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).