The Thermionic Culture Phoenix is a high-end soft-knee, stereo tube compressor using Mullard and Siemens NOS valves alongside custom Sowter transformers.

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.

The Phoenix SB 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 additional HT Standby switch allows the user to put the Phoenix into a low power standby mode that is designed to increase the life of the unit's valves and capacitors. When first switching on, or if the unit's not in use for a while, have the Standby on. Switch off Standby and it will instantly come back to full life. The side chain filters can be used to cut the Phoenix's compression response to bass frequencies. The filter operates below either 150Hz or 300Hz on each channel and when stereo link is engaged the filters operate at the average of the two sides. This enables the user to choose from 5 filter frequencies when in stereo operation.

The Phoenix is also available under model name Mastering Plus - a much upgraded version employing precision Elma switches for the Gain and Threshold and Alpha switches for Attack and Release. Omeg indented pots are used for the Output Level for fine control. The compression curve of the mastering Phoenix is slightly gentler than that of the standard one, but it does have a more "positive" effect. This earlier version has 6dB lower gain compared to the standard Phoenix. The Master Phoenix is in use in many studios and mastering suites around the world, and we do know that one of its users, Ray Staff of AIR London Studios won the MPG award for Best Mastering Engineer in 2009.

 

 

THE PHOENIX SB - Specification

Max. o/p level (MOL): +19dB into 600Ω
+24dB into 10kΩ
Max gain: 36dB.
THD (at no compression): better than 0.06 % @ 100Hz &
1kHz

Noise, IEC weighted: better than 100dB below MOL.
Input impedance: 15kΩ.
Frequency response: <1dB variation over range of
12Hz to 56kHz.
Attack time: 0.004s to 0.12s
Release time: 0.04s to 2.4s
Output impedance: 600Ω
Distortion will increase with compression, typically 0.2% &
0.25% at 1kHz & 100Hz with 8dB compression. Attack and
release controls are somewhat interdependent, for instance
a change of attack setting may affect the release time
slightly. Therefore, no times are given on the front panel.
VALVE COMPLEMENT (2 ea):
Input/Compression: PCC85 (equiv. 9AQ8)
Output: ECC81 (equiv. 12AT7, CV4024)
Side chain detector: EB91 (equiv. 6AL5, CV4025).

 

PHOENIX MASTERING PLUS - Specification

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: <1dB variation over range of
12Hz to 56kHz.
Attack time: 0.004s to 0.12s
Release time: 0.04s to 2.4s
Output impedance: 600Ω
Distortion will increase with compression, typically 0.2% &
0.25% at 1kHz & 100Hz with 8dB compression. Attack and
release controls are somewhat interdependent, for instance
a change of attack setting may affect the release time
slightly. Therefore, no times are given on the front panel.
VALVE COMPLEMENT (2 ea):
Input/Compression: PCC85 (equiv. 9AQ8)
Output: ECC81 (equiv. 12AT7, CV4024)
Side chain detector: EB91 (equiv. 6AL5, CV4025).

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