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Manley Labs Core Reference Channel Strip

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Manley Labs Core Reference Channel Strip
Manley Labs Core Reference Channel Strip

The Manley Labs Core is a single channel recording strip comprised of a microphone preamplifier, compressor, equalizer, and FET peak limiter all in a two-rack space cabinet. With Core, the design objective was to offer a recording channel that produces first class recordings easily and with a minimum of fussy knob tweaking. Manley Labs claims that: "no other channel strip at this price point offers higher headroom or higher end sound than the Core."

The Core Reference Channel Strip starts with a factory-made, hand-wound Manley IRON® microphone input transformer and a Class-A tube mic pre-amp circuit similar to the Manley VOXBOX® and Manley's Dual Mono & Mono Microphone Preamplifiers.

It's interesting that Manley's ELOP® (Electro Optical Limiter), from the Manley VOXBOX, is placed before the mic preamp--making it virtually impossible to clip. It has a fixed compression ratio of 3:1 but does feature continuously variable attack, release, and threshold controls.

Next in the signal chain is a solid-state equalizer featuring classic low and high Baxandall shelves (80 Hz and 12 kHz) with a +/- 12dB range. The midrange peaking equalizer section is switchable between a range of 100Hz to 1 kHz or from1kHz to 10kHz with a continuous adjustable frequency control and a cut/boost range of a +/- 10dB.

Lastly, at the end of Core's signal chain is the super-fast attack, FET-based "brick wall" limiter. It has a continuously variable threshold and release controls, peak LED, and 10dB output makeup gain control for up to 70dB total channel gain.

I also liked the Core's large VU meter that has a three-position toggle switch for reading gain reduction, the mic pre-amp's output and main output.

Core has a full front panel of controls including a 1/4-inch instrument input jack (DI) with 10-megOhm impedance, mic/line switch, 48-volt phantom powering, 120Hz high pass filter switch, polarity invert switch, variable input attenuator, and Hi/Lo mic pre-amp gain range selection between 40 or 60dB.

Soon available, the Manley Labs Core sells for $2,250 MSRP. More at:

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