Designed by PreSonus' Robert Creel (Where the 'RC' name came from), who was responsible for the XMAX preamp and the ADL 700, among other products, the new RC 500 combines an ultra-low-distortion, high-gain, solid-state Class A preamplifier with the same custom-designed FET compressor and semi-parametric EQ circuitry found in the PreSonus ADL 700 tube channel strip.
Creel’s new 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.
Compared to a tube preamp, this 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 preamp sports 48V phantom power, polarity invert, and a -20 dB pad. In addition, it includes a 12 dB/octave highpass filter set at 80 Hz.
The RC 500’s FET compressor perfectly complements the new solid-state preamp. Controls include fully variable attack (0.5 to 10 ms), release (30 to 500 ms), and threshold (-25 to +20 dBu), as well as hardware bypass. Ratio is fixed at 3:1.
FET (Field-Effect Transistor) compressors use transistors to emulate a triode-tube 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 three-band semi-parametric EQ was designed with musicality in mind, combining isolated filters and optimised, per-band Q to provide subtler signal shaping without harsh artefacts. All bands have Gain (±16 dB) and Frequency controls, with overlapping frequency ranges between the mid and high bands and fixed Q (0.5). The low and high bands are switchable between shelving and peak.
Both the Compressor and EQ sections feature a relay bypass.
Rear-panel XLR mic and line inputs (with front-panel Input Select switch) and a front-panel quarter-inch TS instrument input accept a variety of sound sources. 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 is expected to ship in September 2013 with an anticipated MAP/street price of $999.95.