Neural Quad Cortex

  • How do the commercial QC captures work? I follow Tone Junkie and while he has videos for the QC, I have not seen on his web site any QC captures for sale. I downloaded the QC IOS app and looking for captures that way was terrible. I own very few tube amps currently and rely on either free profiles or commercial ones. Not that I am in the market for the QC at this time but in my short investigation of it, it seems to fall short in this category compared to Kemper.

  • The initial hype never really got me thinking seriously about the QC because it just doesn't have the live features of the KPA rack with the foot controller.


    I am still of the firm belief that within the top end digital guitar processors (Kemper, AxeFx III, Helix, QC) all of them are within spitting distance with respect to having the ability to have a good library of tones. I have always thought simply trying to sound exactly like the amp you profiled was seriously over-rated. Sure, closer is better, but at the end of the day, if you can get great tone that lies well in the mix, does it really matter how close it is to the original tube amp? I personally don't think so.


    What does matter, is how easy it is to create a set of usable tones for your purposes and be able to deploy them live (for me at least). Having a great volume of free and commercial profiles, having a system capable of easily tweaking a profile to your liking quickly, and having a bullet proof system that is gig friendly (# buttons, button spacing, readability, durability, easy to deploy live, single cable to FC on stage, etc, etc) are all things that QC currently lacks compared to the other 3 competitors.


    As an aside, MAN! the Line 6 website for Helix is SHARP. @CK, you should find out who designs their website and steal them! :) Site looks so good it made me want to buy one just because of how silly pretty it is ;). I'm here to tell you, this advertising would have worked on my wife :).

  • I am still of the firm belief that within the top end digital guitar processors (Kemper, AxeFx III, Helix, QC) all of them are within spitting distance with respect to having the ability to have a good library of tones. I have always thought simply trying to sound exactly like the amp you profiled was seriously over-rated. Sure, closer is better, but at the end of the day, if you can get great tone that lies well in the mix, does it really matter how close it is to the original tube amp? I personally don't think so.


    What does matter, is how easy it is to create a set of usable tones for your purposes and be able to deploy them live (for me at least). Having a great volume of free and commercial profiles, having a system capable of easily tweaking a profile to your liking quickly, and having a bullet proof system that is gig friendly (# buttons, button spacing, readability, durability, easy to deploy live, single cable to FC on stage, etc, etc) are all things that QC currently lacks compared to the other 3 competitors.

    I could not agree more! Well said...all great units, QC is unsurprisingly a bit behind as the newcomer but will catch up....my friend who has a Helix has said that a recent update for him has meant that he can get rid of his drop pedal because the Helix has a better transpose functionality now - now on a closer par with the KPA...

  • The QC is very nice, with its great touch screen, form factor, plenty of DSP power, etc...


    But a full year after they were supposed to release the product, they still haven't caught up to their initially advertised features… a bunch of amps and effects that were promised are still missing. And it still has less than advertised very rudimentary footswitching capabilities, which will be a deal breaker for some.


    In light of that, the big extra features they've advertised as coming soon - plugin porting, looper, better cloud, vendor marketplace, desktop editor, etc. - will probably also trickle out in the coming years... which is all fine I guess, but blech their hype marketing sucks.


    More than that, my current main issue with it is...

    - There's a known noise issue, and they've been saying "if you have the issue, email us and we'll ship you a noise-fixing new power supply in a couple weeks" for the past half-year.

  • Well, my flirt with the QC is over for quite a while now…


    The curious person that I am, I had ordered the QC in tier 1 and received it in March.

    It only took a day or two to find out that it certainly is no Kemper killer.

    While the modeling in the unit sounds great its captures (QC lingo for profiles) left something to be desired for me, mainly due to the fact that you cannot alter captures very much like you can with the Profiler.

    So I was left with a great modeller that could also do captures….


    I gave myself a few months time to do a thorough evaluation of pro’s and con’s of the unit and then decide if it’s a keeper or not (as I said, I knew from the beginning it wouldn’t replace my Profiler).


    Pro's: The modeling and also quite a few captures sound great and lively. I don’t want to dis the unit at all. Also the reaction to the guitar volume is very good. You can play the unit very dynamically. (But also in this regard it’s definitely not better than the Kemper).


    Con's:

    - The QC's routing, while very flexible in theory, doesn’t allow me to have a stereo signal out to FOH with a cab sim on and a stereo signal without any cab sim for a stereo monitoring solution with stereo cabs. I can do this with the Profiler.

    - The touch screen is disappointing, period. It's way below iPad league. When inputting things there’s an annoying lag. You always have to look on the screen to avoid mistakes due to the lag and sluggish behavior of the screen input.

    - The FX may be limited at this time but they sound very good. But you can't store any parameter sets as an FX preset, you can only set a given parameter set as default. This is a joke.

    - The whole cloud experience is hit & miss. I have a very strong WLAN network in my house, but the QC was very touchy and lost connection on a day by day basis.

