Neural DSP Quad Cortex digital out


pretty pumped for the announced modeller, already did a preorder. Just now seen that the device apparently has no digital out (optical/spdif) is that correct? Why? :frowning:

It has usb audio out wich is better.

Over USB it acts like an Interface, means I need a PC/MAC running to use it (hopefully there is no DAW needed to make sounds for practice at home). With digital out I could hook it directly to an amp (@home for practice, like my RME ADI/2 DAC). Strange leaving it out at that price.

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Tend to agree that an SPdif/Toslink out would be really nice. In particular if you already have a great sound card for your DAW and don’t want the hassle to switch back and forth between. Optical would also solve any problems of ground loops…


The truth is that we simply didn’t have room for everything. Product design is all about priorities and compromises.
Keeping a small footprint was the main priority, getting rid of SPDIF was the compromise.


Thank you for the response. It would have been the ultimate device for me with digi out.
I could link it to my already existing equipment at home and the rehearsing room.

Maybe for the next Hardware revision you could use a 3,5-mm-Miniplug / Toslink combo jack like Apple is using in their lineup (for example iMac).

Hope you have great success.

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That indeed sucks a little.
Of course you can use is as interface, but that doesn’t work sooo well in practice - like, when you want to track you need to plug in the usb, switch drivers in your daw, and track with headphones, then switch all back. Or connect your speakers.
You could say these are minor inconveniences - in practice I bet most people will end up recording their dry signal straight in their audio card and reamp later (or, more realistically because we’re all NDSP users, use the plugins). And that’s kind of a waste of amazing preamps, to be fair.

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Digital out allows tracking with double path analog/digital.
It’s very common to double track guitar processors in modern studios:

  • 1 path with analog preamp/compressor and extra processing
  • 1 path for complete digital

I would add a digital input is also required for modern re-amping / double tracking without external analog gear as our (home) studios are fully digital in most of the cases.

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Sorry to bring this up again - maybe @Doug can chime in.

The more I think about it, the more this seems like a big gap for such a forward thinking unit like the QC.
Changing hardware design now is surely prohibitive (though it apparently just happened with the addition of a “capture out” output socket) but a SP/DIF pair of in/outs would really add so much value to the unit.

Alternatively, maybe “SP/DIF over USB” is a possibility. It’d require a special usb-to-spdif cable I guess, but the conversion itself could be via software in the QC. Does this make sense / would it be feasible?

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I will also express a demand for digital input / output. I’ll just add that it is preferable to use optical channels, they are not subject to radio interference, and also allow galvanic isolation of devices. It would also be great to have a flexible routing policy for input - aux mode sent to the output via the global effects block or a input mode sent to one of the effects chains.

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Can’t wait to get my Quad Cortex, but I have to agree that the decision to not include an SPDIF output is disappointing. With the QC’s USB 2.0 audio I will certainly get a much higher latency than I am currently able to achieve with my Thunderbolt audio interface. Seems like a step backwards to be forced to use USB 2.0 audio. So yeah, it would have been great to be able to digitally connect the QC to my main audio interface.

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There’s the latency issue, but it’s not the only thing.
To me the most evident problem is that, while it is amazing that it is also an audio interface, most people have their own already, connected to speakers and all other kinds of necessary devices - I don’t see them really unplugging stuff, plugging it to the QC when recording guitars (and bass), then back, and so on and so forth. Most likely they’ll end up recording the dry signal on their PC and reamping via USB at best - but if their PC has enough CPU power they’ll just go for the plugins.
So I don’t know, the more I think of it the more it seems that promoting it to audio interface might prove a little futile, whereas just sending and receiving digital audio would meet many, many more people’s needs (come on, it’s not like people who are dropping 1.6K on a pedal won’t have an interface).
Not trying to be polemical, just my 2 cents.

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Ya, too bad it doesn’t have digital out, it won’t be a big deal for me as the main use will be live, USB for audio will be nice to have. If it captures amp tones as good as Kemper, has a very accurate tuner, decent delay, Inteligent harmonizer, and it’s Very reliable for live use, then I’ll be happy :slight_smile:

By the way, in order to free up space, one could use TRS for sends/returns connectors

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Francisco Cresp said on Jeremey Varao’s interview that SPDIF will not be possible in this revision, but maybe in a future, which is a shame :frowning:
I’m in the 1st tier or pre-orders, but knowing there will be a second revision, possibly with SPDIF, kinda makes me want to cancel and wait for the SPDIF version

Here’s the interview with the timestamp regarding SPDIF:

It’s a bit laggy but still understandable

Don’t see them making the device bigger for rev2, so they will have the same problem then regarding size that they have now. The reasoning for not including it right from the start.

Would rather have SPDIF then a hardware volume wheel. That Volume wheel seems rather old school and tacked on on a device with a capacitive power button and revolutionary rotary footswitches… why would I need easy access for volume, that’s set and forget on every device I own. I really don’t get it lol. Could easily make that with the footswitches --> turn two switches at the same time, any two of them, and you rase or lower the volume. There, just made space for the inclusion of SPDIF :smiley:

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Agree with @theabandoneddoor - maybe it’s a little out of topic, but I also wonder how much use I would get in practice of that big volume knob :smiley: would exchange that for an extra footswitch every day of the week!

But back to the point that @Drunkbag raises - it is actually even kinda disappointing that we’re talking about “version 2” before even version 1 is out, like admitting this one is flawed. As opposed to rewarding those who faithfully invested in them right from the start, we’d be the ones getting less value for the money :sweat_smile:

I seriously hope they invest some time in planning this now in a backward compatible way. I bring up again my “SPDIF over USB” idea - creating an accessory cable that allows connecting from the USB out to a SPDIF in/out (and handling the protocol and synchronization from the unit) would be a good save over this gap.


Yeah, knowing about a 2nd version before the 1st version is even out made me more hesitant, and I think I might cancel my pre-order.

This is my first plunge into amp modelling, and my biggest worry was always “planned obsolescence”.
Eventually there will be a newer, better sounding version.

You will be waiting for up to …ten years? The Kemper has still not been hardware updated. Fractal is in a seven year(?) update cycle. So you will wait long. On the other hand it shows how important it is to have the essentials from the start.

Yeah, that’s a fair point. Hopefully the life cycle will be as long as the Kemper.

I wish they would’ve at least made it a USB 3.1 port instead of the USB 2.0, it not an SPDIF port.