Who is Using QC for Performance? What Could it Do Better?

Hi -

This post is a bit of an experiment on my part to understand how many of us are actively using their QC for live performance, and what we think it could be better.

I’m not affiliated with Neural in any way, but I do work in software design/development. I’m thinking if we get some interest on the thread, I could facilitate building a community sourced roadmap for Neural to consider.

I propose just two rules: (1) keep this positive/aspirational so we can arrive at some constructive input for them, and (2) keep this centered around live performance use cases (just for focus).

Pile on if you’re interested in this. I’ll start by sharing my use case and desires:

Musical profile
I write, produce and perform original music with my band Cult of Helios. We play at the local club level in California, USA.

Live Rig Considerations

  • small and light: pedalboard, FRFR cab for onstage, stereo out to FOH
  • I use the QC AND outboard effects (I’m not looking to Neural to create every effect under the sun, and want to use unique effects from any source)
  • I’m heavy on sound design and synced tempo, so MIDI control of all pedals and MIDI clock is key for me
  • I want to QC to be the MIDI controller on my board (to keep it small, and keep it simple)

See attached photo of my current rig


What I Want the QC to Do

Pretty simple:

  1. preset for every song
  2. scene for each unique sound in the song
  3. scene can send multiple MIDI PC changes over multiple channels to change sounds on outboard pedals
  4. tempo comes from the Preset and outboard pedals sync to it via MIDI clock

What’s Missing

The 3rd and 4th point above are impossible on the current QC. You get 1 PC message per scene, and no ability to send clock.

I’ve come up with a hardware workaround. I’m using a MIDI solutions event processor to kludge the ability to control up to 3 MIDI pedals independently, but this is taking space on my board, cost real money and is limited to 3.

That’s my story. Share yours if you’re inspired, and I’ll follow up with questions and hopefully identify some patterns we can organize into a document over time.

Cheers!

11 Likes

I have only three real issues with the QC at the moment:

  • The Minivoicer isn’t fully featured enough for my real needs yet.
  • We need customized colors and titles for everything in gig mode for both scenes and stomps.
  • Allow any switch to control any parameter of any block as a toggle either momentary or latched (i.e. expression pedal emulation for each switch).

Most of the rest of the current workflow is just fine, although there are other tweaks to the performance interface I’ve voted on for feature requests.

3 Likes

I use mine mostly for performance. So far, it’s been great, but l would like to see…

  • more midi functionally, like cc assignable block parameters, etc
  • More options for the switches, like dual function for enhanced workflow etc

These would greatly improve my experience I think, but of course it works pretty well as it is.
I think Neurals approach to voting for feature requests is great too. It’s interesting to see what others think is important, and that they (NDSP) have listened. Maybe we will have another request or two come out of this thread

1 Like

I’m also using the QC mostly live and it works and sounds great.
I have around 5 “general purpose” presets with scenes and stomps (e.g. a Plexi with edge, drive, lead sounds as scenes, delay and boost as stomp) and a few special presets dedicated to specific songs.

I play the QC into the FX return of a small amp for smaller venues.
For bigger venues, which I don’t play often, a signal with cab sim goes to FOH.

I think the QC sounds also excellent with FRFR speakers, I use those at home to practise, but for whatever reason I cannot name I prefer using the poweramp+cab on stage.

Things that could be improved (most of them are feature requests already):

  • Option to freely assign colors and names for scenes and stomps (sounds like a gimmick but would really help to find the right button on stage)
  • More flexible hybrid mode (e.g. 3 scenes, 5 stomps or 6 scenes with 2 stomps)
  • Option to disable Cab blocks per output, not per row (minor point, I can also do it manually if needed)
  • Optimise latency (not an issue for me personally but for others and lower is always better)
  • Swap preset functionality (would make setting up setlists much easier)

I love playing live with my QC! Sound and feel are perfect for me, I cannot imagine an improvement here.

3 Likes

Also using the QC live and love it so far. I would like to have one Preset per song with scenes/stomps within the song for section changes etc.
I use the QC as amp/cab sim as well as other effects, and also provide just an amp/cab for our other guitarist as well. The QC then feeds FOH with the DI XLR outs, and the onstage amps/cabs with a signal from the QC before any cab sim.

Currently my only real ‘breaking’ issues are:

  1. Silent gap when switching between presets - we like to have no periods of silence in our set. This makes that impossible currently as there will always have to be a point where both guitars cut out completely.

  2. I cannot select outputs 3/4 as an option in the send blocks, meaning I have to sacrifice both effects loops to be able to use a normal cab onstage. I hoped the recent ‘cab bypass’ feature would solve this but that was implemented per-row rather than per-output.

Beyond that, any other improvements would just be nice extras really.

