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Manley Variable users: How frequently you check Dc balance ?
Old 6 days ago
  #1
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Manley Variable users: How frequently you check Dc balance ?

Manley Variable Mu users: How frequently you check and correct Dc balance ? How much acceptable range you keep between 0mv to 10mv?
Old 5 days ago
  #2
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Jerry Tubb's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
about once per month.

as close as you can get it, without being obsessive about it.

i also wiggle the tubes once in awhile, with the unit Off overnight, to seat them better, and not get shocked !

cheers, jt
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #3
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jayfrigo's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb ➡️
about once per month.

as close as you can get it, without being obsessive about it.

i also wiggle the tubes once in awhile, with the unit Off overnight, to seat them better, and not get shocked !

cheers, jt
Not even that often, and yup, close but not obsessive.

Is it causing noticeable problems? Is it way off every time you check it? If those answers keep coming up "no" then it tends to become a less frequent operation.
Old 5 days ago
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I've never checked it in over 20 years. Sounds great. What am I missing?
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trakworx ➡️
I've never checked it in over 20 years. Sounds great. What am I missing?
Not much actually, lol. Mine is really stable. But a Vari-mu can drift over time in a number of ways and it's good to check things every now and again to keep it in top shape. This could be as simple as checking the L/R balance with a tone which I do often. Tubes definitely drift over time and not all at the same rate.

Have you changed tubes during those 20 years? That is certainly something worth doing. Luckily we have a great tube tester in the shop so I can periodically check and match tubes for the various gear in the studios, but tube testers have become a pretty rare thing so most people need to look for symptomatic clues or just change tubes at some regular interval.

We also have a service manual for it in the shop so we know where and what to test for and the recommended/expected values. That helps for doing a yearly checkup.
Old 5 days ago
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Do you hear it thump? If you don't hear it thump, don't worry about it. When it's a problem you'll know it.

If you DO adjust it, make sure the thing is properly warmed up (like 24 hours of warmup) before setting it, because the bias points will drift with operating temperatures and you don't want to make it worse than you started out.
--scott
Old 5 days ago
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Thanks, yeah, I recall replacing one tube that died years ago and the unit behaved exactly the same as before. Never any changes in balance or thumps here. I've always chalked it up to a great design/build. Mine's pretty old now. I wonder if the newer versions might require more tweaking...
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
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Jerry Tubb's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayfrigo ➡️
Not even that often, and yup, close but not obsessive.

Is it causing noticeable problems? Is it way off every time you check it? If those answers keep coming up "no" then it tends to become a less frequent operation.
No, it’s always verrry close Jay! Mines a 2004 version, sold my 1997 one to Nick.

Nothing wrong with tweaking it once per month though.

I do keep the lid off, to reseat the tubes every now and then,

seems to keep the noise floor down.

I did hafta get Manley to replace the transformer last year, and other minor repairs, after 15 years of daily use.

and I retube every 5 years, of when they start getting too noisy esp at 120Hz.

Finally (!) a good analog topic, better than what’s the best loudest ITB limiter

Cheers, JT

p.s. aaaand i got you to post something Jay!

Last edited by Jerry Tubb; 4 days ago at 11:46 AM..
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb ➡️
....and I retube every 5 years, of when they start getting too noisy esp at 120Hz.
What type of tubes are in it, JT? What brand replacements do you use and where do you get 'em...?
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OTRM ➡️
What type of tubes are in it, JT? What brand replacements do you use and where do you get 'em...?
Hey Jeff!

a full set of Sovtek…. a Russian collusion LoL

got them directly from Manley. see pic below, where i’m also tweaking the DC balance.

When i later sent the Unit in for repair, they replaced one of them, a faulty tube, and replaced the transformer.

the unit had gotten a bit noisy in general, and 60Hz hum.

took them 6 weeks to work it all out, i used the UAD ITB version in the interim.

the most important “mod” i did after it came back, was to separate it (MVM) and the Rupert MBP, with significant physical distance, 8” inches, as they both have transformers, that were EMF’ing each other and adding Hum into the audio, 60Hz +harmonics. Djscovering this was quite the revelation!

also had Manley add the HP feature, which i used yesterday on a bass-lite track.

I’ve used the Manley VM on almost every track ive mastered since 1997, it was a game changer for me, in a Big Way. It and the Rupert MBP make a formidable combination… an even bigger game changer.

Cheers, JT

p.s. that colorful graphic in the background is the word/symbol “Peace” in many different languages. a prize possession that was given to me by my late great best friend and mentor Chet Himes, who engineered the “Sailing” record for Christopher Cross that won all the Grammy’s eons ago.
Attached Thumbnails
Manley Variable users: How frequently you check Dc balance ?-b52a05a6-38ad-47b8-a3db-48abb6e910e5.jpg  
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb ➡️
Hey Jeff!

a full set of Sovtek…. a Russian collusion LoL

got them directly from Manley. see pic below, where i’m also tweaking the DC balance.

