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  • Overview
  • Features
  • Customer Reviews
  • 4.7/5

Regular Price: $299.00


You'll Save 83%


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.

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


S. Lenka

July 13, 2024

Great Plugin

Test It & Immediately Purchase It.

A. Dahlback

June 9, 2024

Native next?

Sounds great and gives a lovely analog feel. If it tastes like it, it costs - the plug draws an extremely large amount of DSP power. On the wish list for Native.

S. Saied

June 4, 2024

Thick as a Brick!

Love this plug-in! It is extremely versatile from mild saturation to obliterated distortion. I have used this on drums, guitar, bass, and keys, and it really adds a lot of analogue flavour to my music! I really like hot beef up on bass tracks, but it also adds a lot of punch to the drums. Very good tool to have in your toolbox.

J. Freeman

May 28, 2024

Beautiful sound

Nice piece for my Hi hats tracks and synths. However it would be great to have it native since there is no more support for my UAD-2 Satellite FireWire.

M. Schneider

May 9, 2024

Sounks good

It makes the sound saturated, a welcomed effect to assist the saturation process.

D. Grossman

April 3, 2024

Truly Inspiring and Easy

I I tried out the Culture Vulture on drums just as the Dr. Drew suggested briefly in video interview on YouTube with Distant Sun. Wow sounded amazing. Then I accidentally ran the whole mix through the same setting and Wow!!! Made the whole mix sound better at 100 Mix even. I really couldn't believe it . Very subtle but not so subtly made the vocals and all instruments sound better! I am leaving it on the Master bus with the same default setting plus a tiny bit of drive just as Drew said to do on the drums. Wow. kind of amazed. Bought the plugin of course!

J. Kelly

March 24, 2024


Drums and acoustic guitars with this beauty!

E. Zorgman

March 20, 2024

Weapon od destruction

I was sitting on this for a long time... another distortion... and then I gave it a trial run... On it turns out it is just an absolute monster and great weapon to have. Completely underestimated the tone, the harmonics and the destruction you can achieve with this, grit, bite, warmth... A remarkable distortion unit. This will sit well on a number of things.

K. Gajadhar

February 10, 2024

Hot Sauce

Spices up tracks with different flavours. Easy, Reccomend to anyone.

L. Leonard

January 31, 2024

Golden saturation unit

Nowadays these're bunch of saturation plugins out there,but trust me,This is not one of them.Tube coloration of this hardware is outstanding among my arsenal. Love it.

J. Janev

January 14, 2024

My favorite drive ever!

I have tried so many drive plugins over the years and none can sound like the Thermionic Culture Vulture! This is the biggest sounding drive ever! I use it a lot for mastering - "T" distortion type and mix only at 5 - 10%. Gives a lot of density and some magic to the sound! I use it a lot on Drums Bus as well. And with more extreme settings, very interesting Lo-Fi and distortion effects can be achieved. Magic machine!

C. Panetta

January 8, 2024

I hope this is next up for natives, no better saturator

I hope this bad boy, with the cooper time delay and varimu by manley are next in line for a native release. this guy does stuff other plugins just can. The variations of distortion flavours and tones you can get out of it is unparalleled, running it in parallel is fantastic too.

C. Panetta

January 8, 2024

I hope this is next up for natives, no better saturator

I hope this bad boy, with the cooper time delay and varimu by manley are next in line for a native release. this guy does stuff other plugins just can. The variations of distortion flavours and tones you can get out of it is unparalleled, running it in parallel is fantastic too.

F. Hasan

December 26, 2023

My go to saturation!

i use it on every mix and it's sound awsome and also really great on vocal !

J. Newman

December 8, 2023

I thought it was a redundant purchase, no it’s very special.

I own most of the other color boxes out there and this one is easy and clear to use. It sounds great on vocal, bass, guitar solos and well anything like they show with the mad scientist video on the page. Overall I was impressed and used it on vocals right away. Great job UAD!

S. Van Vooren

December 6, 2023

bought but didn't receive

I bought this plugin a few weeks ago but it is nowhere to be seen in my UA connect, Ilok or DAW. Started up 4 support tickets but the only thing I get is emails that say my ticket is resolved. unbelievable.

C. Oppold

December 4, 2023

There’s that sound I was looking for.

Couldn’t be happier with this plug-in. Adds Depth, Grit, and Character to drums, guitars, and bass. Brings nice presence out when utilizing the gain knob. Rock and Roll.

L. Kagenaar

November 13, 2023


This is a must have if you want your tracks filthy. It goes to Extremes with a simple twist of a knob.

T. Bernsdorf

July 22, 2023

Desert Island Plugin

I use this on every mix. One of my favorite saturation plugins to get any instrument to poke through in a mix.

C. Hallowes

July 8, 2023

Strengthens unbelievably

I don't know how it does it but this thing is amazing at strengthening weak sounding instruments. Just try it on an acoustic guitar and you can honestly make it rock