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PreSonus RC500 Single-Channel Microphone Preamp

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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 c... Read More

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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. There are a few pieces of processing that are pretty much required for a home studio, and all of them are present on the RC-500.

The RC 500 combines the custom-designed FET compressor and semi-parametric EQ circuits developed for PreSonus' highly lauded ADL 700 tube channel strip with a new ultra-low-distortion, high-gain, solid-state Class A preamplifier design, which delivers consistent, repeatable, transparent, detailed audio. A balanced analog insert sends the source signal out of your RC 500 before the compressor, EQ, and Master Gain stages and returns the signal directly to the compressor stage, allowing you to add external processors.

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.

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. This combination provides lots of flexibility without a vast expanse of unusable over-compression.

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. This EQ employs the same circuitry as the 4-band semi-parametric EQ in the ADL 700.

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.

Of course, you get +48V phantom power, polarity inversion, and a 20 dB pad! Those features are a given with PreSonus preamps and channel strips. And there's more! With its features, connectivity, and sound, we're confident the RC 500 will be a new classic channel strip.

  • 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 instrument and rear-panel 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
  • Input Impedance
  • Microphone: 1500Ω
  • Line: 10 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"
  • Weight: 7 lb. 3 oz.
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