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Thermionic Culture Phoenix SB Stereo Tube Compressor

Thermionic Culture Phoenix SB stereo tube comp

Thermionic Culture Phoenix SB Stereo Tube Compressor

PHOENIX SB Stereo Tube Compressor

Thermionic Culture have released a new version of the Phoenix soft knee stereo valve compressor, the Phoenix Standby. This is the same classic deisn as the previous Phoenix S/C ( side chain ) model incorporating hand built point to point wiring, Mullard and Siemens valves and custom Sowter transformers. New features include a standby switch which is provided to extend valve and capacitor life. When in 'standby' the HT current through the valves is only 50% of the normal value. The zero level meter adjusters have now been front to the front panel to make calibration easier and to avoid having to take the unit out of the rack.

Thermionic Culture have added a third Phoenix stereo valve compressor to the range. This SC, or side chain version is virtually identical to the standard model, but has in addition the same side chain filter section from the Phoenix Mastering Compressor (MC). This side chain filter provides 150Hz & 300Hz, but more permutations are possible when the MC is used in stereo mode with the link switch engaged. So, the SC model has the same higher gain structure as the standard model, which means it can slam more than the Mastering model, which makes it more useful for individual tracking or mixing functions, but added the extra versatility of having one of the best two bus compressors available for your stereo bus due to the chain filters.

Phoenix SB- cool user tip!
Cool trick that Warren Dent from Zen Pro Audio kindly sent us. Here's his tutorial video on the new Phoenix SB (stand by) which shows what you can do when running audio through when in stand by mode.
We've called it "Zen Crush" in his honour!


  • All valve design for greater presence and naturality.
  • Completely free from solid state additives.
  • Transparent compression.
  • Punchy when pushed.
  • Drive it hard for compression effects and distortion.
  • Absolutely flat frequency response over entire audio range and beyond.
  • Minimal phase shift giving a crisp and warm sound.
  • Includes Side Chain Filters
  • Vari-Mu compression type
  • Great on individual tracks and mix buss

Thermionic Culture Phoenix SB Specifications

Max output level (MOL)

+19dB into 600 ohms

+ 24dB into 10K ohms

Max Gain


Total Harmonic Distortion

Better than 0.06% @ 1kHz @100Hz

Noise, IEC weighted

better than 100dB below MOL

Input Impedance


Frequency response

Attack Time

0.004 sec to 0.12 sec

Release Time

0.04 sec to 2.4 sec

Output Impedance

600 ohms



PCC85 (equiv. 9AQ8)


ECC81 (equiv. 12AT7, CV4024)

Side chain detector:

EB91 (equiv. 6AL5, CV4025).