Manley Slam! Stereo Limiter / Preamplifier
The Manley SLAM! stands for "Stereo Limiter And Micpre" and it pretty much describes what it will do to most VU meters. Manley had to put a switch on this limiter to drop its internal VU meters down 3 & 6dB to keep the poor little needles from bending– it'll get LOUD fast (hence the exclamation mark). And on top of being an amazing pair of (actually four) Limiters, and Class A tube mic preamps, it also has masters degrees in DI, AtoD and DtoA, VU and PPM but that was too much for an acronym.
When it comes to classic gear, especially classic limiters, we can all agree numbers like LA2s, 1176s, 2264s, and others come to mind. What if all those sounds were to be found in one stereo tube unit. Interested? Manley combined our favorite Electro-Optical circuit (ELOP®) with a damn fast FET based brick-wall limiter reminiscent of some cool classics. And they added a sidechain filter that can remove low frequencies that makes it more useful for a variety of tasks, while retaining that easy, "it just works" quality that has made it a favorite for vocals everywhere. The FET-based limiter has different desirable characteristics that both optimise the signal for digital recording, due to the brick-wall capability, and let you dial in how clean or crunchy, or punchy, and how loud and proud you want it. Manley is excited to announce the SLAM!
GET IN: THe Manley Slam!
The Manley SLAM! starts with tube Mic Preamps on both channels with selectable phase reverse, high pass filter, and switchable phantom power (on the back panel). There's plenty of gain for you in this new tube circuit, up to 60dB with 20dB more in the limiter– plenty for soft singers using low output ribbon mics. The input attenuator is right up front, like a variable pad so your loud rock ‘n’ rollers won’t cause a problem either. Track direct with the Direct Instrument input or bring your line level inputs into the SLAM! for processing. The DI inputs have selectable input impedance, depending on how far you plug the 1/4" cable into the jack: push it in all the way and the input impedance is 100KOhms, pull it out halfway and it becomes 20 megOhms which reduces pickup loading and allows all the highs to get through. Come on in!
Get it LOUD... two different and distinct limiters per channel:
The Manley Slam! ELOP® LIMITER:
Manley's beloved Electro-Optical Levelling Amplifier circuit, the ELOP, still the favorite for vocal tracking, shows up here with its new switchable side-chain high pass filter making it much more useful for mixes and other tracks as well. One of the most appreciated aspects of Manley's original ELOP® is the simplicity of a two knob limiter, which is optimum for demanding pro recording pressures. You can still grab two knobs and have complete control of level and dynamics and be ready to hit that record button. Intuitive controls and a straight ahead signal path through quality components simply works.
The Manley Slam! FET LIMITER:
Here’s a new fast FET based "brick wall" limiter that spans the range of clean predictable limiting to the grunge and gravel that other FET based limiters are desired for. The FET RELEASE control allows you to dial up a variety of colors. There is even a "CLIP" setting that provides as round a shape as has ever been available. (Read more below about the CLIP settings.) We aimed at "sound" first, then experimented with circuits until we heard what we wanted discovering fresh approaches that provide a very wide range of useful dynamic control. For example, you can set up for a fast brick wall limiter with slower releases for minimum artifacts, or go with the faster releases to get some crunch and then get extreme loudness. The Attack control is unusual too providing the sonic control common with its historic brothers but very unusually retaining the zero overshoot “none-shall-pass” brick wall that defines a real limiter. And it’s punchy! As the saying goes, “Louder is better.” The Manley SLAM! optimizes levels to analog to digital converters with ballz, warmth and loudness verging on silly or just clean and safe.
What is especially nifty is the ability to use the ELOP® and FET limiters together at the same time dialing in whatever amounts of each effect you like. Every limiter has its own character or sound and here we have combined two powerful world-class tools that can be uniquely blended and mixed to taste and purpose. Even the metering is appropriate for each limiter so you can easily see how each is contributing.
Metering on the Manley SLAM! is exceptional.
The two full size real VU meters show you the raw input levels, the final output levels, and the ELOP® Limiter gain reduction in the traditionally preferred format for visually displaying apparent loudness. VU’s are cool. Noticing how mastering engineers often need a switchable pad on their VU's because the "optimised" levels tend to pin the needles in the red, the Manley SLAM! VU’s also have a 0, -3dB, -6dB switch to help with this situation. There are also very fast and super accurate multi-color LED ladder peak meters that display the input and output levels and the FET gain reduction, and some combinations. They will do Peak, Peak Hold timed, and Peak Hold until reset, and also allow you to manually set where the individual bars change colors to match your other gear. And with maximum clean I/O levels of +30 dBu, it is a lot more likely you will use these meters to see what’s clipping downstream. It probably won’t be the Manley tube line drivers inside!
The back panel should keep everybody happy. All the usual XLR’s for transformer balanced I/O and 1/4" phone jacks for direct unbalanced I/O. There are four TRS jacks for inserting external EQ into the sidechains and another connector for linking multiple units for surround. It’s all here. The optional 24 bit converters are a brand new design that insures the lowest possible conversion jitter even with questionable sources. It will lock to an external clock via the digital input and is 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, and 192KHz capable. The DAC output is always available. There is even a twisted way (called "Expert Mode") to patch the Manley SLAM! so that you can have the MIC PRE/ELOP feeding an EQ, (or some other thing), returning back to the SLAM! to drive the FET LIMITER, meters, and the A to D converter. Manley have thought about all the options!
The Manley SLAM! also seems a natural as a mastering tool. The FET limiter works great on mixes, and the ELOP® now has a high pass filter switch that is spot-on for mastering. Manley offer a new mastering version which eliminates the mic preamps, adds detented controls replacing the pots, and provides extra metering options. Manley compressors and EQs seem to be the most popular pieces of gear ever when it comes to mastering. The ultimate analog rack for the final important touches to the mix would have include the Manley SLAM!, The Variable Mu® and The Massive Passive. Combine this with some digital processors of similar calibre and one has a respectable and very effective set of mastering tools. That Manley rack plus some Manley Microphones would make an ultimate stereo recording chain too. Gear you’ll want to keep for a lifetime!