Manley Neo-Classic SE/PP 300B Monoblock Close Window  
Dear Eveanna,

An overdue note to let you know how much I'm enjoying your Neo Classic SE/PP's. I've enjoyed playing music so much since receiving them, I guess I've been getting behind in my e-mail. Sorry about that (well, not about enjoying music!).

These are really phenomenal amplifiers. They've got all the "T's" and "D's" covered -- tonality, texture, timbre; depth, dynamics, and dimensionality. The "A's", too -- ambience, air, acoustic. And they definitely don't neglect the "B's" either -- bass, beat, and balls!

Well, you get the idea. . .

With the right pair of (efficient) speakers there isn't a type of music that the Neo's can't play well. I've been Thunderstuck! by AC/DC, toppled over by Cantate Domino, enchanted by Janis Ian and Sarah McLachlan, blown away by Count Basie.

The flexibility of their single-ended/push-pull design and variable feedback means I can dial them in to match the room, the speaker and the musical selection of the moment. For the first time in a long while, I've been able to sit down and actually enjoy digital. Vinyl is superb!

My thanks to you, to Mitch, and your entire Manley team for your commitment to tube audio and music enthusiasts. I'm having the most fun I can remember enjoying music with the Neo's. Only one question -- would adding the Neo Classic 300B preamplifier be TOO much of a good thing? 8^)

Steve Zettel

Dear EveAnna,

Received my Neos a couple of days ago but only got down to some serious listening today.

Aesthetically, they truly are a knock out. How I could have doubted you, I don't know. They look more substantial than the Retros and more elegant at the same time.

Now for the real stuff. I was already more than impressed at CES. After listening to them for 5 days, 12 hours per day, I knew they were special and a definite improvement over the Retros. But now, having them in my reference system has really shown me how incredible they are. On my Total Eclipses, they simply are the finest full range amp I have ever heard. They do everything at least exceptionally well and its weaknesses are so minor as to be insignificant.

While the power rating has been dropped, the Neos are gutsier, more dynamic with tighter, more impactful bass than the Retros. The Neos are also far purer and faster .

A substantive step forward in all directions.

Best Regards,

Coincident Speaker Technology
Designed By Science Driven By Passion

51 Miriam Crescent
Richmond Hill,Ontario,L4B 2P8 Canada
Tel.905-886-6728 Fax.905-886-2627

Dear Eve Anna:

Having spent around 100hrs. with the new Neo Classic 300B, I can confirm that the new amp is a far more than a subtle improvement over its predecessor. It is an order of magnitude better. First one can 'see' far deeper into the soundstage, as once unnoticed veils are lifted, and works that you once knew completely are now presented anew. Vocal details of breathing, the cracking of a voice, small roughness in the bottom of the throat, the sliding of hands on guitar strings, air blowing over a reed, the keying of a saxophone, yes, all these details are now presented in a way which makes familiar works new to your ears. Next the soundstage is wider and deeper, without loss of texture or harmonics. Dynamics are significantly improved, incredibly so, and you are fooled into thinking this is a far more powerful amp than its 36 watt predecessor. Yes, all these improvements without any loss of that incredibly rich, liquid like midrange that only a Manley 300B amp can deliver. This amp is a stunning success and the entire Manley team should take a well deserved bow. Wow, what do you have for an encore?

Regards, Bill Krause

Hi EveAnna,

First things first, I'll be making provisions in my will to be buried with your NeoClassics! To anyone else who happens to read this, just keep in mind the rules; sensitive, higher impedance speakers only. I'm using Israel's Eclipse speakers with them, you want to talk about a match made in heaven, this is it. My humble looking but super sweet Birdland DAC drives them directly via Taddeo's 'digital antidote', which also doubles as a nice buffer since I don't use a preamp.

So it's been over a solid month now, not counting the four, 10 hour days I luxuriated with these amplifiers in Vegas last month and the thrill is NOT wearing off! And once again, the night before a long busy work day, I'm up well after 1:00 am because I just had to play one more CD, and then one more CD etc. And now with a full moon outside bathing these magnificent conduits to inner peace in a celestial glow, your friend and humble narrator is especially moved to report this on-going experience. This type of amplifier; that is the direct heated 300B triode inspires outwardly normal folks to states of extreme passion and zeal that is simply not observed anywhere else in audio. This is very significant. You don't find Mr. Tweaky, itchy, fidgety Solid State deliriously scrawling words of rapture about his audio experience at 2:00 am in the morning, no sir.