1 Like

To me, these are the biggest annoyances that all of the competitors have done for years:

  1. Allow custom titles and colors for stomp switches. For more improvisational performing and songwriting with the band, I like to have a view that’s either all stomps, or a stomp / scene hybrid. Sucks that I have to mentally remember what all the different stomps called Tape Delay and Multiple Devices actually do, instead of being able to name them something useful like “wash delay” or “amp channel.”

  2. Allow for any value to be assigned to a footswitch. Ideally I want to put all my time based effects on a separate loop in the grid, and assign a footswitch to the mixer. That way I can switch those effect combinations on at my will and then just step on a mixer control stomp to bypass or activate the whole loop at once. Basically emulating an amp with a footswitchable FX loop. Can’t do that because only block bypass is assignable to a footswitch, and the mixer isn’t a block. Would also love to have footswitchable gain boosts or delay time divisions too.

  3. Midi clock send. Really really disappointing that I can’t send tap tempo from the QC to my other time based midi equipped pedals.

  4. Assign a switch to send midi commands and give it a label. Technically you can assign a switch to send a single midi command per preset. One command isn’t particularly useful given my complaint #3. And when you do this, there is no light or label assigned to the switch. You just have to remember that the blank looking switch actually does something. I literally design interfaces for a living and this one makes me cringe.

2 Likes

I would love a rack version with a floor controller as I play live and do a bit of tweaking and don’t like bending over or using my foot to tweak things.

about 10% of my use is live performing- most of the time it’s on my studio desk. That said, for live use (our bassist uses one for his basses and Chapman Stick, I use my to submix my vocals, keys, guitar and Korg Wavdrum. We’d like to add a 3rd eventually for our singer and her theremin, cello and Wavdrum);

  1. I’d like to see a shortcut for XP assignment, where tapping on the meter would take you straight to the settings instead of having to step through each stage of assigning even though it’s ALREADY assigned.

  2. Need more setlist reorganizing options. Getting rid of the ‘swap’ drag-and-drop hurt! An ‘insert’ function would be nice, where you could DnD a preset between two, like most others will let you do.

  3. Input Presets for swapping instruments

  4. Global Volume Pedal

  5. I’d like to be able to rename the Input Block labels for when I’ve got 4 different instruments connected

4 Likes

Unless I’m misunderstanding your needs for point #2, I think you could do this:

  • Use send 1/2 for your external effects loop (presumable for external pedals)

  • split your signal on the grid just before the output. Send one part to output 1/2 for your FOH signal, and put a cab block on it just after the split. Send the other signal to output 3/4 and that goes to your onstage cab.

Nothing new that others haven’t already mentioned. I should add, that I’m a heavy effects user and implement both of the QC’s FX loops for external pedals on my board. Here are my main live performance wishes:

  1. MIDI clock send. I’m using a Disaster Area Designs SMARTClock Gen3 for tap tempo to my Boss delays (RE-2, DD-500). I’m honestly satisfied for now, but if I knew that MIDI clock send was available from QC, it would change a lot about how I implement tap tempo into my pedals.

  2. MIDI commands. Right now you can only send one per switch. I need for it to be able send multiple commands in order to be useful; for example, pulling one CC value low to 0 and another CC value high to 127 with one switch. My Boss MD-500 would be so much more flexible this way.

  3. Custom color assignments for switches. Red for the bottom row (scenes acting as amp footswitches in Hybrid Mode), other colors as stomps in the top row.

  4. Since I’m not using tap tempo on the QC for my delays, I want for the tuner button to be instant. Getting tired of the 2-3 second wait just to mute my guitar on stage.

My gripes have nothing to do with sound quality or, *ahem* latency.

Off topic, but my 2020 Fender American Pro II Jazzmaster needs a new pickup selector switch and I’m more bothered by that than anything having to do with my Quad Cortex.

4 Likes

Why the colors? Is that to make it easier to see at a glance what you want to engage?

That is precisely why most of us want to customize LED and/or block colors.

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I have that reaction about #4. I have one row in stomp mode, but only sending MIDI (not switching a block on/off). I solved the blanks problem with a physical label maker LOL

Just curious – if it had more through MIDI control, would using a generalized MIDI controller help you (just put the unit as is on a rack shelf for example). Or does that sound like way too much setup programming the MIDI controller?

Great stuff.

You got my attention with the input presets. I have one guitar with significantly lower output pickups than the others. Would be cool to have a global boost for that.

1 Like

I’m curious about your clock solution. Are you literally tapping in tempo on stage, or setting up preset tempos on the Disaster Area pedal?

Great topic! Thanks to the OP for starting it. Love the sounds I am getting currently. So much to appreciate in this device. I understand that for other users it is just fine for performance. Just find the QC not there yet, for me, for live performance. Here’s why:

  1. Lower latency for four row serial routes, and in general - this is critical going forward. This separates the musical tools from the toys. Worthy of mention but not currently a showstopper for me - just concerning.

