TAS Interviews: EveAnna Manley, President of Manley Laboratories, Inc.

By Neil Gader

Reprinted with kind permission.

TAS: How does an industry known for classical and jazz geeks accept your rock íní roll persona?

EveAnna Manley: Maybe they don’t. Maybe the closet snobs out there just turn up their noses at someone like me. I seem to seek out the rock n’ rollers.

TAS: What was the system you dreamed about as a teenager?

EveAnna Manley: I worked really hard cutting grass and framing pictures saving up for my first serious mid-fi system which was a Kenwood receiver, an Akai tape deck. and a Technics turntable. Thatís what I was dreaming of in high school. I forgot about the Fisher 500C receiver that I grew up with, because tubes did not rule in the 80s.

TAS: How about the music that set you on the high-end path?

EveAnna Manley: Maynard Ferguson, MF I and MF II. Bill Chase. More trumpety stuff like The Ides of March Vehicle album, I remember spinning that one a lot. And all the Beatles stuff, I was very into that.

TAS: You played trumpet?

EveAnna Manley: I learned trumpet after I got my braces off in 8th grade. But mainly I played clarinets and saxes in high school and college.

TAS: What side of the argument do you come down on: analog or digital?

EveAnna Manley: There’s a time and place for either, realistically. Like here at work I don’t have time to clean off records so I just spin a CD or play some crap off my computer. At home if I want to get really into it, I’ll take the time.

TAS: What is the biggest innovation you’ve seen in your field in the last 10 years?

EveAnna Manley: Nothing that weíre doing! Let’s get real - iTunes has probably changed the industry more than anything, and Napster before that. Honestly itís the whole MP3 revolution thatís killing the traditional model.

TAS: What will you be listening to your music on in 10 years?

EveAnna Manley: Probably the successor to the iPod.

TAS: The biggest incidence of quackery?

EveAnna Manley: I refuse to answer this question on the grounds that it may incriminate me - that or I am much too polite to name names or out anyone.

TAS: Your company produces gear with names like Prawn, Snapper, Shrimp, Steelhead. What’s the deal with the fish??

EveAnna Manley: I like scuba diving and a lot of those names are double entendres. We’re just having fun. Because I think fun is lacking in this industry.

TAS: Is there one thing that people don’t get about your product?

EveAnna Manley: I don’t think they appreciate how decently priced they are in the marketplace compared to some other stuff that’s way more expensive. Watt for watt, it comes out pretty decently priced for USA-built gear.

TAS: Whatís the biggest mistake buyers make when assembling a system from the ground up?

EveAnna Manley: The wrong order in purchasing. Okay, I’m gong to buy this 50W tube amp and now I’m going to buy 84dB-efficient speakers. Wrong! You’ve got to think of everything together or go in a certain order - like speakers first and then the right amp to drive them, impedance and efficiency considered. Thatís the worst offense I normally see. People paint themselves into a corner by not purchasing in the right order.

TAS: Any guidance for young women interested in becoming players in this industry?

EveAnna Manley: Personally I never thought about it as male or female. I just do what I need to do to excel at what I want to achieve. What it was about for me was when I got started young and I wasn’t afraid to tackle anything - building gear, soldering, learning geeky things. For me I never saw a gender differential.

TAS: Best advice from an old pro?

EveAnna Manley: I’ll tell you what one of my pet peeves is: When folks call me up with a whole scenario already worked up in their heads just looking for self-validation from me. Why bother? Why even bother me with this? Do your research and be confident in your audio gear choices. Allow your dealer to help you. It’s not so important that it should get in the way of enjoying the tunes and the music, and nothing in hi-fi can’t be undone or changed anyway. Hell, I’ve been driving the same car since 1996.

This interview first appeared in TAS Issue 165.