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.

The solid-state preamp that instantly became a legend

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 easy!

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.

1-channel channel strip with solid-state preamplifier

  • 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

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)
  • Microphone Input THD+N: < 0.025% (20 Hz - 20 kHz)
  • Line Input THD + N: < 0.006% (20 Hz - 20 kHz)
  • Instrument Input THD + N: < 0.02% (20 Hz - 20 kHz)
  • 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)
  • MPN: 125075
  • UPC: 673454002465

Audio MIDI Plus is committed to deliver the best experience for our customers. If for some reason you are not satisfied with your purchase, you may return it for a refund of the purchase price, an exchange or a store credit within 30 days from the ship date. 

In the unlikely event that you received a defective product, a wrong product, or damaged product, Audio MIDI Plus will replace it at no charge of any additional shipping cost. We will send you a prepaid label to return the item, and ship you a replacement. You will not incur any shipping charges. Please notify us of any of damaged, defective or misshipped products within 14 days.

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Audio MIDI Plus Returns
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Carlsbad, CA 92010

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