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In-depth Feature:  T.C. Electronic PowerCore FireWire
Hollin Jones writes: .

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Details, Details
The first and most important thing to say about the PowerCore is that it only works with specific plugins. Unfortunately you can’t simply offload your other VSTs onto it, as plugins have to be specially written to use the PowerCore. This, however, is where you realise why it costs over a grand. The plugins that ship with the unit are based on the algorithms used in TC Electronics’ high-end studio hardware effects. Unlike, say, the Native Bundle, where effects run off the host CPU, these plugins can utilise the sheer power of the PowerCore to run far more complex algorithms, and hence achieve a higher quality sound. So you’re really paying for the combination of the hardware and the plugins, and a guarantee that they’ll work seamlessly together. Because they know they won’t be competing for resources with the system and the sequencing app, the plugins can afford to use more power.
PowerCore Information
Mac:
G3 or G4 with OS 10.2 or higher, 256 MB RAM, VST compatible host
application, most sound systems supported by VST/AudioUnits application.
PowerCore PCI requires for PowerCore PCI
PowerCore FireWire requires a 400 MBit FireWire connector and port.

PC
PIII/500 or better, 256 MB RAM, WIN XP, VST compatible host application
PowerCore PCI requires a full length PCI-slot and a 3.3 Volts PCI Bus (spec. 2.2).
PowerCore FireWire requires a 400 MBit FireWire connector and port.

Specifications

  • 4 x Motorola 56K DSPs running at 150 MHz
  • 512kWords of SRAM per DSP
  • 1 x Motorola PowerPC running at 266 MHz
  • 8 MB DRAM for the PowerPC
  • 3 FireWire pass thru connectors
    (to connect more than one device on one bus)

    Included Plug-ins

  • 24 /7 C
  • MegaReverb
  • Classic Verb
  • Chorus Delay
  • EQSat
  • Voice Strip
  • Vintage CL
  • PowerCore 01
  • Master X3
  • Most are made by TC, but there are a number of third-party plugins also in existence and development such as the Sony Oxford EQ or the Dsound VL2. The FireWire version is almost twice as fast as the PCI version, with twice the power, housing four 150mhz DSP chips with 512k RAM each, and a main processor running at 266mhz. TC recommend downloading the very latest drivers to ensure maximum performance. The box itself has no real controls – just on/off on the front and a blue glowing icon, and three FireWire ports as well as the power socket on the rear. As FireWire devices can be daisy chained, you should be able to add multiple PowerCores or hard drives to your setup, so you can have a greatly expandable system, even if you just run a laptop. The control application that gets installed has dropdown menus where multiple PowerCores could be selected, so it seems like the intention is that you rack them up. The supplied CD comes with Windows XP and Mac OSX drivers, as well as demos for Voice Modeller, Spark XL and the Native Bundle, and a full version of Spark LE. The installer allows you to perform an easy install or uninstall, or install only the drivers, plugins or Audio Units support. Installation is pain-free, and once you’ve rebooted, the plugins appear as available in the plugin menu in your DAW. Because FireWire is hot-pluggable (unlike SCSI), if you unplug the PowerCore the plugins stop being available. If you plug it in again, they reappear. Rebooting isn’t necessary.

    More Resources              Articles - full listing
  • PCI PowerCore 1.8 Review
  • More detailed info on included Plug-ins
  • TC Electronic WWW
  • PowerCore @ Zzounds.com

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