Recording - September 2014 - 25

round rolled off top end. The last choice is
W, which stands for Warped; it opens up
the top end slightly with an 8-10 kHz boost.
The right column of controls includes more
mic preamp standard fare such as 48V
phantom power, phase (polarity), and a
mic/instrument switch that selects between
microphone input and a 1/4" instrument
input on the front panel. Also on this side is
a 15 dB pad switch; while pads are usually nothing to write home about, this one is
not only pre-input transformer but it also lowers the microphone impedance as well.
In use
I put the Silkworm to work immediately at
the start of two new recording projects,
both primarily acoustic in nature. The first
was a world-music influenced version of the
Proclaimers song "500 Miles (I Wanna
Be)". Other than the multi-miked group
backing vocals, I tracked the whole song
entirely through the Silkworm, one solo
instrument at a time. I instantly favored the
forward push of the W setting coupled with
the OT output setting, and that is where it
stayed for the whole song. Instruments
tracked included multiple acoustic guitars,
lead vocals, three separate Irish bodhrans,
and a kick drum. The results were full and
solid, and the Silkworm did well to capture
the raucous nature of the track.
The next Silkworm session was a young
female singer/songwriter with a Martin
acoustic guitar played as she sang. For
her vocal, I stayed with the OT output setting but this time put the Vibe switch in P
mode. I used the Silkworm with a
Pearlman TM-47 mic (also reviewed in
this issue) and was very pleased with the
weighty and sonically pleasant nature of
the recording.
I did try the S setting for both sessions
and found it a tad too rolled off for my
tastes. I later found this setting useful on
shrill sources or for imparting a purposeful dark vibe to a track.
Sounds like?
I find this a hard mic preamp to pigeonhole as sounding like this pre or that pre.
On its website, Sonic Farm mentions a similarity to a Neve 1073LB, but since I don't
have one on hand to compare it with, I
won't go out on a limb and corroborate
that claim. I do have a Great River
MP500NV mic preamp in my collection,
which is known to hint at a Neve flavor,
and I can say that these two preamps did
share sonic similarities. Overall I would easily put the Silkworm in the classic console
mic pre category with a solid forward feel.
Even though it has the option of a transformerless output, thanks to its transformered input it still has weight and character. Some say that switching off the
transformer output gives the Silkworm the
sound of a completely clean "wire with
gain" preamp as you would expect from

firms like Millennia Media, GML, or
Grace Design, but as a longtime Millennia
owner I hear-and like!-the difference.
Removing the transformer in the output
stage widens the sonic spectrum by a hair
and subdues the weight of the mids while
giving a touch more openness to the lows.
As such, it is similar to designs by Daking
and Focusrite, putting it in great company.

Conclusions
If I have any small complaint at all
about the Silkworm, it would be with how
its Vibe and output staging controls are
labeled. I mentioned how odd it is to have
a "Solid State" setting on a device with no
tubes. In addition, on the Vibe control, S is
indeed Smooth, but the neutral setting
should be called that, not Presence, which
makes one think of enhanced highs and
high mids. For that tonal response, instead
we have "Warped", which implies distortion or other strangeness that isn't there.
[Zoran Todorovic agrees. The original
design had a "Warm" setting; early test
users asked that it be tweaked to the current sound, but the front panels were
already made... so the Sonic Farm folks
just changed what "W" meant.-Ed.]
That quibble aside, what I like most
about the Silkworm is that it retains its
base sonic signature, while the output
and Vibe switches offer great variations
on a theme rather than trying to be two or
three mic preamps in one. Users will happily live with the naming conventions if
they have a chance to use a preamp that
sounds this good!
The Silkworm is a great-sounding, solidly
built, and highly versatile entry into the
world of 500 Series preamps. It evokes a
classic preamp sound with being too heavyhanded, and its wonderful sonic alterations
take it over the top. Another product to
watch for, from a firm to watch for!
Price: $700
More from: Sonic Farm, www.sonicfarm.com
RECORDING September 2014

25


http://www.emotivapro.com http://www.emotivapro.com http://www.sonicfarm.com

Recording - September 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - September 2014

Contents
Recording - September 2014 - Cover1
Recording - September 2014 - Cover2
Recording - September 2014 - 1
Recording - September 2014 - 2
Recording - September 2014 - 3
Recording - September 2014 - 4
Recording - September 2014 - 5
Recording - September 2014 - Contents
Recording - September 2014 - 7
Recording - September 2014 - 8
Recording - September 2014 - 9
Recording - September 2014 - 10
Recording - September 2014 - 11
Recording - September 2014 - 12
Recording - September 2014 - 13
Recording - September 2014 - 14
Recording - September 2014 - 15
Recording - September 2014 - 16
Recording - September 2014 - 17
Recording - September 2014 - 18
Recording - September 2014 - 19
Recording - September 2014 - 20
Recording - September 2014 - 21
Recording - September 2014 - 22
Recording - September 2014 - 23
Recording - September 2014 - 24
Recording - September 2014 - 25
Recording - September 2014 - 26
Recording - September 2014 - 27
Recording - September 2014 - 28
Recording - September 2014 - 29
Recording - September 2014 - 30
Recording - September 2014 - 31
Recording - September 2014 - 32
Recording - September 2014 - 33
Recording - September 2014 - 34
Recording - September 2014 - 35
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Recording - September 2014 - Cover3
Recording - September 2014 - Cover4
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