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Thermionic Culture: THE KITE - Experiences?
Old 16th April 2019
  #1
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Thermionic Culture: THE KITE - Experiences?

About the

"Thermionic Culture: THE KITE"

you read here little to nothing (as well as about the "the Swift") - has anyone been able to gain any impressions?

The devices look pretty interesting to me for mastering (as a supplement to more cleaner hardware and software)
Old 16th April 2019
  #2
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I´m curious about that "Attitude" parameter and if it is suitable for mastering.
Old 16th April 2019
  #3
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Was a bit curious about this and the Swift as well. The Kite black face has unbalanced outs and the purple face one has balanced output transformers.
Old 16th April 2019
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mirochandler View Post
I´m curious about that "Attitude" parameter and if it is suitable for mastering.
Im assuming it is the same from the Fat Bustard. Which would be cool for color in mastering if needed.
Old 16th April 2019
  #5
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I already gave you some impressions of the Swift in another thread, but below I'll attach some reviews that I've collected over time and which resonate well with my own experiences. Clearly The Kite is more of an "attitude" unit, while the Swift is a very sophisticated natural sounding EQ.

And there's this review with a nice demo video: Thermionic Culture The Swift EQ
Attached Files
File Type: pdf MT_Kite.pdf (758.4 KB, 52 views) File Type: pdf ResolutionJune16.pdf (507.6 KB, 25 views) File Type: pdf swiftreviewmusictech.pdf (106.6 KB, 17 views) File Type: pdf Thermionic Culture Swift SOS.pdf (1.50 MB, 26 views) File Type: pdf Thermionic Culture The Swift review | MusicRadar.pdf (116.9 KB, 22 views)
Old 16th April 2019
  #6
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Any thermionic users run into interfacing problems using the unbalanced outs?
Old 16th April 2019
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timesaver800W View Post
Any thermionic users run into interfacing problems using the unbalanced outs?
Never.
Old 16th April 2019
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timesaver800W View Post
Any thermionic users run into interfacing problems using the unbalanced outs?
No. Balanced out is an option, but I was told the sound of unbalanced out is more open, so I chose that. I can imagine a few boxes that cannot handle the unbalanced signal from the TC, but I have not run into any problems yet. Mine sits in the middle of a balanced chain.
Old 16th April 2019
  #9
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Awesome, thanks.
Old 17th April 2019
  #10
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"the shift" seems to be interesting in terms of sound, but potentiometer without center position and no bypass per band - for me a "no go" in the mastering context - a pity.

"the kite" could be interesting - does anyone know if it's dented potentiometers or rotary switches that are used?
Old 17th April 2019
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teebaum View Post
"the Swift" seems to be interesting in terms of sound, but potentiometer without center position and no bypass per band - for me a "no go" in the mastering context - a pity.
I found the lack of a center detent no problem, because it is very easy to set the knobs to their exact zero point, to which they are calibrated. The good thing is that you can make "blind" corrections with your ears as your only judge. I agree that it would be nice to have bypass per band. I assume the reason for this is how the different bands interact with each other (as they overlap and affect each other's Q factor), so taking out one band would make little sense. (And in this line of reasoning: the Gyraf G23-S does not have individual band switching either.) It does have bypass per channel though (and it is real "hard" bypass).

Despite the lack of bypass per band I still find it attractive for mastering because of its phenomenal broad-stroked sound and the ability to use it for M/S chains because of its separate two channel corrections. Gains, frequencies, Q's, presence and HPF are switched, by the way. And 3 potentiometer functions have their zero point where the knob cannot move any further. Only Bass and Treble have a zero point halfway the rotation of their knob. Aligning the stripe on the knob with the stripe on the box can be done very precisely as they have the same thickness and they touch each other.
Old 17th April 2019
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teebaum View Post
The devices look pretty interesting to me for mastering (as a supplement to more cleaner hardware and software)
Didn't I see that you're selling your Pollock because of having too many tubes/xfos? You kill me man
Old 17th April 2019
  #13
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teebaum's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by macc View Post
Didn't I see that you're selling your Pollock because of having too many tubes/xfos? You kill me man
the pollock is simply not the right addition to my chain - it's less about tube/transformer than about the fact that other "eq qualities" are in my constellation more important to me than other "dynamic qualities".

Last edited by teebaum; 17th April 2019 at 03:03 PM..
Old 17th April 2019
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher View Post
I found the lack of a center detent no problem, because it is very easy to set the knobs to their exact zero point, to which they are calibrated. The good thing is that you can make "blind" corrections with your ears as your only judge. I agree that it would be nice to have bypass per band. I assume the reason for this is how the different bands interact with each other (as they overlap and affect each other's Q factor), so taking out one band would make little sense. (And in this line of reasoning: the Gyraf G23-S does not have individual band switching either.) It does have bypass per channel though (and it is real "hard" bypass).

