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Manley SLAM! Mastering Compressor


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  • Proudly from their beginning, MANLEY LABS have been closely involved with numerous mastering facilities around the world. For these most demanding engineers in our industry, they have created specialised products such as their all-tube tape repro head amps, digital converters, high-powered vacuum tube monitor amplifiers, through to custom monitoring consoles, all the way up to complete facility design and installation. The Mastering Version of the SLAM! incorporating detented and logable 1/2dB steps built with 1% metal film resistors on sealed gold-contact Grayhill switches is in full production. Manley's engineers generally prefer it to the non-mastering version for stereo tracks. There is a lot less fiddling involved to maintain L/R balances and the new modes are subtle but fun. It is easy to make just about anything sound better.

    Unique Features for the Mastering Version:

    • There are no mic preamps or instrument inputs. Instead the tube sections are paralleled for lower noise and less distortion.
    • All pots are replaced with rotary switches for detented recallability and easier calibration.
    • The mastering version has a true hard-wire bypass function, which is not possible on the regular version with mic preamps, etc. Now there's one stereo true hardwire stereo BYPASS button instead separate L & R bypass buttons as found in the regular version.
    • On the right side is a button to select the DAC select if the Digital Converter Option was installed – or – enact Limiter Bypass (while keeping the tubes and transformers still active).
    • There are dedicated unbalanced transformerless inputs on the mastering version. On the back is a switch to select the XLR or 1/4” inputs.
    • The ELOP® limiter on the Mastering Version has 5 ratios, which may put it into the compressor/ limiter category. The lower ratios may be better suited for complex mixes.
    • The FET limiter has 5 selectable modes.
    • Digital option is calibrated for +14dBu =DFS rather than +16 dBu.

    First off: no microphone preamps. You mastering engineers certainly don't need those. The mic pre and input select switch are removed and the switches become dedicated "mode" switches one each for the ELOP and the FET limiters.

    1) The ELOP limiter gets more Ratios - 10:1, 5:1, 3:1, 2:1 and something new called AutoHF which starts off as a 1.5:1 ratio and increases gradually to 10:1 for highs. This is something like a de-esser, and of course can work with the ELOP SC toggle at 200Hz for even more effect.

    2) The FET limiters get new modes that are 50%, NORM, LP Lim, BOTH, and CLIP.

    The "50%" setting mixes in the straight signal to the limited signal which is often difficult to do in a mastering environment and because the FET sidechain 'reads' off the output, the amount of gain reduction doubles. It resembles halving the FET ratio but is cleaner due to the mix.

    The "LP Lim" setting only comes into play for hot signals and reduces the depth of gain reduction for high freqs. This translates to - hot signals + moderate gain reduction = brighter, more present signal, less distortion, more balls. This mode allows more high frequencies to pass through without being limited.

    The "CLIP" setting introduces a fixed threshold clipper circuit set up about -2 dB DFS or +18 dBv at the XLR. Within normal usage "CLIP" generally prevents outputs from passing beyond +18 dBv, and 97% of the time, clips in a controlled fast-recovery manner before a converter would (in generally a less than desirable sounding way).

    Finally, the "BOTH" setting on the FET limiter engages both the "LP Limit" and the "CLIP" functions at the same time. This might be appropriate for metal and projects demanding intense volume. The "BOTH" mode is designed for situations where extreme processing and loudness is required but where attack, brightness and aggressiveness needs to be preserved or enhanced.

    3) The LEFT blue erstwhile-"limit" button becomes a master stereo LIMIT bypass switch here in the Mastering Version. When it is not engaged, it becomes a true hard-wire bypass (This was not possible on the mic preamp regular version obviously).

    4) The Right blue button becomes the DAC select switch (stereo).

    5) The what-was-the-Phantom toggle on the back of the unit becomes the Unbalanced 1/4" jack input select in this new mastering version.

    6) There are no pots on the faceplate of the Mastering Version of the SLAM! All of the knobs in the Mastering Version are discrete detented switches in mostly 1 dB steps, with some appropriate 1/2 dB and 2 dB steps, right where they should be.

  • Input Tubes 2 x 12AT7A NOS GE
    Output Tubes 2 x 6414W NOS USA dual triodes
    I/O MANLEY transformer coupled Balanced Inputs and Outputs
    Gain 20dB max Limiter Gain
    Input Impedance FET Limiter: Attack: approx. 100 S; Release: 10mS to 2Sec; Ratio: better than 20:1
    ELOP Limiter: Attack: approx. 10mS for 6dB GR; Release: 2.5 Sec; Ratio: 10:1
    Frequency Response 5Hz to 60KHz
    Maximum Output +32dBm, +30dBm (into 1K load)
    THD+N <.05% @ 1KHz
    Dynamic Range 115dB typical
    Output Impedance 200
    Power Consumption Slam! Analog 0.480 Amps (480 milliamps = 480mA) @ 120V = 57.6 Watts
    0.240 Amps (240 milliamps = 240mA) @ 240V = 57.6 Watts
    Outboard Power Supply Factory set for 100V, 120V or 220-240VAC operation for original destination country's mains voltage.
    Operating Mains Voltage Changeable with power transformer re-wiring via switch and fuse value change.
    Mains Voltage Frequency 50~ 60Hz
    Size 19” X 12” X 3.5” (occupies 2u)
    Shipping Weight 25 lbs.
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