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Manley Jumbo Shrimp preamp

26.07.2016..
Manley Jumbo Shrimp
..


ReMusic Spark Award

 

Introduction

Sometimes you have elective affinities with the people, sometimes with the objects. This happens quite often in the Hi-Fi world where groups of audiophiles feel the need of gather in the common passion for a brand or model of audio apparatus.

There are clubs dedicated to McIntosh, Naim, JBL or to specific models like the historical LS3/5A monitor speakers.

If I had to join in with one of these clubs, if they actually exist, it would be at Manley’s club. Not because this is the best sound in the world – by the way, the best sound in the world does not exist – but because I am attracted by their design, the retro look, the blue colour of the chassis, the powerful sound, so intense, solid and bodied.

I love Manley’s amplifications. A couple of years ago I paid a visit to the factory in Chino, California, during a journey on the West Coast, where Eveanna Manley welcomed me warmly and accompanied me to see the plant.

 

Description

The object of my test is the two-channel single-ended line level control preamplifier Manley Jumbo Shrimp with its remote control. Since I got curious about its name, I asked Eveanna Manley directly.

 

“The first variation of the Manley SHRIMP preamplifier was just that this was the baby preamplifier in our range and so in English “shrimp” means also “little” so we bestowed that name on this preamp. And it is a sea creature like our other product names. So when we re-engineered the Remora RF Remote control system into the unit and also added a better buffer for the interstage volume control, we upped the game and changed the name to JUMBO SHRIMP, where JUMBO here means “grown up” or “bigger” as in “more”… and a Jumbo Shrimp is still a sea critter. A tasty one!”

Here you are! From now on, I will call it just Shrimp.

There are six vacuum tubes, two more than in the previous version. In fact, besides the 12AT7EH input tubes and the 7044 output tubes, the 5670 interstage follower tubes have been added. The Remora RF Remote radiates radio frequency so you do not have to address it towards the device. There are five RCA inputs and two outputs so you can drive another power amp for bi-amping or an active subwoofer. On the front fascia, in aluminium and with the typical Manley’s blue colour, are four knobs for on/off, balance, volume and input selection. In addition to Manley’s backlighted logo, there is a big blue led that blinks when you turn on the device. After thirty seconds, when the circuitry is operating, it turns off. The technical data of this preamplifier make assume a great versatility towards any power amp, tube or transistor. The owner’s manual is one of the most complete and deepened I have ever read. You can downloaded it here.

 

Listening session

The Manley Jumbo Shrimp preamplifier has replaced the Plinius M12 in my system and has been matched with class-A AM Audio monoblocks, Immagine Stat Audio loudspeakers, White Gold and Omega Audio Concepts cables, Stat Audio The One, Teac X25 and Omega The Stream digital sources.

Of course, I have made the run-in, but since the beginning, the Shrimp has imposed its strong and authoritative character and has kept it in time although improving the fluidity of emission that has definitely toned down the slight harshness in the mid high frequencies of the very first listening tests.

The sound of the Shrimp characterizes itself in the granitic confidence of the playback. With jazz music, all the instruments have a physicality hard to notice in other preamplifiers. The Plinius M12 is attentive to the details as well, but expresses itself along a flat and not very deep sound scene if compared to what offers the Shrimp. The musical image of this last one is horizontally and vertically wide. The sound scene is great without the “lens effect”, that is a disproportionate enlargement of the reproduced sound, deformed by an enormous wide-angle lens. The Manley Shrimp paints the musical contours of voices and instruments with attention and minutia, in a warm and deep tonal contest. With ReMusic Artesuono’s CD test – special edition for the Munich High End 2015 – the low frequencies of the first and third track have a granitic control and a mighty dynamics in the transients. Mostly in the first track, the Manley preamp gives a real and three-dimensional acoustic scene. The voices are velvety, rich in details and contour harmonics. With W.I.N.D.’s rock music there is a great dynamics with the great control of the powerful transients.

With the tube system, Tsakiridis Achilles power amps with the 300B and Audiosophia RR loudspeakers, the beautiful skills of the Shrimp are unchanged. They sublimate amazingly the classical music, exalt the ability of chiselling the more hidden sounds and harmonics, and give them back with extreme naturalness.


