Providence Silky Drive

Can this high-end pedal justify a high-end price?

The new Silky Drive sits in Providence's high-end F Series. It's designed to be a high-end overdrive that "delivers a classic sound reminiscent of the smooth, silky overdrive tones produced by vintage tube amplifiers", with the best stuff Providence can throw at it.

This is not a true-bypass pedal, but it uses a double-contact grounding circuit (DCG), which means there are two ground connections on the output jack to ensure the plug is held firmly, with no danger of any loose connections and resulting extraneous noise. It may well be overkill for most users, though.

You also have the VNS (vitalized noiseless switching) and Vitalizer circuit - essentially a super-plush buffer designed to keep your signal in strong order when the pedal is on or off. That will be of interest to anyone who finds their sound becomes dull and lifeless when using long cable runs and multiple pedal setups.

In addition to master level, drive and tone controls, you also get a gain boost switch. The usual high build quality is evident - including the dims-below-seven-volts status LED..

Sounds

As a rough tonal ballpark, this pedal sits between Providence's Sonic Drive and the Stampede OD; it's less edgy and aggressive than the latter, but more dynamic and with a wider range of textures than the former.

"What remains throughout is the sense of presence, note separation and clarity that the majority of drive stompboxes simply can't match"

With the tone rolled back and moderate drive you can get into Tube Screamer-type territory, albeit with slightly less mid emphasis and stronger bass. More gain and more tone widens things, then with the gain boost engaged you have the wider frequency response and smoother drive of something like Fulltone's OCD.

What remains throughout is the sense of presence, note separation and clarity that the majority of drive stompboxes simply can't match. It should be said that in order to feel the full benefit, you need to be putting it through a quality valve amp at healthy volumes and have - or be aspiring to - the kind of developed, dynamic playing style that can bring it all out.

That said, over £300 for an overdrive pedal is bordering on silly money, no matter how good it sounds. What it offers is a natural-sounding overdrive that responds superbly to playing dynamics and respects the basic integrity of your core tone. If you're on that quest, make a stop at the Silky Drive to see if it can nourish your tonal soul.

MusicRadar Rating

4 / 5 stars
Pros

Exceptionally clear yet versatile overdrive tone.

Cons

The eye-watering price.

Verdict

Wonderful overdrive with incredible dynamics, but with an equally 'incredible' price.

Country of Origin

Japan

Dimensions

72 x 50 x 115

Unit Power Source

18V AC Adaptor 9 Volt Batteries Mains

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.

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