Looking for info

Hi. I am looking to buy a Quad Cortex and have some questions.
I have been a Fractal user since the AX8 , have had the fm3 and fm9. Recently sold my FM9 and have had a break from playing. I was interested in the QC when it first came out but never made the jump. Ive seen a few Youtube vids on using the QC with a Power amp and guitar cab and this is my preffered setup. Having being a Fractal user I found myself constantly going down a rabbit hole with tweaking and in the long run its put me off.
So how does the QC fair up with a power amp and guitar cab? Are the captures pretty much there and just require tweaking to taste? Any input would be greatly received.

1 Like

IMO, tones are very usable right out of the box using factory presets/captures. I went the QC route over FM9 simply due to the ease of use compared between the two. Out of all the modelers available currently, nothing compares to the footprint, features all in a self contained unit. One reason I dumped the FM9 was simply due to the UI and like you, constantly diving down the rabbit hole to tweak simple parameters. For me specifically, it didn’t go well with my workflow and having to be constantly connected to a PC to edit simple tones just wasn’t working out and haven’t looked back ever since going into the QC world.

1 Like

I’m a strong proponent of power amp + real cab. I absolutely love it.

I’m sure there are bad ones out there, but D.I captures are harder to mess up than positioning a mic etc, and I’ve found plenty of amazing ones. Particularly if you get them from a known good source (Rabea’s are all solid, for example). He’s already done the work dialling in the amp and finding the sweet spot. The number of times I’ve sat down with the intent to dial something specific, only to very quickly stumble upon something fun and lose myself jamming…

One way I like to tweak tones is to drop the amp capture gain and throw various pedals in front (either models or again, captures). Quick and easy.

1 Like

I had also already thought about running the QC with a guitar speaker.
How do you ground your QC in this case?
Can the QC be grounded via the 1/4 output and then you use a power amp with existing grounding?

1 Like

Thanks guys. Sounds like we both have had the same experince regarding fractal. This has swayed me more to the QC. I am using a matrix gt1000 for a poweramp but will be upgrading in time.
Hopefully in the next week i can pull the trigger on the QC.
Weirldy enough ive found more videos with the QC regarding the setup i want to use.
Will check out more of Rabeas vids etc.
Thanks again. Will be back no doubt once ive pulled the trigger.

To what?? That’s a pretty beefy amp!

1 Like

Im looking at the Fryette ps2. The matrix has been a solid work horse but i have always felt like its missing something. Could just be me being in the rabbit hole again but its defo worth a shot. Plan is to get the QC and use with the Matrix , then try the Fryette to see if i get different results.

From my experience, the Matrix is one of the best power amps available currently. I had the opportunity to test drive the same amp you have and have been looking for a good deal ever since. The KSR is well regarded as well but I have no personal experience with their brand or models, YMMV

1 Like

The Fryette is a bit of a different beast. I was considering that when I was in the market because of the reactive load (for capturing), but it’s only single channel, and I was keen to stick to stereo. Two cabs, spaced apart a bit, running different amps into each side…sounds huge. So, so good.

If you’re in a position to get both just to try, it’s always nice to squash that niggling ‘what am I missing’ voice in your head. Honestly though, I’d expect no difference between the two. The Matrix is a great amp, and personally I wouldn’t give up the stereo option.

Currently I’m using QC → Orange Pedal Baby 100 → Orange PPC412 cab, all of which work great for me. No complaints.

I would love to upgrade to a Fryette Power Station in the future. I sold my Fryette Pittbull 100CL amp to fund my QC, and I’d like to go back to at least using one of their power amps.

The Fryette PS2 sorta makes everything sound scooped to me. I compared it to a couple different Duncan Powerstages, and the Orange Pedal Baby. Didn’t feel like the PS2 gave it the oomph you’re thinking it will. That power amp is pretty clean, so you won’t really get the same saturation their other power amps will give. Yes it’s a Fryette, but the transformer design is much different, aside from many other things. It was designed to be transparent when running another tube head into it. A possible slightly affordable tube option for you could be the Synergy rack mount power amp.

To me the Powerstage 200 and 700 are the best of any other solid state power amps I’ve tried, esp because they have the eq controls.

1 Like

Just out interest.
When i had the fm9 i was going to but the Fryette lxii but i remeber reading on the forums that in order to get the most out of it , its best to turn the poweramp modelling off in the cab block. Have i read it right thatbyou cant do that on the QC?

I forgot about synergy , isnt that the 50/50?

The colour imparted by a poweramp is so miniscule, I wouldn’t worry about it. I remember reading that pedal manufacturers would just pick random subtle EQ changes for poweramps, because people expect a difference, but in reality it’s borderline negligable and they could never actually measure anything to model.


