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Transparent, Detailed Sound with a Vintage Vibe
Get the new classic.
With its features, connectivity, and outstanding sound, the RC 500 is fast becoming a classic channel strip. The way the preamp, compressor, and EQ work together is truly magical; we can describe it but you really should hear it for yourself. Fortunately, you can hear it now at your favorite PreSonus®dealer!
A new “vintage” signal processor.
It’s rare to find a truly outstanding solid-state channel strip that can deliver a vintage vibe reminiscent of classic high-end products, yet employs a thoroughly modern design. To find one that you can buy without heavily depleting your bank account is even more rare. But there is one channel strip that delivers the goods without the big tab: the PreSonus® RC 500. The RC 500 combines a custom-designed FET compressor and semi-parametric EQ with a distinctive, ultra-low-distortion, high-gain, solid-state Class A preamplifier design. The result is a top-of-the-line — yet very affordable — channel strip for recording engineers and recording musicians with a sound that is reminiscent of classic, vintage solid-state preamps.
When Robert Creel, the engineering mastermind behind the XMAX preamp and many of our other best analog circuits, demonstrated his newest solid-state preamp design, we knew it was going to be special. Creel’s new preamp uses a Class A hybrid input stage with discrete transistors and the latest-generation, low-distortion operational amplifiers, and when we heard its transparent, detailed, clear sound, it instantly became an in-house legend. By popular demand, Creel’s superb preamp became the heart of the new RC 500, named “RC” in his honor.
Clean, fast, reliable FET compression.
The RC 500’s FET (Field-Effect Transistor) compressor includes fully variable attack, release, and threshold controls, as well as bypass controls. FET-based compressors such as the one in the RC 500 use transistors to emulate a triode tube’s operation and sound. This type of compressor generally provides a faster attack time and better repeatability than the optical compressors typically found in channel strips. The RC 500 compressor has a “soft knee” compression curve and a fixed 3:1 compression ratio, although the input-gain stage can be driven harder, with a lower threshold, to emulate higher compression ratios. This combination provides lots of flexibility without adding complexity, making dialing in just the right sound quick and
Smooth, refined, musical EQ.
The RC 500’s 3-band semi-parametric EQ was designed to match its preamp and compressor. It combines isolated filters and optimized, per-band Q to provide subtle signal-shaping without harsh artifacts. All three bands have Gain (±16 dB) and Frequency controls and fixed Q (0.5), and the mid and high bands have overlapping frequency ranges. The low and high bands are switchable between shelving and peak. Both the compressor and the EQ can also be hard-bypassed, allowing you to remove either or both from the circuit.
A wealth of connections and features.
When you have a special processor like the RC 500, you’ll want to use it in a wide range of applications, so we’ve given it flexible I/O and all the features you’re likely to need. Rear-panel XLR mic and line inputs and a front-panel ¼” instrument input accept a variety of sound sources, managed by a handy Input Select switch. You get balanced outputs on XLR and ¼” TRS connectors as well as a balanced send and return for patching in your favorite boutique processor—or use the send to record both the processed and the unprocessed preamp signals at the same time. We also included +48V phantom power, polarity inversion, a 20 dB pad, and a -12 dB/octave highpass filter with a threshold set at 80 Hz. A large, backlit, dual-mode analog VU metering enables monitoring of output and gain-reduction levels. A master level control adjusts the overall output from -80 to +10 dB. It all adds up to a complete, versatile channel strip that will enhance any studio.