Just unpacked my QC and did the first few tests. Great unboxing experience (thanks for the book). Nevertheless; maybe it is blasphemy, but actually I’m otherwise not that impressed…. OK, my expectations were more than enormous after having used the Nolly plugin for recording with great pleasure for a while. Accordingly, I was hoping the physical device with all its magical mighty quad AI power would be a giant leap beyond any of my other devices including my beloved and trusted AFXII.
Well, no. Reality check. Don’t get me wrong here, the QC is really good and there are plenty of positive things to say; I just wasn’t blown away like I had been in all my wet dreams about it during the y++ waiting time.
Now, please allow me to take a half-empty approach today to vent my (hopefully unjustified) concerns. Maybe I’m in a better mood tomorrow or when I’ve had more time with it and done some tweaking and a capture or two.
Here we go: First of all, I noticed that it is generally voiced somewhat darker and with less presence than I’m used to. I double checked with other monitors and headphones and it remained my conclusion. I guess it is a small thing which can be eq’ed out, just thought I’d mention it, because the tone felt more 2D and distant than I was anticipating. I was expecting more “sparkle” and 3D feel right out of the box.
What is immediately more concerning and difficult to cure is the constant light hiss in the headphones. It is independent of preset chosen and master volume setting, so I currently have to conclude that it is down to the quality of the analog headphone amp stage. Not an enormous problem, since I don’t plan to use it much with headphones, I was just assuming much higher grade components.
Another concerning noise issue is the hum, which appears in the monitors when the QC is turned off using the off soft-button (internal relais switches off), but the unit is still connected to the power supply. The noise disappears when the unit is turned on again or if the power supply is disconnected. And yes, also when the monitors are disconnected, hence the noise comes from the QC or its power supply. It may also be down to a ground loop it the test setting, but it is only noticeable when turned off. The (potential) issue may not be a big problem in reality, since I guess one could simply pull the plug when done, but it shouldn’t be like that in my view and it may piss off the one or other sound engineer.
Speaking of noise, I admit, I was at first impressed how quiet the stock high gain presets are. Nevertheless, the gate(s) seem to lead to a somewhat artificial “feel”, which I at first feared was down to noticeable latency. But since it is much less pronounced without the gates I suspect it is again curable by proper settings. Nevertheless, without the tall gates, noise levels are comparable to my other devices.
Anyway, what turns me off the most right now is the gap between presets. Ok, ok, it is written explicitly in the FAQ, but seriously!? Even my 500€ Amplifire 6 does a better job. A much better job. And it even sounds comparable too, not to mention my AFXII as reference… Maybe it is just me and everyone else uses scenes or stomp box mode for entire songs, but I like dedicated presets for various parts and in spite of the admittedly fair prior warning, I am disappointed about the gaps and the lack of spill-over option for delay/reverb between presets. After all we are writing 2021 and this is supposedly the most powerful floor modeller on the planet….
There are also a few minor issues to mention now I am ranting, e.g. boot time is relatively long (although it could be argued that QC owners are patient people and used to waiting ;-). Another small thing is that I find it strange to have to “double stomp” to activate a new preset after a bank change. It will probably not bug me much in practice since 8 presets are usually enough for me in a song or even entire gig and there is probably some deeper logic behind, but it still seems superfluous.
A further small thing, is that unfortunately none of the encoders can be used to scroll the on-screen menus and select amp models etc. in the user interface. That is kind-of counter-intuitive.
Moreover, I had gotten the impression that ducking delay would be available upon release, but I guess it will come. I am also missing a few features like intelligent harmonising and Bluetooth midi, but fair enough, it is good to still have something to look forward too, now the QC itself has finally arrived.
Well, enough grumpiness for today. Maybe I’ll get around to actually use it in the coming days and hopefully lighten up a bit.