    - Updating the unit was hit & miss as well. Once it took ages, the other time it went smoothly and quickly. Once the unit set itself to default settings and I lost my patches. Even though I had a current cloud backup I couldn’t retrieve it and had to start from scratch.

    - I didn’t like that you can’t decouple the main outputs from the volume knob.

    - I couldn’t warm up to scenes, I find morphing way more intuitive and expressive (but this is me).


    I won’t comment on the chaos in the QC cloud to find appropriate captures. Finding the right profiles for the Profiler can be a pain as well.
    But after all those years there’s a stock of highest quality profiles for he Profiler readily available (the usual suspects' best profiles are part of Kemper's factory content) where the QC has to do a serious catching up.


    Also there is no Kemper Kab equivalent for the QC,

    The Kab has once and for all helped me to embrace the whole modeling/profiling thing in a way I never thought would be possible.


    Having considered all the above points I put the QC on sale and got more for it than I paid (due to a 200.- Euro price increase since it hit the market).

    Sold it to a guy who is an Axe-Fx III owner who just wanted to know what all the fuzz is about and who wants to be able to take part in all the gear talk. ;)


    I hope you find this useful.

  • Great write-up Ingolf. I'm holding out on the QC, waiting for more amp models and a more finished product. The form factor is great as well as the rotary knobs. Some day maybe.

  • Having considered all the above points I put the QC on sale and got more for it than I paid (due to a 200.- Euro price increase since it hit the market).

    Sold it to a guy who is an Axe-Fx III owner who just wanted to know what all the fuzz is about and who wants to be able to take part in all the gear talk. ;)


    I hope you find this useful.

    Yeah, I got it lent to me from a friend, but I would never pay 1600+ euro to be able to take part in the gear talk jajaja unless I have a Youtube channel of sorts, but it is too expensive for my budget (I do have a budget per year to spend on GAS)

  • Great writeup Ingolf!


    I put a great deal of weight to your review since I am well aware of your serious and terminal case of GAS ;). In other words, I know you have some pretty serious equipment that you compare to (including the KPA and Kone).


    My big hang-up with the QC is still the ergonomics side of the live performance compared to a KPA; however, your points are obviously worth noting as well.


    I picked up a used Digitech Trio based on your comments on that little dude. It is a blast to jam along with ;). I wouldn't use it live, but for home fiddling .... so cool ;). Maybe Kemper could put something like this into a firmware update!

  • I had a love/not-love relationship with my QC when I had it.


    My opinions are based *only* on recording and playing at home. I do not use digital solutions for live playing. Kemper, Line6, Neural…doesn’t matter. I just can’t get it to work for me.


    The UI is brilliant imo…the best in the biz. I found everything to be so quick and easy. Zero problems with the touchscreen.


    The models and captures sounded great, but the models weren’t as nice as I had hoped. I wanted a modeler for recording when I wasn’t getting what I needed from the KPA. I know that many people think KPA profiles are very tweakable, and they are, but I think when you get too far from the original profile things start to sound unnatural. So I was hoping models would fill in the gaps. The QC models sounded quite good actually, but it still wasn’t what I was hoping. I’ve never tried a Fractal product. Maybe I’m just not a modeling guy.


    My main gripe was that the unit was noisy. Granted, my Kemper can be noisy as well if using a higher gain profile. But the Kemper is far away from my computer monitor and I use the Editor to control it. Since there is no PC editor for the QC yet, it had to be right on my desktop near my monitor/computer, and I think that was the main difference. It was just picking up a ton of noise due to proximity whereas the Kemper is a good distance away. Also, I primarily use a Strat so that isn’t helping the issue. But Neural should have had a desktop editor at launch (same with the KPA!)


    I think it’s very likely that I will try it again someday when it has matured and when they’ve added an editor, and upgraded some of the effects.

  • like I said , the fact that I can have almost any pedal I want at a moments notice,in front of my Kemper,,, is a big deal for me so it will remain as my pedal platform till they move it along,so far, nothing beats the Kemper,for pure guitar tone,,, for me,,

  • I found surprisingly that since I moved to the Kemper, I am using less effects than I used to because I am enjoying the raw tone of the profiles more. It made me realise I must have compensated with lots of effects with other platforms to cover up the dissatisfaction with my tone. Glad this is no longer the case. A treble boost in front of the amp and some reverb after is all I really use now even though I have choices. Says a lot about Kemper eh?

  • I found surprisingly that since I moved to the Kemper, I am using less effects than I used to because I am enjoying the raw tone of the profiles more. It made me realise I must have compensated with lots of effects with other platforms to cover up the dissatisfaction with my tone. Glad this is no longer the case. A treble boost in front of the amp and some reverb after is all I really use now even though I have choices. Says a lot about Kemper eh?

    x2. And I am using considerably less gain on amps, than I previously done in the past, since doing full mixes and making the guitar tracks fit right.