Helix has just pre amp models for the option to use with a tube power amp that adds color. Using the full amp models with stuff like a 5150 power amp, etc sounds really weird. With Helix people will complain the pre amp model are quiet in comparison to the full amp model, but I would use line out level for this since the power amps want to see that. Doing that fixes the difference people are noticing and the preamp models sound better.

There isn’t a separate amp model and preamp model in QC. I haven’t used QC into a tube poweramp yet, but did it a lot with Helix models. I had a Victory The Jack head that I would use as a poweramp. That thing was really cool because the master volume still worked on the amp when going into the power section. A lot of heads just disable that control when going into that.

The synergy power amp is the 50 watt one. The low end response/headroom with anything under 50 isn’t that great, esp when powering a real 212 or 412 cab.

There are definitely differences with power amps. Especially when they have resonance and presence controls. Also depends on how the transformer is made + wattage of the amp. The low end response especially of a 30,50 and 100 watt tube head can be huge.

I’ve used models with many different tube and solid state heads in my studio. The tonal variations between them is huge even when using the same amp/preamp model. Even just using a basic 57 with a Neve style preamp can really show a lot of the differences. Thankfully I can compare the models to the real amps I own that I’m trying to replicate for live use.

1 Like

Huh. My Engl Powerball was extremely transparent, (aside from the Bass/Treble controls in Depth Punch/Presence). I made some captures of the power section only, but the difference they make is minimal. And I compared to one of the tiny Orange valve amps. Slight high end difference, but nothing to write home about. (at normal volume, obviously it wouldn’t have handled the low end anything like the powerball once they were pushed)

1 Like

Well ive just pulled the trigger on a QC. Lets see where i end up.
Any tips for running it this way? In fractal land it i could find the frequency of my can and the would give it more feel. From whatbive read the QC is a compketely different machine which is fine. If theres anything you guys could point me too or tips that would be a great help. I must say you have all been really helpful and there doesnt seem to be snobery here. Thanks for everything so far.

1 Like

I currently run the QC through a Blackstar Amped 1 on the Amped 1 linear and flat settings. Then into a Marshall 4x12 with creambacks. It sounds fantastic. Just make sure you deactivate cab emulation in the global parameters on the QC. Of course, results will vary based on what types of speakers you are using and the cabinet size.

I switched to this setup from running to the return on my effects loop in an Orange Rockerverb 100. IMO it sounds better through a solid state flat amp because you are getting a direct tone from the QC without tube amp coloration. For me, I like the unadulterated QC tone since it is already emulating a tube power amp section for all of its models and a lot of the captures.

I’ve been using both the fm9 and QC back and forth for about a year. I’ll never be one of the “direct into the board” guys as I much prefer pushing air through an actual guitar cab. I use both devices the same way; I use the preamps (cab emulation turned off) out stereo into EHX Caliber 44’s mounted inside the speaker cabs. I find that each system has it’s own set of peculiarities, good and…not-so-good.
I initially loved the QC a bit more because it had a better “feel”, a touch of (tube-like) compression. Fractal has since added this with the latest update. The Fractal has quite a few years of development on the QC and the updates roll out a LOT faster. True, the Fractal is harder to tweak on the fly but if you setup the quick knobs it helps. I always thought I’d sell one or the other but I’ve come to love them both and for me, it comes down to mobility. The QC is now my “local gig” preference and Fractal is my choice for the concert dates. The Fractal is certainly more flexible in every way but the QC is just easier to deal with on-the-fly. I’m not sure how long it’ll take for Neural to add in all the features needed to make it a “world-class” device but every update pushes it a little more towards that goal.


I came from the Axe Fx 3 and FM9 world and while I was quite happy with them, I couldn’t be happier after moving to the QC. I started off using the Fractals in 4 cable method with various tube amp heads going into my Mesa 2x12 recto cab with V30s. Eventually, I decided to downsize and picked up a Seymour Duncan Powerstage 200. To my surprise, the Powerstage sounded and felt great and the downsizing of the form factor was a welcome benefit since I could just shove it in my bag. No more lugging a 100 watt head around.

Fast forward to today where I’m now using the Quad Cortex into a KSR PA-50, 50 watt 6L6 tube power amp still going through either my Mesa 2x12 or 4x12 cab. This thing is awesome! It has plenty of headroom and has controls such as Top (Presence), Bottom (Depth/Resonance), Negative Feedback and a HiFi control. This thing is still real compact and easy to transport and still fits in my gig bag but best of all, it sounds annd feels amazing! It’s about twice the price of my Powerstage 200 but well worth it.

1 Like