So, I got a quad cortex for the studio. If you're interested in getting one here are my thoughts, if you're happy with Kemper then I don't think you'll find anything of value below.
I'll start by saying all the things I really appreciate about my powered rack mount Kemper. It's light, it has a great noise gate, I can get close enough to my various fx that I can leave my pedal board at home, fuzz, tube screamer, supa trem, mojo vibe, ce2, ph1, dm2, even vox wah. It takes a midi controller well, but for lightness 4 diy latching switches is enough and they fit in the back of the case. I like that I record my di signal, a full stereo profile and run a 4x12 without cab sim whenever I play. I love that I can buy profiles from Michael Britt. I love the three light tuner and clipping, so useful on stage for quick tweaks.
However I have never quite been 100% happy with the sound, mainly because I like fuzz and in spite of 1000s of hours faffing around and playing through every single profile it comes with and a few hundred dollars worth of bought ones I just can't get that last 5% I want. The other niggle is that my older unit has to be master and I just can't get a 100% reliable stable zero artefact live band recording through spdif, not that that matters, I use lynx aurora converters and they are perfect.
I love that it's captured my 2204, bassman and dual terror, almost perfectly.
But that last 5%!
I've chased it and chased it. I've reamped and ab'd for hundreds of hours, mixing signals and blending profiles, nearly getting what I want, but not quite.
Quad Cortex, so many things I don't like, a floor unit that lives on my desk, I miss my kemper tuner, rig manager, endless available profiles, noise gate, fx and power amp. But, on day one I created a rig that has a clean sunn model t capture, 4x12 British greenback ir with sm57 and ribbon. I reamped a di signal recorded with my kemper of a 45 min performance and then ab'd to my five best kemper reamped tracks (out of about 30), complete with about eight years experience of working with it. Quad is better, it seems more fluid and zingy, that 5% I've searched for, it feels like playing a loud tube amp that's reacting to me. It also took the di with fuzz really well.
The last time I had a scenario like this was when I moved from an akai digital multitrack to motu 896, I had a niggle with the 896, it sounded woolly and a bit naff vs the akai, I replaced the preamps with external channels and things improved massively, then improved again when I eventually moved to a lynx aurora, this is like that.
So, I know what it's like on forums, am I comparing apples with apples, are my irs the same, etc, are the amp profiles the same amp, endless on and on. I'll simplify my summary to be, in spite of putting in the hours I didn't dial in what I want sonically from the kemper, but immediately achieved it with quad, but the kemper is better in every other way.
I really hope they have a look at the quad and how it's capturing amps, the reduced latency etc and find a way to get there. I'm considering running the quad in the fx loop of the kemper and switching the amp and cab off, but for live I think I'll just stick with the kemper as is but I can't see myself recoding it ever again while the quad is on my desk, and no, a profile of the quad doesn't sound quite the same!