    The more you find what Kemper can do then the harder you try to find what it cannot do -- like make a good cup of Frappuccino.

  • I found surprisingly that since I moved to the Kemper, I am using less effects than I used to because I am enjoying the raw tone of the profiles more. It made me realise I must have compensated with lots of effects with other platforms to cover up the dissatisfaction with my tone. Glad this is no longer the case. A treble boost in front of the amp and some reverb after is all I really use now even though I have choices. Says a lot about Kemper eh?

    Basically I agree but then again... not. It really depends on the kind of music you want to make or mimic, doesn't it? I also used to make virtues of necessities when I started using Kemper. Reality is, I easily run into limitations with my Kempers as standalone units, I can give examples immediately. Yes, I totally enjoy Kemper's amp sound, that won't change ever, I guess, but I want a modern standalone unit to fit MY needs and more I could ever need rather than me having to compromise and find workarounds and additional gear for its limitations. If I could choose I would put a Kemper with its sound into something like a Helix. Until then... making virtues of necessities will go on about how much we don't "need" all that stuff those fractals can do. I, personally, need it and would love if I would not have to use additional gear on my board...

    Better have it and not need it, than need it and not have it! - Michael Angelo Batio

  • Kemper is a fantastic tool; however, I don't think that anyone is saying that "no one needs x or y feature" that the KPA doesn't do. I certainly haven't said anything like that myself.


    What I would say is that Kemper is good for an extremely wide range of use cases as-is with its current implementation. Not all for sure, but many .... and maybe even most.


    For people that need the ultimate guitar processing rig, not just amp tones, but also effects and routing, I don't think there is a better tool than the AxeIII Fx. I have a close friend that got one of the first ones off the boat, so I have spent quite a bit of time with it (hours, not days).


    I would say that I believe that the QC was nipping more at the heels of Axe III Fx than it was Kemper despite its "capture" feature. If efx and routing are really important to you (the most important thing), then it is hard to argue that Kemper is the best tool for that job. It is equally hard to recommend QC IMO since QC is a far cry from the brilliance of the Axe III Fx capabilities in that regard.


    I really never understood people who bought a Kemper when their #1 thing was routing and efx. To me, Kemper has always been the king of amp tone, amp touch and feel, and live performance tone for replacement of a traditional tube amp and pedal board combo. Kemper doesn't try to be the routing king because that isn't its DNA IMO.


    If you want to count the number of tweakable parameters in Axe III Fx compared to KPA, I can assure you, the KPA isn't going to come out on top in that metric.......... But I would challenge any Axe III Fx user to a competition of getting a specific type of tone that sounds great in the least amount of time ..... any day. I would say the same for the QC.


    If sophisticated efx and routing are the most valuable thing in your tone, KPA isn't the best tool to do it (although it is still a pretty darned good one). The Axe III Fx is best in this regard IMO.

  • I bought the Kemper in 2016. Ever since then I hear people talking about Kemper II will come 🤣


    By now we all should know how the company works. They introduced the Stage only 2 years ago. So why should they release a new unit in the near future? Predictions, that a new "game changer" from the competition will overtake the position of Kemper soon were all hype and wrong. I doubt the QC ever will. Maybe the next Yamaha / Line 6 flagship can compete?


    But I don't think Kemper II will appear... unless Mr. Kemper can introduce some really big innovation that surprises us all. Who knows?

  • Who knows?

    This.


    I bought 4 Kempers in 2017 and played them ever since and every day with joy for a reason. There is a reason why many prefer Kempers over those fractals. Still, there was not one day I did not wish for a successor for reasons that I think are so obvious even musicians with the mental empathy modules removed will understand. The public wish for a successor started much prior to your Kemper start, I bet it was the day after its first introduction. This applies to every product in the world it is not funny, it is not sad it is what it is.

    Better have it and not need it, than need it and not have it! - Michael Angelo Batio

  • The ground work is layed, the new templates have been set. Now all we want is everything combined and it's not like its not possible. If we can have foldable smart phones now, then we can have a touch screen, super high powered effects processors and all the ins and outs with a couple little tiny power amps built in.


    Combine the best of all 3 units with a small stereo amp and it would slay. Any of these companies has a chance to take the lead. I'm looking at Kemper and Line6 to take the leap. Hope it's Kemper though but till then I guess I'm gonna have to figure out how to combine all these units together in a rack or a stupid huge pedal board. If I can slowly shell out almost 7k for all 3 units, 2 kabs, and two small power amps. Then surely one of them can make a setup for half that or less.


    Who knows, maybe Mooer or Hotone will lunge out from the bottom and seize the opportunity...


    Still puzzles me how one of the most iconic synthesizer makers doesn't have some kind of tiny synth inside their flagship guitar unit. Seems kinda odd and silly to me but I get that it's for guitar and the whatnot. Now that I mention it, what a great thing that could be. An all in one guitar and synth unit. Access synth and Kemper II. Oof, take my money