CHINOOK
PHONO STAGE

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The spawn of the famous STEELHEAD, our CHINOOK uses the same clean and quiet audio circuit design.

45 or 60dB of GAIN can be set internally and rear-panel dip switches select input resistive and capacitance choices. There are tons of options to match any Moving Coil or Moving Magnet cartridge. Set it and forget it! Designed for the real music lover - not the switch tweaker - the CHINOOK’s elegant design and efficient construction keep the price affordable AND devotedly handcrafted in the USA at Manley Labs. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
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DETAILS

 

Angling for an affordable yet world-class vacuum tube phono stage? The hunt is over! The spawn of the Manley Steelhead - one of the world's greatest phono preamplifiers - Stereophile Class A Recommended Component and The Absolute Sound's Preamp of the Year, has arrived. The Chinook epitomizes the sound of the Steelhead. Designed for the music lover, not the switch tweaker.

Like the Steelhead, each channel employs the two triode sections of a 6922 for amplifying duties with highly accurate passive RIAA equalization networks. In the Chinook, the signal is then directly coupled to another 6922 dual triode serving as the output driver in a White Follower configuration. This output stage circuit is our favorite because of its super-low output impedance and beefy current-driving capabilities. It can drive long cable lengths and difficult loads, tube or solid-state. Bring it on. No wimpy cathode followers here!

 
 
 
 

Setting up the Chinook couldn't be easier. There are two internal settings for optimal gain: 45dB for Moving-Magnet cartridges and 60dB for Moving-Coil cartridges. Set it and forget it! The back panel contains DIP switches for adjusting the input resistive and capacitance loading values. 31 possible options between 26 and 800 Ohms plus 47k Ohms and 7 capacitive loading choices between 50 pF and 350 pF provide flexibility to match any cartridge and fine tune the tone. Audiophile-grade and time-proven componentry is used throughout, embodying Manley's dedication to seductive sonics, combined with the reliability that professionals around the world depend on. At just about a quarter of the price of our revered Steelhead preamplifier, the Chinook's focus is on elegance of design, careful execution, efficient construction, and appreciable quality.

Designed and built in California, the Chinook exemplifies Manley's commitment to our local community and to a simple, clean, and quiet signal path. The Chinook demonstrates the supreme linearity of vacuum tubes while providing the flexibility needed to embrace any turntable setup. Everything from the most exotic 180 gram audiophile pressing to 25 cent thrift-store classics will be reproduced accurately and musically.

Don't let this one get away! Hook a Chinook!

 
 

SPECIFICATIONS

 
  • Vacuum Tube Complement: 6922 x 2 (gain stage) plus 6922 x2 (output stage). Any 6DJ8, 7308, ECC88 types may be used.
  • Unbalanced Input and Output connections via Manley Teflon ® & Gold plated RCA jacks
  • Automatic Mute Timer: On initial power up output jacks are muted for approximately 45 seconds. Automatic mute circuit allows tubes to warm up and circuitry to settle. At power down, output jacks are immediately muted.
  • Input Termination Capacitance (MM/MC): 3-position user-selectable capacitor values of 50pF, 100pF, and 200pF yield resultant combinations of: 50, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300, and 350pF
  • Moving Magnet Input Impedance: 47k Ohms, fixed
  • Moving Coil (MC) Input Impedance: 5-position user-selectable resistor values of 50, 100, 200, 400, and 800 Ohms. There are 32 possible loading possibilities.
 
 
 
 
 
  • Gain: Internal DIP switches select 45dB or 60dB
  • Deviation from RIAA curve: Less than ± 0.5 dB from 20Hz to 20kHz at any gain setting. Typically less than ±1dB from 10Hz to 100kHz.
  • Distortion (THD+N) (47k Ohm Input Termination, 45dB gain, 1kHz sine, 0dBu output): Typical 0.010% THD+N, into 100k Ohm load, BW = 100Hz-22kHz
  • Distortion (THD+N) (47k Ohm Input Termination, 45dB gain, 1kHz sine, 0dBu output): Typical 0.030% THD+N, into 600 Ohm load, BW = 100Hz-22kHz
  • Dynamic Range (MM input, Gain set to 45db, 200 Ohm source): 91dB @ 1kHz, 0.1% THD+N, BW = 22Hz-22kHz
  • Dynamic Range (MM input, Gain set to 45db, 200 Ohm source): 107dB @ 1kHz, 1.0% THD+N, BW = 22Hz-22kHz
  • Noise Floor at 45dB gain setting with shorted input: -84 dBu, A-weighted
  • Noise Floor at 60dB gain setting with shorted input: -75 dBu, A-weighted
  • Maximum Input at 45dB gain setting with 20 Ohm Source Z @ 1kHz into 10 kOhm load: 250mV RMS = +34.5 dBu @ 1% THD+N BW=22Hz-22kHz
  • Maximum Input at 60dB gain setting with 20 Ohm Source Z @ 1kHz into 10 kOhm load: 40mV RMS = +34.2 dBu @ 1% THD+N BW=22Hz-22kHz
  • Maximum Output: +37dBu @ 1kHz, 1.5% THD+N into 100 kOhm load
  • Output Impedance: 91 Ohms
  • Minimum Recommended Load: 2500 Ohms
  • Internal Power Supply: Fully regulated linear B+, Heater, and control voltage rails.
  • Operating Mains Voltage: Units are built for original destination country's mains voltage: 100V, 120V, or 220-240VAC as indicated on the serial number badge.
  • Power Consumption in Standby mode: 1 Watt (8.0mA @ 120VAC)
  • Power Consumption: 42 Watts (345mA @ 120VAC)
  • Mains Voltage Frequency: 50~60Hz
  • Power Transformer: Toroid contruction for low radiation.
  • Mains Fuse for 100V operation: 600mA SLO-BLO size 5mm x 20mm
  • Mains Fuse for 117V-120V operation: 500mA SLO-BLO size 5mm x 20mm
  • Mains Fuse for 220V-240V operation: 250mA SLO-BLO size 5mm x 20mm
  • Standby Transformer Fuse for all voltage operation 100V-240V: 10mA, SLO-BLO, MDL type size 1/4" x 1 1/4"
  • Badge Lamp: LED illumination
  • Dimensions: W=19", L=11", H=3 1/2"
  • Shipping Weight: 15 Lbs.
 
