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Quad Cortex and HX Effects ?

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Anyone here thinking about getting a Neural Quad Cortex???

 

https://neuraldsp.com/quad-cortex

 

I plan on it at some point, and also thinking about hooking it into an HX Effects using the 4 cable method.

I could then use all of the new Helix drives in front of and FX in back of the QC, with the power of the QC in the middle.

This should to be a monster! Just hope its not too convoluted lol. 

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12 minutes ago, spikey said:

Anyone here thinking about getting a Neural Quad Cortex???


After watching this - NO.
 

I’m not that impressed, considering all the hype.

 

Also, I’m not sure if there is a tuner in the editor?

 

 

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100% Hype. Also looks like a product with no future (price tag, many parts prone to fail, market saturation, niche of the niche, no heritage...). No go for me... Love the design tho.

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It looks interesting, but the true test is yet to come...

Let's see what happens when hundreds/thousands of users begin debugging the unit and stomping on those double duty encoder/foot switches. 

 

For the time being I'm still very content with my Helix.... and feel no need to replace it, or add to it. 

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To address Spikey's topic's question, I can definitely see combining an HX Effects and a Quad Cortex. An abundance of riches. For me though it goes against my core effort to reduce floor real estate and minimize connections and devices. Combining the two would be even more compelling for owners of Variax guitars and PowerCab cabs if the HX Effects had Variax and/or PowerCab connectivity so you could take your Line6 "peripherals" with you.

 

The Quad Cortex definitely got a lot of things right and some not so much. The Neural capture is a big selling point. This is still an immature product but looks like it holds a lot of promise. They have quite a ways to go to catch up to the Helix in some areas but I could see myself getting one depending on what they deliver in upcoming updates. Hasn't quite moved me off the Helix yet though.

 

In summary I am intrigued but still on the fence, gonna wait a while to see how things develop.

 

Some thoughts/observations regarding the Quad Cortex as they pertain to switching or adding one to my current setup.

  • Wi-Fi connectivity for backups, firmware updates, and capture/preset sharing.
  • Ability to use at least proprietary Neural plugins
  • No integration with a DAW plugin like Native yet. Native still represents a big Line6 advantage but the Quad Cortex's ability to use  Neural plugins may point to some interesting linkage from live gigging to recording, device to desktop, in the future.
  • A good amount of processing power providing a lot of future potential
  • Where is a PC/Mac based editor? Being able to use a tablet or phone to edit(editing on these is still quite limited from what I understand) is great but I would also want a PC/Mac editor.
  • As per the video posted above, unless the reviewer missed it, there appears to be no global option to either assign Ins/Outs. The Quad Cortex appears to automatically recognize what is plugged in to its inputs and outputs. Maybe they could have the ability to auto-recognize what is plugged in and adjust accordingly, with an option to manually override at the global and preset level. Neural already appears to have some "wizards" to help with connectivity and usage, particularly for setting up the Neural captures and this might be extended to for example 4CM or 7CM or other more complex setups. Helpful to new users.
  • Love the touchscreen
  • Quad has ability to change mic placement across the speaker from cap to cone(not just distance) although axis adjustment would be good to have as well
  • Time will tell if the new footswitch/knobs hold up but if they do, awesome dual purposing of a footswitch that I hope makes it into other devices!
  • I would miss my scribble strips in a big way although for owners of any HX device other than the Helix or HX Effects I guess users are used to not having them available.
  • Agree with the reviewer that Neural should provide optional links from amps to cabs so that they can be selected in tandem. Having also the option to assign your own link would be perhaps a bit onerous the first time around but ultimately would give you instant access to your preferred amp and cab pairing. They could provide some factory pre-linked examples as well if so inclined. This would be nice functionality to add to Line6's "Favorites" as well although Line6 already has many factory amp/cab pairings available.
  • No Variax input! No L6 connection to Powercab! Not that I would have expected those Line6 proprietary connections but those are serious considerations for users happy with their PowerCab and/or Variax. I would particularly miss the PowerCab integration.
  • Wonder when or if polyphonic processing will come to the Quad Cortex
  • Varying reports on the quality of the Reverbs and effects in general. Have to come to my own conclusions on this and I am sure they will be adding and improving.
  • Seems to be light on the number and range of effects right now, a big negative for me that I hope they will remedy
  • Will have to see how good the customer service is as this company is not USA based. How fast will their repair turnaround be? How well will they honor warranty service and how expensive will out of warranty service be? What will the parts availability be? These are all questions that will take time to answer.
  • For those who like a built-in expression pedal the Helix/LT will still be the better choice.
  • Only 256 presets available on the Quad Cortex and no real set list management yet from what I can see. This could be relatively easy to address in the future by leveraging the Wi-Fi capability and enhancing the app. In the meantime that is far fewer available presets than the Helix although more than the HX Effects. Not really a fair comparison with the HX Effects though given the Quad Cortex's much higher price point. Overall neither Line6 nor Neural appear to have convenient set list management yet.
  • Not sure what the capabilities on the Quad Cortex are relating to the input pad and impedance matching; an area where Line6 has made great strides as of the last firmware update.
  • A somewhat minor concern in the scheme of things but why are modeling companies so parsimonious with visual icons for differentiating blocks? Why not provide a larger library of icons, or allow users to upload their own? They don't take up much memory if you keep them low-res and being able to tell one effect or capture from another would be really helpful to seeing your whole signal chain at a glance. I've had an IdeaScale idea up for years asking for Helix to add more icon choices and it looks like the Quad Cortex is going to have the same issue. It will be even more confusing on the Quad Cortex where all captures are represented by the same icon but a capture can include not only a cab but also effects as well. You look at the screen and it is icon salad where everything looks like a piece of lettuce, or maybe if you're lucky it resembles a mushroom or onion. Nope! That might be a cherry tomato or a bacon bit. Can't really tell. As with the Helix, widely disparate effects, amp channels, etc. are grouped together under overly broad and therefor sometimes meaningless or vague icons; particularly in signal chains with large numbers of blocks.
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Thanks all, and esp Honest for the long post!

