FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Why do I hear some hiss at the higher GAIN settings?
The input control is an ATTENUATOR, not a volume control. It is used to knock down the level of a hot signal, not boost the level of a weak one. The default position on this control is FULL CLOCKWISE. Turning this control up does not raise the noise level, but stepping up the gain DOES. The lowest noise performance is going to be with the INPUT control fully CW (Clockwise), and with the GAIN switch set at the lowest setting (40db). When set to the 60db gain setting, you might hear some hiss.
2. What's the "High Gain Mod"?
The High Gain Mod for Serial Numbers MVB000 - MVB737 is available for $150 cost and includes tube changes, resistor changes, re-cal and checkover plus return shipping (within USA). This mod updates older Voxboxes to current version (MVBX###) for more gain: 40, 45, 50, 55, 60dB. Please contact Paul in our service department to arrange this.
Or if you are as good a tech as we are, you may do it yourself. Step-by-step instructions may be found here.
3. I have a VoxBox® which I use as my main input into my PT system, recording not only vocals through it but most anything else too. To achieve a stronger level from guitars you suggest running it through an effects pedal before the VoxBox®. Would running it through a Di first be better? And if so, would you recommend active or passive or indeed your Dual Mono Di?
My comments were meant to address the low-ish gain of the VoxBox Direct Input and the possibility that some axes are quieter than average. In those situations, one might need to boost the gain before it hits the VoxBox. Many stomp boxes have gain or volume controls with more than enough range to provide some seriously impressive levels.
Now a direct box is a completely different animal from a stomp box. The DI's basic function is to turn an instrument signal into a mic level signal (or a balanced line level signal). In the case of the former. A DI generally reduces the voltage (-20dB) to be appropriate for a mic pre, which means you would plug the DI into the Mic Input, and my comment wouldn't be relevant because it was pointed at the Instrument Input. Might also be weird to go thru adapters to drive a stomp box with a signal now dropped 20dB to raise it back +20 to +40 dB again.
However, one could use most direct boxes to drive the mic input and have plenty of gain in most cases. One wouldn't put a stomp box after a DI, but if you like there is nothing to stop you putting it before the DI. In fact one could "insert" the stomp box between the VoxBox Mic Pre and EQ sections though that signal may be a little hot, but workable. (or not)
And then there are some active Direct Boxes that convert an instrument signal to line level, and the appropriate place to patch these is into the VoxBox Line Input.
As to Active or Passive DI's - whatever works - whatever sounds right to you! Basically they all sound a bit different, have strengths and weaknesses and a few right ways to use them, plus many wrong ways.
The idea of the VoxBox Instrument Input was to allow most guys to not have to require a Direct Box - just plug the axe into the front panel - bingo. Several top session bass players do just that routinely. This doesn't rule out that if you prefer, you can use a direct box that you love and patch it into the Mic or Line Input, whichever is more appropriate for that box.
But the only point of all this is "Are the levels that YOU are getting hot enough, OK or too hot?" If they are OK, no problem, if too hot, turn down the gain, if not hot enough, then there are solutions maybe requiring a stomp box or DI. And only YOU can really judge "better" and that only requires listening and playing, rather than getting bogged in technicalities, patching and electronics. Have fun, make music.....
3. My meter lamps burned out. How do I get replacements?
Older units before serial number MVB**1359 shipped before 9/2003 use: 12V 1.2W FESTOON LAMPS; Manley's Part Number: VAR016C Order these spare bulbs from www.tubesrule.com. Newest units after serial number MVB**1359 shipped after 9/2003 use yellow LED lighting and those shouldn't burn out. You can get in touch with Paul in our service department and upgrade your older unit to yellow LED lighting for $25 bucks.
4. Help! I can’t get any output from my VOXBOX!
OK, let’s go through some basic VOXBOX signal flow troubleshooting. Pay attention to the sneaky 3-way switches!! Make sure your 0 - LINE - 180 and the INSERT‐PRE O/P - LINE switches are set to the correct positions!
Condition 1) NO OUTPUT FROM THE MIC PRE, NO METER INDICATION WHEN METER IS SET TO “PRE OUT”:
First, connect a microphone to the MIC INPUT, and connect the PREAMP OUTPUT to whatever you’re monitoring/recording with. Set the meter switch to PRE OUT; set the 0‐LINE‐180 switch to 0, set to 50db gain, and turn the input control up to at least 12 o’clock. Speaking into the mic should register on the meter and there should be output at your recording/monitoring chain. If you are not getting output here, turn the input control full CW (all the way up). If there is no sound or meter indication, you may have a bad tube. Refer to owner’s manual for tube locations. The 2 tubes on the left side of the unit are for the MIC PRE section. The 2 tubes on the right side are for the EQ section. By going out of the PREAMP OUT, we are intentionally bypassing the EQ section for this test in order to focus in on just the PREAMP section. With the unit unplugged from AC power, remove the top cover, let the tubes cool, and exchange the tubes left‐to‐right, right‐to‐left. Now repeat the test above and see if you are now getting meter indication and signal output from the PREAMP OUTPUT. If so, one of the two tubes now on the right side (EQ SECTION) is bad; you can further switch the individual tubes to find out which one it is, or just replace both.
Condition 2) MIC PRE is WORKING; NO SOUND FROM THE “EQ OUT”, NO METER INDICATION WHEN METER IS SET TO “EQ OUT”
If you are using the VOXBOX mic pre as a signal source, then first ensure that the INSERT‐PRE O/P - LINE switch is in the PRE O/P position. This internally routes the signal from the MIC PRE section to the EQ SECTION. If this is the case and the meter indicates signal in the PRE OUT position, but not in the EQ OUT position, this may indicate a bad tube in the EQ Section. Connect a line‐level signal to the INSERT input, and set the INSERT‐PRE O/P‐LINE switch to INSERT. If there is no signal or meter indication at the EQ OUT, then disconnect the AC power and exchange the tubes as outlined in step #1 above. If exchanging the tubes restores operation on the EQ section, then one of the tubes that is now in the left side of the unit is bad.