The Thermionic Culture Culture Vulture is the first and only all valve unit, dedicated to producing the best harmonic distortion money can buy. It can 'warm' a sound gently, or create a noise like a 200 watt guitar stack overdriven with all speakers slashed.
The Culture Vulture is a two channel unit for adding harmonic distortion to a variety of input sources. By biasing and configuring the distortion valve (6AS6), three types of distortion with infinite variations can be achieved.
Although the unit can be 'clean' (less than 0.2% THD), added valve distortion may be quite desirable, improving naturality and smoothing off unwanted digital spikes. But The Culture Vulture can be used for effects!
The user has total control over the type and amount of distortion, which can be changed from even to odd harmonics or a combination of both. Starved, the sound from The Vulture becomes thin and loses its body, overfed, it becomes fatter and more rounded.
The Culture Vulture features two channels which can be used independently on individual tracks, or put across a whole stereo mix.
The 'drive' and 'output level' controls simply vary the amount of gain that the input and output signals are subjected to. An output level control setting of around 8-9 will give the cleanest output for +4dB. Reduce it for lower output levels or when increasing the drive level for higher distortion.
The 'distortion' switch changes the valve from triode 'T' (even harmonics) to pentode 'P1' (odd harmonics). 'T' is cleanest but 'P1' is most popular and will simulate analogue tape distortion at about 0.4mA current reading. 'P2' is an unusual version of pentode and will give more drastic distortion at high bias settings, especially when 'overdrive' is selected. It will also give a frequency doubling effect at certain settings.
The 'overdrive' switch set near the 'drive' control increases gain current by approximately 20dB, and bias.
The 'filter' is a low pass filter operating at 5 or 9 kHz. The 'bypass' switch links the input to output directly, cutting out the electronics of The Culture Vulture.
The meter reads the current flowing through the 6AS6 valve and the bias control adjusts this current. Current setting for lowest distortion is at 0.25-0.3mA.
Inputs and outputs are unbalanced stereo jacks on the rear panel.There are two output sockets per channel. 'Hi' is standard line level (+4dBV). 'Lo' is 20dB below this and can be used to drive an amplifier. Both outputs can be used together. NB. When in 'bypass', the 'Lo' output will be 20dB below the input level. There are also input jacks on the front panel for 'D.I.' use. These cut out the signals from the input jacks on the rear when a jack plug is inserted.
All valves are selected to ensure that the unit gives optimum and consistent performance across both channels. Although Thermionic Culture Ltd. guarantees the valves for twelve months, they can last for up to twenty years.