Thermionic Culture Phoenix Stereo Compressor

Thermionic Culture

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Product Code: 9999-11718
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The Thermionic Culture Phoenix Stereo Compressor is a variable-mu style compressor that can be gentle and floating, or tight, punchy, and charactered. The Phoenix is very well suited for tracking or mixing of buss and total mix applications.

The Thermionic Culture Phoenix Stereo Compressor is now the standard production version of the Phoenix compressor. Alongside the now classic circuit design of the original Phoenix, it incorporates the side chain filter controls from the previous standard Phoenix SC model with the new addition of an HT standby switch.

The Phoenix is well known for its smooth "soft knee" compression characteristic and excellent specifications. This means that it can be used as a compressor that will not harm your signal quality, whilst subtly controlling dynamic range. It is also possible to drive the unit harder to produce harmonic distortion and higher ratio compression if desired. Many users have found these features bring life to mixes or individual instruments, and control vocals, with a natural "warm" quality.

Contrary to the above, users have found that if the unit is operated in standby mode (it still passes audio) a "symmetrical" distortion occurs, not unlike that produced by overloading analogue tape. Perhaps this fact alongside an exaggerated compression curve lends to the Phoenix in standby mode another dimension.

Thermionic Culture Phoenix Stereo Compressor Features

  • All valve signal path and side chain, point to point hand wired in England.
  • Subtle control with "soft knee" compression, but more compression effects when pushed hard.
  • Continuously variable attack, release and threshold controls.
  • Stereo link for mix buss compression.
  • Side chain filters to enable compression of all frequencies except bass.
  • Flat frequency response over full audio range and beyond.
  • Very low phase shift and harmonic distortion (unless pushed hard).
  • Push-pull design gives a natural warm sound with high output level.
  • Output trim controls for fine adjustment or lower level operation.
  • Balanced ins and outs with custom made Sowter transformers.
  • Bypass switch on each channel removes all electronics.
  • Standby switch to prolong valve life.
  • Distortion effects can be created with Standby on.

Thermionic Culture Phoenix Stereo Compressor Specifications

  • Max. o/p level (MOL): +19dB into 600Ω, +24dB into 10kΩ
  • Max gain: 30dB
  • THD (at no compression): better than 0.06 % @ 100Hz & 1kHz
  • Noise, IEC weighted: better than 100dB below MOL
  • Input impedance: 15kΩ
  • Frequency response:
  • Attack time: 0.004s to 0.12s
  • Release time: 0.04s to 2.4s
  • Output impedance: 600Ω
  • Valve Complement (2 ea)
    • Input/Compression: PCC85 (equiv. 9AQ8)
    • Output: ECC81 (equiv. 12AT7, CV4024)
    • Side chain detector: EB91 (equiv. 6AL5, CV4025).

Thermionic Culture Phoenix Stereo Compressor Includes

  • Phoenix Stereo Compressor
  • Power Cable
  • Manual and Warranty Information

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What We Think


The Thermionic Culture Phoenix Stereo Compressor is probably one of my favorite compressors on the market. It is so flexible, and maintains a natural musicality to it, that does not get heavy handed. You can get that tight punchy forward behavior that makes this comp perfect from drum bus, or you can get gentle open and floating for total mix applications. Overall the Phoenix is an impressive compressor that get makes things sound better.

Ryan Ferris, Pro Audio Sales

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