Honeymoon is over - will modelling algorithms and spring reverb ever be overhauled?

I am an early user of the QC. But the honeymoon phase is over, and often I find myself going back to real amps and pedals because it feels and sounds better to me. Mind you, I still love the QC for its size, convenience and user interface, and I can also add acoustic stuff (mic, acoustic guitar) easily. I understand so many users want better cloud and data management coming with FW 2.0.

  1. But what about the existing modelling algorythms? Will they ever be overhauled in the near future? Or are they happy with the present state and be done with it? Quite a few models known for clean sounds have very exaggerated distortion (even with a very weak IN signal and very low gain settings) and lack dynamics (yes, I tried more accurate captures, but due to their static nature I find them not to be convenient and not to react to volume changes of the guitar). And I will add that the new Universal Audio pedals seem to offer superior modelling results (but way less flexibility to be fair).

  2. Are there also plans to overhaul the spring reverb effect which I use pretty often and in my opinion is a far cry from a good spring reverb pedal? I could go on with a few more things, but generally speaking: Do you think the QCs further development will be rather focused on the missing things like cloud management etc or will they be looking also into what I would regard as the core of the unit: the further improvement of the sound?

I was several times on the fence of selling this little wonder box, but convenience kept me of doing it. And the hope that the aforementioned stuff will improve in the coming months, not years. Thanks for listening.


The short answer is yes, no and maybe. Will or more importantly does a digital device sound like a real device? The tech always gets better but to some people it’s already there. I personally don’t do a lot of ABing since it becomes more like a defeating process. With any amp/modeler I try to get a good sound and try it in a situation. Then it is usable. Amps also keep getting better- designs and sounds so pitting the two to compete is mostly a loosing thing. I have amps and they sound great. Modelers and they do too. I can use them together and they also sound great. It’s all about preference.

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I think upgrades to modeling and sounds will be inevitable. The same thing happened with Fractal’s products… I remember the Axe-FX 2 being “ok” then a new firmware came out that improved the modeling engine and it was a drastic improvement. Then the same happened with the FXIII. Like any software product, I’m sure NDSP is addressing the biggest user feedback issues first (bugs, usability improvements, etc) before tech initiatives to improve modeling performance & accuracy. As technology changes and their algorithms evolve (both for their plugins and this unit) things will keep improving and get better.

I’m with you on the clean models. They’re pretty hot. I found I’ve had to turn the amp gain down and output & master louder to get more clean volume before breakup. But I have found them, all the models actually, very dynamic to touch and guitar volume response. Gain staging is very important on the unit too, like any digital audio unit/workstation and it greatly affects the sound. I’ve found sometimes I adjust the input & gain way more than I think I should but it gets the sound I’m looking for…and at the end of the day that’s all that matters!

Can’t comment on the Reverb concern. Not a big Reverb user.
I think that Clean tones are the Achilles Heal of every modeler. This is especially true of captures/models of amps like the Fender Twin. I’ve owned a Twin - and there is nothing like it in the modeling world (at least that I’ve tried). It probably is a double-edged-sword for the programmers: Don’t include a Twin and you’re accused of “not including a ‘basic amp’ like the Twin” - Include a model called a Twin and hear “it sounds nothing like a Twin”.
Totally understand the concerns of the OP, but for my purposes (home player, playing to backing tracks) it’s more than meeting my needs. I’m patient. As improvements come, I will gladly and graciously accept them. The honeymoon is still going strong for me. YMMV.

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With clean sounds inside a modeler it is all about volume and headroom. There is no magic ti getting that sparkly sound - I have done sessions plugged into a console, no amp, no IR just some compression and EQ and I can get a killer clean sound. It is about the push and compression which kind of comes naturally with a modeled hi gain amp. It is all attainable with some good tweaks - use a compressor, and maybe a boost too. Do not go crazy with the EQ - keep things flat. I can get amazing twin sounds, but also Bogner Shiva or PRS Archon are others I really like. The twin mic’d up sounds almost identical to the QC model. So much so I stopped having my studio rent twins when they were requested. I even get a good twin sound out of the HX stomp. The Ax Fx does a good twin sound but the QC is the most amp like. Volume and depth is the key here.


