Using a dedicated card to run the plug-ins is a great idea. If it supports the plug-ins you want, this card maybe for you. The TC effects are OK – although they don’t offer that extra-special sound – but third-party support is looking good. Bundling Spark LE with the package is also something of a master stroke – providing a host application for the VST plug-ins that you can use out of the box.
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TC PowerCore 1.6
The TC PowerCore PCI card has a PowerPC 8240 and four Motorola 56362 chips that let you run up to eight high-quality plug-ins simultaneously – without reducing track counts or eating all your CPU’s processing capability. Plug-ins include Megaverb, Chorus/Delay and EQSat; TC Voice Tools; Vintage CL; the Compensator; and the 01 virtual synthesizer. MegaReverb features the best algorithms from the M5000 reverb, while the Chorus/Delay is based on the 1210 Spatial Expander – both highly acclaimed TC Electronic hardware units. EQSat offers two bands of shelving, and three bands of parametric EQ, with SoftSat for analogue warmth – based on the EQ section of TC’s Finalizer hardware. The VoiceStrip offers Compressor, Gate, three-band EQ, De-Esser, and Low Cut Filter. This was modelled on vintage valve hardware, while the Vintage CL compressor/limiter was modelled on vintage transistor hardware. The Compensator plug-in allows manual compensation for delays introduced by the plug-ins with systems that do not have automatic plug-in delay compensation. Just one virtual instrument is supplied with the system – the PowerCore 01, which is a basic monophonic synthesizer. TC|Works plans to offer Master X3+5 as an optional extra, along with its Surround Reverb for Steinberg’s Nuendo and other software as it develops.
Support system Third-party developers are an integral part of TC’s strategy. The Sony Oxford EQ and the DSound VL2 Multichannel Valve Interface are now available for PowerCore, while Antares AutoTune 3, the TC Helicon VoiceCraft voice-morpher, and the Waldorf D-Coder Vocoder plug-ins are all under development. Also, Access is working on next-generation synth plug-ins, and Emagic is developing PowerCore versions of the more demanding Logic Audio Platinum plug-ins. Installation of the card and software is easy, and, if you require additional processing power, then you can use multiple cards. PowerCore works with multi-processing enabled in Cubase, or Logic Audio.