Terry Ellis takes a dip with Manley's quirky, long-lived Stingray II…
The Pursuit Perfect System guru enjoys a swim with the awesome stereo integrated tube amplifier, the Manley STINGRAY II—and appreciates the unique design, the ease of set-up and lush sound.
"The Stingray II is a very easy and simple amplifier to set up and it comes with the tubes pre-installed so you don’t even have to do that—but you do need to bias them manually using a multi meter
and Manley kindly include a multi meter with the amplifier"
"Most Tube amplifiers I have seen are large, crazy heavy with big power tubes—
and the Stingray II is neither, it's modest sized and of average weight and very domestic-friendly."
"…you appreciate just how separated your analogue cables are from each other
and from the power cable in the middle”
"You can also set specific gains for each analogue input to adjust for sources with different volumes
and these are stored on internal memory”
"The design is very eye catching, I have seen lots of different amplifiers—
but you don’t see them like this every day”
"Interestingly though its still a very transparent amplifier as I tried quite a few different DAC and DAC settings combinations to try and find the best—and I could easily hear them all for good and less good.”
“Within 2 minutes this comparison made my mind up about the Stingray II—and I can see why it's been on audiophiles' wish lists for all these years—because it makes tube amplifiers make sense…”
"You will be pleased to know there is a fair amount of tubey goodness sound here as well such as a lush, natural sounding vocal and some smile-on-your-face ‘euphonicness’ "
"Its also got enough minerals and general oomph to power and drive a lot of different speakers—and even speakers you wouldn’t think would work well like the KEF LS50 Meta that I used as part of this review."
"…the Stingray II certainly stands out and leaves a lasting impression on you in more ways than one.”
“I think the word engaging is a great way to describe the Manley Stingray II sound, it has enough audiophile qualities like clarity and timing with a very good sound stage actually but its also a sound that encourages you to switch off the analytical side of your brain and enjoy the music for what it is."
"…more fullness and richness to the sound, better tonality and warmth… You also get a very full and punchy bass”
"I think the Stingray II is a fair bit unusual and definitely a few bits quirky—but it works and it makes sense why it has been available for all of these years… it ticks that many boxes and it doesn’t get crazy hot and doesn’t consume nuclear levels of electricity”
"Its been a great introduction to Manley for me and I look forward to hopefully getting to experience some of their bigger boy or girl amplifiers in the future to see what they can do as they have a few interesting products I have my eye on for sure.”