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Thermionic Culture Vulture - Stereo Valve Enhancer

Thermionic Culture Vulture

The Thermionic Culture Vulture is the original studio unit dedicated to adding valve harmonic distortion to sounds, with no solid state components in the way. This one-of-a-kind unit has changed very little since it first came out in 1998.

There are 3 main settings for the distortion type:

T provides the typically "musical" effect found with triode valves and is good for "warming up" a sound.

P1 indicates that the "distortion" valve is on Pentode mode to add odd harmonics which make the sound more aggressive, but retain that valve's character.

P2 is the "No Holds Barred" setting and is an unusual way of configuring a valve, and gives an extra octave at higher bias settings.

The Bias control varies the current through the "distortion" valve (6AS6 type) and this current is shown on the milliameter. At low current the Vulture is "starved" and the sound thins and breaks-up easily. At high current, the Vulture is over-fed and becomes quite fat and bloated. At medium current (0.25-0.3 mA) it distorts least, and this is the best setting for "warming up" a sound. When the Vulture is over-driven, the meter may "twitch" and this gives a good indication of the level of distortion.

The Low-pass filter has a 12dB/octave slope and will remove unwanted frequencies above 6 or 9 kHz (selectable) to make the sound more "rounded". The Drive control and Overdrive switch allow the user to control the amount the input signal is boosted before it hits the 6AS6 valve.

The Output Level controls the amount of signal going to the output valve. This control should be set at 8 + for low distortion and turned back when Drive is increased for more distortion, except when P2 is selected.

The Bypass switch completely bypasses the unit so that the Culture Vulture's effect can be accurately compared to the original.


  • The original and only all valve rack-mountable distortion /enhancer
  • Vast range of distortion effects
  • Low pass filters (switchable)
  • Bypass and Overdrive switches
  • 2 inputs per channel, DI at front cuts out LINE at rear
  • 2 outputs per channel, line and low level
  • Standard ¼" jacks, stereo wired unbalanced for all connections
  • Long life high quality valves

Made in England.