New Gear Review: Solid-State-Logic VHD Pre 500 Module

SSL VHD Pre Module for 500 format racksSMALLSSL adds to their 500 series line with the VHD Microphone pre-amp module as featured in SSL’s Duality, XL-Desk, X-Rack VHD Input Module and the standalone 1U VHD Pre. It can deliver ultra clean SSL SuperAnalogue grade recordings but also has a switchable Variable Harmonic Drive mode. This is a 100% analogue signal path that generates rich harmonic distortion as gain is increased with a choice of either second or third harmonic distortion or a blend of the two in any amount.

At lower gain settings VHD offers just a hint of tube warmth (second harmonic) or transistor edge (third harmonic). But twist the gain right up and achieve any amount of distortion all the way to filthy grunginess if you like.

The VHD Pre Module has four rotary controls: the Drive control selects second harmonic or third harmonic distortion or a blend, the +20/+75 dB input gain knob, the 20/+20 dB trim output level control and a continuously variable 15 to 500 Hz HPF control.

Other pro features include: a signal present LED, a switchable Hi-Z impedance switch for mic impedance matching, +48V phantom power, a attenuator pad to enable the VHD system to be used as a line level processing device and a phase/polarity switch.

The VHD Pre Module sells for $649 MSRP.


Barry Rudolph is a recording engineer/mixer who has worked on over 30 gold and platinum records. He has recorded and/or mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, the Corrs, and more. Barry has his own futuristic music mixing facility and loves teaching audio engineering at Musician’s Institute, Hollywood, CA. He is a lifetime Grammy-voting member of NARAS and a contributing editor for Mix Magazine. barryrudolph.com