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Thermionic Culture Vulture

Thermionic Culture Vulture

Regular Price: $299.00


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Regular Price: $299.00


You'll Save 50%

You have no items in your shopping cart.

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
5-Min UAD Tip

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

Take a Listen
Dominate your Sources with Three Valve Topologies

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

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

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.

Key Features

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

Customer Reviews

Thermionic Culture Vulture

Overall Rating

A. Frederic

May 29, 2020

I can't select it in "Input Unison" Apollo twin Usb 3

Beware there is a problem in what is said:
"Record in real time through Vulture Culture with the Apollo Twin, Apollo DUO, Apollo QUAD or Apollo 16", you can't record in real time with an Apollo twin"
I can't select it in "Input Unison"
Apollo twin Usb 3

J. Carlson

May 25, 2020

Top 3 Saturation

Ive tried many saturators and this is in my top 3 no doubt. Need some more time listening to it on different instruments and monitors but I'm loving it so far.

V. Fedyaev

May 14, 2020

Я искал этот звук всю жизнь!

Совершенно фантастический девайс, вешаешь его на все каналы и звук становиться как в сказке, как у фирмачей. Вот он в чём секрет был! А мы тут сидим протираем штаны с этими безжизненными нативными плагинами! Они абсолютно мерзкие и совершенно незвучащие! Этот вешаешь на все каналы и вот тебе счастье, все сразу не хуже чем у Бруно Марса и Зе Викенда. Прямо повесил и всё! Это единорог! Покупать незадумываясь!

a. emiri

May 5, 2020

best Saturator/Distortion on the market

Is the best Saturator/Distortion on the market...use it on Vocals, B.Vocals, bass,drums, guitars, ethnicinstruments adds unique harmonics....great job at the UAudio. From Italy

s. bosewicht

April 21, 2020

Go Full on Demonic Possesion

This is by far my favorite UA Plugin. I use this on almost everything. Even on its most subtle settings it ads something so analog and delicious. The presets are wonderful and a great starting point to dial things in. This was used on all my favorite records 80's 90's and has vibe for days.

m. bölükbasi

April 14, 2020

absolutly best

absolutly best driver! but really dsp monster :)

m. tun

March 22, 2020

DSP Hunger Game

It charges more DSP than sound good.

C. Rockaway

March 10, 2020


This is probably one of the "biggest" and definitely the "gooiest" sounding software distortion I own. Mixing in a small amount on sequenced drums is key, and it can breath new life into synth lead lines, as well as pads. Honestly, pointing out it's usefulness on individual instruments is sorta pointless, because it is so versatile, its ridiculous!

J. Smilde

January 14, 2020

The silent killer

Hasn’t got the main attention but is imo one of the best.

A. Sokolov

January 10, 2020

Best plugin from UA

This is my favorite UA plugin. I have long wanted to have it in my arsenal and finally bought it. It behaves perfectly on all instruments and mixbuses.
Thanks, Universal Audio!

m. buchbinder

December 24, 2019

My Goto Saturation! Super Plugin!

In a world of so many great saturation plugins, I didn't think the Culture Vulture was gonna make a difference. However, I wanted it for so long, I decided to pull the trigger. I love it! I can't stop using it! For sure it did not dissapoint, it's just not another saturation plugin. Thanks Universal Audio! Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year! Make 2020 Best Year Yet!

UAD User

December 17, 2019

Awesome plugin

Culture Vulture – WOW

R. Trevor

December 15, 2019

i Love this thing !

Culture Vulture will go from subtle to extreme. I put It on a electric guitar track that was a little thin and distant sounding and it brought it out in the mix and fattened it up beautifully without recking the tone.

T. Jux

December 13, 2019



V. Cheterian

December 11, 2019

Best distortion plugin I ever had

Just great - lots of DSP consumption

R. Bouma

December 7, 2019

Give that ‘umphh’ to youre track

Sometimes it’s not the compression or limiting but something else to stick out something that is not just that strong to survive a mix. This can really help out then. Also to take a sound over the top this is a very helpfull tool. If you don’t like it you must dial in it’s use more because for my part I can use this on every mix I make

C. Chulu

December 6, 2019

Smiles > $$

I don't usually leave reviews of plugins, but I've been demoing this for a week now and have been absolutely blown away by how good it is. I have quite a few distortion/saturation plugins from both the big and small names on the market but since trying this, I had to add this to my arsenal. Made the purchase today!

R. Mohammed

October 29, 2019

Hell yes!

I added a sprinkle of this to all my tracks (using the commit function) and it added a nice harmonic edge while preserving the mids and lows. The mix function is great. You can turn up the mix to hear the harmonics then dial it back to get just the right amount. Way cool.

l. morrish-thomas

October 2, 2019

I bought a satellite just to be able to use this plugin

I was on the fence about buying an outboard culture vulture when a friend told me to test out this plugin at his studio instead, and I instantly bought a satellite just to be able to use it. Along with being able to use all the other amazing UAD plugins, the choice was a no brainer

D. Tetmyer

July 24, 2019

Lovely sound but need retina UI

Lovely sound but need retina UI