The Editor is coming soon, and along with it the ability to locally save backups to your PC/Mac without the Cloud.

Mine will be a "Desk-top" unit. No way am I stepping on the rotaries... 

 

Ya know, I could always leave the HX Effects on my Marshall DSL (where it is now) and use an Aux sends from Helix into the QC ; )

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8 hours ago, spikey said:

No way am I stepping on the rotaries... 

 

Damn right, well, certainly you’ve got to be careful with something like them especially considering the price of the thing. Honest Opinion hit on a few of the things that are not quite right on the QC. Example: a single icon type for a capture. How are you supposed to keep track of if it is a cab, amp, overdrive etc.? Also the amps and cabs are separate items, and it seems an awkward way to select a matching pair of items. I haven’t seen anything about after sales, spares and repairs (should they be needed). For me, it’s still a work in progress.
 

Pete Thorn did a good video of a capture from one of his JMP 50 amps and a Kokoboost pedal. It might be worth a look, if you haven’t seen it already. He seems to like it, but really he was only demoing the capture side of things, and they required a little tweaking. 
 

Personally, the way you are considering using it, seems to be an expensive option, if you will be mainly using it for “capture” and the onboard amps and cabs yet utilising the HXFX for the effects. 

 

I am going to stand back from this thing until we get to see it being properly used and abused, out in the real world. Each to their own, as they say.

 

 

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On 2/18/2021 at 5:21 AM, datacommando said:

Example: a single icon type for a capture. How are you supposed to keep track of if it is a cab, amp, overdrive etc.? 

 

Yea I know, they need to add a few more of the "major" ones so that we can tell at a glance without having to hover over it-etc.

On 2/18/2021 at 5:21 AM, datacommando said:

Personally, the way you are considering using it, seems to be an expensive option, if you will be mainly using it for “capture” and the onboard amps and cabs yet utilising the HXFX for the effects. 

