How does this realistically compare to the Helix?

I can’t decide between the Helix Floor or a Quad Cortex. My #1 thing I’m looking for is ease of use and these 2 seem to be the most user friendly options out there. I obviously care about sound as well, but I’m sure they both sound great and that’s mostly subjective. Also, I plan to gig with whatever I choose, so it has to work well in a live setup. I know the opinion here might be biased, but wanted to get some other input from people who have had both units?

My main concern with the QC is the long wait time and the growing pains of a brand new unit. Also I dislike the lack of an expression pedal built in. The UI and built in wifi is a huge plus though, seems much easier to use than the Helix. One other note is that I couldn’t care less about capturing my own amps and pedals. I’ll most likely never use that feature.

My main concern with the Helix is the fact that it’s like 6 years old. I know Line 6 has mentioned they release new software, not hardware. Maybe this is a plus though as most of the kinks would be worked out by now? Still that’s an old piece of tech to pay $1800 for. Just doesn’t sit well with me. I could be wrong though?

Thanks for any advice!

If you haven’t preordered and live in the states, you will likely have a long wait unless you purchase from a UK vendor (some stated they have unreserved stock arriving soon). You could always order a new /used QC from Reverb/Ebay and gamble with the warranty etc. It depends on how you plan to use the modelers (eg. 4 cable, direct to FOH etc.) where some functionality may be better for you. Helix is mature now and has many of the same features of QC such as multiple amp blocks and lush effects etc. The one feature only the Kemper can match is capturing quality tones of various amp yet the QC can also capture drive pedals etc., which is a first. If you aren’t interested in capturing, I would watch some videos of various modelers and decide from that how well each may or may not work best for your specific tasks. Tone wise, most modelers in that range sound phenomenal nowadays so no worries there but each does things different. I personally think QC is checking all the right marks with wifi, and overall ease of use.

Thanks for the reply. I did order a QC in late April and was told there is a 6-8 week wait. I figured I could cancel it if needed, but wanted to jump in line. I plan to run it into a Mesa 4x12 cab (maybe 2x12) with a Powerstage 170 for stage noise and a separate route to the FOH as well. Any idea which option would be best for this setup?

Decide what’s important to you and go with what best fits those needs. After four years with Helix, I found myself wanting to use some outboard pedals and found the overall size / weight of the pedalboard + Helix to be excessive. My QC-based pedalboard is basically the same size & weight as the Helix floor by itself.


I ordered early March and was told today via my SW rep that I am approximately 1 month out from receiving. I’ll let you know once I receive the QC. Another alternative is FM3 which has limitations compared to QC but it’s available now for a couple hundred less.

I’ve had the QC for 2 weeks and previously used an HX Stomp with external pedals. Here are a few thoughts if it helps you decide.

From a pure amp/cab/pedal tone perspective, QC is in a totally different league. Way more natural. It’s super easy to get a great tone without much work. Now that I’ve heard the QC in person, I can’t go back. If natural tone is your goal, go QC all the way. But it’s new and missing allot of features (like weak stomp mode options).

With the Helix you’ll quickly see the legacy. Most models are very artificial. The 3 amps that came v3.0+ sound better (like the Fender Princess), but nothing like the QC. I liked it most using it for clean amps, and then using external pedals to get my OD. Also, with allot of tweaking you can make it better. You’ll find you need to replace the cabs with IR’s, etc… Suddenly, it’s not so easy. But the Helix does have PROs. It’s super mature, reliable, and feature rich. The recent models are better, and the effects are awesome.

Personally, if your putting down over a grand I would not want to invest in an old platform at this point. I think the game is going to change and the Helix platform will need updated hardware and CPU to pull it off.

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I agree totally with DumarDrake. I’ve not owned a Line6 modeler but I’ve played and heard many of them in person. The amp models don’t sound no where as good to me. Something about the Helix that sounds off; call it artificial, dull, more digital, I’m not sure but it almost never sounds right to me. I have always been a tube amp guy in my 50 years fo playing the guitar, and swore I’d never own a modeler. The QC is an unbelievable piece of gear, and I don’t see myself going back to an amp for live use or recording anytime soon, and as everyone says, It’s only suppose to get better.

