."
Manley FORCE Tube Preamp Features
- 48V Phantom power switch
- 120Hz High Pass Filter switch
- Phase Invert switch
- Input Attenuator (Variable Pad)
- GAIN Selectable Gain LOW vs HIGH
- Silent Input Level Control (Variable Input Pad)
- 7-Segment LED Peak Metering
- 1/4" DIRECT INPUT
- Similar to the DI in the Manley SLAM!, and exactly the same as found in the Manley CORE, this all-discrete solid-state circuit with 10 Meg Ohm input impedance is perfect for guitars, bass, keyboards, etc.
Manley FORCE Tube Preamp Specifications
- Vacuum Tubes: 4 x 12AX7WA dual triodes
- Balanced Transformer Coupled XLR Microphone Input Impedance: 1250 Ohms
- Unbalanced 1/4" Direct Input Impedance: 10 Meg Ohm
- Maximum Input Mic input (Low Gain Setting): -5 dBu or 435mV RMS @ 0.5% THD
- Maximum Input Mic input (High Gain Setting): -25 dBu or 44mV RMS @ 0.5% THD
- Maximum Input Direct input (Low Gain Setting): +24 dBu or 12V RMS @ 0.5% THD
- Maximum Input Direct input (High Gain Setting): +17 dBu or 5.5V RMS @ 0.5% THD
- Maximum Output (1kHz Sine, into 100 kOhm load, 0.1% THD+N: +35 dBu
- Maximum Output (1kHz Sine, into 100 kOhm load, 0.1% THD+N: 43V RMS
- Maximum Output (1kHz Sine, into 600 Ohms load, 0.1% THD+N): +22 dBm
- Hi-current WFDRIVE Balanced Output Impedance: 50 Ohms
- Output Headroom (referenced to +4 dBu): 31 dB
- Dynamic Range: 118 dB @ LOW GAIN, 100 dB @ HI GAIN
- THD & Noise (1Khz @ +4dBu BW 22Hz-22KHz): 0.004% at Low Gain setting
- THD & Noise (1Khz @ +4dBu BW 22Hz-22KHz): 0.04% at Hi Gain setting
- Noise Floor Micpre (A WGT): - 85dB @ LOW GAIN, -66dB @ HI GAIN
- Signal to Noise Ratio (Ref. to +4dBu): 87dB @ LOW GAIN, 68dB @ HI GAIN
- EIN (22-22kHz BW, A WGT): -129dB with 150 Ohm source impedance @ LO GAIN
- Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz -0.1dB, +0.3 dB
- Gain via Microphone Input: 40 LOW or 50dB HI GAIN (60dB available via internal jumper)
- Gain via Line Input: 20 or 30dB (40dB available via internal jumper)
- Low Signal Green LED (Output Level): -22 dBu
- High Signal Red LED (Output Level): +24 dBu
- AUTOMUTE warmup delay: 30 seconds
- Power consumption: 36 Watts
- Operating mains voltage: 90 to 254 VAC (internal universal supply)
- Mains Voltage Frequency: 50~60Hz
- Dimensions: 19" x 3 1/2" x 7" (occupies 2u)
- Unit weight: 8.6 lbs.
- Shipping weight: 11.8 lbs.
Manley FORCE Tube Preamp Includes
- Manley Force 4-channel Tube Microphone Preamplifier
- IEC power Cable
Manley FORCE Tube Preamp Downloads
What We Think - Manley FORCE Tube Preamp Review
The Manley FORCE was a pleasant surprise, having already been really familiar with the Manley Mono Preamp and Dual Mono Preamp. Those units were jam-packed with the best "new of the old-style" construction and components. They're heavy and fairly inefficient by comparison to the newer Manley FORCE and Manley CORE. But the sound was definitely there - and change makes for fertile ground for skeptics. However - I'm very happy to report that same sound is fully intact in both the CORE and the FORCE preamplifiers. Those not already initiated, might be wondering just what "that sound" is. Basically, the Mastering Lab pre is BIG and FULL. It is also quite even / linear. And to get a bit esoteric, it exhibits a bit more of a "dry" texture when compared to the Tube side of the Manley TNT (which is derived of the preamps in the Manley SLAM!, which I've always felt was wonderfully "wet" sounding - if not even slightly "elastic," to boot). So, it has it's place, for sure. But what is nice, is that in this new design, you pick up quite a bit of enhanced features over what was there in the original Mono Mic Preamp. A 120Hz High Pass Filter switch is included in the FORCE. And another change is the High/Low Gain switch in place of the old 5-Way Adjustable Feedback / Gain switch. So, the unit is a bit more user friendly. But, what is important is that the FORCE delivers. And if you need four channels of very BIG sounding preamps with linearity ranging from 20 Hz to 20 kHz with max deviation of -0.1dB, +0.3 dB (that's more than just 'pretty good,' in case you're not up on mic preamp specs), then the Manley FORCE is your unit.
- Front End Audio
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