Review: Manley Laboratories Stingray

Category: Amplifiers

Dimensions: W= 19", D=14", H= 5 1/2"
Shipping Weight: 30 lbs.

The 12AT7WA has several equivalent numbers, (12AT7, 12AT7A, 6201, ECC81, etc.)

DRIVER TUBES: 2 x 6414
The 6414 is an American military uprated version of the 12BH7A with increased current drive.


Bought used but in excellent condition at Audiogon about 6 months ago. Wonderful looking amp. My wife also took to it immediately though there are a lot more interconnects because it has multiple inputs. I am using these with a set of B&W Nautilus 805. Prior to getting the Manley, I was using the Decware Zen Select 2.5w/pc Single Ended Triode. This is not a review of the Zen but you must know that thus far the Zen is the benchmark in resolution if not power/volume.

The first thing about the Stingray is that is controls the speakers very well, and instantly the Bass is more alive. I have substituted the stock 12AT7WA (EI?) with Westinghouse NOS. I have 4 of these and had to try out different onese to get the volumes on each side to match (anyone know why?) even after bias adjustment..

Sound- Jazz (P. Barber / SACD Bruebeck Time Out / Kind of Blue) - These just sound as if they are in your room (my living room is large and open with cathedral ceilings). P. Barber's voice is thrown about 2 - 3 ft in front of the speakers (track: Mourning Grace) and the cymbals have that typical tube shimmer (clear, sharp, tapering off, end) and the drums sound as they are being played behind her. Note that on this track, the drums have been placed in a large area for some reason (my speakers are about 10ft apart) but other drums on other jazz discs are contained in a fairly restricted area (I like them that way). On Kind of Blue you will pick up more cues (is that someone fooling around in the back during the initial 2 mins of Kind of Blue?). While I could make this out just bairly on my CJ/Carver/ARC system in the basement with the Stingray/B&W you can reach further into the sound. Bruebeck / Time Out SACD sounds just magical with the liquid (my brother described it as 'wanting to bite into the midrange') magic tubes deliver. The imaging on Time Out is dead on with the drums on the left side for the most part. The volume control depending on the tracks stays between 9 and 10 and pretty much around 11 or 12 the amp give up control. This is fairly loud mind you.

Club / Trance / Dance

Recently have been playing a lot of Amanda Ghost, Aubrey, IIO, Kartina Ruiz, etc. These are great dance songs which I just could not play with the Decware. It did not have the power to play anything but Jazz. Not so with the Stingray. Rock, Dance, 70s, 80s, all come out like never before. While the 805s are bass restricted I never felt the need to add a subwoofer.. It would in my opinion overpower the mids. Note that the Stingray has a sub output which is connected to the volume control so that this does not pose a problem. Also on the convenience end there is a tape output that I am using to drive a Grado Headphone amp.

So there. I really like this amp. Not looking to replace this anytime soon. A classic of American Design and very retro looking. A great combination of sound and work of art.

Associated gear
B&W Nautilus 805, CatCables Silver Interconnets, Sony DVP NS755v SACD/CD/DVD Player, generic 12gauge speaker cables.
I owned a Stingray for about 6 months and it is a very sweet amplifier. I think it has about the best midrange tone of anything I have owned. It does horns especially nice with just the right 'golden glow'. It also seems to do the PRAT thing quite well.

A beautiful amp that seems ignored.

It was not quite enough to drive my Maggies and had not remote so I sold it.