Quad Cortex for multiple musicians

It is not difficult to notice that QC is very similar to HELIX, but it seems to have the same drawback for multiuser mode - a common preset. This is still acceptable for groups playing such as thrash-metal, when the entire repertoire is played on the same sound, but it is unacceptable when musicians need a variety of presets. Line6 came up with snapshots (apparently also that you have a SCENE mode) that partially solve this problem, but still are not convenient for this task, since they require pre-configuration, meticulous planning, and do not allow you to change blocks.
I want to offer you the implementation of a simple workaround, it does not require a lot of effort from programmers and rework the device. It is essentially a clever tweak that will open up huge additional features for your device, and allow you to really tear HELIX to shreds.
I don’t speak much English, so my description will be difficult to understand, but I ask you to make an effort, this is a really awesome feature. If you have Russian-speaking colleagues, I will also leave the original text in Russian - this will greatly simplify understanding.

Let’s get started!

All you need to do is change the logic of loading the preset.
First of all, we need to divide the preset Bank into ranges and agree that each musician will store their presets in a certain range. for example, we have a Bank of 128 presets, and we will distribute them like this:
Guitarist-1 from 1 to 40
Guitarist-2 from 41 to 80
Bassist from 81 to 100
Vocalist from 101 to 128

Now, after receiving the MIDI command “load preset # XXX”, the QC will replace only the blocks on the stereo path corresponding to the musician, ignoring all the others (even if they are in the selected preset). For example, when you receive the load preset # 25, QC delete all blocks from the first stereo path and replace them with blocks from the 25th preset, and leave the stereo paths 2,3 and 4 the same.


Every musician can have his own MIDI controller from which he will send a command to load the desired preset. Presets can also be loaded from the QC panel, but for this you need to first set the focus to the desired stereo path.
That’s all.

This function should be made optional. It involves several modes of operation, which differ in how to divide stereo paths and presets between musicians:

  • [OFF] - separation is off, normal mode.
  • [2+2] - presets are divided into 2 parts for two musicians, 2 stereo paths each
  • [3+1] - option for two musicians, with 3 stereo paths for one of them
  • [2+1+1] - presets are shared for 3 musicians, one of them will get 2 stereo paths
  • [1+1+1+1] - presets are divided for 4 stereo paths

If the QC has the same path routing logic as HELIX, then it makes sense to use these options:

  • [1+1+2] - another option for 3 musicians
  • [1+2+1] - another option for three musicians, due to the ability to use the power of two DSP on the path 1B and 2A by one of the musicians.

And still have the option to specify how many presets will get every musician, for example I’d have 3-4 presets of vocalist and the same bass, but I’m sure that there are musicians who are committed to other requirements.

On HELIX, the presets are organized in 8 setlists of 128 pieces. With this approach, you could have the option voiced above individually for each setlist, for example, in setlist # 2, the presets are divided into the [2+2] mode for two musicians, and in setlist # 3, use the mode [2+1+1] for three musicians. This would be convenient for studios, rehearsal bases, or musicians working in multiple compositions.

I hope that I was able to correctly present the idea and it will appeal to developers. Anyone who is thinking about buying a QC, please support this idea and encourage developers to implement it.

The original idea in the Russian language:

[spoiler] Не трудно заметить что QC очень похож на HELIX, но похоже имеет такой же недостаток для многопользовательского режима - общий пресет. Это ещё допустимо для групп играющих например треш-метал, когда весь репертуар отыгрывается на одном и том же звуке, но неприемлимо когда музыкантам требуются разнообразные пресеты. Line6 придумали снепшоты (видимо тоже что у вас режим сцены), которые частично решают эту проблему, но всё равно не удобны для этой задачи, так как требуют предварительной настройки, скрупулёзного планирования, и не позволяют менять блоки.
Я хочу предложить вам внедрение простого обходного пути, он не потребует много усилий от программистов и переделки устройства. Он является по сути хитрым твиком, который откроет огромые дополнительные возможности для вашего устройства, и позволит действительно порвать хеликс в клочья.
Я плохо знаю английский, поэтому моё описание будет трудно понять, но я прошу приложить усилия, это действительно потрясающая функция. Если у вас есть рускоговорящие коллеги, я так же оставлю оригинал текста на русском языке - это значительно упростит понимание.

Приступим!

