Quad Cortex first impressions

My unit arrived two days ago and I found time to dive in deeply only last night (went to bed 5:30 a.m. [image]).

  1. Build quality is exceptional. Unboxing experience is Apple MacBook Pro class.

  2. Modeling is very good. Sounds great and feels great. I will let the cat out of the bag right now though: it’s no Kemper killer. I think I still like Kemper cabs a bit more than the QC’s internal IR’s but in the IR’s department the QC is best in class and head and shoulders above the Helix.

  3. I haven’t compared Kemper profiling and Neural captures side by side yet. This will come later.

  4. The Neural captures are all direct amp captures so it seems. They sound great over my guitar cabs (I use a Seymour Duncan PS-170 for this, same with my Kemper Stage) and need an IR in the signal chain to sound good over studio monitors. Which is a wise decision by Neural DSP because personally I prefer guitar cabs for my personal monitoring and they would be unusable for me live if they were full captures.

  5. FX are limited still, but they sound good. Particularly like the tape delay. Shimmer and more esoteric stuff is sorely missing at the moment.

  6. Footswitch allocation is easy. But I wish I could allocate more than one effect to a switch (like in the Kemper) to toggle one effect on and another off at once).

  7. Pedal assignment is very customizable and works for as many parameters as you like. But the assignment feels a bit clunky compared to the very straightforward morphing in the Kemper (which I definitely like better in this regard).

Here a few quirks:

  1. I modified a few factory presets to my liking. After I uploaded them to my Cortex cloud I found out that there was an author displayed (Matias, I assume Kupiainen) and I COULDN’T change authorship. Which meant I had to go back and build my presets totally from scratch. This cost me an hour but the night was still young. :grin:

  2. I built a custom signal path with a splitter just before the IR at the end of the signal chain (outputs 1&2) to feed a cabless signal to output 3 which goes into my poweramp and cab. After filling the path with a certain amount of FX (compressor, 2 different drives, amp, tremolo, flanger, 2 delays, reverb) which were not meant to be on all the time of course I found I couldn’t choose all of the effects at the end of the procedure because I was running out of CPU because I was only using half of the QC’s processor power. So I modified my signal path feeding row 1 to row 3 to allocate the CPU usage better.
    BUT: I COULDN’T GET RID OF THE SPLITTER PATH! (seriously there seems no way to send this to the bin as you do this with FX). So I had to re-build the signal path from scratch again incl. populating the FX which lost me another 30 mins. :slight_smile:

  3. A global EQ is missing. Best would be different EQ’s for different outputs (main, monitor, digital).

  4. The Volume knob needs the ability to be decoupled from certain outputs (Kemper style). I want to feed a constant level to FOH and to my DAW but need to change my monitor level (for example).

  5. The touch screen as is is very clunky and unresponsive. It’s no fun putting in long names and descriptions. I hope this can be fixed.

These are my impressions after diving in a bit. Please take my cons as constructive criticism. :slight_smile:
All in all it’s a very promising start.


Thanks for the details and the constructive review!

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Holy Smokes!

I just made my first capture of my Bluguitar Mercury Vintage Channel. QC captured it perfectly on first try. I did it through Two Notes captor X.

I made the profile on full gain as thats how I set it and ride the guitar volume. QC works in this regards just as the amp.

In addition I found out that if I lower the gain to minimum on the capture block and boost output volume to compensate I can get gorgeus edge of breakup sounds that I can clean up with guitar volume. So I can use scenes to make a really multipurpose sound based on just one capture!