Our longterm user and friend Paul Boechler of Fadermaster Studios was hired to produce and record a project in Calgary, Alberta. This particular studio was fitted with EMI Redd 47 preamps, famous for their use on Beatles recordings. The EMI REDD consoles were based on the work of Peter Burkowitz EMI Electrola in Cologne who invented the famous, logical and symmetric control surface. Redd 47′s are pentode preamps with a lot of harmonics and are very sought after by pro audio users. They are very expensive on the vintage equipment market but are currently recreated by some companies in England, costing upwards of $890 per channel (no power supply).
As the project needed more mic pre’s Paul took a sixpack of Silkworms along. Here’s what he found:
Recently I was in engineering a record in Calgary, and Boris was kind enough to lend me a 6 pack of Silkworm’s to take. I haven’t fully gotten into 500 series equipment myself but being able to take 6 pre’s as carry on is pretty fantastic.
(Although you will definitely get taken aside at security with these. Too many suspicious switches.)
I have to say I have used the Silkworm pre’s before, but unfortunately haven’t been able to really compare them against other preamps. The sound had been great, but impossible to test if it was really the Silky’s doing the work.
Luckily this time I was able to compare, and against some pretty fantastic other units.
One of the sweetest things about all SonicFarm products (which holds true for the Silkworm as well) is the amount of gain, and signal to noise ratio. Using it as a room mic for a quiet amp on pedal steel, about 15 feet away there was zero noise, so great for a dynamic project.
The “vibe” switch on the unit I assumed was a basic shelving EQ similar to the Creamer’s “Fat” and “Air”. I assumed this because one of the three way switches position I could’ve swore was a low pass filter, later when I found out that it was actually an impedance switch, this blew my mind! That is the most drastic change I’ve ever heard from impedance switching on a preamp, and made for really natural tonal changes. Worth hearing for yourself for sure.
Sound quality is amazing, as I have come to expect from Sonic Farm products. But I think the biggest telling factor of this unit’s sound is that it has made me completely rethink my stance on 500 series products. And, for $100 less than an API 512c, I would absolutely take a pair of these into any recording situation.
Here’s an acoustic guitar sample recorded first with a Redd 47, and then with a Silkworm.
Pictured above is the Calgary control room; below is the recording room, a sixpack of “Silky’s” and the satisfied engineer, Paul.