Thermionic Culture Vulture
The original boutique, all-valve, studio distortion tool — exclusively for UAD-2 and Apollo.
A singular, enigmatic piece of all-valve boutique hardware, the Thermionic Culture Vulture is a distortion hedonist's malleable plaything. For more than 15 years, this British-made, studio-grade, high-gain valve unit has provided a palette of vivid distortion colors — from sublime thickening textures to demonic growls of perverted mayhem — on countless genre-spanning recordings.
Now — thanks to an intense multi-year engineering effort from Universal Audio — you can track and mix with the only authentic circuit emulation of this one-of-a-kind valve distortion tool with the Thermionic Culture Vulture plug-in for UAD-2 hardware and Apollo interfaces.
Now You Can:
Get a full palette of high-gain, studio-grade, dual-stage valve distortion
Dial-in rich harmonic content with three diverse valve topologies — including UA’s first ever pentode tube emulation
Record through the Culture Vulture in real time with Apollo Twin, Apollo DUO, Apollo QUAD, or Apollo 16
Subtly color or utterly destroy existing tracks, buses, or a full mix with the Culture Vulture using any UAD-2 hardware
Get the same sound and controls as the legendary analog hardware with added features like parallel Dry/Wet processing
Mix with artist presets from Tony Maserati, Eric "ET" Thorngren, Rik Simpson, Chris Coady, and more
5-Min UAD Tip
In this video, learn how to easily create midrange warmth on acoustic guitars as well as destroy live drums with parallel processing using the Thermionic Culture Vulture plug-in.
Take a Listen
Dominate your Sources with Three Valve Topologies
The Culture Vulture plug-in for UAD-2 and Apollo interfaces faithfully emulates all of the original hardware’s sonic proclivities and diabolical details, including its three distinct all-valve circuit topologies.
Authentic, All-Valve Circuit
The Thermionic Culture Vulture plug-in captures the natural, “in-between-the transients” dynamic bias response inherent in the hardware's valve-driven circuit — as well as its powerful stereo control set.Use the Drive knobs and Overdrive switches to control the amount of input signal hitting the 6AS6 valves — with up to 20 dB of gain on tap! The Bias controls adjust the incoming voltage, providing dramatic differences in response, from clean to distorted, voltage-starved chatter, and gating effects. Use the Filter controls (9 kHz and 6 kHz) to fine-tune your distortion flavors even further.
Expanded Feature Set for Valve-Soaked Mixes
The Culture Vulture plug-in offers two key features not found on the original hardware. Use the Mix control for parallel processing on any bus, adding gentle valve presence, punch, and grit to drums, vocals, or an entire mix. And with the Link function, you’re afforded a perfectly matched stereo image to save time and preserve balances. While the Thermionic Culture Vulture is not a compressor per se, it can act as sonic “glue” on a bus or an entire mix, deftly teasing out tantalizing sizzle and detail with authentic valve heat.
“I use the Thermionic Vulture hardware on almost every mix, so having a UAD software version was a dream come true. I never thought anyone would be able to mimic the sonic variations of the hardware. I'm obsessed.”
– Tony Maserati (Alicia Keys, Beyonce, Jason Mraz)
“I’m a big fan of Thermionic Culture and own many pieces of theirs to help remove the generic digital DAW sound. I’ll now be using the UAD Culture Vulture plug-in to perform the same function. In short, I love it.”
– Rik Simpson (Coldplay, Portishead, Jay Z)
“The UAD Culture Vulture just became my new secret go-to weapon. The first time I used it to beef up the kick and snare on a Hip Hop track, I knew there was no going back.”
– Ivan Barias (Musiq Soulchild, Jill Scott, Estelle)
“The ‘mighty’ Culture Vulture is one of the best sonic destroyers of all time, and it’s equally useful for bringing life and detail to dull sounds. Now with the UAD plug-in, I can use several instances per song.”
– Chris Coady (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Beach House, Future Islands)
“The UAD Culture Vulture can do all the crazy, blown out sh*t as the hardware. In fact, it’s even better at subtle gaining and beefing up, without getting too shredded. It’s a new/old favorite.”