Conclusions

The Manley Jumbo Shrimp is a great music machine capable of satisfying the audio enthusiast in search for an excellent amplifier, I would dare to say for good. The remote control enhances the purchase, the lack of balanced inputs and outputs could be a weak point. This preamp has rekindled my passion for Manley’s amplifications since one of the best preamps I have ever listen.

Magnificent.

I know, another Spark in the Dark from ReMusic to Manley. What can I do about it?

 

 

SCHEME SUMMARY

top score ✳✳✳✳✳ ReMusic Sparks


Tone colour: ✳✳✳✳✳| Warm and natural. Voices and instruments, both electrical and acoustical are credible and recognizable. The tonal precision is disarming, the contour harmonics of odd and even order contribute to the listening pleasure.


Dynamics: ✳✳✳✳✳ | The macro is immanent, present and massive. The dynamic pressure and the sound impact are at the top. The micro is of great value for detail and naturalness of emission. You have just to choose the power amps capable of valorising these good performances.


Image: ✳✳✳✳✳ | Big but proportionate. The sound scene is three-dimensional and with precise contours. The musical stage could be holographic if you have the right sensitiveness to choose the right partners.


Emotion: ✳✳✳✳✳ | A lot. When an audio apparatus during the listening session can catch the attention of the listener giving very little room to distractions, the emotional involvement is complete.


Manufacture and Packaging: |✳✳✳✳✳ | Typical Manley’s. I would like to remind you that the American company deals mainly with the pro. They transfer all the “stage” experience in the Hi-Fi devices. That is a lot. The packaging is as usual simple but well finished and functional.


Price/quality ratio: ✳✳✳1/2 | For the lucky and rich audiophiles it can be affordable in order to get a beautiful machine. For the less lucky, the sacrifice could be heavy. The performances are undoubtable very high. Consider also the second-hand market.

 


Official technical specifications

ALL-TUBE: Vacuum Tube all-triode design

Input Tubes: 2x12AT7EH large plate Electro-Harmonix Russian

Interstage Follower Tubes: 2x5670 GE USA dual triodes

Output Tubes: 2x7044 or 5687 GE JAN NOS

Five Line Level Inputs: unbalanced RCA

MUTE switch and Warm-Up muting delay

ALPS motorised volume control: Accurate tracking usually within 0.5dB. Smooth operation. (no detents)

ALPS balance control: Center detented

Record Output: (AKA “TAPE OUT”) Unbalanced RCA jacks, unbuffered, passive (always ON)

Main Outputs: Two sets of unbalanced RCA main outs for bi-amping or driving a powered subwoofer

Gain: 11.8dB

Input Impedance: 250Kohm

Input Sensitivity: 200mV in yields 1V out

Maximum Input Level: 5V in produces 1.5% THD at output

Frequency Response: 10Hz - 80KHz; 20Hz - 20KHz, -0.3dB

Noise Floor: Typically -83 dB 20-20K with volume control fully open

Noise Floor: Typically -95 dB A WGT 20-20K with volume control fully open

Noise Floor (shorted input): Typically -94dB 20-20K with volume control fully closed

Noise Floor (shorted input): Typically -106dB A WGT 20-20K with volume control fully closed

S/N Ratio: typically 95dB A WGT 20-20K

THD: 0.02% at 1Vrms output

Output Impedance: 50ohms

Maximum Output: +23dBu @ 1.5% THD into 100K load (10.9Vrms)

Maximum Output: +20dBm @ 1.5% THD into 600ohm load

Badge Lamp: LED illumination

RF Remove Control: commands volume control UP/DOWN; uses 9V battery

Power Consumption: 55 Watts (485mA @ 120VAC)

Operating Mains Voltage: Units are purpose built for original destination country’s mains voltage: 100V, 120V, or 220-240VAC as indicated on the serial number badge. Power transformer must be replaced in order to change mains operating voltage. 120VAC units may NOT be rewired to put the primaries of the power transformer in series for 220-240V operation or a large radiated field of hum will develop. If changing locations/voltages, the power transformer must be replaced with the dedicated one for the voltage at which it will operate.

Mains Voltage Frequency: 50 ~ 60Hz

Dimensions: W=19”, L=11”, H=3 1/2”

Shipping Weight: 15 Lbs

 

Official Italian dealer: to Il Tempio Esoterico website

Official current price in Italy: 6,700.00 EUR

Associated equipment: to Roberto “The Rock” Rocchi’s system

 

 

by Roberto Rocchi
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