When i later sent the Unit in for repair, they replaced one of them, a faulty tube, and replaced the transformer.

the unit had gotten a bit noisy in general, and 60Hz hum.

took them 6 weeks to work it all out, i used the UAD ITB version in the interim.

the most important “mod” i did after it came back, was to separate it (MVM) and the Rupert MBP, with significant physical distance, 8” inches, as they both have transformers, that were EMF’ing each other and adding Hum into the audio, 60Hz +harmonics. Djscovering this was quite the revelation!

also had Manley add the HP feature, which i used yesterday on a bass-lite track.

I’ve used the Manley VM on almost every track ive mastered since 1997, it was a game changer for me, in a Big Way. It and the Rupert MBP make a formidable combination… an even bigger game changer.

Cheers, JT

p.s. that colorful graphic in the background is the word/symbol “Peace” in many different languages. a prize possession that was given to me by my late great best friend and mentor Chet Himes, who engineered the “Sailing” record for Christopher Cross that won all the Grammy’s eons ago.
Cool, JT. A few things:

1- How did you figure out that the MVM and MBP xformers were talking to each other? I have a Hendyamps The Oven and a Crane Song IBIS that are next to each other in the desk separated by only a half rack space but I don't think I hear any issues caused by their close proximity to each other. Maybe because The Oven xformer is outside it's case on the back rt side and the IBIS xformer is inside it's case on the left side....

2 - Kinda stinks that you'll hafta keep the MVM "on the shelf" in order to get to the tubes frequently to re-seat em. But, since my boxes are in a desk, I'm gonna have to pull The Oven out every now and then to check it's tubes.

3 - I'm actually kinda surprised that the MVM has Sovtek tubes in it. I would've thought they'd use a more boutique brand like Telefunken, Mullard and the like

4 - We both had great mentors!! You: Chet Himes; Christopher Cross Me: Phil York; Willie Nelson
Attached Thumbnails
Manley Variable users: How frequently you check Dc balance ?-theoven_racked.jpg  
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OTRM ➡️
Cool, JT. A few things:

1- How did you figure out that the MVM and MBP xformers were talking to each other? I have a Hendyamps The Oven and a Crane Song IBIS that are next to each other in the desk separated by only a half rack space but I don't think I hear any issues caused by their close proximity to each other. Maybe because The Oven xformer is outside it's case on the back rt side and the IBIS xformer is inside it's case on the left side....
I had the Rupert MBP sitting atop the MVM in the rack for many years, with one rackspace between. a couple of years ago i noticed the 120Hz hum slowly rising on the analyzer. and when a retube didn’t fix the problem, by happenstance i separated them while powered On, and noticed the hum went away! problem solved.

Quote:
2 - Kinda stinks that you'll hafta keep the MVM "on the shelf" in order to get to the tubes frequently to re-seat em. But, since my boxes are in a desk, I'm gonna have to pull The Oven out every now and then to check it's tubes.
it’s actually it’s by choice! the unit is in the rack, with nothing above it, with the top screen removed. every few days, before i power up, i carefully reach in and wiggle the tubes a bit to reseat. keeps the connection to the socket fresh, and the noise floor low. plenty of room in & on my giant mothership desk

Quote:
3 - I'm actually kinda surprised that the MVM has Sovtek tubes in it. I would've thought they'd use a more boutique brand like Telefunken, Mullard and the like
I think Manley supply ran out of the more elite brands, and the Russian tubes work just fine, and sound great afaik. second time i’ve retubed the unit over the last 15 years. i usually ask for a matched set.

Quote:
4 - We both had great mentors!! You: Chet Himes; Christopher Cross Me: Phil York; Willie Nelson
Yes indeed! Chet passed away suddenly last year at the age of 73. fabulous list credits he garnered:

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/chet...108662/credits

cheers, JT

Last edited by Jerry Tubb; 3 days ago at 10:26 AM..
Old 4 days ago
  #13
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🎧 10 years
I just purchased my 2nd Manley vari mu with T Bar mod. After a few days of use I checked Dc balance and its 0.8mv on Left channel and 47mv on Right channel which is far from 0-10mv range. As the unit is brand new I contacted manley support if i should adjust it between 0 to 10mv. Manley support replied, if the unit is working well do not make any adjustments. This was a bit confusing for me. If the recommended range is 0-10mv, why should we leave it to 47mv?
Old 3 days ago | Show parent
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amit monga ➡️
I just purchased my 2nd Manley vari mu with T Bar mod. After a few days of use I checked Dc balance and its 0.8mv on Left channel and 47mv on Right channel which is far from 0-10mv range. As the unit is brand new I contacted manley support if i should adjust it between 0 to 10mv. Manley support replied, if the unit is working well do not make any adjustments. This was a bit confusing for me. If the recommended range is 0-10mv, why should we leave it to 47mv?
Well then, i would go with what Manley service recommends, even if it’s counter intuitive, assuming the unit sounds good, and working properly.