Specifications subject to change because they just might.
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RESOURCES

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: I want to use another external step-up transformer. Can I run it into my CHINOOK with the load set for 47 kOhms?

A: Sure thing! You can totally run an external MC step up transformer and run that into the CHINOOK input and set the load for 47 kOhms and set the GAIN to probably the lower setting.

Q: I have an XYZ Model Blah Blah cartridge. Where do I set the loads? Is it an MM or an MC cartridge? Where do I set the GAIN?

A: GAIN is GAIN. It doesn't care whether it is an MC or MM cartridge or an external step up transformer. Usually MM cartridges are going to be on the lower gain settings, like around 40dB of gain in a phono stage, and MCs on the higher gain settings, like around 60dB of gain.

Usually you'll see MM cartridges with a typical output of 1 milliVolt. MC cartridges maybe typically have about 0.5 milliVolts, for example. You'll have to see you much gain you need in your system and set the GAIN for as little as you can get away with. If you have cranked your preamplifier's Volume Control all the way up and you still can't play loud enough, then switch the GAIN up on your phono stage. What you don't want is MAX GAIN (and MAX NOISE) in your phono stage and then you line stage's Volume Control is barely cracked open at 9 o'clock.


LOADING also, doesn't care where you set the gain. You can set the loading for any cartridge or external step up transformer wherever you want to. You will never harm anything or blow anything up. The loading resistor helps damp high frequency resonances of cartridges (and other inductors). Adding capacitance to low impedance cartridges will have no audible effect. Most MM cartridges are going to require a standard 47 kOhms resistive load setting with some capacitance added in parallel with the resistor. You would ultimately also want to add the cable capacitance in your calculations. Read your Manley CHINOOK Owner’s Manual as there is lots of info about this topic in your manual!

Always refer to your cartridge manufacturer's website or owner's manual for the suggested load and then set your Manley phono stage to that load setting or as close to it as possible.

"DC Resistance" and "Internal Impedance" refer to the measurement of the winding inside the cartridge and that is NOT what the recommended load setting is.

If it is not clear on the cartridge maker's website or owner's manual what the Recommended Load for their cartridge is, please contact the cartridge manufacturer and have them clarify what the recommended load for their cartridge is. We are not going to know that! We would have to Google it just like you will. But we can provide lots of choices and flexibility to set the load close to what you need.

And again, being exactly on the number they suggest or being a few Ohms different is not going to make or break anything. All of these load settings have a very very subtle effect and they are difficult to even hear sometimes.

So relax, and listen, and enjoy your music!

Q: Hey! I get a loud POP or BANG noise through my audio system! It is random. What's wrong with my phono stage making this noise?

A: It's not the phono stage making any noises. We have seen this over and over when static on the acrylic turntable platter builds up and has nowhere to go except through the cartridge and through the CHINOOK into the rest of your hifi system eventually getting amplified by everything until you hear it through your speakers. This is not a problem with the Chinook. It is just amplifying what is being sent to it. It is just doing its job.

You have got to get a ground to the platter somehow so that your Van de Graaf generator has a place to discharge to besides through your audio system. See if you can get a ground wire to the center spindle housing, maybe under the spindle bearing of your turntable. Contact your turntable manufacturer asking them how to get the static that builds up on the platter to dissipate through a ground wire instead of through your cartridge/audio path! Note: we have seen this happen more often with the Hana SL cartridges than any other brand perhaps due to the Hana’s ABS plastic body that also allows the static to build up on it and not dissipate through any ground path. Or it might because it is very popular.

Another idea is to purchase this AcousTech Big Record Brush with Grounding Cord, ground the brush with the ground wire, and run it over your record and turntable to remove static before you play each record, especially in dry climates and low humidity winters.

Q: My unit inside looks different from the picture. Which ones are the input tubes?

A: Later models have the main audio PCB rotated 90º CCW so that the input tubes are located on the left side of the unit, not towards the back. This keeps both input tubes more equidistant and furthest away from the power transformer for slightly improved noise level. The 6922 input tubes are nearest to the GAIN select switches. You can follow the wiring from the INPUT RCA jacks to the INPUT tubes. The output tubes are closest to the big giant white output capacitors and you can follow the OUTPUT cabling from those capacitors to the OUTPUT RCA jacks.

Q: How do I reconfigure the mains voltage when I move to another country?

A: These photos show the different wiring configurations for 120V, 220V and 240V mains voltage operation for the CHINOOK. Due to the high voltage and safety concerns, changing the operating voltage should be performed by a competent technician experienced working with electronics. And always you must change the fuse values to the appropriate value and type as specified in the owner's manual every time you change the operating voltage of the unit!