Thanks to all who have commented so far. Sent my Tier Two payment in today, so looking forward to posting my own thoughts here in short time.
One thing to keep in mind with the observations so far - the vast majority of these are coming from users who have certainly owned other modeling gear. All of the brands do some things well, and no one does all things well, so these observers are soberly comparing the specifics of the experience to specifics of the others - meaning that very few are going to breathlessly gush over any new unit. From what I have read here most folks are finding themselves playing with the unit out of the box for over an hour on first listen, which I would say is exceptional. I would not take the lack of “irrational exuberance” as being a negative. If you wait a month and check back you will likely find some of those reviews here and elsewhere - along with some that just dump on the unit because, having no experience with modelers, they were expecting it to sound like their favorite concert without editing the factory presets, or it doesn’t make them play like SRV.
Great point! Had the Quad Cortex been the first modeling unit I had ever experienced I would absolutely be gushing! If you have no modeling gear and seek a great path forward with a modeler the Quad Cortex feels like the leading edge path. I am very excited where this is heading!!!
That is what I needed to hear!
QUESTION: was it worth the wait?
remember that this is version 1.0
It can only get better, and it is already on par if not better than units that are much more mature.
keep those impressions coming guys/gals… I read them and am taking mental notes… one day it’s yes I’ll get one… the next it’s maybe not so much.
I promised and here it is, a very off the cuff video with unboxing, my first try at a preset, showing off muse preset and another by Erik Arkö and a capture.
Everything on bass
I deep dove into it some more for a good few hours today comparing how the Kemper profiles different from the Captures. Captures are the biggest part for me. I did a few A/B tests on it and come to some conclusions.
I wanted to see just how well the QC captures and what tonal changes it makes and well as dynamics. Again Im using a Kemper profile that I think it very unique and very open dynamically.
The capture itself was absolutely spot on. Did the reference back and forth and could not hear a difference. However, it did not at all have the same feel as if I just plugged the kemper directly into my UA interface. It felt like a completely different thing from running it through the QC.
Something happens to the overall tonal/dynamics of the signal when it goes through the QC. It feels like it kills everything great about the Kemper profile. Not being bias here. I wanted the the QC so badly to be a “Kemper Killer”. I hate the UI for the kemper, its terrible. But in true A/B testing, it just does not compare to the Kemper at all. I know some will say, but yea because its a capture of a profile. But it should at least capture the nuances of the dynamics and feel and breath of the amp. It doesnt unfortunately. If you mic’d up an amp and ran it through an interface to some monitors and then tested that again running it through the QC, it would sound and feel completely different. They just havent been able to capture that yet. Hopefully they can fix the algorithm to take that into account.
Is the QC a Kemper killer? Its got some ways to go to beat the Kemper in realism unfortunately. Its just not there yet.
I’m not one for hyping things. I will say, that for me, this is the best modeler out there. I’ve owned two Kempers, an AX8 and an FM3. I knew pretty much within an hour that I wouldn’t keep any of those modelers. I spent many wasted hours tweaking each of them, wasted money on profiles and patches and eventually went back to my amps.
So this is where the QC wins for me: I can pick an amp and cab, or a capture of one of my amps and be happy playing with that tone. With the other modelers, stripping out all the effects and EQs, etc…would leave me with a horrible tone in most cases ( Kemper was somewhat better to me in this regard ). The QC feels better, its super compact and really easy for me to quickly get a great sound without hooking up a laptop and fiddling forever. I’m not an effects junkie, so I’m happy with what’s there. I won’t use half of what’s available.
Does it sound and feel EXACTLY like any of my amps? No. Is it close? Yes. I have a little metal box running into an FRFR with an 8" speaker and tweeter and it doesn’t sound/feel exactly like the 100w tube amp running NOS 12ax7s into a 2x12 right next to it. Quelle surprise.
I don’t care for the metal presets. I see the name Nolly and I know what I’m going to get. Lots of people will love it, some won’t. I’m among the latter. I think most modern metal is over-produced and sterile. This can make the device sound that way. After I captured my Bogner 3534, I decided that the QC is capable of a great deal. I’ve never had a device that has come close to capturing that chewy tone until now.
There have also been a few issues with cloud uploads/downloads. I can live with that. It will get fixed.
Now, I still won’t say I’m blown away, because its simply not in my nature. But I haven’t wasted hours trying to get a tone I like just to turn off the QC in frustration and go back to my amps. I’m still playing it. Not tweaking. Playing. So yes, I like the QC. YMMV.
Props to Neural for the hard work.
