Manley Labs Voxbox
Manley Labs Voxbox

Voxbox, Channel Strip from Manley Labs.

blackle 02/12/2012

Manley Labs Voxbox : blackle's user review

« Journey into the past »

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This is a Voxbox a while. Ie a channel strip rack which combines in a single device a preamp, a compressor / limiter, a de-esser, and EQ. This strip offers mic, instrument and line. The technology used is hybrid, ie mixing lights and opto-isolators.
The architecture of this device is still quite unusual. Upon reading the synopsis shows that the signal begins to cross the compressor before being routed to the tube preamplifier (whose effect is dose increments). According to Manley, the architecture for the least unusual, in conjunction with the use of passive components (a specialty of the brand), avoids clipping pre-compression signal even with a very tormented say. In a more conventional layout, the ridges might wring from the preamp, compressor recovering a signal already degraded ..
The equalizer is passive as the illustrious Pultec EQ with Mid Voxbox builds happily, this correction is unknown amplify the bass and treble, midrange or dig, it's a surprising choice, given the complexity of the various correctors strips market.


Well it's a strip thus a priori no big deal though a cheese .. Yes but now, if you look closer, and especially by using it you quickly realize that Manley's not quite like any other. To try to be as clear as possible I will split into two sections Voxbox. Bring me a chainsaw! (Just kidding).
First-section, compressor / preamp:
Let us first see the preamp, the commissioning of the phantom voltage is lockable (alleluia!). The settings of the high-pass filters (80 or 120 Hz) are themselves classics. The phase inverter is equally important. However the input gain with determination, in steps, rate-reaction against the preamp is much less. A little explanation is needed: in fact it acts directly on the working conditions of the lamp, which means that ca also increase level, this translates into a different tone quality. At this level it is far smaller tube preamp type ART Behringer et al .. That said, as said above the patch differs nice but the background noise is more or less important depending on the settings .. Which incidentally is in no way crippling the contrary!
The compressor is fairly complete, use one discovers an inverter "Link / Separate" to link the parameters of said compressor and two units Voxbox esser, if you would like to address a stereo signal, a bypass, a fine adjustment of threshold, and two five-position switches for the fast attack and release (Slow and Fast). Fixed rate is 3:1 - though it varies slightly depending on the amount of signal being sent. Under the meter, a five-position switch lets you choose what you visualize, gain reduction (or compressor esser), line level input, output level of the first or second section .. , But terribly practical.
Section Two-undoubtedly the great curiosity of the craft, the equalizer:
I remind you that this equalizer merely amplify the bass and treble, midrange or mitigate this and more than 10 dB. To adjust the frequency, there are switches to eleven positions. Attention please, no continuous settings! Fairly broad, covering bands ultimately allows good flexibility in correction despite a relatively high Q factor (at least 5 in my ear). Again a bypass is planned, as well as an input selector to choose to feed the equalizer either end with the modulation of the compressor / preamp or with a line level signal recovered at the entrance of the independent section or with the modulation directly from the input line, which is split internally. This third option is simply a convenience to directly attack the second section without having to disconnect / reconnect anything casually makes a big difference in session .. Obviously this trick the mic can not enjoy it because of course need to be preamplified ..
The final stage of Voxbox esser is, the use of this function is very simple, it uses a passive notch filter, whose frequency is again a rule in steps 3 to 12 kHz. Position "Limit" will, where appropriate, the additional use as a limiter (handy).


It sounds this thing! The preamp can be alternately extremely colorful or neutral depending on the settings you made. The compressor is definitely a strong point of this Voxbox. One does not hear, no particular color, transparency disconcerting. The equalizer on the other hand is absolutely beautiful, musical and very effective. The joys of quality subtractive correction, as a Massive Passive (to a lesser extent though), you get used to very quickly!


In fact, the most exotic high moose with this unit is undoubtedly the equalizer. We discover the joy of this so-called subtractive correction, much admired by our elders who reported always say and appreciate its clarity. After more than ten years of regular use, I can only agree with them, it is clearly another world that no plugin is able to match to date. The Voxbox is a tool perfectly transparent, though capable, the opportunity to take a color all its own. However, it is primarily intended for already well equipped studios and those willing to question their methods. The dosage of the light effect, the sweetness (no softness), compressor efficiency and Esser and I repeat the incredible equalizer make this machine an almost indispensable tool in occupational structures (read: well-equipped).
In contrast to the studio home, the provision of audio quality of such a machine is less obvious in my opinion unless the rest of your audio is in line with this bike.