Silk Road is a high end solid state preamp, featuring a fully discrete gain stage with hand matched transistors.
It is probably our most underrated preamp. Don’t let the simple lunchbox looks and solid state design fool you into thinking that this is just another solid state pre. It is packed with features and sounds simply amazing on everything: vocals, acoustic instruments, guitar amps, drums!
A DC-coupled, capacitor-free signal path yields a phase shift free operation, useful especially with low end rich signal sources. Extremely low distortion enables even intense subsequent equalization without unpleasant artifacts. The gain is divided in 3 stages, thanks to the 3 pos toggle switch and the conductive plastics trim control. This facilitates precise adjustment and eliminates gain jumps. The vibe switch is a complex impedance selector that yields 3 distinctive tones: smooth, present and warped. It helps tailor the character of the preamp to suit the instrument recorded and the microphone used.
For even more tonal variation, the output can be transformer driven or electronically balanced. Both input and output transformers are high quality Cinemag units that impart weight and definition to the sound.
Silk Road is a portable, dual channel unit with an integrated power supply and some added features compared to the Silkworm series 500 module. Due to a higher, dual 24V power supply it’s headroom surpasses that of any series 500 units. Additionally, a 3-position high pass filter can help remove unwanted low end.
This unit has an amazing tonal flexibility that ranges from vintage preamp emulation all the way to modern, pristine realism, and as a result excels on everything thrown at it.
Here’s a Martin D16RGT acoustic guitar recorded through 2 Audio-Technica AT4051a pencil microphones into the Silk Road. The converter is an Apogee Symphony I/O:
On this song, Silk Road was used on drums and acoustic guitars:
Our user Dave Pickell sent us this piano recording, 2 Advanced Audio 414 mics in omni mode, A-B setup, plugged into a Silk Road preamp.
A home recording, but the piano sounds big, beautiful and warm. There is no compression or EQ, so the dynamics is quite high. You may want to turn up your listening level up a bit:
Here’s the Silk Road’s first industry magazine review; Sound On Sound puts the unit through it’s paces (July 2016):
One of the reviewer’s final remarks:
“Surprisingly, I can’t think of many dual-channel solid-state preamps with instrument inputs in a desktop-format, let alone any with discrete transistor gain stages or the tonal versatility of the Silk Road!”
You can read the full article here or in SOS’s July 2016 issue.
Silk Road dual solid state preamp – CAD $1875 Buy Now
Here’s the SOS’s Sonic Farm 137th AES booth report:
Fully discrete gain stage for super low distortion
Full DC path, no coupling capacitors
Dual stage servo control for minimal DC offset
Maximum gain 66dB (mic) and 42dB (instrument)
Maximum output level: 32dBu
Cinemag input mic transformer
Cinemag 100% Fe output transformer
Switchable transformer or solid state balanced output
3-way character (vibe) switch
3 position High-Pass filter, 12dB/octave, 80Hz, 160Hz, 320Hz.
Gain regulation twofold: 3-pos range switch and trim control
Mic input impedance: variable (see manual)
Instrument input impedance: 1MOhm
Works on 100 – 250VAC power