|Manley Neo-Classic SE/PP 300B Monoblock Amplifier Review|
|Home Theater Power Amplifiers Mono Amplifiers|
|Written by Andre Marc|
|Wednesday, 27 October 2010|
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AVRev: Can you tell us what role you play at Manley and how you got started in a career in high end audio?
Chris Dauray: What role do I play? Well, we all wear many hats over here. I started out at Manley in the summer of 2003 while on summer break from college on the east coast. I was studying music - performance, composition, theory, and recording - and this was a family business already, so it was the logical choice for me. My grandfather (EveAnna's dad) used to own Ampeg back in the late '60s, so the behind-the-scenes of the music biz was already firmly implanted in me. That summer was the beginning of it all. I spent the following summers in Chino learning to solder, wind transformers, test tubes, and fix gear, and I moved to LA permanently in 2006 after I graduated from college.
So what do I do now...for the last few years I've been hand-building our microphones, and working with EveAnna extensively on our marketing and sales projects for both Hi-fi and Pro gear. Trade shows are a big part of it as well, and I'm moving towards doing the marketing and advertising thing full-time. This is partially because I really, really love fonts.
AVRev: Why do you think tube amps are still around and as considering solid state technology has advanced tremendously from its beginnings?
Chris Dauray: I think part of it is science, and part of it is culture. Science-wise: A vacuum tube is a more inherently linear device for voltage amplification than a transistor in a similar circuit. Transient content is better-preserved, because less global feedback is needed to correct for non-linearity. Also, the gigantic potential energy storage in the power supply of a tube amp gives these transients room to breathe. This transient content is where so much of the music is; overtones are what make up the texture and nuance of an instrument, and that texture is vital to accurate and musical sound reproduction. That's the short answer.
From a cultural standpoint, there's a certain allure to tubes that has not gone away - nor do I believe it will in the foreseeable future. Guitar players have always loved tubes because it's simply more FUN and engaging to play a guitar through a responsive tube amp. They clip gracefully (unlike solid-state circuits), and have a magic to them that may sometimes be intangible, but is almost always recognized. Plus, think of it this way - it takes no small amount of effort and money to build a good tube amp (quality parts are expensive!), so *generally* one can assume these manufacturers care about their product, and not just about how much money it's making them. I think people appreciate companies that really BELIEVE in what they do and have a REASON for why they do it.
AVRev: Manley has a reputation of making very fairly priced, superbly built gear. What is the secret?
Chris Dauray: It's funny you should say that, because we (as a company) inhabit two very different worlds. In the realm of professional audio, we build some of the highest-quality, priciest gear available. In the hi-fi world, our equipment is FAR from the most expensive, though our quality standards remain the same.
It comes down to a philosophy: End users deserve honest, realistic pricing, and we try very hard to give them that. Our pricing structure is the same in both the hi-fi and pro markets - the pricing is fair for everyone. We make a little money, our distributors make a little money, and our dealers make a little money. We don't believe in monstrous markups and ridiculous margins. Our pro audio customers (who use our equipment to make a living) wouldn't tolerate it, so why should our hi-fi customers?
Manley Laboratories, Inc.