Quad Cortex Pre-purchase Questions

I am in the process of putting together a new rig, primarily for recording and some live work, and I am seriously considering purchasing the Quad Cortex. I am also looking at the Kemper Stage, Fractal FM9 and Line 6 Helix. I do have a few questions though:

  1. When is there going to be a desktop editor for Mac? According to Neural DSP on their own website, a desktop editor was to be released “shortly after the global launch of Quad Cortex.” We are now 14 months on and there is nothing yet released, which doesn’t inspire me with great confidence.

  2. I am concerned at the flimsy wall wart power socket and absence of an on/off switch. I am surprised it doesn’t have a built in power supply on a unit costing this much and it seems pretty vulnerable if one was to use it live.

  3. I am not especially interested in capturing my own sounds as there is an abundance of great captures out there, but I am concerned at the paucity of effects when compared to it’s competitors.

  4. The work that has gone into the plug-ins, of which I own a couple is brilliant, but the development of their flagship product seems to be slow in comparison and I am concerned that I will be buying into something that will not reach any sort of maturity for some time to come.

What I have heard of the amp models/captures is brilliant and I want to love the product. It looks very innovative but I am concerned at the slow rollout of effects and models.

Any constructive comments to aid my purchase decision would be most helpful.

Many thanks.

Hey ClarityinChoas, I’ve owned the QC for about 10+ months as well as several of the others you are considering. Though the QC I feel is the best of them all, I’ll do my best to give you non-biased answers. There are lots of great options out there.

There is no desktop editor, and I’m not aware of any ETA’s on when it’s coming. That being said, other products really needed it to be manageable, the QC does not. Having the large LCD touchscreen and knob controls basically eliminates the need for a desktop editor all together. I think they’re not prioritizing it because it really won’t make much of a difference.

The wall wart is definitely a con. It seems cheep in comparison to everything else being top end quality. We’ve all complained about it. But in truth never in my career have I seen a wall wart fail. They generally just don’t break. There are higher quality after market ones you can buy advertised specifically for the QC.

#3 is a big topic. I summarize it like this. If you care most about pure amp/pedal tone, there is nothing else in the market that compares. I can’t even listen to my Helix anymore, it’s lifeless in comparison. On the other hand the reverbs in the QC aren’t bad, but not great. If reverb’s are #1 for you, QC is not the best option.

#4 Here I disagree completely. The QC has improved vastly since release. Updates were almost every 2 months vs ~6+ months with other vendors. When the QC came out there were many patch building limitations. Now I run 3 channel amp setups and a vocal processing chain in a single preset. All that runs me about 48% of the processing power. The plugins are amazing, but not better. The biggest difference they do is give you a 100% curated sound path where everything is perfectly matched for you. The QC is just as high quality, you just have to find your gear.

Hope this helps, if you have more questions just post them!

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Sorry for the tardy reply. Many thanks for taking so much trouble to talk me through these points. It’s been a great help and I have since tried a quad cortex and put a deposit down on one. :+1:

Hopefully, my perspective can help you make a purchase decision too.

Before the Quad Cortex, I was deeply into the Line 6 ecosystem. I’ve been a Line 6 fan boy since the early bean pod. I have owned the HD300, HD500X and Helix. I loved my Helix and I thought it was great until I discovered the Neural DSP plugins and just played through my interface. I liked the tones of the NDSP plugins more than I did my Helix, so it sat in the cupboard collecting dust.

When supply chain issues became a problem, i managed to snag a Quad Cortex from a local supplier. I was then able to sell my Helix for a price better than I expected.

  1. A desktop editor is nice and for devices like the Helix, Axe-FX, etc you need it. You would be surprised how great the device interface is for creating presets. Like you, I was sceptical until I bought a QC. Still, I want a desktop editor, but it’s importance will lessen to you.

  2. I agree with you on the wall adapter. It’s not ideal, but it’s no different than needing one on my Helix or other devices. The benefit of an external power supply is you have options for higher quality adapters, as well as battery options. I think this is one of the downsides of the Quad Cortex. I haven’t heard of these failing, but who knows. If it does, I take comfort in knowing I can easily replace it. Coming from the Line 6 world, I am used to not having power buttons at all. My HD500x turned on and off disconnecting the cable or off at the wall.

  3. It’s funny, I haven’t done any captures either. I sold all of my physical equipment when I went into the modelling world years ago. I like having this feature to be able to capture the equipment of friends, etc. The effects are pretty good. More work needs to be done on reverb and delay FX, but they’re not terrible either. The reality is despite other devices currently having more effects, you never end up using most of them anyway. My Helix had a heap of meh effects I never used. The Quad Cortex is the first modelling device I have owned where I have been able to get a good tone within a matter of minutes. To get the Helix to sound good, you really have no choice but to get third party paid IR’s to give it the needed character for tones that mix well.

  4. As a developer myself, I am honestly impressed with how fast Neural have put out updates. Developing for hardware is tricky, especially when you’ve developed a reputation from your excellent plugins. Neural has to make sure every update doesn’t brick the device or break the Cloud feature. Averaging a release every couple of months is impressive. Not only that, I’ve built some seriously elaborate presets and never seen my CPU go over 50%.

Thanks for taking your time to address my points - really most appreciated. And has helped me to decide to purchase one!

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Congrats! And now with the newest 1.3.0 update, you will be even more impressed than imagined!

Looking forward to it :+1:

Yeah, I don’t read manuals and I love my QC. I’m just as happy playing at home in my room and just exploring all the options; or playing gigs using my 4 favorite presets on row E through H so I don’t screw it up. Brilliant device, very organic, and I don’t lose my creative mindset because I’m having to think technically. Gosh I’ve been playing music for 40 years and I can put this up there my top musical things like my '66 vibro-champ, my 335, and my Tone King Imperial. People are going to think I’m paid by the company, and yes I’d like to be!

I own the Boss GT1000, but I was not satisfied with the Amp-sims, so I looked around on YouTube, checking out comparisons with the Line 6 Helix the Fractal FM*, the Kemper Profiler and so on. Of course I look forward to a desktop editor to be more flexible and to finetune stuff, hope it’ll be a stand alone plugin too, which can be synced with the QC.

I use the Archetype Patrucci and the Gojira too and I’m impressed. The new OS 1.3.0 had a looper and Freezer too and new amps, cabs, effects and so on. At the moment I am still waiting for the CQ to arrive (in 2-3 weeks) and I’m getting rid of the Boss GT1000, because I was never satisfied because it’s not a very convenient thing to work with (and it’s about 12 years old). From what I’ve seen the CQ is great, easy to edit and create patches. I’ve see a lot of comparisons with the aforementioned competitors and every alternative has their own advantages and disadvantages, but I finally made up my mind to buy the QC in the end of all my research on the alternatives. With the new core updates things are getting way better. But a Desktop Editor would be nice, kinda like the Archetype and Amp Plugins. But I can’t wait for the CQ to be delivered.