Всё что требуется это изменить логику загрузки пресета.
Для начала нужно разделить банк пресетов на диапазоны и условиться, что каждый музыкант будет хранить свои пресеты в определённом диапазоне, например мы имеем банк из 128 пресетов, распределим их так:
Гитарист-1 с 1 по 40
Гитарист-2 с 41 по 80
Басист с 81 по 100
Вокалист с 101 по 128

Теперь QC получив MIDI-команду “загрузить пресет № XXX” будет заменять только блоки на соответствующем музыканту стереопути, игнорируя все остальные (даже если они есть в выбраном пресете). Например получив команду загрузить пресет №25 QC удалит все блоки с первого стереопути и заменит их блоками из 25-го пресета, а стереопути 2,3 и 4 оставит прежними:

Рисунок 1

Каждый музыкант может иметь свой MIDI-контроллер с которого будет отправлять команду загрузки нужного ему пресета. Так же пресеты можно загружать и с панели прибора, но для этого нужно предварительно установить фокус на требуемый стереопуть.
Вот и всё.
Эту функцию следует сделать опциональной. Она подразумевает несколько режимов работы, которые различаются тем как делить стереопути и пресеты между музыкантами:
[OFF] - разделение выключено, обычный режим.
[2+2] - пресеты делятся на 2 части для двух музыкантов, по 2 стереопути каждому
[3+1] - вариант для двух музыкантов, с 3-мя стереопутями для одного из них
[2+1+1] - пресеты делятся для 3 музыкантов, один из них получит 2 стереопути
[1+1+1+1] - пресеты делятся для 4-х стереопутей
Если QC имеет такуюже логику маршрутизации путей как Хеликс, то имеют смысл ещё такие варианты:
[1+1+2] - другой вариант для 3 музыкантов
[1+2+1] - ещё вариант для трёх музыкантов, обусловлен возможностью использовать мощность двух DSP на пути 1B и 2A одним из музыкантов.
И ещё потребуется опция позволяющая указать сколько именно пресетов достанется каждому музыканту, например мне хватило бы 3-4 пресетов для вокалиста и столько же для басиста, но я уверен что существуют музыканты с совершено другими требованиями.

На HELIX пресеты организованы в 8 сетлистов по 128 штук, при таком подходе можно было бы иметь озвученную выше опцию индивидуально для каждого сетлиста, например в сетлисте №2 пресеты разделить на режим [2+2] для двух музыкантов, а в сетлисте №3 использовать режим [2+1+1] для трёх музыкантов. Это было бы удобно студиям, репетиционным базам или музыкантам работающим в нескольких составах. [/spoiler]

Friends, please tell me how clear the idea is in English, maybe I should turn to the help of a skilled translator?

Communication is clear enough but I’d prefer it if NDSP focused on making it a great device for a single user first.

2 Likes

Make first the greatest modeler in the world, then I think a real DUAL path indépendant preset would be incredible for all the(many) guitarists/singers ! I Don’t think, imho, it should be the complete band’s ’multi-fx/mixer‘ :slight_smile:

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Actually, this idea was invented for Helix, since line6 is very conservative, and they don’t really like to introduce something new, I tried to invent the simplest modification possible. This is also why the idea revolves around the setlist paradigm used in Helix.
But the Quad Cortex has a different presentation of patches, and today it occurred to me a different way to achieve the voiced task. This method is more elegant and I think the developers will like it more (I’m not talking about guitarists, I know that they will not like it :smile: ).

So let’s go!

We need to add an attribute to the preset, you can assign it on the preset saving page, and in it we will indicate which stereo paths this preset will store. This is how it looks:

Let’s say that in this way we marked the first five presets, they will store the guitarist’s chains and use 3 stereo paths. Now let’s note the 6th, 7th and 8th presets in this way for the vocalist:


After these manipulations within the first bank, the guitarist and vocalist will be able to freely change presets without interfering with each other.

In general, even at this stage, the function will be good, but there are a couple more important details. With this approach, the ability to change presets using the next/previous commands does not always work correctly. And with the help of MIDI it is possible to load only certain presets by number. Fortunately, this feature is easily implemented using tags that you came up with to group presets! You guys are really great!
Let us return to our example in the first bank. We marked the presets of the guitarist and vocalist with the corresponding tags. Now we enter 4 MIDI-commands, and in the settings of Quad Cortex we inform him that we want to use two commands to scroll through presets with the tag guitar-1, and two more commands to scroll through presets with the tag vocal-1. Thanks to this, we will not limit ourselves to 3, 5 and even 8 presets, we can mark any number of presets in different banks with the desired tag and they will all be available to the musician in scrolling order.

In addition to matching the tag with the MIDI-commands, We need to be able to match the next\previous footswitches on the device itself. After all, the owner of the device in most cases will not need a MIDI controller. It will be good to be able to associate the rest of the footswitches with tags, then up to 4 musicians will be able to list through presets only with footswitches on Quad Cortex.

Thus, we can achieve any combinations that I talked about in the first post. Moreover, we will be able to have presets for groups of different sizes at the same time within the entire pool of presets of Quad Cortex - for two musicians, for three and four. This will require a total of 10 tags and 10 pairs of MIDI-commands next\previous (although it’s possible to manage with four pairs, but then we have to reassign them to the necessary tags each time)

If you use this function, you probably should add special icons showing which paths are used in the current preset, for example:

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This is actually a very interesting concept. We highly appreciate our users giving us feedback.

We will evaluate this for future implementations and give it a spin with the team.

Thank you again!

