or Connect
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Has anyone heard anything better than the Manley 300B headphone amp?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Has anyone heard anything better than the Manley 300B headphone amp? - Page 2

post #16 of 36

From the same few listens I have given other SET amps (Woo5, various balanced SET amps, and the like) I liked it a great deal, its a shame nobody on head-fi considers it seriously in the megabuck amp categories. The good news is that unlike any of the head-fi brands Manley is well regarded by in speakervile, and accordingly you can sell the Manley down the road to someone as a preamp. 

 

On the topic of speakers, I also heard it as a preamp at one of the foofiest audiophile shops I have ever been in. Crazytoast foofy. I called to RSVP and told the owner I own DIY speakers and he started up the hype machine on how you cant possibly build a speaker as well as bla-bla-bla...(Ok I do agree on this point. but you can make very good speakers too.) Then I said I mostly listen to headphones and there was all the headphones cant do it right well set you up with a real speaker system... Anyways, I went down with the local audio club to chit chat a bit and maybe find a reason to say his system sucks like 90% of the systems in peoples houses we visit (thanks for hosting, but once you get past the fact that most speakers have better soundstage than headphones, SR-60's sound better than 90% of what I have heard). Anyways, it was in one of perhaps 3 believable speaker systems out of the 2 dozen or so I have heard in the local club for one reason or another. VERY VERY nice. Its probably that the systems we normally listen to have such glaring flaws, but this one sounded legitimately nice. I was impressed by the 3-d soundstage (depth front to back too!) and overall tonal balance. I think a LARGE part of it was the speakers (some huge KEF speakers) but the system as a whole did sound very very good. 

 

I should note after that little slam that another of the nicest systems was one of the least expensive I have heard. The owner is just bent on setting it up well and getting everything to sound nice. that probably counts for 2/3 of most speaker systems, but dont tell anyone when you could just sell them speakers that cost twice as much.


Edited by nikongod - 9/13/10 at 9:13am
post #17 of 36

I listened to the Manley 300B and the Woo WA5-LE at the last Canjam. I ordred the WA5-LE and can't be happier.

post #18 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikongod View Post

From the same few listens I have given other SET amps (Woo5, various balanced SET amps, and the like) I liked it a great deal, its a shame nobody on head-fi considers it seriously in the megabuck amp categories. The good news is that unlike any of the head-fi brands Manley is well regarded by in speakervile, and accordingly you can sell the Manley down the road to someone as a preamp. 

 

On the topic of speakers, I also heard it as a preamp at one of the foofiest audiophile shops I have ever been in. Crazytoast foofy. I called to RSVP and told the owner I own DIY speakers and he started up the hype machine on how you cant possibly build a speaker as well as bla-bla-bla...(Ok I do agree on this point. but you can make very good speakers too.) Then I said I mostly listen to headphones and there was all the headphones cant do it right well set you up with a real speaker system... Anyways, I went down with the local audio club to chit chat a bit and maybe find a reason to say his system sucks like 90% of the systems in peoples houses we visit (thanks for hosting, but once you get past the fact that most speakers have better soundstage than headphones, SR-60's sound better than 90% of what I have heard). Anyways, it was in one of perhaps 3 believable speaker systems out of the 2 dozen or so I have heard in the local club for one reason or another. VERY VERY nice. Its probably that the systems we normally listen to have such glaring flaws, but this one sounded legitimately nice. I was impressed by the 3-d soundstage (depth front to back too!) and overall tonal balance. I think a LARGE part of it was the speakers (some huge KEF speakers) but the system as a whole did sound very very good. 

 

I should note after that little slam that another of the nicest systems was one of the least expensive I have heard. The owner is just bent on setting it up well and getting everything to sound nice. that probably counts for 2/3 of most speaker systems, but dont tell anyone when you could just sell them speakers that cost twice as much.


I bought the Manley to serve double duties as both a headphone amp and preamp and it is astounding in both guises. The preamp is such a bottleneck in any system and thus when you get it sorted everything else simply "clicks."

post #19 of 36

Hmm, do you think this Manley could drive a pair of 100db speakers?

