Thermionic Culture The Culture Vulture

Thermionic Culture The Culture Vulture

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The Culture Vulture, Other Studio Effect from Thermionic Culture.

8 user reviews

Thermionic Culture The Culture Vulture tech. sheet

  • Manufacturer: Thermionic Culture
  • Model: The Culture Vulture
  • Category: Other Studio Effects
  • Added in our database on: 12/21/2003

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Thermionic Culture The Culture Vulture user reviews

Average Score:4.7( 4.7/5 based on 8 reviews )
 6 reviews75 %
 2 reviews25 %

moosers's review

Thermionic Culture The Culture Vulture
Thermionic Culture's 'The Culture Vulture' is a dual channel unique distortion box.  It is unique because it aims to emulate the sound of valve based distortion, and does a great job at that.  It is an analog piece of gear that has both XLR mic and 1/4 inch connections.  The unit is a rackable piece of gear that will take up two rack spaces.


The configuration of The Culture Vulture isn't too complicated, although there are still a nice amount of parameters here to work with.  Each of the two channels has parameters for input level, bias, output level, and function (which is like mode).  It also has a switch for a low pass filter and for choosing between normal, drive, or overdrive setting.  In addition to these parameters each channel has a bypass switch and metering so you can track your level.  After playing around with this for a little bit I was able to get a pretty good grasp on what everything does, so I don't believe that a manual is needed.


I've never really heard anything quite like Thermionic Culture's Culture Vulture.  It is unique because you can get so many different types of distortion tones with this box.  All of the tones are quite realistic sounding, although I do like some of the modes better than others.  While I usually like to get my distortion tones at the source, as I don't like to go back and add it later ususally, when I have access to this box I don't mind doing it as much because I know I'll be able to get a good tone later on down the line.  I've used this box on vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, and on electric piano and have found it to be suitable for all of these applications when I am looking to add some drive to a signal.


While I don't believe that Thermionic Culture's Culture Vulture is a necessity for any studio, it is definitely a luxury that I'm sure most engineers and studio owners would love to have.  This is one of the best distortion boxes in the form of outboard gear that I have used, and is probably one of the most versatile.  The price of this box isn't cheap, but is indeed designed for professionals so this does need to be taken into account.  I don't know of any other units that are like this one really, so if you're looking for some valve distortion emulation in the form of a piece of outboard gear, The Culture Vulture is the way to go.

mooseherman's review

Thermionic Culture The Culture Vulture
This rackable distortion box is a great simulator of analog distortion. It's all valve, no solid state "impurities". It's basically a distortion box that can be used on anything from guitars, basses, drums and drum loops, pianos, vocals and almost anything else. I've heard that it is possible to get good sounds out of running entire tracks through it. It's maximum output level is +20dBV and it can range from .2 to 99.9% distortion.


The setup is pretty easy. There are two channels (stereo) and each channel has an input and two outputs (lo and hi). There are knobs for drive, bias, and output for each channel. There is a switch for determining which distortion type you are looking for. There are also switches for overdrive and bypass, as well as the power switch. All switches are identical on both channels. A little more than I was expecting but easy enough to use.


This box is too versatile for its own good. The sounds you can get out of it are almost limitless. While you may hate some of the less distorted sounds on an electric guitar, it might work wonders on vocals. There is really something for everybody with this box. Sometimes the amps that you are using just can't do the trick, or you are doing something and it's too clean and polished sounding. This box is perfect for that. I mainly use it on guitars but I've also had great success with vocalists who are looking for a rough, raw sound (punk and hardcore bands). I've also used it on my own recordings for piano, which I greatly enjoyed. Bass can also sound great with this, although I haven't had the opportunity to really do any real work with it. I can't complain about any of the sounds because I feel like there is a time and a place for every sound this box can achieve.


It came recommended by John McEntire (engineer/drummer for Tortoise/The Sea and Cake), so when I finally got the chance to use it I was pretty excited. It didn't disappoint. I haven't really had too much experience with boxes of this nature, in fact it's the only one I currently own. I like the versatility and warmth that can come out of it. I like the fact that it also can really rip when it's cranked. The price is definitely up there, but worth it if you are recording the kind of music that needs a little (or a lot of) distortion every now and then.

