Neural DSP Quad Cortex

266 Customer ratings

4.7 / 5

You have to be logged in to rate products.

Note: To prevent ratings from being based on hearsay, smattering or surreptitious advertising we only allow ratings from real users on our website, who have bought the equipment from us.

After logging in you will also find all items you can rate under rate products in the customer centre.

handling

features

sound

quality

197 Reviews

Neural DSP Quad Cortex
$1,499
The shipping costs are calculated on the checkout page.
In stock
In stock

This product is in stock and can be shipped immediately.

Standard Delivery Times
1
lf
This is basically just a prototype... (and you can't direct monitor on Windows)
ligma fingaz 04.01.2022
Direct Monitoring feature still is unusable on Windows as of January 2022. I have tried every QC OS update/USB driver/windowsOS workaround on the PC of every bedroom producer I know and all with the same result. The entire signal gets bitcrushed when you record, fizzy unusable mush. Line-outs work just fine. Never had this issue occur on a Mac.

Side-note: I'm pretty disappointed that many teased features (such as being able to load Archetype plugins, having a desktop editor) have not been added and at this point never will be. I anticipate they'll put out a new unit with this feature in a few years and leave any early adopters in the dirt. This unit is rusting away, a waste of potential. The company's focus seems to have shifted almost entirely to their plug-in users. Not acceptable conduct at this price-point. I dare you Neural, prove me wrong in the next update

Lastly: flimsy unconditioned power supply, should come with something more reliable. USB 2.0 Type B is practically extinct why is it on this unit? Why doesn't the app have audio demos for user presets? Why is it so cluttered to navigate? Why is there so much latency switching presets?
handling
features
sound
quality
58
31
Report

Report

A
QC or Fractal Audio FM9
AlesT 04.09.2022
First impression – einfach genial!

I bought this product in hope for a good sounding and easy to use unit. I own a Fractal Audio FM3. QC is the most user friendly unit I have ever tried - einfach genail! This is something the FA should learn from Neural. QC is also very lighter compared to FM3 and has lot more DSP power, you be very creative. With FM3 you can use only 1 amp in the chain.

What is my main problem with FM3, there are so many options and parameters to tweak, I have this constant feeling that I could sound better with some fine adjustment? With QC I have managed to set up the unit and create a patch in 15 min without reading any manual or watching any video, this is pure advantage!

What about the sound?

Happy with the thought that I will sold the FM3 and keep the QC, I set the A/B test. Both units had the latest firmware. I play 40+ years, owned and tried many high end amps (Friedman, Marshall, Mesa, Fender etc), owned digital stuff like Kemper, Helix and currently FM3. I argue that if you really want to test a digital modeler of profiler, you have to test it with guitar cabinet using a linear power amp (no IR). The test signal chain, my favourite Gibson Les Paul, AB switch, one line into FM3 one into QC and into a Matrix GT 1000 FX to the Marshall 1960 AV cabinet. I compared all the amps (same models) that are in the both units (Friedman, Soldano, EVH, JCM 800, VH4, VOX, Fender etc.). I tested from the bedroom to the stage volume.

And the result…

I could not believe and I didn't want to believe what I'm hearing. I was shocked, the FM3 sounded so much better, more fresh, more dynamic, much more real compared to the real amp. Just for the record, I tested the real Friedman amp BE 100 Deluxe, so I know how the real amp compare to FM3. In the end I kept my FM3, because it was so very close considering the feel, response and sound. And the idea to have many other amps that I love and don’t need to spend 20K EURO just for amps, is a good feeling. So, back to the QC sound, with the high gain amps, the QC has some strange, annoying frequencies in mid-range. Even with lowering the minds and EQ cuts, there is this 'nasal' thing going on. With clean amps it' even worse, I felt like having a blanket over the speakers with the QC. I thought I'm doing something wrong, so I checked many videos any read the manual. Tried other settings, options, but the significant difference was always there. In the blind test I could guess 10 times in a row which one I'm playing.

I'm really disappointing, because I wanted to keep the QC for it's simplicity.

Neural marketing strategy?

Maybe the user friendly product that combines two worlds (modelling and profiling) is the USP for the Quad Cortex? I don’t know, but for me, the number one criteria is always the feel and the sound.

I wish Neural could do something to improve the sound quality. With the sound of the FM3, I would keep the QC for 100% even the FM3 feels more robust, but I will not deep into this topic. Simplicity would be the game changer for me.

Verdict

If the feel and sound is your main concern, I suggest you try Fractal FM9 (you are not limited with just one amp in the row and you have more switches compared to FM3) and QC. Make sure you test it with a quality linear power amp and the guitar cabinet and choose your winner.

If you are looking for a decent sounding product with an unbelievable simplicity and countless options including profiling, the QC is the choice for you.

