MY GEAR SOUNDS DIFFERENT WHEN IT'S FIRST TURNED BACK ON. WHAT IS THE WARM-UP TIME FOR THIS GEAR?
We generally recommend 45 minutes warm-up time for everything to reach operating temperatures and sound like it's supposed to.
SHOULD I TURN OFF MY GEAR BETWEEN USES?
While power cycling is a factor for ultimate tube life, there also is a fixed number of electrons that can ultimately jump off the cathode. In general we do recommend if you aren't using the gear for more than a few hours you should power it down. Do you leave the lights on in your house when you are away?
Leaving tube gear on 24/7 just uses up tube life, and creates a lot of heat which is tough on other components. While we're on the subject, make sure your tube gear has plenty of ventilation, preferably some kind of positive airflow, especially if installed in a rack…
WHAT IS THE BREAK-IN TIME FOR NEW GEAR?
We burn in the gear for a couple of days before it is shipped out. Folks report that after about a week of break-in that it sounds better. Some of the more fussy people of course report that full break-in takes much longer...
I WOULD LIKE TO CHANGE THE RESISTORS IN MY MANLEY UNIT TO MY FAVORITE BRAND. WILL THIS MAKE MY FACTORY GUARANTY BECOME VOID?
Yes of course you will void your warranty. We can only warrant the work that we did, and we cannot guarantee the work that you do.
HOW LONG DO TUBES LAST?
Some of them are dead out of the box. Some tubes don't make it through burn-in and after a few days they just go noisy or quit. Sometimes UPS sabotages our shipments and after all our testing efforts the tube arrives broken at your place. Sometimes a tube decides to end it all early and intentionally misbehaves after a few months. Other tubes are real troopers and run strong for 30 years. We have documented cases of power tubes in Manley amplifiers going over 60,000 hours non-stop in recording studios 24/7/365 without a re-tube. In one case in particular, the amplifiers were never turned off and had their own dedicated air conditioning for the amplifier rack they lived in. This certainly contributed to their long life.
ONE OF MY CHANNELS ISN’T PASSING SIGNAL - HOW DO I FIGURE OUT IF IT’S A DEAD TUBE?
Easy peasy. Watch this video, and EveAnna will show you how to diagnose which tube has gone bad.
Note: The Massive Passive is used for demonstration purposes in this video, but the process is pretty much the same for any stereo Manley unit. Make sure to reference the tube diagram in your manual so you know which tubes (preamp tubes, output tubes, power tubes, etc) to swap in the troubleshooting process.
HOW DO I BIAS MY MANLEY TUBE AMPLIFIER?
DO YOU SELL TUBES?
Yes, of course we do. Please check out our parts store.
WHY SHOULD I ORDER TUBES FROM YOU?
We are only as good as our worst tube. We are very selective about which tubes we use in Manley products and we have several different testing and burn-in jigs to test for certain parameters which will be most important for that tube in a given circuit. We will test and select a tube set for you that will be optimized for your Manley piece of gear and in most cases, your tube set will actually be tested in a unit similar to the one you have.
WHY SHOULD I ORDER REPLACEMENT MICROPHONE TUBES FROM YOU?
The microphone grade tube is tested at the factory for lowest noise, using a test fixture we have built that duplicates the Manley microphone circuit. To the best of our knowledge, there are no other tube vendors that have this purpose-built tester. This testing yields very few tubes suitable for use in the microphones.
Tube quality, especially noise characteristics, varies over time and batch-to-batch. At any particular point in time, we may be using a different tube than what is listed. There is nothing "special" about a Sovtek or Ruby, or anything else we use; what is special is the characteristics we grade and select for including the low noise requirement, and the testing required to insure this.
ARE TUBES EXPENSIVE?