Anonymous 's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)

Thermionic Culture The Culture Vulture
- Drive, distortion, harmonic enhancer.
- Pure analog
- Particularity: audio outputs to choose from: Normal or Hi, Hi personally is more violent


- Hyper easy to use: turn the knobs


- A must for electric guitars
- In overdrive, I have the impression that the sound on the lam but it's no big deal:
attention this Last remark is valid for the lines signals; for High Impedance signals (electric guitar), the overdrive is a rgal.


Used for two weeks, it is perfect for me because in general distortion manufacturers think only guitarists, forgetting others.
I put 9 for qualitprix because of the money, not the qualitbr /> Too bad there was not a small built-compressor

antaiss's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)

Thermionic Culture The Culture Vulture
Big fat distortion rack in the "very serious" box thermionic culture is more accurately a rack originally fate band analog simulation ... but with pletoire of various settings that grow are used well well well beyond.

It's all light, the beast is lightweight (I say 3 or 4 pounds max), roughly there's nothing in it
All in all: two mono tracks linkables not provided chacunes 2 lamps. There is a diode lamp recovery in all, the small stock of EPROM and capacitors that go, a small fin passive cooling (which was not there on the old models, and it is not luxury because hard heater has it)
an output trasfo and ... that's it.

Jack connector with two asymmetrical by output levels: low and hight levels for lines.
between an instrument before by the way also for "DI"

non midifiable

I put 8 in the asymmetric, with symmetrical which is about in the master version with knobs crantsa an exorbitant price (marketing ???)


Very simple config a drive, a bias, a lamp choice (triode, pentode 1 and 2), overdrive, high cut filter (off, 9 kHz, 6 kHz) and output per channel, not to mention the primary bypass.

very simple config fortunately so because you have to fiddle with the beast out of succits effects, some randomized or even much basically all depends on the range of the sound spectrum sent in and the level of 'between ...

net short and precise manual, ie the bare minimum but all the way ... there is not much to learn in.


"Effects" diablements effective, there is no effect to prefer or else to hate, it's degrees and colors of different distortion.

it is rather big guy to be used in some cases, very simple in others.
rather we must resist the temptation to spend ALL of it.

I use it mainly warming of synths and batteries tracks (snare kick and even Charlets)

but again it takes time renounce the use of some very synthsdj provided better sound destruction in and others less well.
Same for the drum kits.
FFor subtle adjustments like "master" and "bus" to heat up just slightly is a bit harder to ontenir for the big nag effect.
In fact the machine is very sensitive and in some cases a millimeter more or less changes everything.

the sound palette is impressive and the vulture peculiarity is that it will not flatten the bass level as most of the distortions, it enhances all the same very very low harmonics. A bass sound in there is a regal example.

I add that the bypass route by excellent quality is essential, I always have my hands on it for softs effects it's great to do a before / after.

Small BMOL (9/10) for the overdrive that brings breath and slight buzz, but good is to do the shit disturber because no distortion overdrive mode is no breath or buzz.
However overdrive dsenclench is flat calm.


I've had a good week

I love his cot I can do everything better than everyone.

I have already tried a lot of other distos before notemment in pedals or plugs in.
In the pedals there is the big but with a cow's breath and buzz, and most of the time no finesse, and plug (antares tube, homicide, etc ...) ca ca bouffe the grave and drool. (The tube is not bad even in some cases)

price quality report both outrageous (1700euros) because there is nothing in it, and at the same time very good because nothing happens to him at the ankle.
Just the asymmetric cot which m'enerve a bit to the price because the symmetric version exists for the master with the knobs crantsa 2300 euros I think about. Knowing that as is the all-tube crants knobs are useless because it is not very accurate (+ So boring than anything else for settings purposes) and 500 or 600 euros plus a symmetric s' calls foutage of mouth!

I repeat that choice eyes closed and I think even if I was rich as I have taken the one rather than the master version because the asymmetry in the studio does not bring me any frying and in the present case I am rather happy not to have knobs crants.

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Other names: the culture vulture, theculturevulture, the culturevulture, culturevulture, culture vulture

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