QC two weeks and a couple of gigs in

I’ve had the QC for two weeks, and been using it on a couple of gigs. My live set up is one stereo path out to FOH, and one mono via the flat power section of the Blackstar Amped 1 into a regular cabinet (split in the QC before the Cab section). Pretty simple, but it gives me the rumble of a regular amp on stage and stellar sounds out to the audience and in the monitor.

I have to say I’m still happy, even impressed, with the sounds. I went all in and tested all the main modelling contenders out there. First the Fractal FM9 alongside the Kemper and Helix, and kept the Fractal, and then bought the QC and sold the Fractal after a week. To me it’s an amp tone thing; the Fm9 with it’s latest software is amazing, but to my ears the QC has the edge in pure amp tones, especially in the mid to high gain sounds. Have used Fractal stuff since 2010, alongside with a Kemper since 2014.

In addition, there’s a few commercial captures out there that I think are stellar. I bought a few bundles from Amalgam Audio (a great capture of a Smallbox) and from Amp Guru Profiles (a bit on the heavier side, but a great JCM 800 and som stellar pedal captures). I’ve used the Kemper for years, and never really liked any of the commercial profiles, so I used my own. But almost all the captures I’ve bought for the QC are good.

My only concern with the QC is the update frequency. Buying into a device like this is buying into promises of development. Both Fractal and Kemper have really delivered on this account, but the consensus in forums etc (yeah, I know, the Internet etc) is that Neural is slower here (e.g. the next update that’s coming ‘soon’). I don’t need tons of delays and reverbs etc, but I’d like to see a few more effects (an Octafuzz, for instance, a few more drives) and amps & cabs. I really hope there’s a somewhat more aggressive roadmap here.

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I’ve been down a similar path as you have with modelers. I used Fractal for many years ( Axe II, Axe III, AX8, FM3). My last ‘modeler’ was a Kemper. I think the Kemper - up to that point - had the most realistic amp sound/feel. I don’t gig anymore - just a home-player now - so my desired outcome is likely different from yours.
I found that many of the Firmware updates didn’t really add to the enjoyment of using the device - rather - added to the clutter. I don’t want to sift through a thousand amp/cab choices. I’ve been playing/collecting gear for 40 years. I hit a point where I got gear-claustrophobia. There were just too many distractions from actually playing. I sold off most of my gear.
Eventually, my streamlinging moved to modeling. I had purchased several 3rd party packs for my Kemper. I had literally hundreds of choices - of which I used about 6. I just wanted a handful of great options for amps/cabs/effects. Enter the QC.
For me, it has been a breath of fresh air. I don’t get bogged down with a silly amount of options. The options that I do have are great. I keep reading reviews of players dialing in a useable sound in minutes. That has been my experience too. My first time using the QC, I was surprised at how quickly I dialed in a tone I liked - and I was off and running.
I understand that the players’ expectation out of the industry is that there are constant and rapid firmware updates but - after having lived through dozens of them - my takeaway was that they didn’t really add to the experience that much. I think that the psychology of updates is that you’re getting a ‘cool new thing for free’ …then …that new thing becomes another ‘thing’ on the shelf to sift through.
I didn’t expect to ramble like this - so please forgive me as I make this last point. I’m sure that we all read the reviews/criticism of the QC before we ponied up for one. It’s widely known that QC wasn’t getting updated as quickly as the competitors - therefore - it shouldn’t come as a surprise.
I’m not trying to start an argument. I agree with most of your points. I’m just seeing the QC from a different point-of-view. I love it for being uncluttered and high quality. If they want to throw me a bone every now and then …great. But I can live with it very happily until that happens. Of course I want to see a desktop editor - and when we get it, I’m sure it is going to be head and shoulders above the antiquated Kemper editor - and the rabbit-hole Fractal editor.
Just another person’s perspective. Please take it with a grain-of-salt.

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I hear you and agree with much of what you say :slight_smile: Some updates on the Fractal platform has been really frustrating, as they were major revamps of the modelling etc. That’s how they lost me somewhere in the Axe 2 period, as I didn’t recognize the amps I were using anymore. I got tired of resetting everything, and getting lost in whatever the community meant would make the amps more real. Also, I stopped believing in all the adjustments you could make to any given amp model. More often than not it took me further away from what I was after - a real and punchy amp sound. So with the QC that has been a breath of fresh air for me too.

Still, there’s a few things missing from what you’d expect in a unit like this. I still bought it and sold off my FM9, because I trust that things will fall into place. I’m not looking for more complexity, but what I consider basic stuff for a modeler that aims to compete in this market.

Now, I get the obstacles the Neural team have had. The Covid pandemic basically hit them in the nuts as they were launching, causing delays and the need to use resources where they didn’t plan to. So I’m confident (as they have been open about this) that it’s a matter of getting back on track.

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Could you please post a review of the black star amped 1 with a “real” cab and your experience combining that with going FOH direct. I tried the power cab with QC and it disappeared in the mix in a live band context. The line 6 LT2 FRFR is better-more present- better bloom. I am wondering if the black star amp and a real cabinet takes it up a level in terms of feeling like a real amp. I play fender amps on the edge of breakup. Classic rock and blues. The super reverb capture in the QC is the most realistic fender amp sound and feel of any modeler I have used. However it still sits differently in the mix than my real vibrolux. I am trying to close that gap. (Interestingly the QC allows getting the tones of a cranked super reverb at Princeton reverb volume levels. This is great. However I find the real amp sits differently in the mix, cuts better and has more bloom.) SO, the trade off becomes perfect volume and gain level with the QC vs cut and bloom (and more apparent volume) with a vibrolux and pedals. Thinking the black star amp might close that gap. Thanks!