I will send my QC back ASAP (I know there are many of you waiting for the stock), sell my FM3 and buy an FM9. The 400 EUR + for FM9 compared to QC is nothing if I consider the sound and feel quality from Fractal Audio.

Thank you Thomann, you are the best retailer in Europe, no wonder that all shop in the circle of 500 km around my home, closed their business or they are selling only super low costs instruments.
handling
features
sound
quality
36
8
Report

Report

T
Perfect form factor.
TByrne 19.09.2021
As soon as you open the box and take it out you feel the quality straight away. The Quad Cortex is simply lovely to hold and looks sleek and modern. The touch screen makes it look on par with an iPhone or Android device. The fact the stomps double as knobs make this super easy to use.

This ease of use is my favourite thing about the QC. My previous modeller was always hassle for dialling in tones, particularly heavy tones, and always sounded a bit plastic. When I enquired about it on the related forum people were recommending third-party IRs. The QC, on the other hand, works great out the box with no IRs needed as the ones supplied do the job.

If there's any downsides it still needs some features like a looper and desktop app, and some more models, but like all of these types of devices its an ever evolving platform and they're sure to come.

I think overall, though, this device has been a great purchase. I've spent far less time dialling in which means more time playing and simply having fun. If you are already familiar with the plugins and love that sound then this device is highly recommended for if/when you decide to start stepping out of the bedroom.
handling
features
sound
quality
12
3
Report

Report

DD
Frustration and disappointment
Develop Device Studio 18.12.2021
I bought my unit in April 2021. Now, in August 2023, basic features like a file manager, desktop editor, and others are still missing. The overall pace of updates and communication from NDSP is a bad joke.

In my studio, I have 10 other competitive units (a few from Fractal, Kemper, Helix, and more). All these are complete products where "day one" and other major updates come in regularly.

From NDSP, instead of updates, we get monthly development updates in the form of generic blog posts, where customers don't get specific details, just their typical "soon". This has been the case for at least a year straight now. No major improvements or delivery of features that were promised shortly after the QC launch. Instead, they constantly release new ampsim plugins to keep the money flowing.

In terms of sound quality, the number of effects, and amp simulations, the QC doesn't really stand out compared to its competitors. I'd even say it's somewhat lacking, with competitive units in a similar price range offering more.

The QC certainly has great potential, but this approach by NDSP and the ensuing frustration that has been ongoing for nearly 2.5 years, ruins it all.
handling
features
sound
quality
34
3
Report

Report

C
"LCD backlight Leak is a normal feature" claim Neural DSP and Thomann
Chrissssssss 17.11.2022
We all know what this unit is.
Made of a really nice metal case, slick, elegant, quality on the IRs and all its features, responsive screen, rotary foot switches, sturdy glass on the screen, wifi, possibilities of amp captures and more...
One thing broke my heart a bit. For an unit costing this much and being soo popular, built with this much quality and care, seems that a batch has BACKLIGHT LEAKS on the corners (other users has reported this on the internet).
The reply from Thomann and Neural DSP, apparently is that this is normal.
While the screen is fully functional and nothing seem to be wrong with it, respecting touch feature, as soon as you look at the screen from just a bit of an angle, you will notice a big purple/blue-ish stain on one of the corner from it.

This is not really nice, as for this price and this hype, I wasn't expecting less than perfection.
I have had units that cost 10x less than this product and they DONT have this issue (Mooer 250 and NUX-MG30).

Im a bit heart broken that this was their reply to quality check to be honest.

Some would say: "But it doesn't affect playability, you should not care..." -Well, some purchases are not simply made to gig and that's it. Some purchases mean a bit more that just the item, because they cost hard earned money and specially if you have been waiting for restock for 2 months like me.

Im satisfied with the quad cortex, but still, a bit heartbroken.
handling
features
sound
quality
9
1
Report

Report

G
Amazing!
GuitarChronicles 15.02.2024
For the first time ever (having tried numerous modelers, you know the ones - Fractal, Helix, ...), I was able to play gigs without my beloved tube amp and get the exact feeling. The sound is TOP quality, very high-fidelity and it's super easy to get a usable sound in 5/10 minutes. Captures from the Cloud are also great, you can get some very nice pedals, amps from other users... First unit that I setup at home and got the same sound when playing at gig volumes, sound amazing. If you're still thinking, don't! This is the game changer.
handling
features
sound
quality
0
0
Report

Report

JS
What an amazing tool!
Jonny Smokes 09.01.2023
I am an owner of many multi fx products, and have extensively used amp modelers from Line 6, Fractal audio, and Positive Grid. I have had my eye on the Quad Cortex for some time now, especially since I have noticed a few artists using them at live concerts with amazing tones coming through the PA.