  2. Customized color coding and labeling for stomps and scenes, e.g. a stomp labeled “Multi” is next to useless. Despise the QC dictating my scene/stomp footswitch colors. I have been using the same colors for years on my modelers to indicate the block/effect type. With no scribble strips, as well as a very limited implementation of hybrid mode and gig view, allowing user labeling and color coding is critical for live usage. Period! Can’t say this adamantly enough. Hopefully this is coming soon!

  3. Ability to change screen to allow at least eight stomps with one click when in hybrid “Stomp-Scene” mode. In other words, ability to switch to full stomp layout from “Stomp-Scene” hybrid mode while staying in “Gig” view; whether I am looking at scene/stomps, scenes, or stomps. Also how about an option with a click to see 8 or at least 4 presets with the option to click on one, when I am in scene/stomp mode and gig view, instead of just moving up/down immediately to the next preset.

  4. Fix the splitter/mixer so it doesn’t strand the eighth block at the end of rows 1 & 3. Also, don’t know if everyone has noticed but if you try to place the merge part of a splitter back to the upper row directly adjacent to the split part of the splitter, if you have eight blocks in the upper row, it is not allowed. You need to remove a block in the upper row to do this with the splitter. The whole splitter usage seems wonky and both of the scenarios I detailed limit you to seven blocks in the upper row of the split. While they are at it, allow the Output blocks to route from row 1 to 2 and row 3 to 4 without the use of a splitter.

  5. A better way to “sum” to mono. More mono options on the Output I/O blocks that make mono routing scenarios possible without placing a mono block at the end of a route and just using “Multi” in the output block. A lot of users still send a mono feed to a monitor on stage and a mono feed to FOH.

  6. Single-click double-click or click&hold methods for switching between stomps, scenes, presets, or any combination of the above. Related to point #3 above. Current mode and view switching is quirky, extremely limited, and not user friendly for me in my live usage.

  7. Better method for switching from say volume assigned expression pedal to wah assigned without jumping up to full volume.

  8. Don’t like seeing the entire screen replaced for several seconds when tapping in tempo. Needs a better approach.

  9. Make the bypassed blocks brighter. I cannot see them unless I am at the perfect angle. This applies to onstage or off. Yes, I have tried changing the screen brightness setting - doesn’t help. I thought my device might be defective, but the bypassed blocks look ridiculously dim on the QC videos online as well. This is actually a fairly high priority item for me as it makes editing bypassed blocks or even engaging them tricky as I can’t make out what they are quickly. Often, when I am at not at precisely the proper angle, I can barely discern if there actually are any bypassed blocks on my route.

Still looking forward to gigging with the QC but would really like to see live performance usability issues get a lot more immediate attention. Tired of this thing spending most of its time in my practice area. I know Neural has a lot on their plate, but I hope this happens sooner rather than later. For those who are already using it live, particularly without an additional MIDI controller, more power to you. I am not questioning in any way that it works for your requirements. For anyone not coming from one of the major competing modelers, who for example, used to use a pedalboard with 19 separate effects :grin: they are probably already finding the QC an infinitely easier and more flexible tool for gigging - even without a MIDI controller.

4 Likes

@stevehelios Good question.

I play with the P&W team at my church. We’re not one of those megachurches with Ableton Live backing tracks, click track going to in-ears, etc. Arrangements for songs change from week to week. The SMARTClock can be programmed for preset tempos, but it just doesn’t make sense in my situation. I’m constantly tapping in the tempo live on the SMARTClock to match drummers.

When I got the SMARTClock the idea was to use it as the master clock into the QC, so that I would not be constantly tapping in tempo on the QC. Fewer foot taps on the QC, less chance of breaking something on it. But I still prefer my Boss delays over the QC’s delays, so I haven’t bothered integrating it with QC yet. I’m lazy.

I certainly would be grateful for more MIDI control with a controller designed specifially for the QC. My Helix rack controller is great for that where I can do all sorts of things on the unit and then control it all through the floor controller. That way I can just turn around and tweak amps or FX on the unit without bending over. I know that there are generic controllers out there that I could adapt, but that does sound like way too much set up. Years ago Digitech had the GSP 1101 and it was a rack unit with a foot controller and very easy for even a midiot like me to work with. The Helix rack took it to the next level. It would be nice for QC to have a rack unit but if that is not in the cards, putting it on a stand plus having a floor controller would simplify at least my life!

I often employ two devices with a single switch. For instance when I use one of the pitch shifters I usually like to tweak the EQ of that, and put an EQ right after it in the chain, and set a single button to engage both. The way this shows in stomp mode right now is a white led with the title “Multiple Devices”.

But what if I also, on the same preset, have a stomp switch that I use as a double-delay pedal where I always engage two unique delays, or a specific reverb and delay or something? That will also have a white led with “Multiple Devices” as the title. Indistinguishable on the gig view.
Now, some people would say to use scenes in this situation, but what if I’m doing this in hybrid mode anyway? Same issue.

2 Likes