Sure, I’ll give it a go.

I’ve tested a lot of solutions with other modelers (the Line6 cabs, Kemper Kabinet, various FRFR solutions etc) but never got there, always missing something. Been going back and forth with real amps and modelers since 2012, mostly in loud rock settings and in studios, but also the occasional silent stage gig with in ears. For my usual rock gigs, I’ve come to the conclusion that even though I LOVE the sound a good modeler provides through a PA, I need the thump of a real cab onstage, combined with the (FRFR) sound from the stage monitors. The real cab doesn’t have to be as loud as a regular amp, but it needs to be there.

Enter the flat response power amps and guitar cabinets. I’ve only tested the QC with two different flat power amps into a regular cab: the matrix gt (?) 1000 and the Amped 1 from Blackstar. The Matrix is not class D, the Amped 1 is. I compared the two at home and found that the difference for my use was not that big, tone and feel wise (one could e.g assume that the Matrix would be warmer sounding than the Class D Amped 1). Moreover, the Amped 1 has basic eq (bass, mid, treble) which is nice for tuning your modeler for the stage (shaving off some highs etc) on the fly. Also, it’s small and fits on a pedal board, which means that you won’t have to carry an extra rack.

So my setup is one stereo signal via amps, cabs and FX in the QC to FOH, and one mono signal (for convenience, I’m lazy) split before the QC cab section out into the Amped 1 and to a regular cab. I use separate effects for the two signal lines, that is, I run a stereo delay out to FOH but a mono delay to the Amped 1 and cabinet.

Sound and feel wise it will not be exactly the same as the real amp. I try to use the same type of speaker in the cab sim and the (real) stage speaker, although I guess it would work (and even sound cool) to mix. The flat response amp to a cabinet will always, to my ears, sound different from a real amp, but IMHO it has it’s own thing going which is cool. It sounds and feels good in a live context where the real cab blends with the FRFR monitor sound. And the thump and amp feel is most certainly there. The thing is: the sum of it all, a great model through a great (simulated) cab micced with the best mics by the best people, combined with the thump and punch of a real cab (although not entirely similar to a real amp and speaker), is a great solution.

Again, I get the best results when I can hear both the monitors and the real cab, and I also get better results if I don’t drive my real cab as loud as I would if I were to play a real amp, letting it blend with the sound from FOH and the stage monitors. Others may feel differently about this, and a year in I might get used to the QC → Amped 1 → real cabinet and actually prefer that sound and feel (a bit less spongy than a real amp). Some people actually run it like this and mic their cabs, they don’t even bother to go via cab sims. So it’s a matter of getting used to this setup too.

Bottom line, the best sounds I’ve ever gotten, and the best feeling on stage, has been using a setup such as this (e.g. With my Kemper, which I used like this for years). I get to pick the best amps and the best cabs to FOH, and I get to feel my arm hairs moving from the stage cabinet.

Sorry for the long post. Halloween, drinking wine and waiting for my kids to come home with loads of candy :slight_smile:

Oh, and another thing: the Amped 1 is LOUD, so whether you’d want to play loud or you’re in need of headroom you are covered.

I might consider getting a pedal board sized power amp my self.

My situation is my band are in the rehearsal stage not long started up so no gigs yet as we still looking for a singer.

I love the size of my QC on my pedal board but I’ve got a headrush 112 frfr from my previous band and find it abit heavy trying to take that to rehearsal plus it’s I would say abit bass heavy and quite boomy.

But the P.A,s in the rehearsal studio are abit let’s say battered , so was thinking I could get a amped1 or semour Duncan powerstage and use this to drive a guitar cab in the rehearsal room.

Maybe eventually use this live with a cab allthru I aint got the space for 4x4 can.

Has anyone tried the QC through a Line 6 Power Cab?
IMHO the Power Cab is the best and most ‘amp-looking’ of the various attempts to get an ‘amp in the room’ look and feel. But I only got my QC a couple of days ago and now I’m away with work so haven’t had a chance to try the QC with the PC.

Even better, wouldn’t it be nice if Neural designed an FRFR ‘amp in the room’ powered cab to go with the QC??

I use QC with a Powercab112+ or 212 depending on the gig size. My approach is similar to @ Boanerges. I run the Powercab in Flat mode, LF Raw voicing which is just the Eminence speaker with no processing, and no tweeter. Then I use a speaker model in QC to feed the PA and that’s what I hear in the IEMs.This is a great compromise for stage feel but recording quality IEM and FOH without having to have any mics on the stage.

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I’m looking at getting a zilla ported 1x12 cab which would be similar to the Mesa boogie thiele 1x12 cab which I am based on a TL806, being ported gives it a feel and sound of a 4x4.

Pair this with a celestion F12-x200 full range speaker and a Seymour Duncan powerstage 200.

And hopefully I will have that amp in the room feel from it not a recording of an amp if you know what I mean.

These are nice - I purcahsed an AT210, and it works great for me.