PreSonus RC 500
Single-Channel Solid-State Channel Strip Preamp


Our Price: $599.95
List Price: $799.95
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The RC 500 is a single-channel solid-state channel strip preamp with compressor and EQ.

The RC 500 combines the custom-designed FET compressor and semi-parametric EQ circuits that Robert Creel developed for PreSonus’ highly lauded ADL 700 tube channel strip with his 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 the 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 Compressor: Fun with FETs
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 giving too much to cause problems.

User tip: The input-gain stage can be driven harder with a lower threshold to emulate higher compression ratios. You can make the RC 500 compressor pump if you want to.

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.

A Smooth, Refined, Musical EQ
The RC 500’s 3-band semi-parametric EQ was also 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.


  • 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 1/4" TRS connectors
  • Internal toroidal power supply with IEC connector
  • Steel chassis


  • Input Impedance
    -Microphone  1500 Ohms
    -Line  1kOhms
    -Instrument  1 MOhms
  • Maximum Input Level
    -Microphone (-20 dB Pad out)  0dBu
    -Microphone (-20 dB Pad in)  +20 dBu
    -Balanced Line  +18dBu
    -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, ±1dB
    -Maximum Output Level  +24 dBu
    -Output Impedance  50 Ohms
  • 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 Hzto 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
    -AttackTime (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, 1.72"(43.7 mm)H x 7.69"(195.3mm)D x 19"(482.6 mm)W
    -Weight  7 lb. 3 oz. (3.26 kg)
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