Manley Reference Pre-amp

I am using a Manley Reference Pre-amp and satisfied with its superior sonic performance except its overwhelming mid-high(or rather lower treble.) Can this be salvaged?

Current set-up:

Marantz CD-11
Manley Reference Mono 160W
Connections: MIT cables
Speakers: Dynaudio 1.3Mk2
Mark, I'm intrigued by your comments; I have always been very curious and interested in trying a Manley Ref. pre. I have used a pair of Manley Ref. 200/100 monos for a few years and think that they are fantastic. When I was in the market for a pre, shortly after buying the amps, I was very influenced by a pre-amp survey that HP wrote over the course of three issues of TAS. Two of the pre's that he reviewed (issue #62)were the Manley and the Melos 222c, which I ended up buying.

The reason I bring all this up is that in the reviews, HP praised the Manley's high frequency reproduction as being the best (natural) of the entire survey. At the same time, while liking the Melos and ranking it second only to the CAT, he described the Melos' highs exactly as I hear them. I love the pre-amp(Melos), but it is definitely on the dark side. Now, we know that his is only one person's opinion; but it appears that he is on the right track. He finished the review of the Manley by stating: "produces superb reproduction of the high frequencies and shows the way for future designs".

It's interesting that in your system you find the highs are overwhelming. What comes to mind is:

- A component that is really transparent in a certain frequency range will reveal associated components' problems in that range that much better. Have you tried different tube brands? The right tube can make a tremendous difference. In the Melos pre I have found the highly regarded Siemens 6922's to cause a band of brightness in the middle highs. The Telefunken 6DJ8's have a more linear response in that range. I haven't heard the Marantz, but is it possible that the brightness is coming from the source component?

- What is the pre sitting on? I have found that with tubed pre's, footers of the soft kind can mellow out mid-highs. Ditto for the CD player.

- I have tried MIT cables in my system and found that the ones I tried (Shotgun, Terminator) while definitely appearing to soften the extreme highs could then, as a result, cause the middle highs to seem prominent and out of proportion. I don't use them currently, but have you tried Cardas? Just a hunch.

You may have tried or considered all of this; if not I hope it helps. Keep us posted with your progress with this.

Regards and Happy New Year.
Frog offers some excellent suggestions. Interconnects, isolation shelving, cones, pods, tube rolling, even speaker cables will all influence your results. Also try experimenting with different upgrade AC cords, not only on the preamp but also the source components & power amps. If you haven't tried AC cords yet then begin at the preamp, then the PA, then the source (you do the source last because if you do that first then all later downline tweaks will influence the source too). There is a whole lot that can be done to tweak your rig; certainly it's salvagable & if you're dedicated then it can be simply delightful.
also, don't forget about speaker positioning. Too much toe-in can sometimes result in peaky sound between midrange and tweeter -- this I learned from experience. I'd play with speaker positioning before moving on to experimenting with cables.