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Culture Vulture Mastering V's Normal - Unbalanced Question
Old 25th May 2008
Culture Vulture Mastering V's Normal - Unbalanced Question

From what I read about the difference between the 2 items. For an extra £300 (difference in UK) (or $1000 difference in USA) this is what you get:

(1) Transformer balanced inputs & outputs (TRS).

The 'normal' version has unbalanced (transformerless) input & outputs.

Can anyone help here! I dont understand the practical difference between balanced & unbalanced (in terms of will it work & will it effect quality of the signal detrementally?).

I am mainly planning to use this unit as a way to warm up digital tracks, warm up front end and warm up at the mastering stage. The cabling between my units is only 1.5 metres in length.

Could I send a balanced SEND/OUTPUT (on my line level mic-pre) to the Unbalanced Culture Vulture and return the signal again back to a balanced RETURN (on the mic pre)? Without any detremental effects to the quality of the signal or level of the signal?

2) Detented drive & output controls (numbered in dB's rather than from 1 - 11) - Useful, but for me not worth the extra money.

3) Closer tube matching.
For me not worth the extra money. I imagine their quality control of the tubes on the 'normal' unit is already at a high standard.

Accordingly, if there isnt a technical problem with sending balanced outputs to unbalanced inputs it makes sense for me to buy the 'normal' version.

Appreciate any thoughts you might have on this unit,

Old 25th May 2008
Gear Maniac

i use an unbalanced version. it's as quiet as any of my other balanced gear and iv'e never had a problem with it being noisy. hope that helps. works great for me on individual tracks. have not had as much luck on entire mixes.
Old 25th May 2008
member no 666
Fletcher's Avatar
FWIW my Culture Vulture is a "salvage job" that was left behind by the insurance company after a "trashed in transit" event. The two sides are so far from being matched it's ridiculous.

Seeing that the guy that does the US factory repair work for Thermionic has space in our warehouse it would be no struggle at all to get the sides to "match" [he was the guy that put it back together in the first place... and has offered to get the sides to match on numerous occassions].

Frankly, I have found that having the two sides product different tones and textures to be a serious positive... even when using the unit across a stereo buss [NOT 2 buss!!!]... but as always, YMMV.

Old 26th May 2008
Thanks DQA123,

So is that the only problem with unbalanced gear, noise?

Old 26th May 2008
member no 666
Fletcher's Avatar
Depends on where you are... you can have RF problems as well if you're in the wrong spot. If you keep your cable lengths short you shouldn't have a problem integrating unbalanced gear with balanced gear in your studio.

Old 26th May 2008
Thanks fletcher. Much appreciated!
Old 25th February 2009
Here for the gear
B.L.P's Avatar

what about impedance? no problem?

thinking about the unbalanced rooster in an otherwise balanced setup..

not really shure why I should need the balanced option if there's no problem with the unbalanced exept noise on long cable runs and maybe RF noise.. (?)
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