TC PowerCore FireWire

PowerCore is an open DSP platform for processing audio from within any VST- or AudioUnit-compatible audio application that delivers quality comparable with conventional rack-mountable hardware. PowerCore FireWire has four Motorola 56K DSPs running at 150MHz; 512kWords of SRAM per DSP; a Motorola PowerPC chip running at 266MHz; 8MB DRAM for the PowerPC; three FireWire passthru connectors (to connect more than one device); and an external power supply. The plug-ins include the 24/7? C Limiting Amplifier; PowerCore CL provides compression and limiting while Voice Strip is a channel strip for vocal production that includes compression, De-essing, Voice EQ, Gate, Low Cut EQ and SoftSat. Tubifex is a simulation of guitar preamp, speaker, valve power-amp, and effects. You also get a virtual instrument, the 01 Synthesizer, which emulates the Roland SH-101 synth. For engineers, the DSound VL2 8-channel virtual valve interface adds warmth to any digital recording; Sony Oxford EQ is taken from Sony's Oxford digital console; and Oxford Inflator lets you maximize loudness without artefacts. For musicians, the Virus|PowerCore offers 16 synthesizer voices with lots of great lead sounds, while the Waldorf D-coder creates sophisticated vocoding effects. My favourite is the TC Thirty – a virtual model of the classic 1961 Vox AC30 combo amp/speaker. A growing number of optional TC and third-party plug-ins is also available. From TC-Helicon, the Intonator fixes intonation problems in vocals, while VoiceModeler morphs voices. Master-X5 gives you five bands to work with, and TC's high-quality SurroundVerb 5.1 Reverb plug-in is available for Nuendo users. There is a Restoration Suite with a Descratcher, Denoiser and Declicker for cleaning up vinyl and tape recordings. Also, Filtroid contains a pair of analogue filter banks and Assimilator learns the EQ from favourite tracks or mixes and lets you apply it to your own.

OUR VERDICT

How does it compare with the UAD-1? it looks a lot better than Nigel – but doesn't have as many effects. The channel strip and reverbs are similar to those supplied with the UAD-1, with a small edge on quality, but PowerCore provides the indispensable Master-X virtual Finalizer. The 24/7? C is a fair vintage processor – but the UA vintage devices are to die for. But what tips the balance, if you have to choose, is that PowerCore can run an increasing number of third-party plug-ins. I'd like to buy both.

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