The Phoenix SB, from Thermionic Culture, is a stereo valve compressor that utilizes the same side chain filter controls found in their previous Phoenix SC compressor, albeit with the inclusion of an HT switch. This latest addition allows the Phoenix to operate in a low power standby mode that extends the life of its valves and capacitors. Keep this control on when initially turning the unit on, especially if it has not been used for some time.
Additional upgrades include the addition of meter zero controls to the front panel. Make sure they display a value of 0 when the unit is not in standby mode or compressing anything. Concurrently, the unit’s sidechain filters cut its overall compression response to bass frequencies. It lends its magic to frequencies below 150Hz or 300Hz per channel; also, they operate as the average of the two sides whenever the stereo link parameter is switched on. Essentially, this means that stereo mode features five possible filter frequencies that one could choose from.
Phoenix SB 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