– Peter Katis (The National, Interpol, Jónsi)
“I love the UAD Culture Vulture on drums, bass, vocals, and guitars. I also found the presets very useful for hearing the versatility and tones this plug‑in is capable of.”
– Jeff Balding (Taylor Swift, The Eagles, Florida Georgia Line)
September 28, 2021
Amazing saturation tool in my arsenal! Just wished it had new bigger UI like the new LA-3A, DBX160 and 1176 ! They look incredible !! Please keep adding the new UI for the classic plugins...Read More
July 14, 2021
Such Brilliant flavour
I've tried many another saturation plug-ins but nothing compares to this one. Yes, each has its own flavour but the authentic feel of warmth. None of the others can achieve that warmth the...Read More
June 24, 2021
It’s amazingRead More
April 29, 2021
sweet sweet sweeeeeeeeet satRead More
April 19, 2021
It's really an amazing vst, the best....Read More
April 18, 2021
Just what I needed
This thing here adds color and grit to what I was looking for to give my beats some spiceRead More
Exclusively licensed by Thermionic Culture Ltd., modeled by Universal Audio
Studio-grade, high-gain valve distortion from a subtle warmth to utterly destroyed
Models entire Class A circuit, including the Pentode-driven input amplifier with bias control, plus valve output amplifier
Three modes of operation including Triode and Pentode modes 1 and 2
Overdrive, Output filtering, plus plugin-only Dry/Wet parallel Mix and Controls linking
Requires a UAD DSP Accelerator Card or Apollo Interface available from authorized dealers worldwide
Thermionic Culture Vulture
Amazing saturation tool in my arsenal! Just wished it had new bigger UI like the new LA-3A, DBX160 and 1176 ! They look incredible !! Please keep adding the new UI for the classic plugins !!!!!
Such Brilliant flavour
I've tried many another saturation plug-ins but nothing compares to this one. Yes, each has its own flavour but the authentic feel of warmth. None of the others can achieve that warmth the triode gives. then just switching to pentode or overdrive: Wow just wow! Simple controls and you can have so much fun trying to get the sound where you want it.
sweet sweet sweeeeeeeeet sat
It's really an amazing vst, the best....
Just what I needed
This thing here adds color and grit to what I was looking for to give my beats some spice
Got no money for real hardware. Was not sure if I want this plug or not because of decapitator.
Turned out - this feels much more real and handles low end much better that decapitator. So I guess it’s closer to the real deal. Loving it anyway - beef up machine.
It's a beast!
The best distortion unit in my toolbox. Very warm and fat, beefing up tracks even when used subtle.
Black box for Black Sound.
best distortion. Can make whatever hard distortion you want. Swiss Army Knife of distortion boxes.
Also better than the hardware?
This unit seems to sound better on electronic sources than the actual hardware in some ways, and doesn't eat as many low frequencies and there's a bit more flexibility on the gain. Most importantly IMHO, it has a mix knob, which the original hardware doesn't have and really needed.
Truly incredible on everything you put it
The Thermionic is pure magic on everything you put it, from basslines to vocals to weird glitchy leads. It can just turn anything into super awesome in a unique way that I've never heard before!
Excellent as the original hardware and everything of UAudio !
Absolute Top ! Magic ! Must to have !
A great big portable studio in my Mac !
By the time and waiting the right promotion i will buy everything of UAudio!
It's my favorite uad tool.. A must have in saturator .. Thanks
La Culture du Grain chaud !
Sublime, rien à dire! j'adore ... l'essayer, c'est l'adopter!
Excellent distortion. Really love it on everything but particularly vocals.
Learn to use it properly. It’s prob the best one of the distortion plugin. I’m blown away.
Like a Reliable Friend
Love the convenience of digital, but long for the depth and grit of analog? Look no further than the UAD Thermionic Culture Vulture. Take your tired, old instrument plugins and give them a new life. Well worth it.
This plugin is one of the few uad plugins to have mixed reviews. It’s not like other plugins that sounds good from the gecko, takes a lot of tweaking to get the sound you want which isn’t a bad thing but I can get very similar results with Fabfilter Saturn.
excellent on bass and 808s