Oh no it won't be just for captures. Like always and forever I am, after 50 years of playing the guitar, still looking for the Holy Grail of tone. Im closer but not there yet. By combining units, removing them and then recombining them "again" I "learn" from the mistakes, and hopefully will get my tones to the next level. After all, what else is there? ; )

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I have never tried a Kemper so I don't have any experience with profilers. I've seen the videos on how well Quad Cortex does profiling - its pretty impressive. 

 

I'm not sure I understand how profiling works. I suppose if I used a guitar amp as a clean or edge of breakup platform for a pedalboard, and I generally set the amp exactly the same way, then a profile with real or digital pedals in front of it makes sense. 

 

But a profile is a snapshot of a particular set of amp settings. Gain/drive and tone controls that are layered on top of a profile change the profile, but not necessarily the same way that similar changes on the amp would. The profile is a fixed snapshot. If you make any significant changes in the amp's settings, you'd need to create another profile.

 

This is why I prefer inside out models like Helix vs. outside in profiles like Kemper. Quad Cortex of course provides both and that's an attractive feature. 

 

I'd be interested to hear what other's experiences on using profiles vs. modeled amps.

 

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It certainly has some interesting features.  I have several Neural amp sims and they are great but hardware is a different game altogether.  I just bought an LT today so I'm not going to be in the market for a while.  If they are still in hardware after a couple of years and they have established a positive reputation for updates by then, I'm sure I'd give it a serious look.

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FYI- A new video that shows more of the menu section. Very nice. Now I dunno if I want to incorporate an HXFX or Helix. 

I may just run this bad boy via a Morningstar MC-8 midi controller and call it good. ; )

 

 

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2 hours ago, spikey said:

Very nice.


Aw, fuggit - I’m gonna get me one of these muthas.

 


Yeah, I”m kidding!

That has to be one of the funniest promos - ever!

Who the hell did that voice over?

 

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On 2/20/2021 at 8:35 PM, datacommando said:


Aw, fuggit - I’m gonna get me one of these muthas.

 


Yeah, I”m kidding!

That has to be one of the funniest promos - ever!

Who the hell did that voice over?

 

 

The World Wrestling Federation or the Monster Truck Rally folks definitely need to reach out to that voiceover guy's agent immediately. That is, well, something...

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i really like the ability to move the mic placement on the speakers.  If the helix at least gave the option to move the mic placement horizontally across the speaker, that'd be HUGE, i think.

Otherwise, i almost certainly won't buy one, though i am academically interested. Its improvements seem mostly incremental, though design-wise, the QC seems a bit confused (at least at this early stage).

It seems primarily geared for desktop use (as the touchscreen and rotary switches would imply), so...why the stompbox form factor and footswitches?

In floor mode, neither ventilation slits nor touchscreens tend to react well to errant moisture, and the lack of scribble strips or even color coded LEDs for the footswitches (from what i could tell in the video) just make it seem half-baked for that purpose,.

To be fair, it's early days, and further development in the firmware, app, and desktop editor will no doubt improve some aspects. It'll definitely be interesting to see how it develops as more units get into the wild, and people start using it in all the various ways that they're bound to!
 

 

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10 hours ago, kelldammit said:

i really like the ability to move the mic placement on the speakers.  If the helix at least gave the option to move the mic placement horizontally across the speaker, that'd be HUGE, i think.

 

That is my biggest complaint with the Helix. It is such a fundamental part of creating tones I'm really surprised they haven't addressed it yet. 

In case you are not aware of it... there is a way to "simulate" this within the Helix... and it works surprisingly well (IMO of course)

  • Place a TILT EQ after the cabinet block (or amp/cab block)
  • Leave all settings at default.... then dial back the TILT control towards DARK
  • It is a subtle EQ... and needs to be moved a fair bit. EG: DARK 50 (half way) is quite similar to placing a MIC about half way between the center and edge of the speaker.
  • I don't find a need to change the frequency setting from the default... but feel free to experiment.

The TILT works by reducing highs (slightly) while increasing lows (slightly) as you dial it back toward the dark. This is the same behavior a MIC would notice (hear) if it was being moved from the center to the edge.

