Recording - October 2015 - 43

We're not stupid, we realize that if we
could get the retail price down on stuff,
we'll sell way more. We can reach the
musicians in their home studios. There are
way more of those guys out there than there
ever were in the big recording studios,
right? So if we could get to an affordable
level, they're going to buy tons of them.
With the CORE, we started with a target
price: "Okay, here's what the competition
looks like. Man, if we could build something
that does this stuff our way for, say, two thousand, two and a half thousand bucks retail,
we're going to have a winner on our
hands." And from there, we said, "What's
really expensive in the unit? Transformers?
Then let's minimize those. Let's adjust our circuitry so that's not required."
We developed a less expensive chassis. We kept the beautiful faceplate and
all the machining; we know what guys
want from us-they want it to look and
feel like a Manley product, they want it to
be like jewelry, right? But when it's
racked up, they're not going to care as
much about the chassis. We developed a
shorter chassis, eliminated all that handwiring between the inputs and outputs.
We realized how many man-hours it
takes to put a piece together-a dual mic
preamp takes nine man-hours. The CORE
pops together in like an hour.
Wow!
There was substantial cost savings with
that. All of these things, combined with the
strategy about developing the product, led
us to develop a really kickass product,
made in America, for not a lot of money. A
lot of factors went into developing the unit
to cost a certain price, but the key is that we
started with that target, instead of playing
with the circuitry and seeing where it went,
like we did with the VOXBOX.
And yet I noticed that while it's simpler in features than the VOXBOX, the
knobs, buttons, switches... they feel
just like the ones on the Massive
Passive. It's the full Manley experience.
I'll tell you about those pots... at first we
had a mandate from the designer that he
wanted center detents on some of the
function knobs. But Bourns, which makes
every pot on every Manley product, don't
make one with a center detent. We got
other pots and we tried to work with
them, made prototypes with them, and
they didn't feel really good and they
weren't as reliable and consistent from
one to the next.
I had major problems with that. I've
been using Bourns pots for over 25 years.
They're the most bulletproof component
we use, you know what I'm saying? So-
screw the center detents, sorry, we're
using the Bourns.

Now, that said, the feel of the unit is
incredibly important to me, and the user
experience. The first thing the customer
does is to turn a knob-even if it's an
awesome pot, if it doesn't feel sexy, he'll
just say, "Oh, it's a cheap pot," and reject
the whole unit based on that one touch.
And it's a bit unfair. You can't always
judge the sonics or reliability or electrical
quality of a pot based on how they feel.
But people do!
The Bourns pots are amazing, but right
out of the box they feel a little loose. So
we put an O-ring under the knob with a
little grease, and it feels a little sexier that
way. We dress 'em up a little bit. [laughs]
My parents had an old Fisher receiver. I
remember pulling the knobs off it as a
kid, and there were little felt washers
under the knobs; that's where I got the
idea. It works-they feel as sexy as they
sound now.
One of the things I've always liked
with other Manley gear is that every
subsection has its own sound that's
compounded when you put them all
together, similar to what happens with
all the transformers and op amps in an
API console. The VOXBOX had transformers on every stage, which is part
of why it cost so much... what about
the CORE?
In the mic pre / compressor, we come
in with the same mic input transformer
that you find in the VOXBOX. But the
other sections are transformerless, even
though the block diagram, the topology,
is the same as in the VOXBOX.
The CORE harks back to the Mastering
Lab line preamps, the first circuit that the
VOXBOX was based upon. Back in 1989
and 1990 we were working with Steve
Hazelton; not a lot of people know that a
lot of the circuits we still build today were
hugely influenced, if not full-on designed,
by Steve. With the CORE, we decided to
go back to that Mastering Labs mic pre...
it's a little cleaner, a great-performing circuit that'll put out +32 or something like
that. It's a super good-sounding circuit-
huge high headroom, very clean, low distortion.
I've been tracking an album for the
last three months, and I've used the
CORE on vocals, using the compressor
and EQ for tracking. I've plugged signals into the line input and used it as a
compressor and EQ for guitars and
drums... it sounds great.
We've really worked on that, knowing
where the dollars go to keep the integrity
of the sound and the reliability of the
whole unit. It's all about the integrity at
the end of the day, right? It's what we
pride ourselves on.
RECORDING October 2015

43


http://www.royerlabs.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - October 2015

Contents
Recording - October 2015 - Intro
Recording - October 2015 - Cover1
Recording - October 2015 - Cover2
Recording - October 2015 - 1
Recording - October 2015 - 2
Recording - October 2015 - 3
Recording - October 2015 - 4
Recording - October 2015 - 5
Recording - October 2015 - Contents
Recording - October 2015 - 7
Recording - October 2015 - 8
Recording - October 2015 - 9
Recording - October 2015 - 10
Recording - October 2015 - 11
Recording - October 2015 - 12
Recording - October 2015 - 13
Recording - October 2015 - 14
Recording - October 2015 - 15
Recording - October 2015 - 16
Recording - October 2015 - 17
Recording - October 2015 - 18
Recording - October 2015 - 19
Recording - October 2015 - 20
Recording - October 2015 - 21
Recording - October 2015 - 22
Recording - October 2015 - 23
Recording - October 2015 - 24
Recording - October 2015 - 25
Recording - October 2015 - 26
Recording - October 2015 - 27
Recording - October 2015 - 28
Recording - October 2015 - 29
Recording - October 2015 - 30
Recording - October 2015 - 31
Recording - October 2015 - 32
Recording - October 2015 - 33
Recording - October 2015 - 34
Recording - October 2015 - 35
Recording - October 2015 - 36
Recording - October 2015 - 37
Recording - October 2015 - 38
Recording - October 2015 - 39
Recording - October 2015 - 40
Recording - October 2015 - 41
Recording - October 2015 - 42
Recording - October 2015 - 43
Recording - October 2015 - 44
Recording - October 2015 - 45
Recording - October 2015 - 46
Recording - October 2015 - 47
Recording - October 2015 - 48
Recording - October 2015 - 49
Recording - October 2015 - 50
Recording - October 2015 - 51
Recording - October 2015 - 52
Recording - October 2015 - 53
Recording - October 2015 - 54
Recording - October 2015 - 55
Recording - October 2015 - 56
Recording - October 2015 - 57
Recording - October 2015 - 58
Recording - October 2015 - 59
Recording - October 2015 - 60
Recording - October 2015 - 61
Recording - October 2015 - 62
Recording - October 2015 - 63
Recording - October 2015 - 64
Recording - October 2015 - 65
Recording - October 2015 - 66
Recording - October 2015 - 67
Recording - October 2015 - 68
Recording - October 2015 - 69
Recording - October 2015 - 70
Recording - October 2015 - 71
Recording - October 2015 - 72
Recording - October 2015 - 73
Recording - October 2015 - 74
Recording - October 2015 - 75
Recording - October 2015 - 76
Recording - October 2015 - 77
Recording - October 2015 - 78
Recording - October 2015 - 79
Recording - October 2015 - 80
Recording - October 2015 - Cover3
Recording - October 2015 - Cover4
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