Not especially. Although I might have made a killing in the stock market had I invested the money I instead put into finding and stocking these large quantities of tubes ten years ago when the USA military were dumping their stocks of NOS JAN vacuum tubes. Seriously, there is the stocking cost to consider in the cost we must charge, development charge of the computerized test jigs we built, then more importantly the time it takes one of our guys to run a little tube through its qualification procedures. Remember, a given tube cannot be improved during testing. It is the way it is, and one hopes it stays that way. It can only be selected, and in selecting that tube that will work really well for your piece of gear, we probably had to throw away several. In some cases we might have had to go through 30 tubes to find the quietest one, or the one with the lowest microphonics, or the one with the best internal matching, depending on what parameters are important for that circuit. That is all factored into the cost somewhat, but no, overall, we don't charge enough for replacement tubes.
NOS? JAN? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
NOS is New Old Stock. JAN stands for Joint Army Navy. Yes our military used to use vacuum tubes. As long as the glass doesn't break, tubes are impervious to a nuclear explosion's electromagnetic pulse unlike little silicon devices whose little junctions would go poof! My general thoughts on NOS are I see people paying stupid money on eBay for Telefunken this or NOS that and it's all up to pure luck if that tube you pay $75 for will be a pull, used, half dead, work at all, noisy, a fake, or better performing than what we installed brand new in your unit. We do use a lot of NOS tubes here. We have loads of experience with the types/brands/lots we use and we have thousands more of them in stock. We chose each of these lots based not only on being able to get enough quantity to sustain production for many many years, but of course more importantly because we get a good yield out of them and these types/brands work exceptionally well in our circuits. Not all tubes are created equal. You can get a lot of a thousand pieces of 1960's Phillips 12AT7's that are absolute trash. Brand new Ei's from Yugoslavia will whoop 'em performance-wise and sonically. Or some mid-80's 6072A's that we already rejected here and sold off as salvage stock! That pair of (wow!) Telefunken's you bought on eBay for $150 might be cleaned up pulls. Or they might be re-painted Ei factory tubes.... you never know. If you are dealing with a known reputable source of NOS tubes, such as Kevin Deal at Upscale Audio, you'll be in good shape. I will endorse him as a high quality and trustworthy seller of NOS tubes. I will additionally endorse him as one of my very dearest friends. He has some very special rare tubes and he is a special rare person of the highest caliber and integrity in this industry. However, when you buy a replacement tube from Manley Labs, you are buying a new or New-Old-Stock tube that was *specifically* selected for optimum total performance in YOUR Manley piece o' gear. Each and every one. So weigh that out in your tube purchasing decision.
OTHER THAN OUTRIGHT FAILURE OF A TUBE, HOW DO I KNOW WHEN IT IS TIME TO RE-TUBE?
Generally speaking, for the small tubes, if you notice an unacceptable increase in background noise ("hiss") then the tube who is responsible for making the gain in the circuit probably needs to be replaced. The tube(s) making the gain will usually be shorter than the output tube. Common types we use for gain in most of our circuits will be 12AT7, 6201, 12AU7, 5814, 12AX7, 5751, or 6072. The output buffer tube in most of our line-level circuits will be either the 7044 (or 5687, same difference), 6414, or 12BH7. These tubes usually don't cause too much trouble and either work or don't work. Turn the lights off and see if you see the little tubes glowing. Look for one that looks like it has cocaine in it.
For the power tubes in our amplifiers, after a few years if you notice a small revolt going on where several of the output tubes are misbehaving or getting hard to bias, you might consider doing a full re-tube. Keep the old ones that did not join the revolution as emergency spares.
ONE OF THE LITTLE TUBES MAKES A BIG BRIGHT FLASH WHEN I TURN IT ON. IS THAT DANGEROUS?
Nope. IT IS NORMAL. Do not worry about it. Most of those Yugoslav Ei little tubes do that, and it doesn't mean anything. Not to worry.
MY KNOBS FEEL LOOSE. YOU MUST USE CHEAP POTS OR SOMETHING.
