In this video, sponsored by Universal Audio, I’ve put the UA Manley VoxBox channel strip to work in two very different musical contexts. One is an already tracked rough, raw vocal recorded in a budget home studio. The other a pristine jazz vocal recorded in a state-of-the-art recording facility.
I find the Universal Audio version of the Manley VoxBox channel strip (€299,00) to be very characterful as well as versatile.
It can, of course, be used for tracking vocals in Logic Pro X in real-time in one of Console’s Unison insert slots.
However, you can also use it as a regular insert plug-in for already recorded vocals.
Voxbox Signal Flow
One of the things that make the Manley VoxBox channel strip unique and characterful is that the compression comes before the preamp in the signal flow. See the signal flow block diagram above, which was taken from the Manley Voxbox Owner’s Manual.
Controlling the signal before it hits the Class A tube mic preamp section allows you to use the Gain adjustment for color.
It uses what’s called “negative feedback” and affects transient response, clipping, and harmonics. By separating this from the rest of the input section, we can use the Gain adjustment for color, while controlling the actual level with the passive Input and Output knobs.
The compressor is an Optical style, with no ratio control. The amount is somewhat program-dependent but is similar to a 3:1 VCA style ratio setting. Because it’s transparent by nature and feeds into the preamp section, we can push it relatively hard without any undesirable audio artifacts.
Pultec-style Passive EQ
The frequency controls are three bands of Pultec-style passive EQ, based on the classic Pultec MEQ-5 midrange EQ. The lo and hi controls are boost only, and the mids are dip only. I like the way the high band interacts with the De-Esser section. The different widths interact in a very natural way, yielding great results when looking for sibilant control.
Hear for yourself how the VoxBox shines in both scenarios!