AnalogPlanet Visits Manley Laboratories

In late December AnalogPlanet paid a long overdue visit to Manley Labs' Chino, California headquarters. "Long overdue" because the last visit was at least fifteen years ago—before you could record a factory tour in high-definition.

Manley Labs is unique in that it designs and manufactures vacuum tube-based electronics for both the consumer and professional audio markets and has since its founding in the late 1980s.

In 1989 Ms. (not yet) Manley took a sabbatical from Columbia University and went to work at the the VTL factory owned and operated by David Manley.

While VTL specialized in high fidelity products, Manley Labs began with pro audio products including the original 1u Reference 60dB Microphone Preamplifier, the Enhanced Pultec and Mid Frequency Equalizers and the Manley Reference Cardioid and Reference Gold microphones, all of which made their debut at the 1990 Los Angeles AES Show.

In 1993 Manley Labs became a separate entity and opened its Chino factory where it began manufacturing both the pro and high fidelity lines. By then the pro Manley gear was well-accepted in recording studios worldwide.

Within three years David Manley "up and left" the company and moved overseas leaving EveAnna in full control. With her "at the wheel" the company has produced a number of products considered "modern classics" including in 1994 the Manley Stereo Variable Mu® Limiter-Compressor, in 1997: Manley VOXBOX, Manley Stingray® Stereo Integrated Amplifier and in 1998 the Manley Massive Passive® Stereo EQ.

Later came the famous Steelhead and Chinook phono preamplifiers and a Long John Silver's worth of other sea-food-based electronic delicacies including most recently the Absolute tube headphone amplifier that you'll see in the video.

cdvinyl's picture

Excellent video. It just goes to show how easy it is to make quality products.

Couple of questions Mikey. Were you hooked up to see if your tubes were matched? And, why not get all of these mfg's you share with us to create a Fremer limited edition model? just suggesting.......

JEB-42's picture

Great Video Michael! Fantastic insights and very valuable information here. Thanks for spending the time to make this happen for everyone to see.

highendman's picture

What an impressive operation. It makes me want to hear some Manley products. It looks like she creates a comfortable work environment for people.

vinyl_guy's picture

Great comprehensive tour; very informative. Why no Manley products in recommended components? Great engineering, quality control and history of excellent sounding products.

alucas's picture

i started by thinking that 1.5 hours, that i wouldn't last, but it was really good, couldn't stop watching. so much goes into the building of a quality product. thanks for the tour!

Wimbo's picture

with EveAnna any day.
Seems a wonderful and very interesting lady.

bassrome's picture

Great video. Do they have a listening room?

AdamR's picture

I've long admired Manley's ethos. The factory tour was very enlightening. Thanks :)

Littletoot's picture

Watched Mikie and EveAnna again - what a great tour. A well-run, organized, down-to-earth facility that is obviously a great place to work. People take care of what they care for, be it a work place or their life.
I am a proud owner of a Steelhead and a pair of Neo 250s that I bought on a hunch. Wow. Am I Glad I did that! That pre-amp is truly a piece of art that also sounds so good, that I begrudge every minute I can't use it. (Usually because some other piece of cr*p has let me down or f'ed me over. Talking to you Sony!) Just wished Eve Anna made turntables and cartridges...