I assume the unit was burned-in and calibrated at the factory.

In the Manual, they recommend that after a re-tube letting the unit burn in for at least 8 hours, and warming up for at least 45 minutes, the calibration procedure can be performed.

https://www.manley.com/pro/mslchp

from the Manual:

However, the front-panel DC Balance adjust- ment in step #1 should be checked periodically (every 6 months or so) as this can affect the distortion level of the unit.

Turn the power on and allow a minimum of 45 minutes to warmup before attempting calibration. If new tubes have been installed, final calibration should be done after a minimum of 8 hours burn-in time, in order to stabilize the tubes.

DC BALANCE: set the digital multimeter to read DC VOLTS on it’s lowest scale (usually 200mv). Adjust trimpots to indicate 0Vdc +/- 10mVdc.


I should add that my unit is Not a T-bar mod,

and as i use it with Mastering only, i never drive the unit that hard, barely ever move the GR meters, so distortion isn’t a real issue. I just dig the vibey 3D tube sound, as do most of my clients.

and it could very well be, that i’m being a little obsessive with the DC balance adjustment!

important to Not touch anything inside the unit when powered up, especially the capacitors. BOOM! I always let the unit sit powered down overnight before reseating the tubes.

i’ve Lived on this MVM thing for for almost 25 years now, as a big part of my mastering workflow, and one can develop a funny Spidey-sense relationship with these things. moving the knobs just a hair when working, can make a noticeable difference.

cheers, jt
Old 3 days ago | Show parent
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb ➡️
i’ve Lived on this MVM thing for for almost 25 years now, as a big part of my mastering workflow, and one can develop a funny Spidey-sense relationship with these things. moving the knobs just a hair when working, can make a noticeable difference.
Same. 22 years, used it on nearly every track, even when little or no GR is needed. It's a fantastic final gain stage before capture. Tiny adjustments, especially on the input pot, are very meaningful. Every day I find myself putting on my readers and squinting at that knob as I move it a half a millimeter - for the win!
Old 3 days ago | Show parent
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trakworx ➡️
Same. 22 years, used it on nearly every track, even when little or no GR is needed. It's a fantastic final gain stage before capture. Tiny adjustments, especially on the input pot, are very meaningful. Every day I find myself putting on my readers and squinting at that knob as I move it a half a millimeter - for the win!
Haven't had mine very long, but I'm finding this same kind of thing with The Oven. Just a little nudge on a knob can make a difference....
Old 1 day ago | Show parent
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trakworx ➡️
Same. 22 years, used it on nearly every track, even when little or no GR is needed. It's a fantastic final gain stage before capture. Tiny adjustments, especially on the input pot, are very meaningful. Every day I find myself putting on my readers and squinting at that knob as I move it a half a millimeter - for the win!
QFT truly a great gain stage… big warm 3D…

Bravo, JT

p.s. secret settings i use for Hit records below
Attached Thumbnails
Manley Variable users: How frequently you check Dc balance ?-ff7d463d-367e-459c-a0cd-0ec5168def68.jpg  
Old 9 hours ago | Show parent
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb ➡️
I think Manley supply ran out of the more elite brands, and the Russian tubes work just fine, and sound great afaik. second time i’ve retubed the unit over the last 15 years. i usually ask for a matched set.
Everybody ran out of original 6386 tubes decades ago. The new "6386 equivalent" is made by JJ and it's mechanically very different. It is very, very difficult to make the precisely-spaced grid of the 6386 and JJ chose to make a more coarsely-pitched grid that could be made with their existing machinery. So the curves are different.
Is that a problem? I don't know, but people like to argue about it.

What happened that you had to retube so often though?
--scott
Old 6 hours ago | Show parent
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kludgeaudio ➡️
Everybody ran out of original 6386 tubes decades ago. The new "6386 equivalent" is made by JJ and it's mechanically very different. It is very, very difficult to make the precisely-spaced grid of the 6386 and JJ chose to make a more coarsely-pitched grid that could be made with their existing machinery. So the curves are different.
Is that a problem? I don't know, but people like to argue about it.

What happened that you had to retube so often though?
--scott
Did Manley go back to using 6386 tubes like in the original version?

Mine has 5670s I believe...
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