Manley "Absolute Headphone Amplifier"

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by AllanMarcus, Sep 7, 2018.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Fugly. Looks like Chinese design aesthetic which does not appeal to me.
     
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  2. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Could be who they are marketing to...
     
  3. westermac

    westermac Friend

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    Looks like an avant-garde chair for evil villain dolls
     
  4. mitochondrium

    mitochondrium Friend

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    I find Thor two handles a nice feature if you want to get rid you have got the choice to do it hammer throwing style holding both handles or diskus style using only one handle, is there a version for left handed customers?
     
  5. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Old-fashioned "intercom" (remember those?) device for the office that was, way back then, trying to be trendy.
     
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  6. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    egads. I just noticed the headphone outputs are on the back! Now that is a poor design decision.

    first post updated with pic
     
  7. Bina

    Bina MOT - Shanling

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    Saw it happen few times with companies focusing on 2 channel.
    I guess some old-school audiophiles, having just one pair of headphones, don't want to see one connector sticking out from their rack.
     
  8. taisserroots

    taisserroots Friend

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    I got to try it at canjam, with the bricasti M1 as a source. I knew nothing about any of ots features and settings.
    Bricasti M1 is my favourite DAC.

    This amp, was just dissapointing.
    I tried it with both an hd800s and a utopia.
    In both cases it was really muddy, had a really slow decay which made it sound really soft.the mud and the decay made it sound smeared, there was no definition or speed, or anything. The stage felt pretty crap because of how muddy it was. To top it all off it was dark.
    I really cantc put into words how dissapointed I was with this amplifier, sort of why I didn't spend longer than a minute with it, with either headphone.

    I would of tried the different features if the three guys at the booth were interested in the only person trying their amplifier at that time.

    I was much more impressed with the iha1 out of a chord Hugo 2 and the Feliks audio amps because I could at least hear more than ud.

    Edit:
    This was also on two different ones.
    Because they had an amplifier each for the utopia, hd800 and third headphone which I forget.
    So I think the eq function wasn't the issue.
     
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  9. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    Yeesh, pretty damning impressions @taisserroots. What other amps do you feel share a similar sound to this one? Get the feeling I've read comments on sound similar to that elsewhere, can't put my finger on it though. Either way, that kinda sound for $3k is a raised eyebrow. Frankly kinda surprising considering the brand seems to be one others view positively.

    P.S.
    What's the comma version of a greengrocer's apostrophe? :p
     
  10. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    My desktop integrated has the headphone out on the back. It is not even easy to find! Pain in the neck, and almost certainly means the cable is going to get an unfair strain when it leads forwards. For a headphone amp it seems absurd!

    But then, some gear has power switches on the back!

    (Including my Cyrus integrated, although it has a standby switch on the front)

    A dark comma would top it all off.
     
  11. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    Well, my guess (hope) the reason the amp hasn’t been released yet is to get the fine tuning of the sound down pat. Also, given all the settings on the amp, it’s certanly possible to have it set not sounding good. At any rate, Manley herself is supposed to speak at one of the seminars, so maybe she’ll be there at the booth to complain to if the amp sounds bad. I certainly plan on mentioning the less than desireale (idiocy) of plug’s on the back.
     
  12. taisserroots

    taisserroots Friend

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    I can't think of anything I have tried to compare it with, maybe that cayin n8 dap with the nutube output. Even that doesn't approach muddiness, what they both do is a soft, slow and rolled sound, that's as far as the comparison goes because I feel like the muddiness of the Manley was it's dominant festure.

    While they might make good transformers it could be like Rupert Neve, with their really bad amplifier, despite making transformers for mic pres that people who in the industry love.
     
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  13. Pharmaboy

    Pharmaboy Friend

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    There are times where the differences between headphone audio & high-end 2-channel audio are stark. This is one of them.

    Manley is a long-time marquee name in high end audio. 40+ years worth. It's up there with Martin Levinson, Audio Research, a few other biggies. Manley is now and always has been a tube brand. There are no doubt some better brands (certain models/types), but Manley always had to be considered when it came to tube amps/preamps.

    I started playing around w/high end 2-channel stuff in the early '80s, and by ~1987 I had an amazing (and huge) system that was all tube except for the subs built into the big Vandersteen speakers (the 4's...I used SS on the subs). It remains the best sound I've ever heard. Most of the stuff was used, and before the Internet, that was no fun. The preamp was the VTL "Ultimate," a pretty silly name, all things considered. But the sound was anything but silly.

    So in assessing this rather beautiful (and highly innovative) tube HP amp, my primary questions wouldn't be "Who is Manley?" or "Why should we consider paying ~$4K to this company?" They would be:
    • Who on the Manley design team has chops in headphone audio--how long, details, designs in past models, etc?
    • And who among top headphone reviewers has heard this amp?
    • How is it compared to other known endgame HP designs?
    If I had the bread & the space, I'd buy this thing just to look at it. IMO it's beautiful. The thought of a physically beautiful headphone (yes, Empyrean, I'm talking about you) on this gorgeous amp...well, it's a thrilling thought.

    Take this for what it's worth from an longtime tube audio (and music-) lover...
     
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  14. Ray

    Ray Friend

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    I got on ttvj’s loaner tour for this. My expectations are low but maybe I’ll be wrong.
     
  15. Thenewerguy009

    Thenewerguy009 Friend

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    One thing I noticed is that the amplifier is tiny.

    I was under the assumption it was a large amp, but then I saw the remote that comes with it, next to the actual amp itself. The remote was nearly the same size as the amp.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
  16. Zhanming057

    Zhanming057 Friend

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    I was pretty impressed by the Manley 300b for driving headphones, and I do think that Manley's take on the 300b design is a better tuning for the Abyss 1266 phi's than the Woo WA5, which is a bit soft and indecisive in comparison. If Manley brought their A-game then this could be a winner in terms of sound.

    The design makes very little sense, though. It's unstackable, takes up vertical space and doesn't even protect the tubes properly. What's wrong with a solid box with a couple tubes on top of it?
     
  17. Mithrandir41

    Mithrandir41 Friend

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    I only heard a Manley amp once: I thought it sounded good, and was absolutely butt-ugly.
     
  18. beemerphile

    beemerphile Friend

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    Next thing you know some fool will put the power switch back there... Oh Wait!
     
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  19. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Manley Neoclassic 300B is really good for headphones. WA5 is butt.
     
  20. Pharmaboy

    Pharmaboy Friend

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    "butt"?

    = bad?
     

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