Hurray, the QC arrived, but

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.

Best regards,

V<

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Mirrors my experience a little bit. Many tones are Boss GT-1000 quality (acceptable but not great). But, there’s some real gems in there which means the unit itself can eventually hold its own with Fractal units. I’m finding some presets which even surpass my Fractal’s sounds. Especially on clean. It’s a keeper for me that I know will only get better.

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Hello forum members. I have a question. Does Quad Cortex have a smart harmonizer? And if there isn’t, do you have any information on it? Greetings.

It currently doesn’t have an intelligent hamonizer, but I understand it is planned…

There are also several other things missing, but all in all the selection of effects is ok’ish. By far not comparable to Fractal, though.

Yeah, sound is of course subjective and my expextations were (are still) sky high. So maybe I’m not fair judging already. I am also only just through my second run through the captures/presets… But I had expected almost everything to be at least at perceived Kemper/Fractal level right out of the box and apart from a very few “wows”, it is pretty much the sounds I would see coming from your average Boss/Line6/Headrush device (just with less effects available ;-). Not bad at all, but not as spectacular as expected.

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It is in a development state a little bit to a few steps past the Kemper when it was first released. The effects that it has are good but not in quantity compared to the Axe or current Kemper. The shinning part is the amp, cab and capturing. I would not judge anything on the factory presets. When compared to the sounds/dynamics you get playing an actual tube amp it is the closest of the three with the Axe 3 being next (with Cygnus) from a natural response perspective. This is the “wow”. If you can set all beside each other and play you would hear the separation in products.

You are probably right and I will be patient. I am sure that when I do a few captures myself and tweak more to my liking, I will begin to see (hear) the light.

Nevertheless, I was surprised not to be blown away from the start. Unfortunately, my AFX is in the currently inaccessible practice room so I am going by memory on that one, but I have a ton of other gear here and honestly, my Amplifire 6 is fully on par with the QC (presets) in sound and feel, which kind’of scares me… Actually I use the Nolly plugin as my favourite go-to sounds for recording and it feels and sounds better than anything I’ve found on the QC so far.

But maybe it is just me. Admittedly I also got a bit downed by the gaps between presets, lack of auto-engage for wah/whammy and the somewhat strange MIDI-implementation, but that has nothing to do with the sound and is also curable over time.

By the way, I wrote support concerning the noise issues (hiss in the headphones and humm in the speakers when turned off). Maybe my device is defective and that is affecting sound. Then all is in another perspective of course. Let’s see. I have by far not given up. Just sharing first impressions to see if I’m (not) alone…

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I have no hum when the unit is off and connected to speakers but I go through a mixing board. Also used a High Cut/Low Cut filter on some presets where they sounded hollow and 2D. That helped.

Here the answers from Support in respect of the hiss and the hum:

  1. That may happen if you’re using low-impedance headphones. If that is the case, that gets resolved if you roll back the headphone out and increase the global volume. We recommend going into the I/O settings by ‘swiping-down’ on the screen, clicking on the ‘Headphone’ port, and reducing the HP Level by -10 dB, and increasing the global volume of the unit (with the dedicated Volume knob on the front of the QC, on the left of the screen).

  2. That’s because the QC grounds itself through the XLR outs. If it’s
    turned off and connected to the power outlet, you will get hear the ground
    noises. We recommend that after clicking the power button, and selecting the Standby function, as that can be used to avoid this.

Will try it later. Just thought I’d share straight away.

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Thanks for sharing, that makes sense.

I pretty much agree with you on everything you’ve said. I sold my Kemper Floor unit and have been using the Mooer GE300 while I waited for the QC and even it can switch presets with no perceivable latency…

I’ve managed to create some nice useable presets but the tone is not blowing me away like I expected… the biggest issue for me is how limited the Amp block controls are… it’s almost as if they too are just captures with limited amount of tweakability… for example, rolling the gain down on any high gain amps is piss poor… on the real world equivalents you can clean up the amp significantly to get more of an overdriven crunch rather than full blown gain but the QC gain knob doesn’t seem to work very well at all…

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Yes, strange design choice. I just filed a feature request:

" Gapless preset swithching/spill-over between preset changes"

Considering that the topic is addressed in the FAQ, I fear it has little chance of improving. Worth a shot though, since it really bugs me.