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16 hours ago, codamedia said:

 

That is my biggest complaint with the Helix. It is such a fundamental part of creating tones I'm really surprised they haven't addressed it yet. 

In case you are not aware of it... there is a way to "simulate" this within the Helix... and it works surprisingly well (IMO of course)

  • Place a TILT EQ after the cabinet block (or amp/cab block)
  • Leave all settings at default.... then dial back the TILT control towards DARK
  • It is a subtle EQ... and needs to be moved a fair bit. EG: DARK 50 (half way) is quite similar to placing a MIC about half way between the center and edge of the speaker.
  • I don't find a need to change the frequency setting from the default... but feel free to experiment.

The TILT works by reducing highs (slightly) while increasing lows (slightly) as you dial it back toward the dark. This is the same behavior a MIC would notice (hear) if it was being moved from the center to the edge.

 

Nice tip on using the Tilt EQ!

 

Modeling is facing some fundamental challenges to accurately reproduce the impact that changing mic axis in relation to a speaker. That is because one of the additional changes when you modify the axis is not only that the highs picked up directly from the speaker are reduced/increased but also that axis orientation changes how the mic picks up room reflections. Providing a user the ability to accurately and completely modify the axis(versus an IR with a fixed axis) would appear to require modeling room reflections in addition to frequency changes. This might be accomplished perhaps with a library of virtual room options and the algos to support their interaction with axis changes; similar in some ways to the way reverbs give us choices such as room, hall, cave, stadium, etc..

 

Eventually I think modeled virtual room reflections will be required to get closer to more comprehensively modeling the changes moving a mic's axis make in the real world. This aspect of mic placement might seem trivial but there seems to be a fairly sincere and sustained effort in modeling to accurately track the more subtle details of how equipment and sound operate in the analog world and bring them within the digital domain.

 

Until some of the other details required to faithfully provide dynamic changes to mic axis are modeled, I guess capturing the frequency changes gets us halfway(or more) there. IRs/captures I believe also provide us a currently available method to capture room reflections more accurately, but only for a single fixed axis orientation(or a single fixed axis per mic if using multiple mics to create the IR).

 

Although it is basically an advertisement for Townsend Labs "Sphere" mics, the following article has some interesting details and graphs regarding changes of mic axis.

https://townsendlabs.com/why-mic-axis-matters/

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Demos sound fine, the only thing that i don't see as much  use to me is , ( Probably one of it's big selling points too ),..  the touchscreen.

A touchscreen , though seen as amazing by some, is very low on my priority list for any multi fx/modeler, and the footswitches ( 5 in a row on a unit only 290 in width )are far too close together  for serious live work.

Although it's trying to be all encompassing ,.It just seems a bit more desktop suited imo.

 

 

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7 hours ago, codamedia said:

That is my biggest complaint with the Helix


Same here.

 

The ability to swap mic type, position, and distance in a virtual 3D space within the Helix should have been included right from the start. I really cannot understand why.

 

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I'm wondering if a lawsuit is in the future? It sure looks like they stole some of helix set up. I hope more that Yamaha acquires the company and the helix 2 is born. Also make me a left-handed variax! Or point me to someone who can. Please!!!

 

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For me after getting a Helix and even surrounding it with a few more pedals that are slightly different in flavors (not that one has to) I only worry about longevity of the unit. I absolutely love it and was hardcore in the box (PC) kind of guy. I will never as long as limbs and fingers work be without one. BUT part of my overall sound is going through Reaper on PC with bus FX and final chain FX. My Helix isnt used on its own or with an amp. I used consoles on BUS with a reverb generally and use outboard Delay (not that one has to because Line6 are def great ones) then to a Limiter or Compressor Limiter. Just absolutely love it. Been grabbing some tips here or there like Bias and Sag and its amazing with its own cabs or ones I have had for some time.

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On 7/25/2021 at 2:54 PM, BigJ2021 said:

Also make me a left-handed variax! Or point me to someone who can. Please!!!

 

 

You just need a guitar luthier, and a used Variax for the transplant. Not gonna to be cheap, but L6 isn't gonna do any lefty variax. That's the super niche of a extreme niche.

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