Thermionic on every track?

I noticed in your theremionic culture video it’s says not meant for entire mix but you compare it to decapitator which you say use on everything, so do I use it like decapitator or not?

The bias seems to thicken the distortion, so at all the way to the left it seems to be the cleanest and starts to thicken going clockwise, I’m using it after console and tape and don’t want to over do it, just use it like decapitator for subtle saturation, is the bias all the way left at 1 best for this? you said counter clockwise equals dirty and clockwise is cleanest, it defaults at 12’o clock or the number 6, when I move it clockwise it thickens to the point of muting, 12 it’s thick and chunky so at 6 o’clock or the number 1 the distortion is cleanest. this is the opposite of how you described, and it threw me for a loop when you have it listed ‘not for entire mix’ but compare it as the UAD alternative for decapitator, I know I must be missing something?

Also could you please describe your opinion of the UAD studer tape types, i looked in the user manual but can’t find a clear description of the tape types, I know that calibration kind of follows as far as 250/+3 456/+6 900/+7.5 GP9/+9, I know this is not set in stone, but what I really want to know is what each tape type represents as far as sound it gives? I love your template as far as the ampex tape on the master channel and it has given my mixes a great amount of warmth and analog sound, but still trying to wrap my head on the studer, I’m using it on every track and would like to know what the tape types(250/456/900/GP9) represent as far as sound, I understand the IPS, just wanted to know your opinion?

I’m using a 1073 to studer to thermionic as my intial saturators but feel like I might be crunching things even and over doing it even when it’s just a subtle touch from each

So I just realized how using the 1073 and Saturn is blowing out the 1073 Studer and thermionic combo, it’s not even close, those tone faders on the Saturn are truly a game changer

Hey Artcutech,

Thanks for the post.

First the CV:

I love the Culture Vulture. It’s funny but I think if you look at a DSP loading chart for UAD, it’s way up at the top. Usually that’s a good sign for richness and density of sound.

Personally I like it on vocals and basses, but it’s also nice on the drum buss from time to time.

I don’t like it on the mix or master buss. I find it to alter the big picture too much dynamically. But on individual elements I think it has no rival. The design and topology is brilliant and also super quirky.

The variety of sounds you can get out of it is astounding. But sometimes finding those sounds is very trial and error.

The biggest reason for that is the way the bias control influences the sound and gain structure. You get a variety of sounds when you either feed or starve the circuitry. And the gain moves in a non-linear fashion as you create these sounds. This is very frustrating for some people – but it’s also the key to the magic, charm and flexibility of the unit.

So that being said you may experience gain dips and surges as you move the bias in any direction depending on the settings.

One caveat is this: We have had many super-successful next level sound mixing and mastering graduates who loved the CV on the mix buss and also their mastering chains and they killed it. So, I think my personal feeling is I don’t like it in my mix/mastering chain, but I have seen people make it work.

Tape types:

With regard to tape types in the UAD Studer, these are different tape stocks.

You will see the the ability to use different tape stocks on lots of different tape plugins.

Essentially its like this. As tape stock evolved, two important things happened: The frequency bandwidth increased (more low, low’s and more high, high’s) and the headroom increased (you could have more dynamic range without distortion and a better noise floor ratio.

What does this mean in terms of making sounds. Well it definitely does not mean the newer is always better. The tape stocks are similar to selecting tape speeds. Faster is not always better as well.

What I do is simply flip through them quickly to see which one flatters the sound on that given day. And that’s what I recommend to everyone. Don’t say “I always use this on that…” That’s not how it should work in my opinion.

So that’s a few thoughts on your questions, please let me know if this makes sense.


  • Danny