Despite the lack of bypass per band I still find it attractive for mastering because of its phenomenal broad-stroked sound and the ability to use it for M/S chains because of its separate two channel corrections. Gains, frequencies, Q's, presence and HPF are switched, by the way. And 3 potentiometer functions have their zero point where the knob cannot move any further. Only Bass and Treble have a zero point halfway the rotation of their knob. Aligning the stripe on the knob with the stripe on the box can be done very precisely as they have the same thickness and they touch each other.
fortunately the g23s has only 4 potis and is a stereo device, so it's relatively easy to recall (especially as the gainranges are pretty small) - but it's like this, you can't do surgery and say "everything as usual, only 0.5dB less at 1kHz", if you turn it on, you're making a sound with it.
I don't want to have to do that with a more complex eq like "the swift".
Old 17th April 2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teebaum View Post
fortunately the g23s has only 4 potis and is a stereo device, so it's relatively easy to recall (especially as the gainranges are pretty small) - but it's like this, you can't do surgery and say "everything as usual, only 0.5dB less at 1kHz", if you turn it on, you're making a sound with it.
I don't want to have to do that with a more complex eq like "the swift".
For me the Swift is very much in the usage range of the G23-S, although both do not really overlap and their character cannot be compared. But obviously my working routines in mastering are very different from yours, so YMMV. Too bad you'll have to miss out on such a fantastic sounding EQ.
Old 17th April 2019
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher View Post
For me the Swift is very much in the usage range of the G23-S, although both do not really overlap and their character cannot be compared. But obviously my working routines in mastering are very different from yours, so YMMV. Too bad you'll have to miss out on such a fantastic sounding EQ.
maybe once TC builds a mastering version with a rotary switches - but i can imagine that i already cover the field with the knif soma pretty well.

the g23-s is already quite borderline for me, what the operation means, i would rather have it also with rotary switch & there are actually certain jobs where i don't use it because of that.
jobs that are very recall-sensitive and where I know that the customer wants very exact recalls.

can anyone confirm to me that the kite uses all switches and rotary switches?
Old 17th April 2019
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teebaum View Post
the pollock is simply not the right addition to my chain - it's less about tube/transformer than about the fact that other "eq qualities" are in my constellation more important to me than other "dynamic qualities".
Just pulling your leg man
Old 17th April 2019
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teebaum View Post
can anyone confirm to me that the kite uses all switches and rotary switches?
From the manual: "Rotary controls feature matched stereo potentiometers with 21 indents for easy recall, excepting Attitude which is a 6 position rotary Alpha switch and Output Trims which are mono controls with 31 indents each."
Old 19th April 2019
  #19
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I could play "the kite" for a few hours and get a first impression.

you shouldn't look at it as a classic eq, it's too unique.

the bands are all very wide and more suitable for setting a basic brightness or bigness than for precise forming.
a lot reminds a bit of a pultec - e.g. bass boost and bass cut, but here we work even more broadband.

top shelf also covers the whole range from 1-20k, with a weighting in the classic presences range.

what is in front of the kite, has a massive influence on the level - i don't know that much from my other devices. the kite seems to like transformer outputs :-)

since "attitude" besides the very wide bands also has a strong influence on the level, you have to say "goodbye" a little to the idea of "level neutral".
here you have to adjust the level again with every new setting - where i would have preferred a stereo controller and a balance for the exit instead of left & right - would have been faster and more accurate.

all controllers are either stepped or dented, but the synchronisation l/r seemed to me to be as good as with my other tube devices, which have everything stepped (i have to check this in a long term). in contrast to some manufacturers, who do dented with 41 positions, most of the time there are 20 or 30 - the usability is good, it's not a big difference in use between the dented and the stepped controls.

in terms of sound, "attitude" is a benefit for mastering in positions 1-3, after that it's more in the direction of "effect device".
the sound of the distortion gives substance and power, is definitely an enrichment, if you don't exaggerate it.
bass cut is rather "tilt with level loss", it reaches very high.
together with top shelf, you can tilt a signal pretty much upwards.

bass boost is also quite high up - the frequencies writen on the frontplate are a bit useless, you just have to listen and get used to the peculiarities of the bands - just like you have to "learn" a pultec, michelangelo or massive passive.

with bass boost, another, lower frequency would be good - with bass cut, too.
with top shelf a higher frequency could not hurt.
then a midrange controller with 500 & 1kHz, and the eq would be much more complete :-)
the high pass is not very spectacular - I probably would have preferred 20 & 30 Hz.

top shelf is pretty damn good when you need more presences, "air" is unbelievable - I don't really like this airy light up often (in the digital age you have many times too much top already), but "open a mix" makes "the kite" unbelievable musical.
these 2 bands actually justify the device already, together with the other functions it's an interesting option to michelangelo, pultec, gyraf g23 and tubetech hlt2am.

the basic sound is less influential than with most tube devices, as long as you leave "attiutude" at 1.
here you can hear that no transformers are installed - there is a certain "solid heaviness" absent, which makes the kite more universal - so it also fits techno and metal.

it feels even more broadband and less "a traditional eq" than the michelangelo, compared to the gyraf g23 and the michelangelo there is no midband - these two devices can also give around 300hz-1kHz very well, which in itself is "almost impossible".

compared to the hlt2am it looks less aggressive and popy, but the highs are - it has to be said, a dream.