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I owned the Helix for 5 years and gigged extensively with it. I bought the FM3 and quickly sold the Helix. After a 6 month wait, I received the QC 3 weeks ago. The FM3 is going up for sale. The QC is everything I had hoped it would be and it’s in it’s infant stages right now. As it matures, I know I’ll love it even more. Hop on for the ride, I don’t think you’ll regret it.

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I had both (and several Axe FX units). I would go with the Quad Cortex every day of the week.

If you can wait for it :slight_smile:


I have literally just sold my Helix Floor unit after receiving my QC back in the first half of May. My original intention was to keep both for a while as they both had features and functionality that would have been useful to me. However, I was so impressed with the QC that I was completely sold on using that exclusively. The final test was an A/B recording test using my Tascam desk - similar patch on both units, fairly chunky tone designed for detuned guitars. The QC just blew the Helix out of the water in terms of the sound and feel.
I’m not currently playing with a band, just writing and recording at home at the moment so the recorded tone is everything to me. The Helix was amazing at clean tones but I always felt you had to work hard to get a decent distorted amp tone and always got into heavy tweaking of parameters when I listened back to recordings as I was never satisfied. When I plugged in the QC for another test, I spent a couple of minutes throwing together a basic patch from scratch with just an amp, speaker and a little reverb and it sounded incredible immediately!
The Helix is definitely the more mature prospect and the constant support and firmware updates have made it a fantastic unit with so many possibilities. The effects are brilliant for an all-in-one unit and there is certainly a little more scope there than the QC currently, but we have to remember the QC is at the start of it’s lifecycle and there is much more to come. As such, if we consider the absolute basis of good tone in terms of the amp sounds, I personally think the difference is definitely noticeable and am glad I made the switch.
Also, from a footprint point of view, I have now been able to invest in a much smaller pedalboard for which my back will thank me!!


Thanks for the feedback everyone. I’ve decided I’m just going to stick with the QC order. Hopefully they’re able to speed up in the coming months.

Had a helix for a few years. To bring it to one point. The helix for me was not very „organic“. I was missing the amp feel and an organic tone. Found this in the Kemper, which is amazing. QC sounds good but there is a lot of work to do. Userbility, software bugs, very Basic app, not really a community home. Will take time…

I did own a Helix Rack for 4-5 years and sold it. It does not even come close (even with Jason Sadites’ help) with the QC tones, from what I have heard on YT.

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I have both. Helix Floor and QC. My favorite amp in the Helix is the Placater (Friedman BE 100). I tested in both units. QC sounds a little more compressed, in a good way. I put a compressor after the amp in the Helix and make them sound equal. I’m playing a lot with both units (in home for now, because of covid). I don’t know if I’m going to sell the Helix. I just can say that if I need to play in a gig tomorrow, I will go with the Helix. My favorites amps in the unit sound great and the effects are waaaaaay better than the QC. Helix its a pretty mature platform, and QC is just starting. I hope QC grows quickly this year. Captures is a game changer and the reason why I will keep it and wait.

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Sepu, that’s the most sensible answer here. The helix is amazing and if not for the capture feature I would not have any interest in the QC. If the Helix comes out with capturing, in all honesty I would sell my QC.

I have both. I think QC sounds richer overall, but Helix has quite a bit going for it operationally, Helix Edit, and many more options for now. Not sure if I will end up selling the Helix, which would mostly be to lighten the crowded floor load and consolidate more than anything else. I bought a Boss MD-500 pedal to run through the QC to add a better layer of Mod effects to the mix.

Helix can seriously sound great with the right IR’s and right amp choice. I love the Revv Purple and Revv Red with Ownhammer IR’s. Helix delays are where I’m a little bored after 4+ years … I’d really like the equivalent of a Boss DD500 inside the Helix… something I can really get nerdy and tweaky with. But alas… hasn’t arrived yet.

The QC is so embryonic that I just think we need to give it time to mature.