A cultured beast: Thermionic Solo Vulture rocks your live rig

Written by Elliott Clarke. Posted in Guitars, Studio Gear

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Image: Thermionic Culture Solo Vulture

Published on December 11, 2012 with No Comments

Now over a decade into their mission to convince producers of the wide-reaching benefits of high-end valve gear, Thermionic Culture’s latest release includes some interesting features for use in live bass, guitar, and keyboard/synth rigs.

Based on the modern classic Culture Vulture, the solo version is a 2-channel (clean and dirty) high gain distortion unit. Alongside the the unusual 6AS6 /5725 distortion valve found in its big brother, the solo vulture benefits from basic EQ with Presence Lift, Mid Lift, and LPF options – as well as 4 character options for the distortion circuits. Obsessed with “all vale” circuits, Thermionic have included a noiseless switching system (based on a transistor design) to avoid solid-state components at all costs.

Image: Thermionic Culture Solo Vulture RearA range of instrument & line-level input options spread between the rear and front panels mean the Solo Vulture is equally at home in the studio or on the road. The two channels (with accompanying output level controls) and option to add a third-party footswitch allow the 2U rack unit to be used in a live rig – although the price essentially prohibits its use outside of the professional world. The clean channel bypasses all distortion and effects, essentially functioning as a high-end valve preamp.

Whether the 19″ unit lives in a studio rack or on top of a pro-level amp setup, its uses are many and varied. The obvious option is to use the valve distortion to beef up DI’d guitar and bass tracks; or even to act as an input option in the studio. However, as with the Culture Vulture, some excellent uses can be found on vocals, piano, synths, and other source material, and the Solo Vulture will soon be earning its keep in a busy enough studio environment!

Image: Thermionic Culture Solo Vulture FrontKey features:

  • Extra “SQ” features for more extreme effects;
  • Presence lift (broad);
  • Mid Lift for precise sharp control (previously only on Anniversary Vultures);
  • Low Pass filter on rotary switch;
  • DI on front will take guitars & basses with ample boost for “dirty” effects;
  • Clean & Dirty channels to compare extra effects;
  • Silent switching between channels by switch on front panel or
  • Foot switch (not supplied) can be used via jack on front panel;
  • Stage & studio uses;•All valve signal path – no solid state even in switching;
  • High output with simultaneous low level out for amps, etc.;
  • Quality Build - handmade in England.

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