I’m not arguing with your results, you hear what you hear however either your analysis or explanation makes no sense to me:
When you plug the guitar into the QC it goes through AD converters then it’s processed then if you go into the PC directly you get the pure processed signal that goes through DA conversion of the UA for your monitors or headphones
If you go analogue from the QC to the interface you go through two extra conversions DA from the QC into AD of the Interface.
Now from my understanding of what you say, that is the better feel so I would argue that something is being added to your signal that you appreciate not being taken out. if that is the case than maybe either the DA of the QC or the AD of the UA are adding back dynamics in which case you could try and add an expander or ease on the compression
Maybe I did not correctly understand your explanation
I’m in Melbourne, Australia and received my QC today… I’ve had a couple of hours with it and have a few initial thoughts…
In terms of build quality, this thing is stellar! It looks great and is smaller than I expected which is good for me because I travel a lot… it’s very intuitive to use, i’ve never been one to crack a manual and this unit really doesn’t need one… If you can touch the screen, you can figure it out.
If you’re expecting to be blown away by the presets you may very well be disappointed however after uploading some of my favourite Redwirez impulse responses, many of the amps came alive… running 2 simultaneously and blending them sounded fantastic. The JCM900 clean amp with my IRs yielded some of the punchiest and glassy clean tones that I’ve had from a modeller. That being said, I wouldn’t normally use a JCM 900 so I am looking forward to exploring other clean options…
Boot time is loooong, too long. I’m not looking forward to the awkward silence that will ensue if I ever have to reboot while playing live as I have had to in the past with my AX8 and Kemper floor…
Feel whilst playing is superb, in my opinion the most organic of any other unit that I’ve owned (and I’ve had most).
All in all, I’m really excited to see where things go with future firmware updates… At the moment there are a few “holes” and a few things that need some attention to make it a really flexible live unit… for example, I don’t really want to have to bundle a clean, overdrive, dirty and lead sound all into one preset and access them with scenes but at the moment it’s seems like the only way to get around the switching latency and in my opinion that’s not acceptable for live use. Some other things on my personal wish list and some that I know have been mentioned are Wah auto on/off and morphing so hopefully they will be integrated in future firmware releases but I can say unequivocally that I already know that it’s a “keeper”…
Lastly, for anyone else in Australia looking to buy a QC, expect to pay $300 AUD in import duty…
Ok, what is the emoji for foot in mouth? So…I feel pretty foolish. After doing several captures to try and get the cortex to sound like my kemper profile, I realized at the last second that when I went to profile my kemper that I turned off all the effects (delays, reverbs, etc) so that they dont mess up the capture. Apparently, when doing that I turned off a vital compressor that gave the profile a super lush open amp tone. That was what was missing the entire time from my capture. I thought it sounded dead when I went to capture a profile.
Turned back on the compressor and captured my profile and it has the life and lushness and beauty that my profile has. I duped myself.
Now I WILL say that the QC is amazing! It sounds perfect. I was sooooooo wrong. Im sorry for anyone who had to read my previous comments. I have deleted them because of the ignorance. Forgive me Neural!
@encryptor You can use your Mulligan
The only people who never make mistakes are the ones who never try anything.
I’m glad you found a way to make it sound and feel the way you like. I believe no one here wants this to turn out an echo chamber where you cannot say bad things about the QC, however it did seem like you were missing some element on the QC that you had before so…
If you have some good bass profiles please share
Curious here but how were you supposed to ‘‘at least capture the nuances of the dynamics and feel and breath of the amp’’ when you capture a profile and not an amp?
It captures a captures, with all its ‘‘limitation’’
I mean… you can’t be more real than the original, so let’s say your profile is 98% on spot (100% is the amp)
Then the capture’s target is to capture 100% of the remaining 98%… it’s impossible to capture what was missing, or to make it better.
If your result was better with the QC than with the Kemper when you captured the Kemper Profile, it would mean that the capture of an amp could sound more like the amp itself… which makes no sense.
There were some elements (feel, open-ness, smoothness, etc) that was present in the Kemper profile that when I captured with QC it wasnt there anymore. It didnt feel at all the same. That was because I forgot to turn on a compressor on the kemper profile that it originally had. That gave it the life I was looking for. I was VERY familiar with how the profile felt being that I played it so much. Without the compressor it felt very OFF when I captured it. Turning it back on and capturing the profile made it come back to life and felt identical to the Kemper profile. It was just a mistake on my part.
So I think you’re saying that the Kemper profile itself did not capture the feel, openness, smoothness of the amp until you tweaked it with a bundled compressor, and then the Neural DSP accurately captured the Kemper profile both with and without the Kemper-applied compressor?
Yes it was worth the waiting
Waiting was the hard part… Loving it, is easy. It will benefit from some updates, which I am looking forward to, but really they got a LOT right on the first go and they are responding to user questions and feedback.