Thank you for your feedback guys. However, I would expect from a top modeller like the QC to sound as close as possible to the real thing, because that’s its purpose. Its clean Fender models are not there yet and their gain behaviour is very different from what their real counterparts do. That’s what my ears and a pretty good FRFR cab tell me, and I had a Twin, a Deluxe, Princetons, Champs and played other Fenders.
20 months after release I would expect, they will not only catch up on missing features but also improve the modelling part (surely not in Fractal style when realer and betterer algorythms were always round the corner and I tweaked my presets again and again). But achieve a level of modelling like the new UA pedals. Since I did not want to wait for a possible modelling update I purchased all the Fender cabs from York Audio. They get me closer to that Fender vibe but the amp block is still what it is. Certainly doesn’t change the fact that the QC is the most convenient and flexible modeller in the market. But with the modelling of clean and breakup amp sounds there is still room for ups.

Hi Heinrich
I posted a comment on this site when the UAD amp modelling pedals first came out, and I bought all three having found that although digital, they managed to portray the full dynamics of playing and produced a very realistic edge of breakup tone. In my opinion the QC doesn’t. My comments got shot down!
I also use a couple of pedals, notably vibe and spring reverb, as the QC doesn’t manage a believable effect.
But, as a compact multi-fx unit, in general it’s ok. Mind you, so was my Helix Effects at a fraction of the price (and with a desktop editor).

Well i think there are some killer models in the QC, and some not so killer. Updates will make this better and i think once we get the 2.0 update we will probably see quicker and smaller follow ups. Give it a year from now and the QC will be powering…xox.

What Is for you a not so good amp in qc? Can we realize some samples? All together

Seems like we are on the same page @Digitalchris, though I would not say your comments got shot down when I look at the thread you mentioned as I think the tonality here in general is very civilised. I have listened to many videos reviewing the UAD pedals (with proper sound quality and less fanboyism that is). My two cents: I cannot come close with the QCs Fender amp models - even with YA cabs - to their pedals responsiveness, rawness and feel when you lean into the strings. And captures though sounding better are not the way I want to go. Sure enough this needs to be tested in real live and I may do so when I have sold some of my gear. In the mean time I hope for FW 2.0. Can someone confirm that NDSP announced a new way of modelling amps that could not be implemented in the old Firmware but new models will come with FW 2.0? Does this apply to the existing models as well? If that holds true and my concerns would be addressed I would down a few shots and sing their praises. Err, don’t forget about the spring reverb please, needs an update also. This box of wonders is a genius in many ways, would be very hard to let go, but if they just add more and more without reviewing the bread and butter stuff after 18 months, well, I hope they will and it seems they will.

I need a great clean tone. I was disappointed at first but, as has been said: the clean tones require tweaking. Both with the amp/cab/speaks and EQ/comp if necessary. I’ve found the Roland Jazz to be pretty good, stock. But all of them need adjustment. The Twin more so than others.

Besides the parameters for dialing in; I’m also finding that modelers require a different, lighter touch than I’m used to with standard amps and pedals. Both picking and fretting. Or maybe more about the timing…? Not sure. Just know that I’ve had to make some adjustments with my technique.

The sounds keep getting better as I get more experienced with the QC (and modelers in general).

Totally agree…There are a couple of decent amp models in the QC, The JCM 800 001 patch is one of the better ones but there aren’t many. I can sooooooooooo hear the possibility’s with the modeling side of the QC but if we’re being honest ,it’s just not there, yet! . Once they get this right, the QC will be tough to beat , on either side of the fence…xox

Yeah I’ve found modelers (and plugins too) to require less heavy-handedness than a tube amp. A lot of it is gain staging in the digital realm vs analog realm.

As for clean tones, I’ve been really diving in to gain staging a lot. I’ve found the best results setting input gain high as possible without clipping then using a utility gain block first in the chain and adjusting the gain down… way down, depending on how hot the guitar. -7 or -8db for my Tele, -15db for my EBMMJP6 and Ibanezes. These help clean up all the clean amps tremendously. It also affects distortion pedals and every the high gain amps too. They all feel different to me this way, in may ways better and more dynamic. Sometimes I like that really hot input overdriven sound for high gain stuff but sometimes not as much for rhythm parts so I like the gain block for its versatility in a preset/scene.

I mentioned this in another post - I’m not sure if this is intended behavior or a bug but in my opinion I think the input stage going into most models come in too hot. Luckily it’s pretty easy, albeit a bit of an annoyance, to fix with a gain block and using your ears to taste.


I find the clean tones to be good, the only issue is that they’re super quiet compared the dirtier ones so I keep having to tinker with the input/output levels when going back and forth between clean and dirty amps.

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