So I just received my new QC unit, and right out of the box I was already very impressed by the amp tones, as well as the variety of effects in the factory presets. But once I began editing my own patches the real quality became very apparent quickly. Building patches is so easy, and I have figured out how to save scenes and tweak virtually every setting with expression pedals and stomp modes. The routing and blending possibilities are just endless, and the layout is very intuitive. I especially love the ability to turn the foot switches like amp knobs, as well as numerically enter exact parameter settings with a touch of one finger on the screen.

In all honesty, having access to hundreds of real tube amps through my job at a major backline company, I have grown very used to the real life organic sound of all of the included amp and cab models. These captures are so good, responsive to playing attack and volume changes just like the real deal. It is unbelievably realistic, yet so much better with all the effects and routing options. I can hardly wait to create some captures of my own!

Another aspect that I am really enjoying is playing my acoustic guitars through the QC. With just a little compressor, a subtle eq, some chorus and reverb, the acoustics are sounding absolutely stunning. I normally use a Fishman Aura to add some simulated mic tones, so I will attempt to capture the Aura pedal and blend it into these patch signals for added realism, although puting the Aura in the fx loop is also a viable option. Ahh... so many options with the QC! I am very happy and excited to create more music with this incredible tool!
handling
features
sound
quality
1
2
Report

Report

E
Elbotxo 05.04.2022
I've had it for almost a year now and it has two big pluses: sound quality and ease of use.
It is so easy to move around the blocks and build complex rigs really fast. I'm usually runnig two guitar lines with a detuned line for a bass emulation all in a single preset and it can handle it with no issue.
As for the sound quality, it is what you can expect at this top price range. I've had other simmilar devices (Kemper) and it is simply undistinguishable regarding the captures/profiles.

As for the downsides, the preset exchange on the app is a bit messy, you cannot download and share single presets "offline" as you can with other similar devices. So far they have been quite consistent with the updates.

I'm still curious about the build quality. So far so good but have not had any gigs yet.
Would definietly recommend.
handling
features
sound
quality
3
0
Report

Report

4
Potentially the best on the market…
4TuneMan 07.07.2022
***
Update - after few months and few firmware updates.

Very nice device - still. Still waiting for it to be functional.
In the meantime I learned how to do captures and captured two amps and some overdrive effects. Once you learn (not an easy, "try and miss" process) the level and EQ adjustments the results of the captures are really good.

Yet, as still no NDSP plugins available on QC, I am not playing it anymore. It stays in my home studio to "impress" (nobody's really impressed, as it is rather boring looking gray box). So I am using plugins and since few days the Headrush Prime. Huge, powerful and funny.

I wonder, if QC will ever be fully functional, working like in the initial description from Neural DSP. Maybe may kids will see ;-)

Footswitches I was complaining about are now creaking even louder after some use.

End of update.
***

***
Original review below.
***

I bought this unit after almost two years of “hunting”. Not a fan of prepaids, so was waiting till online availability. And then it happened, so I bought it instantly - happiness :-)

I bought it, as I am using NDSP plugins, and they sound fantastically. Nothing mimics my old Marshall like Nolly plugin. And I remembered, NDSP was promising the ability to have your plugins available in your Quad Cortex. Well, not yet, and there is no date set to it.

About the Quad Cortex self.
PROS
- processing power - it is really there, you may create any crazy signal chains and QC is processing it easily
- great touch display
- good design (both the physical device and the interface)
- footswitches act as potentiometers also (rotary encoders)
- tons of amps and effects to choose from

CONS
- not really built “as a tank”, my impression is QC is rather fragile (comparing it to some other devices I own (no names in the review) :))
- footswitches are very noise (they squeak like they will break any moment)
- because of processing power this unit goes hot, even on standby
- with all the amps and effects available - missing the ones from NDSP plugins, which is big disappointment

I know, I shall read the whole Internet before buying, and not rely on what I remembered from the initial statements of NDSP. The lack of amps and effects from plugins is quite a bad surprise to me.
Otherwise, great unit. Especially, when you want to use it as sound capturing device (did not try it, but youtube videos sound convincing).
handling
features
sound
quality
4
1
Report

Report

M
A very well build piece of equipment
MorganaHoornweg 15.03.2022
I've been waiting for this wonderful piece of equipment to arrive, after quite a lot of consideration. After the update to 1.3.3 it has all the features I need for my guitars and basses. I play extended range guitars, mist of them purchased at Thomann, and with a little work on editing it to my heart- and ear's disire I finally have the sounds and patches I was waiting for.

It is easy to use due to the 7" touch screen and easy to navigate. There are quite a bit good IR shipped in the QC, but also a lot of them downloadable via the Neural DSP Cloud, so the packages is complete and it sounds awesome. I really would like to recommend this product wholeheartedly.
handling
features
sound
quality
3
3
Report

Report

Neural DSP Quad Cortex