There are reasons to be afraid of owning the Neo Classic, or any low powered, triode-type amplifier. Yes, tubes cost some money and don't last forever. Yes, you'll have to develop a bit of an intimate relationship with these amplifiers, sort of like a good country doctor, but you'll want to be that way with them anyway. Yes, you'll have to choose your speakers more carefully than normal people. Yes, you might start obsessively hoarding rare , NOS vacuum tubes in your safe deposit box to future-proof the joy that is your life. But that's not a big deal. The only real problem is the pseudo-technical ranting of the mainstream audio press will create extreme conflicts between your heart and mind as they do a very good job arguing that you are NOT ALLOWED TO ENJOY THE AUDIO EXPERIENCE THIS MUCH. This is the pathetic state popular high end audio has come too. I'm not going to bother with technical retorts against that mentality, though there are many worth mentioning. Stand your ground and don't be afraid. The triode revolution is not some insidious plot to blind your eyes and steal your soul, they're the good guys. Only one thing in audio matters and that is what emotionally connects you to the music you love. Trust your heart.

Ok, bottom line is sensitivity to low level detail, coupled with NATURAL rendering of musical dynamics. Both of which your Neo Classics do to such a degree of perfection that it's almost eerie, truly magical. These amps have these qualities without the stereotypical compression, soggy bass and over-ripe, sweaty midrange that a not so well executed triode-type amp can have. In Push-Pull mode especially, you get staggering clarity and uncanny harmonic accuracy, anything but the stereotypical gooey caramel coloring that so many people mistakenly think ALL triode amplifiers do to source material.

In my opinion, the thing that really keeps this whole triode controversy going is the dismaying fact that not everyone who has heard a triode amplifier has had this same experience - there are a few too many inferior examples around, especially when paired with the wrong type of speaker. When they're bad, they're really bad. But the Neo Classics? Absolutely crystal clear, stable, coherent, vivid, organic un-mechanical sound all the time - a solid, unwavering, intimate, privileged vision deep into the heart of the musical moment. How's that for gushing? But I'm not kidding around, they really get you right were you live. Bass? Well if your audio system needs to be able to rupture your spleen to please you, then go to a freakn' disco. But for natural portrayal of real music, bass is right on. Kettle drums, even pipe organ, and of course string bass, and bass drums, all sound as perfect in pitch and dynamic extension as you can get. Best of all, I'm not stuck with only jazz and string quartets to enjoy. Even Hendrix materializes out of thin air, straight out of that roaring wall of those gloriously overloaded Marshall Plexi amps he played through 30 years ago. Same goes for any electrified blues-rock type stuff, hell, even Limp Bizket sounds righteous through them. Well I guess you can't quite melt your eardrums with these amps, but maybe that's a good thing.

These amps just come on like living and breathing creatures, they're fast, tight and relaxed, in all the right places and at all the right times. Again it's the superb sensitivity to detail, and without ever being unnaturally forced, dynamically speaking. But how do bad recordings sound? You'll still hear bright nasty, bad 'Helen Keller mastered' digital recordings for what they are. Your Neo's really don't sugar coat anything which is a testament to my position that they are exceptionally transparent for ANY amp and especially for a lower powered triode type amp. But, what they DO NOT do, and this might be a key statement, is they do not seem to HYPER-REACT to the harsh high frequency distortion that is inherent in all bad digital recordings (and still lurks in most good digital recordings). Well recorded triangles, bells, cymbals, violin etc, clearly demonstrate that there is absolutely nothing rolled off or artificially soft about these amps. So clean and clear at all times, virtually invisible.

I guess the world seems pretty simple to the modern generation of solid state amplifier designers; the widest bandwidth the lowest distortion the highest damping factor all irregardless of how that-s accomplished and you're done. And the mainstream audio world has been suffering ever since. I think it's sad that the vast majority of audiophiles and music lovers have never had a listening experience like this, many of whom have spent a LOT of money over the years and owned a LOT of different gear. What we're SUPPOSED to be working towards in my opinion, is the RE-CREATION of the original musical event, and that takes a lot more than the simplistic 'voltage out like voltage in' mentality to pull that off. What this incredible feat requires after the basic bench work is done is ARTISTRY, which is partly good judgment, not just pushing the envelope of the fastest, stiffest, loudest, highest, biggest, sharpest, etc, those are the easy things.

Well, I hope I've made a point somewhere. Awesome job EveAnna and crew, please tell everyone there that had anything to do with these amps just how utterly superb I think they are. So far I've heard them through three very different, though all 'triode-friendly' speakers and the charm of these amps showed through all of them loud and clear. Build quality is also superb. They're just so strikingly handsome from every angle, they never fail to fascinate anyone and everyone who sees them over here. And lastly, the male ego sure doesn't mind seeing the glowing word 'Manley' on the faceplates' it's the first and last word I see each day and night. So God bless Manley Labs!!!

Best Always,

Max J Kreifeldt
Silver Audio

Dear EveAnna,

I wrote you an E-mail on July 13th. It was about auditioning the 300B's and having a hum problem. The amps were sent back and you made them quiet again. I re-auditioned them and loved them. Holm Audio ordered me some and presto, I got them today. These amps are even quieter than the demos. I love the black chassis and the badge light is way cool. I like the white light. Just wanted to tell you they sound great and thanks for getting involved.


Greg Piechalak