Manley VoxBox® Tube Mic Preamp
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Manley Voxbox

Product Description

The VoxBox is first and foremost, a voice processor. In itself, not a novel idea, but Manley felt the time had come to pull out all the stops and design the ultimate professional high-end statement. One that addressed the needs of project songwriters and major studios alike. One where Manley's all-tube signal path could bring every instrument and overdub to life. One that, quite simply, just sounded better than other units, providing flexibility, simplicity, and well thought-out ergonomics. Full of features, timeless style, robust build quality, and the world-famous Manley Sound, we present the VOXBOX®

While designing the VOXBOX® Manley's design team noticed how well it worked on things other than voice. There are some fantastic settings for drums, bass, guitar, and keyboards, and the two separate sections can be used together or independently. Want stereo using two VOXBOXes? Manley planned for that as well. There are Stereo Links for both compressor and De-Ess/Limiter sections, special compression settings and super-sweet EQ frequencies for your mix or pre-mastering. Don't just use it for vocals. The name "VOXBOX®" represents only the beginning.

Microphone Preamp

The VOXBOX® preamp is a direct descendant of the Manley Mono Microphone Preamplifier (a very highly regarded product) The input transformer is Manley's own design and is wound in-house at their factory. High current 48V Phantom power is switchable from the front panel. A simple and effective passive BASS CUT switch kills rumble and reduces popping. The INPUT ATTENUATOR is a variable pad control situated before the first tube stage allowing the preamplifier to accommodate +4 line level signals via the balanced LINE INPUT and instruments via the front panel 1/4" DIRECT INPUT. These inputs are selected in the middle position of the dual-function phase invert switch. Both transformer balanced XLR output as well as a transformerless "audiophile" 1/4" phone jack output are provided. The Gain switch is actually a clever variable feedback control that changes not only the gain but the slew rate and flavour of the circuit. With it you can choose how laid back and mellow or how up-front and aggressive you want it to get. See "Notes on Variable Feedback" for more information on this. Headroom is a strong point in this circuit, +31dBu capable. This is 5 to 10 dB better than almost all other professional gear. Your music passes through Manley's super-clean pure Class A vacuum tube circuitry. The obvious advantages to this purist approach are natural and un-electronic final sound.


The VOXBOX® compressor design is the result of blending control ideas in the best selling Variable MU® Compressor Limiter with the opto-isolator approach of the Manley Electro-Optical Limiter. Manley figured out how to compress the signal before it hit the tubes with no detrimental effect on distortion or frequency response. By cutting the typical signal path of mic to tape in half, it can prevent mic-pre clipping and eliminate whole stages of electronics. There's also new thinking about the sidechain. Rather than compromise, Manley's team developed a technique of using up to four different time constants simultaneously and controlling them with familiar simple attack, release and threshold controls. Calling their approach Parametric Compression, they developed optimum settings or presets based on the Light Dependent Resistors of our own fast ELOPTM Limiter, the quick LA-2A, the slower LA-3A and then created more complex special settings. This extended range and method of timing delivers fresh sounds from powerhouse punching drums to super-solid bass yet can also emulate the way good engineers delicately ride a fader while recording. It's transparent and wonderfully smooth on vocals, easy to use and accurate. Rare for an opto-based dynamic processor, this compressor works great on mixes too. You might want to consider two VOXBOXes linked in stereo!


Several engineers in the US suggested inclusion of the Pultec Mid Frequency Equalizer in the VOXBOX® but, as ever, they wanted a little extra. So Manley extended it to 33 frequencies in 3 bands with 6 new frequencies from 20 Hz to 150 Hz, and 6 more in the highs from 6.4 KHz to 20 KHz. For those of you who take note of these things, have you ever noticed how only EQs with real inductors have that bottom end magic? Or that only Class A circuitry can keep the top end sweet? Yes? Well, this is the unit for you. The EQ INPUT switch patches in the Line Input, Preamp Output, or the INSERT return. This switch serves double-duty acting as a bypass switch for the preamp and/or external processors or for processing two different tracks.

De-esser and limiter

Designed by two people with admittedly large gaps between their two front teeth (Hutch Huchinson and EveAnna Manley) the VOXBOX® also includes a de-esser & peak limiter based upon Manley's original ELOPTM Limiter design. Now with the addition of a passive LC network to handle de-essing, four carefully chosen notch frequencies from 3KHz to 12KHz (3KHz really tames those annoying frequencies) you have a limiter which beautifully mimics the famous LA-2A. This means you can both compress pre-EQ then limit here post-EQ. You can also insert this de-esser silently and smoothly, as needed, whilst the music plays.


The VOXBOX® features a full size illuminated Sifam VU meter. A five-position switch shows three audio levels: the line input, the preamp output and the final output. It also shows compressor gain reduction and the de-esser/limiter action. Other clever innovations incorporated into the VOXBOX® include warm-up muting circuitry, extensive magnetic field containment, 'smart -grounding', and silent switching. The sum-total is perceivably (and audibly) greater than the component parts. Consider reduced patching, short signal path to tape and having this much immediate control.

Technical Specifications

MANLEY transformers w/nickel laminations in mu-metal cases
2 Kohm MIC INPUT Z w/High current 48V Phantom power built-in
Hi-Z (100K) Direct Instrument Input
LINE & INSERT INPUTS (balanced XLR & 1/4")
PREAMP & EQ outputs LO-Z (50W)
Transformer balanced XLR outputs
Transformerless unbalanced 1/4"outputs
STEREO LINK for Compressor & De-esser/Limiter
Large ILLUMINATED Sifam METER with FIVE readout modes
THD + N (1KHz @ +20 dBu): 0.3%
Maximum output: +31dBu
Weight 21lbs/10kgs

Owners Manual

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