Thursday, May 5, 2016

Cheap Orphan Tube Amps On A Budget: The Silkyn Super 50

This photo came from Kevin Paul, and I borrowed it-something I usually do not do but it was needed here. If I get the schematic he'll be the first to have it.

I recently became aware of the existence of some ridiculously inexpensive tube amps recently and scored one on fleabay. The cost at $209 shipping included makes this amp worth it for the parts alone. The power, output and reverb transformer and tubes plus the Eminence Legend speaker, purchased online would come to about that so I figure I bought it at salvage prices.

This is not my first expedition into the gray world of orphan guitar amps. I've got a couple of Judybox Revivals-they folded a number of years ago-and a repository of information on the Masters TV30 including the schematic and field mod information. But this one looks especially interesting.

It's the Silkyn 50, it's a two channel 50w item with an Eminence Legend, and it comes equipped with a Ruby short reverb tank and channel switching.

According to Fedex it is slated to arrive here tomorrow, and I'm going to be very interested in seeing what I got.

The story of Silkyn Electronics is yet to be told in full,but from what's left of their website over at the wayback machine, they were a startup that folded in the 2007-2008 financial meltdown, and what's being sold by are amps that are leftovers, probably by a recovery specialist or bought from an auctioneer.  The charge was headed up by a fellow named Mark Ausmus who was a veteran of Fluke and Gibson guitars, If these amps sat in a container in the port while the disposition of them was being fought over, that might explain some of the surface oxidation Jeff Fiske saw.

The original intent was to have graphics applied to the cabinets but nobody seems to have seen one of these.

One person has done a` teardown upon receipt and he notes that the construction was not great but pretty reasonable overall, but the tubes supplied were not top drawer stuff.

What I saw there indicates that the circuit board is not terribly complicated, and the next order of business will be to try and obtain a schematic diagram. That may prove to be a task but it is worth the effort.

The intent is to do a teardown and inspection, measure voltages for further reference and photograph as much as I can.

The Washington  secretary of state tells us that the company filed as an LLC in 2007 and was classified as inactive in 2012, which means these amps have been sitting somewhere for at least four years.

I've written to the proprietor to see about a schematic.

UPDATE: The amp arrived today shipped via Fedex ground (good) in fine shape, with all the accessories in the case. It was shipped Monday and got here to central Iowa about noon today while I was mowing and trimming the back yard. Unlike some this amp had never been out of the carton. I did a quickie power up to make sure all was in order and it was, controls worked fine and the channel switching was good. The reverb is kind of thin, not really what I like but that can be addressed.

It should be noted that you need the foot switch on this amp to enable the clean channel and reverb. Odd but true.

Now to pull the chassis, test the tubes, set the bias and see what I got myself into. But first, lunch.


  1. I am kevinpaul and I was the one that first bought the Silkyn amp. I did not know about them. Turns out to be a great amp. They are only assembled in Chins. That's where the trouble started. The crash of 2008 stopped the owners of these amp out of China. They are sold out. So next the reviews from people.

  2. The tubes needed replacement and on many the speaker needs to be set correctly. I set out to buy a Mashall 40 watt when I found these on EBay. I never like the Marshall. This amp at $160 is better and can be trusted more than the Marshall.

    1. Mine needed a pretty thorough retube, looked like the tubes came from somebody's junk box. The power tubes were badly mismatched and the dates were significantly different. The preamp tubes were mostly weak and noisy or both.

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  4. Definitely a possible power transformer problem with these, all pre-amp tube heaters are rectified with a 12 V tap. Way better with a hi-quality power trans running some of the 6.3V heater AC to the reverb & driver heaters, or creating an alternate rectified 12V source.

  5. I've heard that there were power transformer problems but I haven't played mine enough to evaluate it. In any event I have a power transformer from a Crate TV60 which has all of the taps I would need.