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Manley Massive Passive Stereo Tube EQ (Mastering Version)  From Manley

Manley’s tube stages handle huge HF boosts without sibilance and unbelievable fatness without mud. “It’s like a Pultec on steroids.” 

Manley Laboratories Inc


Price:  $8,399.00

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What We Think

You can find it in just about every mastering studio in the world, the Manley Massive Passive is an exemplary powerhouse of an equalizer. Simultaneously bold yet transparent, the subtle rounded tone of this pultec-style EQ has everything you could ever ask for if you're looking to achieve perfect tonal balance for your mixes. 

On the outside, this machine is crafted with care and precision to achieve that classic studio feel while at the same time not looking out of place on the interior of a NASA spaceship. 

These units are built like tanks and each one undergoes rigorous quality assurance before ever leaving the factory so you can rest assured knowing your product will be ready to use the minute you unbox it. 

For engineers all over the world, the Massive Passive offers up the luxury of having a precise yet unobtrusive passive equalizer that will help form-fit your mixes into the sonic masterpiece they were intended to be. Out of all the players in the Pro Audio game right now, Manley has proven itself time and time again to be a name you can trust.  

Manufacturer's Description from Manley

The Massive Passive is a passive design and not a "true parametric". A true parametric implies non-interacting controls. In the Massive Passive, the "GAIN" and "BANDWIDTH" controls DO interact (on purpose). We cannot create a "GAIN" switch that is set up for "consistent" 1/2 dB steps. When you change the "BANDWIDTH" the step size must and will change. On the regular version, you get a full 20dB boost or cut only when: the bandwidth is fully clockwise (narrow) in bell mode or fully counter-clockwise in shelf mode. Here on the Mastering Version, this maximum boost or cut is 11dB. Conversely at the widest bell, the maximum boost or cut is 6dB and the narrowest shelf maxes out at 12 dB. A similar situation is also true for the bandwidth detents. So in this new Mastering Version, do not expect a certain dB change per step as it will vary according to where the bandwidth is set. But whatever the step sizes are, they will be repeatably 16 steps. The FREQUENCY select is already detented as it is and always has been a Grayhill switch. It also interacts in shelf mode.


On a similar note, the Massive Passive is a "parallel design" and not the conventional "series design". This means the bands interact with each other too. It is possible, to set a band to boost 20 dB but if another band is boosting near or at that frequency, very little will happen. On a conventional EQ the two bands "add" and you would be boosting 40 dB into clipping. Because the bands interact, predictable step sizes are unrealistic, however, with the Mastering Version, you will be able to repeat settings (if you log them of course). The price paid for interacting bands, is a better sounding EQ and bizarre looking settings (on purpose).


Unlike virtually every other EQ, the Massive Passive allows much more EQ without sounding "processed". Where 5 or 6 dB is about all one could attempt with other EQs in mastering, the Massivo amazes engineers with how much EQ they can do and get more "natural" results at the same time. We could have squeezed 11 position Grayhill switches in the modules if we had wanted 1/2 dB steps but then the maximum range would have become only 5.5 dB. Remembering what we stated above, the minimum range would then become about 1.5 dB with approximately 0.2 dB steps. This approach would have essentially thrown away most of the useful range the unit is capable of. Going with these special mechanically detented knobs which use the same pots underneath that the normal Massivo uses, we get nearly all the range of the normal version, but with the repeatability of the detents.


We have also custom tailored the FILTERS in the Mastering Version specifically for Mastering purposes, moving them lower and higher than the normal version, with mastering engineers specifically in mind. The slopes are all 18dB per octave on the mastering filters except for the highest 52kHz Low Pass filter which has a 30 dB/octave slope. If you are looking for drastic effects (like telephone sounds) then get the normal version. These filters are really geared for mastering engineers.


High Pass Filters: OFF, 12, 16, 23, 30, 39 Hz

Low Pass Filters: OFF, 52kHz, 40kHz, 27kHz, 20kHz, 15 kHz

Additionally, the Master Gain Trim controls in the Mastering Version are true 11 position 1/2 dB stepped Grayhill switches set up for a range between -2.5 to +2.5 dB of master gain trim. This allows more confidence in left/right matching and calibration. The gain change voltage divider occurs before the final tube amplifier stag and after all of the passive EQ circuits.



 ♦ All-Passive tone sculpting circuitry 

 ♦ Unique Shelf curves use the "bandwidth" control 

 ♦ Overlapping and Interleaved Frequency choices 

 ♦ Every band switchable to shelf or bell 

 ♦ Vacuum tube make-up gain and line drivers 

 ♦ Parallel symmetrical topology 

 ♦ Premium components throughout 

 ♦ HP and LP Filters

 ♦ STEPPED GAIN trims -2.5 to +2.5dB in 11 steps of 1/2dB each

 ♦ Metal Manley mechanically detented GAIN and BANDWIDTH control knobs 


Manley Laboratories Inc

About Manufacturer

The MANLEY brand has been around since the late 1980's. Manley's first commercially available products were upper echelon high-fidelity vacuum tube amplifiers and preamplifiers constructed at the old Vacuum Tube Logic of America factory.

In this history lesson, we'd like to direct special focus on our people at Manley Labs. The people whose years of dedication, service, and expertise bring you people, our customers, these products. It's all about the people...

On January 30, 1989, a 20 year old EveAnna on sabbatical from her studies at Columbia University met the crew and was hired on to the production team. Baltazar Hernandez, already with two years experience, taught her how to solder in those first few days. It was in 1989 that the first Manley professional products were developed, starting with the original 1u Reference 60dB Microphone Preamplifier and soon followed by our Manley Enhanced Pultec and Mid Frequency Equalizers. Baltazar and EveAnna, busy building gear, were soon joined by Saulo and Ramiro. Just next door, Elias was employed by a printed circuit board maker later brought into the Manley Labs fold when in 1993, Manley Laboratories, Inc. became a separate entity apart from VTL. The new Manley Labs factory at 13880 Magnolia Ave. in beautiful and bovine Chino, California was outfitted to house the Manley HiFi and Pro Studio manufacturing as well as the Langevin production lines, our newly acquired machine shop, and printed circuit board facilities.


Ins & Outs Balanced XLR & 1/4" (accepts unbalanced) 

Level +4 dBu nominal, internal switches for -10 operation 

HARDWIRE Bypass Switch (unit does pass audio when powered off) 

44 Frequencies (roughly 1/4 octave spacing) 

Frequency Range: 22 Hz to 27 kHz 

EQ Boost/Cut Range: Maximum 11dB boost or cut

Nominal Q range: 1.5 to 3 (uniquely active in shelf modes) 

Frequency Response: ±2 dB: 8 Hz to 60 KHz 

Maximum Output @ 1.5% THD +37 dBv; +26dBv @ 20 Hz 

THD & Noise (1KHz @ +4 dBu): 0.06% 

Noise Floor (referred to +4dBu): -85 dB (A Weight) 

Dynamic Range: 120 dB 

Tube Complement: 2 x 12AU7, 4 x 6414 

Power Consumption (120/240VAC): 72 watts 

Unit is factory set for 100V, 120V or 220-240VAC operation for original destination country's mains voltage.

Operating Mains Voltage changeable with power transformer changeover switch and fuse value change.

Mains Voltage Frequency: 50~ 60Hz 

Size (3U): 19" x 5.25" x 10" 

Weight: Unit 21 lbs. Shipping Weight: 27 lbs.

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