 

 

Nikongod: once you get past the fact that most speakers have better soundstage than headphones, SR-60's sound better than 90% of what I have heard)

 

No kidding.  When I went auditioning for a set of speakers this past spring it was litterally 100%.  Nothing came close to my headphone system.  To say the least I was very disappointed, but I finally took the plunge and assembled a system unheard from Audiogon, and after five months of tweeking, it's now for the most part, far better than my headphone system.  Yet my headphone setup is still the second best musical reproduction system I've ever heard.

post #20 of 36

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdh View Post

Hmm, do you think this Manley could drive a pair of 100db speakers?

 


Only if they have ~100 ohm voice coils :)

 

I'd go for something else.

 

There are actually a few nice advantages to high impedance speakers but very few people get the 16ohm units when offered. The only downside in actual use is that you need to get transformers wound for a 16ohm load (if you get a tube amp) which can be a little hard off the shelf.

post #21 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikongod View Post

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdh View Post

Hmm, do you think this Manley could drive a pair of 100db speakers?

 


Only if they have ~100 ohm voice coils :)

 

I'd go for something else.

 

There are actually a few nice advantages to high impedance speakers but very few people get the 16ohm units when offered. The only downside in actual use is that you need to get transformers wound for a 16ohm load (if you get a tube amp) which can be a little hard off the shelf.



bump for more info on the Manley versus the Woo5...........throw in some comparisons to the CS300X if you like :-)

post #22 of 36

I got my HD800 yesterday and playing them through the Manley right now (via vinyl) is an amazing experience. 

post #23 of 36


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazza View Post

Man, how did I miss this thread? The Manley doesn't get anywhere near the amount of love it deserves on this board.



 

I’m new at this forum. Even if I’ve been an audiophile for many years, I’m new to headphones. And since I just got a Manley 300B preamp, I wanted to breathe some life into this thread again: in hope of exchanging experiences about this preamp.

 

I bought Manley 300B first most as a preamp for my stereo setup, but have also longed for the possibility of getting a descent setup for late night listening on headphones. After some researching, by reading and listening in stores, I bought a pair of Sennheiser HD800.

 

And wow, this setup has convinced me of the virtues of cans bigsmile_face.gif

 

Since I haven’t heard that many headphone amps I can’t compare. However, Manley and Sennheiser portrait music in a magical way.

 

So how many are there of us Manley 300B users here? I see that Gazza loves his.I’m new at this forum. Even if I’ve been an audiophile for many years, I’m new to headphones. And since I just got a Manley 300B preamp, I wanted to breathe some life into this thread again: in hope of exchanging experiences about this preamp.

 

I bought Manley 300B first most as a preamp for my stereo setup, but have also longed for the possibility of getting a descent setup for late night listening on headphones. After some researching, by reading and listening in stores, I bought a pair of Sennheiser HD800.

 

And wow, this setup has convinced me of the virtues of cans J

 

Since I haven’t heard that many headphone amps I can’t compare. However, Manley and Sennheiser portrait music in a magical way.

 

So how many are there of us Manley 300B users here? I see that Gazza loves his.

post #24 of 36

Musicophile, I have used the manley pre during the past 3 years, both as preamp and headphone amp, and yes I love it, but I also hate it. It gives to music a body, harmonic richness and smoothness that can not be compared to other equipment I have tried. I would say that the manley gives to music a tactile quality, once you hear it you want it. BUT you have a few problems, the most important is the lack of treble that makes the sound dry in the long run; the second problem is a very restricted dynamics and the third the distortion. I have tried to solve these issues rolling the tubes. My little collection the 300B iclude the Western Electric, JJ, EAT and TJ Music. The  6sl7 I have are Sovtek, Tung Sol old and new production, philips 6188, RCA, Brimar and TAD. As rectifier I use Mullard NOS and have tried Chinese and Sovtek. As 0d3 I have only the Raytheon (stock) .My experience with this all rolling is : you can not get good treble and dynamic out of the manley and some degree of distortion will always be present, although changing tubes may change the frecuencies more affected. You are a happy new owner and I am glad for it. I have had many many pleasant hours of listening through the manley, but...

post #25 of 36
Santamaria, Thanks for your valuable advices regarding tubes. I'll check out some of your tubes. I agree with your description of Manley 300B giving music a body and harmonical richness.

However, I don't recognize your problems with rolled off high frequencies, yet I have read others noticing this, and least of all problems with dynamics. This must be an effect of matching. In my setup the preamp contributes to music almost jumping at you. I have efficient speakers with a lot of push-pull power. And the preamp seem to open up for dynamics, not limiting it.