the basic sound can be more neutral than with a g23s in tube mode, which is on the other hand more flexible in terms of the functions that can be fulfilled.

do you have to keep the "the kite"?

if you want to spice up some dark, rather lifeless digital mixes, it does a damn good job. but you will almost always have to add another eq.


in the attachment you can still see some measuring courses.
by the way, s/n became 6dB better with an installed api5500 in front of the kite, even 8dB with a g23!
Attached Thumbnails
Thermionic Culture: THE KITE - Experiences?-attitude.jpg   Thermionic Culture: THE KITE - Experiences?-basscombinations.jpg   Thermionic Culture: THE KITE - Experiences?-boxtone-bass.jpg   Thermionic Culture: THE KITE - Experiences?-topshelf-air.jpg  
Old 19th April 2019
  #20
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tengu's Avatar
Thanks for the review. Very timely for me.
Quote:
Originally Posted by teebaum View Post
I could play "the kite" for a few hours and get a first impression.

Last edited by tengu; 21st April 2019 at 12:10 AM..
Old 19th April 2019
  #21
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Thank you teebaum for your analysis.
That saves me some time because I dont need more “HighShelf-Air-EQ´s” or more options for THD.
But for sure, it would be worth testing that device.

I do own a ADT TM210 Niveau-Filter now. It seems that this is the time-saver I was looking for.
Old 19th April 2019
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mirochandler View Post
Thank you teebaum for your analysis.
That saves me some time because I dont need more “HighShelf-Air-EQ´s” or more options for THD.
But for sure, it would be worth testing that device.

I do own a ADT TM210 Niveau-Filter now. It seems that this is the time-saver I was looking for.
often you need something to take away from the top, it's a pity that the manufacturers don't take this into account.
and although i didn't think i needed an "air-eq" anymore - it does a damn good job!
Old 19th April 2019
  #23
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thankyou teebaum for that thorough review and the graphs, it's really quite helpful. seems like a very interesting device. did you try feeding it with Eksa? what's feeding it in those noise level measurements?
Old 20th April 2019
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogoftears View Post
thankyou teebaum for that thorough review and the graphs, it's really quite helpful. seems like a very interesting device. did you try feeding it with Eksa? what's feeding it in those noise level measurements?
feeding with the eksa works great, very quiet.
the eksa is my 'cleanest line driver option' for the kite.
the units in my chain which i try and are good for feeding are

g23s (booth modes)
5500
soma
eksa

6dB more noise/ less level i have with

mytek converter
all 500-rack modules (dione, xpressor, bereich03audio)

Last edited by teebaum; 21st April 2019 at 11:25 AM..
Old 21st April 2019
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teebaum View Post
About the

"Thermionic Culture: THE KITE"

you read here little to nothing (as well as about the "the Swift") - has anyone been able to gain any impressions?

The devices look pretty interesting to me for mastering (as a supplement to more cleaner hardware and software)
I don't do my own mastering but the Swift stays on my mix bus and it's a Beast. This thing has a solidity that is so awesome. I love Acustica Audio plugins, been using them for 10yrs but now this Swift will never leave my mix bus. It may seem limited as far as frequencies are concerned but it has a way of touching everything that needs to be touched with a clean but very fat and expensive sound. I rarely use any eq plugins any more on indivual channels and if i do it most likely will be Ebony Eq by Acustica Audio.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #26
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The Kite does not only work in a mastering context but its a phenomenal tracking/mixing device.
I am using it as a stereo channel-strip if you will .. utilizing its very musical and natural sounding pultec-style EQs and the ATTITUIDE knob. As teebaum said in a mastering context you wouldn't want to go beyond 3 .. while tracking I often go up to 5 or 6 to really fatten up drums or give vocals that special sheen and cut through a mix.

Last edited by midmost; 4 weeks ago at 03:28 PM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midmost View Post
The Swift does not only work in a mastering context but its a phenomenal tracking/mixing device.
I am using it as a stereo channel-strip if you will .. utilizing its very musical and natural sounding pultec-style EQs and the ATTITUIDE knob. As teebaum said in a mastering context you wouldn't want to go beyond 3 .. while tracking I often go up to 5 or 6 to really fatten up drums or give vocals that special sheen and cut through a mix.
The Swift does not have an Attitude knob. Are you sure you are speaking about The Swift, not The Kite?
Old 4 weeks ago
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Sorry, I was ofc speaking about the Kite here.. edited. thanks for the heads-up
Old 3 weeks ago
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I am wondering if the ATTITUDE is as effective as on the Fat Bustard or if it can distort more.
Even with Attitude at MAX the Fat Bustard doesn't seem to be really distorting but adding a nice and pleasant harmonic spectrum.
Is that the same with the Kite or does it go into Culture Vulture territories?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by midmost View Post
I am wondering if the ATTITUDE is as effective as on the Fat Bustard or if it can distort more.
Even with Attitude at MAX the Fat Bustard doesn't seem to be really distorting but adding a nice and pleasant harmonic spectrum.
Is that the same with the Kite or does it go into Culture Vulture territories?
I believe it would be similar to the Fat Bustard, as far as I know it is a Variable negative feedback network aiming at adding more harmonics, and gain
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