Presonus RC 500 1-Channel Solid-State Channel Strip  From Presonus

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. There is one channel strip that delivers the goods without the big tab: the PreSonus RC 500  

Presonus

$599.95

Retail:  $799.95

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Manufacturer's Description from Presonus

The RC 500 solid-state microphone preamp features a Class A hybrid input stage with discrete transistors and the latest-generation, low-distortion operational amplifiers. The design maintains the sonic qualities of Class A and benefits from the repeatability in performance of the operational amplifier.

Power amplifiers are classified primarily by the design of the output stage and are designated Class A, B, AB, D, G, or H. In a Class A preamp, the output circuits are always on for the entire cycle of signal swing or the bias current flows at all times. As a result, Class A preamps have the most linear design, with no crossover distortion, and they deliver purer, clearer, and more musical results than the Class AB designs that are found in many preamps.

Compared to a tube preamp, the RC 500’s solid-state preamp offers better definition at the edges of its frequency response range. High frequencies are crisper and low frequencies are tighter, producing a transparent, musical signal that retains the “airiness” of a room and provides a more three-dimensional result than a tube mic preamp can deliver

The RC 500’s FET (Field-Effect Transistor) compressor includes fully variable attack, release, and threshold controls, as well as bypass controls. The compression ratio is fixed at 3:1

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 that are more commonly found in channel strips in this price class.

The RC 500’s 3-band semi-parametric EQ was designed by Robert Creel to match the 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. The EQ can also be hard-bypassed.

In addition to all of the aforementioned features, the RC 500 provides a -12 dB/octave highpass filter with a frequency threshold set at 80 Hz. Use this filter, instead of the equalizer, to remove unwanted low frequencies from your source signal. For example, the 80 Hz filter can be used to reduce the “boominess” or “muddiness” of a vocal and to improve the overall clarity of the signal.

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's easy to make connections with the RC 500, too. 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 analog insert to patch in your favorite boutique processor to get a different sonic flavor.

Features: 

  • Transformer-coupled, high gain microphone preamp with a Class A hybrid design
  • FET based compressor using hybrid detection methods with switching relays for hard bypass
  • 3-band semi-parametric equalizer with switching relays for hard bypass
  • +48V phantom power, 80 Hz highpass filter, and -20 dB pad
  • Front-panel ¼” instrument and rear-panel XLR microphone and line inputs with Input Select switch
  • VU meter with selectable output level/gain reduction display
  • Analog insert with balanced send and return
  • High grade components: film capacitors, 1% tolerance resistors, and very low-distortion op amps
  • Master output control
  • Balanced output on XLR and ¼” TRS connectors
  • Internal toroidal power supply with IEC connector
  • Steel chassis
Presonus

About Manufacturer

PreSonus Corporation, a developer of audio technologies for the professional and semi-professional digital audio markets, was founded in 1995 and presently has an active distribution network in place that reaches over 20 million audio consumers. PreSonus also manages a high traffic website, www.presonus.com that is experiencing over 100,000 hits per month. The Company has released 18 professional audio products that have shipped to over 41 countries. Presonus has received the Electronic Musician Magazine Editor's Choice Award for four different products. The Company's products have also been nominated several times for MIX Magazine's Technical Excellence in Creativity Awards (TEC). In all, over 150,000 PreSonus products are in use around the world. The Company's primary objective is to leverage its research and development ability, intellectual property portfolio, expertise in manufacturing, well respected brand, and established distribution channels to continue swift growth in revenue and profitability. PreSonus has exhibited consistent growth of an average of 48.6% per year over the past six years and predicts continued double digit growth rates for the next three years. PreSonus was founded on the precept of research and development in new technologies and discovery and exploitation of emerging multi-media markets. The Company has passed the 'proof of concept' stage and is presently utilizing its proprietary designs and patents to expand product offerings. PreSonus has extensive relationships in the music, technology, Internet, manufacturing and consumer electronics industries as well as a highly respected professional audio brand - PreSonus Audio Electronics. Competencies necessary to promote and support digital audio technology include qualified personnel in research, engineering, manufacturing, music and marketing as well as direct experience with branding and business development. PreSonus has developed a talented staff and exceptional reputation and is poised to take advantage of the burgeoning digital audio and digital media consumer markets.

Specifications

Input Impedance

Microphone 1500Ω
Line 1 kΩ
Instrument 1 MΩ

Maximum Input Level

Microphone (-20 dB Pad out) 0 dBu
Microphone (-20 dB Pad in) +20 dBu
Balanced Line +18 dBu
Instrument 0 dBu

Gain Range

Microphone (-20 dB Pad out) +20 dB to +70 dB
Line -20 dB to +15 dB
Instrument +5 dB to +50 dB

Performance

Noise Floor (all inputs, minimum gain) -102 dBu (A-weighted)
Microphone Equivalent Input Noise (EIN; 20 Hz - 20 kHz) -125 dBu (A-weighted)
Frequency Response 10 Hz to 25 kHz, ±1 dB
Maximum Output Level +24 dBu
Output Impedance 50Ω

EQ

Type 2nd-order shelving filter
Q 0.5
Low Band (Low-pass or Bandpass) 20 Hz to 400 Hz, ±16 dB
Mid Band 400 Hz to 5 kHz, ±16 dB
High Band (High-pass or Bandpass) 2 kHz to 20 kHz, ±16 dB

Compressor

Type FET VCA with RMS-based control
Threshold (Variable) -25 dBu to +20 dBu
Ratio (Fixed) 3:1
Attack Time (Variable) Fast (0.5 ms) to Slow (10 ms)
Release Time (Variable) Fast (30 ms) to Slow (500 ms)
Curve Type Soft knee

Power

Internal supply, standard IEC connector 100/120/230/240 VAC, 12W

Physical

Dimensions 1U rackmount
Height 1.72” (43.7 mm)
Depth 7.69" (195.3 mm)
Width 19” (482.6 mm)
Weight 7 lb. 3 oz. (3.26 kg)