As concerns distortions I have not recognized any difference from my last tube preamp; which was a Leben. However, I have got experience with the frustration of 300B tubes proness to microphonics. Yet, I can probably not blaim the preamp for that.
post #26 of 36

There are few users of the manley pre, and little information in the web. It is great to have the possibility of commenting on it. The manley has many good qualities and it is not surprising that you are enjoying it. Sometimes the limitations of a piece of equipment are only noted after long use. It is possible that you would find the sound of the manley perfect during the next fifty years, but it is not probable. Human hearing  has an extraordinary perfection. Biologist think that it was the acuity of hearing what gave to mammals an advantage over other species.  During millions of years not to be deceive by sounds was for mammals the diference between life and death. Audio is about deceiving an organ developed against deception. Ask pardon for this disgression. The manley has obvious problems and sooner o later you brain will note them. Now the interesting thing for me is how this problems can be solve o limited, I have tried and could not, but perhaps you and others are more lucky, if so let me know.  Ask pardon for my bad english.

post #27 of 36

Santamaria, you have acute reflexions about our ability over time to hear problems in audio gear. And, you correctly points to my eagerness and joy of ownership towards Manley 300B, which of course makes my impressions liable to false conclusions. I have the same experience as you that it often takes long time - because it often happens through intuition and not conscious analytic perception - to identify shortcomings in audio gear.

 

Your impressions just surprised me, especially when it comes to dynamics. Cause in my system this particular preamp is ultra dynamic! The only problem that I can at the moment notice is in another field: this preamp portrait so much of the holographic and dimensional information, that I sometimes get distracted by it in my musical engagement. The holographic 3D effect it gives to music is a hifi-ish - a virtue among hifi enthusiasts - which, in my opinion, isn't musically real. However, at the moment I like it. I can enjoy it, but I'm not sure how it will work in the long run.

 

In what kind of setup do you use the Manley 300B, other than a headphone amp? I use it with Manley Snapper and it seems to click together in a synergistic way. No shortcomings what so ever when it comes to dynamic. I know that if a preamp and amp is not optimized in impedance, you can get problems with distortions and lack of dynamics.

post #28 of 36

I use Manley as preamp and headphone amp, with an amp similar to yours, prologue seven with EL34. My speakers are  Sonus Faber Auditor, but most of the time I use headphones. In general I prefer speakers, but I live in an apartment. Perhaps because when using speakers I need to listen to moderate levels I have the feelling that dynamics are limited. I do not have another pre amp, but lately I have beeen using as preamp the violectric V200 (a headphone amp) with results that seems to me good. I completely concur that the manley projects a huge soundstage and  makes instruments and voices bigger than we expect in audio. It is part of the big asset that for me has the manley, the body of the sound. If you hear a piano, for example, you can enjoy the harmonic richnes of every single note . You have hd800 and it is a good partner for the manley. From what I have read here the best combination may be the beyerdynamic T1, perhaps you may have the opportunity of trying them.

post #29 of 36

Cool, more Manley owners!

 

I must say I have yet to experience any of the negatives you have described, Santamaria. I notice you own Sonus Faber speakers which would explain your lack of enthusiasm in the highs and your description of curtailed dynamics. Sonus Faber, whilst rich and seductive are hardly what I'd call agile, dynamically propulsive speakers. The speakers I use are Focal Electra 1007BE which mate very, very well with my Manley/Densen amp combo. I have also used Dynaudio's for a while on my set-up and although it did sound great (it's hard for me not to smile when listening to my stereo, despite my tiny room) the tonaly diffuse nature of the speakers did make the overall sound a bit too languid for my tastes. I would for the most part steer clear of speakers a laid back presence, something I've noticed with many (but not all) soft-domed tweeters.

 

Aside from changing my 6SL7 valves, I haven't experimented with tube rolling. At some point I'd like to upgrade all the tubes but there are other things I want to upgrade before that, like a new phonostage and better speaker cable. Granted, I don't see any of that happening for a while.

post #30 of 36

I would love to hear the Manly amp someday. I imagine they sound great. I would like to start a budget amp company someday and call the products "Girly amps" .  Good amps for the money, no output transformers, on the girly side but still sound nice.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphone Amps (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Has anyone heard anything better than the Manley 300B headphone amp?