4 Likes

The functionality sought in the original post would be persuasive in me putting down my deposit! To be able to use the unit effectively a mini mixer - and enabling use as a processor for, say, multiple outputs from an acoustic guitar, plus vocals, would make this exactly what I’ve been after for years!

In fact, the idea proposed a little later for QC, in essence, is completely identical to the original. The difference is that in the first case the idea was described for implementation on Helix, which does not have a touch screen, and it would be rather difficult to specify which stereo paths to use for each preset. Therefore, it was wise to use a uniform configuration for a large group of presets - setlists. In addition, the description itself was rather messy and confusing.
Having a little laid in my mind the announced capabilities of QC, I just adapted the idea for a more flexible control that is available on QC, It turned out much more convenient and functional

Pretty sure what you’re trying to achieve is currently do-able in the helix and from what I’ve read about QC, possible as well. Just not the way you prescribe.

From what I can gather you want to be able to load a separate preset into each of the 4 paths. That effectively turning one unit into 4. I foresee many issues with that. For starters, each dsp manages 2 paths. So if paths can be independently controllled, you may run into dsp overload issues. Right now when you build a tone, if you try to add more than the dsp can handle, it won’t allow you. E.g. try putting 2 fulfill in path 1A and another 2 in path 1B. Won’t happen.

So in your hypothetical use case, guitarist 1 & 2 have one amp in their preset for song 1. Then song two comes along and they each use 2 amps in their presets. Guitarist one hits a controller and changes their individual patch and succeeds. Guitarist 2 hit their midi controller and the preset fails to load.

There is a reason you need to “pre-set” you tone.

You can still do what you want by creating a preset for each song with 4 independent paths and have a midi controller change elements of that path. Sure that preset will need to be repeated often but I dare say for most of the other musicians their path will likely not change much. Just switch stuff on and off in the path with a midi controller.

Yes exactly. And there are no problems with that.
If we consider your example where the second guitarist could not load a preset in which the processing was too heavy, then it is fair to note that both guitarists with the traditional system (the common preset) will not be able to use such a combination of processing, and therefore the second guitarist’s preset is simply not suitable for collaboration , you need to create a suitable one. In a live performance, there is no place for random presets at all, and you should only use those that have been tested during rehearsals. Considering that QC has a tool for monitoring DSP usage, it’s pretty easy for musicians to stick to the rule of creating processing for example within 25% each, or two at 30% and two at 20%, or any other ratio. Also, not everyone needs 2 amplifiers per preset.
The only real problem is the inability to use snapshots, although perhaps the developers will come up with a mechanism for several musicians (In fact, it’s even quite simple, just add 8 midi commands for each of the musicians). But even if not, it would suit me, although snapshots are a very interesting concept, I would refuse them in favor of the convenience of working for several people.

The use case for several musicians on the current Helix firmware is completely untenable, I owned it for many years, checked :dizzy_face:
Consider the situation: We have two guitarists and a vocalist, for the sake of simplicity, the vocalist always uses the same processing, but each of the guitarists has 3 different sounds (and they cannot be achieved by simply changing the block parameters). Each of the guitarists wants to be able to stop at one of them at any time, regardless of the second. Thus, we will have to create 9 presets. And each of the guitarists will have to know all of them in order to choose one of them that will not change, among other things, the current sound of the other guitarist. The vocalist, well, he doesn’t have to choose anything, his processing is present in all 9 presets. But then suddenly he realized that he needed to change some parameter a little … Great, you have to do it in 9 presets! Now imagine that all three musicians have 5 different sounds each! They need 125 presets, dead easy :grin:. Another problem is that the musician cannot change the preset if other musicians sound, there will be a gap in their sound

Relying on a user to not overload the DSPs is a recipe for disaster. I reckon your best hope (which I really think is a fantasy) is that you can have a separate preset for each DSP. This way you can at least enforce adherence to the dsp limit. I’m not a fan though. Being able to have 4 separate channels in and multiple channels out is an awesome feature. Trying to turn each path into an independent modeller by giving 4 people access to change things on the one machine at the same time is, dangerous.

Ultimately the machine is designed for one user to control the various inputs and outputs. You have an interesting hack to allow others to control things via midi and it’s just that, a hack.

If the use case is to have each user control their own presets then perhaps you just need another QC or 2 :wink:

There is nothing dangerous in this, the administrator of the device will still be one person who is most likely a sound engineer in the group and will control the correctness of the chains. I used helix in such a scenario, basically through the snapshot function, you can achieve a similar behavior, but the problems described in the previous message still arise - an increase in the number of combinations and the need to propagate one change over several combinations. However, one device was enough for us, and this had many advantages and getting rid of some problems:

  • easier transportation
  • getting rid of a huge amount of wired commutation and the accompanying noise.
  • in the case of a serial connection of devices, a delay will be added, and if you use a parallel connection, an additional mixer will be needed (again, an increase in noise and equipment weight).

In any case, even if using the unit as a 4 unit requires careful planning and is not suitable for every band, many will enjoy using it as two independent units, especially singing guitarists. Few people need more than two stereo paths.