I think we have to look at this a bit differently. There’s a lot of very decent modelers on the market which can give us all very useable tones. This adds something different to the mix. Captures, a beautiful screen and user interface, rotary switching, eventual porting of plug-ins and a lot of power. If Doug supports this the way he has said he will (and I’ve no reason to doubt him), this will be the unit to have for the long haul.

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Agreed. I purchased this with the goal of eventually getting the plugins on it, which have a level of polish I haven’t seen before. I’m not expecting the factory presets to be as refined, but maybe I’ll be surprised.

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Thank you TonePilot for bringing the half-full perspective in again. I do agree that it is important to focus on its unique selling proposition and appreciate that. I will try to get some captures done over the weekend. I am enjoying the Nolly plugin a lot, so I have a glimpse of what should ultimately be possible. By the way, I may take advantage of the current 50% sale on plugins…

Nonetheless, I find it appropriate and even pertinent to share thoughts on the “areas for improvement”. After all Neural’s own statements raise legitimate expectations, which simply aren’t fulfilled (yet).

How about “…this ludicrous amount of processing capacity provides limitless sound design possibilities.” and “Want to run four amplifier models, stereo reverbs, and a plethora of other effects simultaneously? Quad Cortex won’t even break a sweat.” ?

Fact is that in my attempt to design a single preset for meeting most of my pretty normal needs using multiple scenes to avoid the gap problem between presets, I ran out of resources pretty quickly. And yes, I distributed the blocks “ideally” amongst all threads.

Or how about “Unparalleled Intuitiveness & Flexibility” and “…Switching modes couldn’t be easier, providing easy access to features and switch customization.”? I ask; What switch “customisation”? As far as I can tell, each switch has a predefined function in each mode and all switches A-H have the same type function. Moreover, I can’t freely assign a CC to a block or a parameter of an effect for on/off or modifier control by external MIDI gear. Possibly all coming, but the message given leaves the impression, it is all there already and even more too it.

And in respect of the “out of the box sound experience” mentioned above, it is stated by Neural: “Quad Cortex packs a vast amount of state-of-the-art emulations of your favorite gear with unprecedented accuracy and unbelievably natural dynamic response.”? Well, this may be true arithmatically/technically or even objectively so, but in the current incarnation it is pretty far from my subjective reality and it seems there are a few other people who struggle with it too like tian.jay above.

I hate to be so negative about it and I really want to love it, but it doesn’t yet deliver on (all) its promises.

Anyway, still full of hopes. I just fired the QC up again, poored in a glass of red wine and intend to do my first capture. I guess I’ll try the Rockman Ultimatum, which is the one I have most difficulties mimicing on the AFX (and others). Stay tuned!

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This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

Lol; no I’m certainly neither a FB user nor abuser. Didn’t even appreciate that there is a QC forum there. Is it otherwise worthwhile joining?

Anyway, I am not entirely sure if you want to imply that my posts here are inappropriate? No offense taken, just trying to understand, since the last thing I want is to be a nuisance.

If any of my posts here annoys anyone, I sincerely apologise. That is certainly not the intention. I am simply sharing my thoughts, concerns and ideas. And hopefully soon some wonderful Captures and positive experiences.

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Didn’t think “himself” was trolling. I appreciate honest feedback.

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Whether it’s the same person or not is irrelevant. This person is not trolling. You really need to spend more time in gaming forums if you think this is trolling.

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I guess, you have to rethink your workflow. You don’t need to switch through different presets within a song. With the 8 scenes and intelligent preset designs you can get enough different sounds in one preset.

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