Naaaaahhhhh, not at all. The blue-shafted pots we use are fantastic conductive plastic element Bourns potentiometers. They are tenaciously reliable and rarely ever fail. (OK, maybe you'll break the shaft off, but the element itself is hyper long lasting and never goes noisy like "cheap" carbon pots commonly do. If you loosen the knob's set screws and pull of the knob, see if there is a black o-ring or two under the knob. Since the early 2000's we started putting o-rings under the knobs to provide a more "viscous" feel to the pots so that they feel better. If you need o-rings, fill out the Service Form and request an o-ring kit for your unit. After you have o-rings on the pot-shaft, push the knob against the facia as you re-tighten it. You will re-squish the o-ring that lives under the knob whose job it is to provide some physical resistance as it make a kind of bearing between the bottom of the knob and the facia.
The pot itself without the o-ring is loose feeling, but nothing is wrong with it and it's not going to break. We add the rubber o-ring under the knob just to make it feel better.
CHANNEL A HAS BEEN MAKING THE OLD "BACON FRYING" NOISE FOR A LITTLE WHILE AND NOW DOES NOT PUT OUT ANY SIGNAL AT ALL. CHANNEL B WORKS FINE. I'M HOPING THIS JUST MEANS AN ERRANT TUBE. IS THIS SOMETHING I CAN REPLACE MYSELF OR SHOULD I SEND IT TO YOU?
It sounds like a good tube gone bad. Best thing to do here is exchange the tubes one at a time between the two channels to confirm this (scroll up to watch a video about this, or watch it on YouTube). This is something you can do yourself if you want; just unplug it, let it sit for a half hour or so to discharge the volts so you don't put your hand somewhere and get zapped, take off the top cover, and exchange the tubes one at a time and see if the problem switches channels. If you find that it's a tube, you can order one from us at www.tubesrule.com.
WHAT IS A "MONOBLOCK"?
A "monoblock" is a hifi term meaning one chassis per channel. We make lots of monoblock amplifiers such as the MAHI, SNAPPER, Neo-Classic SE/PP 300B, Neo-Classic 250's, and 500 watt models.
A "stereo" amplifier is two channels one one chassis (like the Stingray).
Our monoblock amplifiers are commonly sold as a pair. Two chassis come with the pair. The pricing on our website is always listed as the per pair price. One chassis for left and one chassis for right channels. They don't care which one is left or right. Each monoblock is shipped in its own carton/box.
Yes, you may order a single monoblock for half the cost of a pair if you need only one channel, like say you want five amplifiers for surround, or 2 1/2 pairs. No problem.
I HAVE A PAIR OF YOUR AMPS THAT ONLY HAS RCA INPUTS. WILL YOU ADD BALANCED INPUTS FOR ME? MY WHOLE SYSTEM USES XLR CABLES.
The way to add balanced inputs to your amps since the input stage is a single-ended design would require adding a transformer inline. Then you are listening to the sound of that extra part in your system. I don't like adding things you do not have to have. The slight benefit of running balanced cables will probably be negated by having to run through another transformer and depending on the circuit of the balanced output of your preamp, you might get yourself into a double-disservice.
We need to know what device is feeding your amplifiers, examine at its output circuitry and then decide what the best course of action will be.
HELP! THERE'S NO BIAS READING ON ANY OF MY OUTPUT TUBES AND THERE'S NO SOUND COMING OUT OF THE SPEAKERS! HELP!
Your B+ fuse is blown. Check and change that. Then get rid of the bad tube that blew up and caused the B+ fuse to blow and you'll have bias and tunes again. In some of our amplifiers, like the Stingray and the Snappers, the B+ fuse is INSIDE. So please read your manual, and then please ask questions...
DO YOU GIVE FACTORY TOURS?
We have some super-detailed factory tours you can watch online and get nearly the same in-depth experience as you would if you were actually at the Manley factory! No secrets spared!
Here is our official Manley Factory Tour video we made in 2013.