TC Electronic’s PowerCore, a hardware DSP platform for audio processing is officially discontinued. You could easily continue working with PowerCore for some time, however. A recently-released 4.0 update provides full support for current OSes and hosts, even 64-bit ones, says the manufacturer. Nor is TC going anywhere: the company says it will continue to pursue audio interfaces and software (non-hardware-DSP) plug-ins. In fact, it’s a safe bet TC simply wasn’t getting enough business out of PowerCore to justify it, and will devote its resources elsewhere.

One manufacturer that is making it in hardware DSP that’s not Avid Pro Tools is Universal Audio. Their UAD-2 system remains a popular choice, and may become more so now that it offers FireWire support on Macs (something previously offered only by the PowerCore). Updated: James Grahame reminds me that it’s worth mentioning Sonic Core, who have their own Scope platform. As with UA, they’re basically a specialty shop, whereas TC has a number of other businesses. With S|C covering new-fangled digital ground like graintable and physical modeling, and UA focusing on first-party development of analog modeling and vintage emulation, you’ve got a good range of choice for DSP.

The crossgrade doesn’t give you a break on new UAD hardware, but it does give you significant bundles of free plug-ins for the platform. The breakdown goes something like this:

Solo line: Fairchild + Cambridge + Puletc-Pro ($377 value)
Duo: add LA-3A, DreamVerb ($675 value)
Quad: add Precision Limiter, EQ, multiband ($1322 value)

That’s on top of coupons for plug-ins of your choice included with each of those packages. And it includes the new FireWire Satellite systems.

None of this will entirely comfort existing users, though, I’m guessing. Our friend Oliver at Wire to the Ear writes a nice obituary – and I agree that I hope we see native ports of some of these plugs. (That or else maybe we’ll see TC introduce them on the iPad, the way the industry is going.)
TC Electronic Discontinues the PowerCore

The ongoing success of the UAD-2, even if for a specific niche, demonstrates that hardware DSP platforms aren’t necessarily going away. At the same time, it’s easy to understand that TC might focus instead on native software and specialized hardware (like stompboxes).

  • RIP PowerCore.  Most users have been expecting this for a long time.  Writing was clearly on the wall when the X8 dropped without a compact or portable offering.  Great high-end box, but without entry level products in this era the market just isn't going to be strong enough to fund R&D.

    I'm sad because in many ways TC never came close to their full potential with the platform, but again I do understand as it is nowhere near their core product naming conventions aside.

    All of that said, thanks to UAD for making a very attractive offer.  Considering no need to get rid of the PowerCore to get it, kind of a no brainer.  But I loathe the day when the next round of OS updates start arriving and the PowerCore becomes completely obsolete.

  • The writing was on the wall when this platform was released.  The business may not justify its further investment, but the principles in the technology have always been sound.  Like another company, Yamaha, TC is involved with technology products to an extent that may be termed; diversified.  UAD has shown strict focus on what they provide markets and this is evident in their products and their continued success.  Besides profit or lack of it as a challenge, companies like TC and Yamaha make things more difficult by creating an internally competitive environment for technology.  I think this competition is what Powercore faced internally and prevented TC from bringing it into a focus and priority like UAD has.  TC like Yamaha has a strange begrudging relationship with computer based audio.  Yamaha has tried before as a manufacturer, as a distributor and now as a partner and investor in Steinberg.  All experiments, but showing a continuous thread of conflict between hardware and software product models.  UAD gets it, believes it and kicks ass.  The posers fail.

    I don't know how powercore competed internally at TC with other approaches, but at Yamaha we might imagine how to cut up audio; with a computer or a chainsaw?

  • 23fx

    I am very sad.
    TC is best sound on earth ever. I slowly
    bought a X4,X8 and all 6000 plug,, they still have no native equivalent imo, neither from UAD, but now im not sure they will work in two years…probably not.  so really bad news.

  • quantize

    Boy oh boy did you give TC a softly-softly let off! They have NOT even done the vaguely decent thing and promised to slowly let users off by maintaining the drivers for future OS's. After the utterly incompetent debacle of Mac OS 10.6, there is next to no hope of their hardware and incredibly expensive plugin options working in the soon-to-be released Lion

    They've also already completely ruled out native porting…if you read their user forums.

    However they wouldn't be the first to hide a secret if they had one, would they?

    I won't be taking the UAD option either. It's completely obvious to anyone with their wits about them that native is the only way to go. There's enough shit to deal with in a native-only system without this kind of further let-down by poorly managed hardware companies.

  • As comfort for Powercore users, they should give out all their plugins for free. I still have FW version, but haven't used it for a while. Free Virus plugin might change that 😀

  • no loss with the muse receptor still around i guess.

  • tad ghostal

    Why are there no music PCs? By that I mean a DSP audio interface with a hard drive and a monitor output. I asked my lecturer this and he told me to start a business. Would you buy a (e.g.) Cubase PC?

  • 23fx

    i would buy such music pc with dedicaced dsp and low latency. we are in 2K11 and latency on Pc is still awefull vs hardware (audio buffer + plugins processing + re audio out).

    my dream would kind of protools, but based on Abe Live, with autom to session, working PDC and ultra low latency, with plugs of TC sound quality range. build that and ill buy you one 😉

  • gary

    TC seems to discontinue a lot of great products. I really liked Spark about 8 years ago but they discontinued it to focus on Powercore. Now they are quitting Powercore.
    I continue to be skeptical about investing heavily in computer products. because of the lack of ongoing support. All the hardware I bought before incorporating the computer into my set up i still use. (synths, samplers, acoustic instruments). But i have a ton of obsolete software and hardware since switching to computers only 10 years ago. Kind of sucks.