Update: The Neural DSP Quad Cortex is now available to order on Thomann. You can follow the links below if you’re interested in getting one for yourself.
The new Neural DSP Quad Cortex floor modeller was first demoed during Winter NAMM. Back then it was in Beta, and we were told that it used machine learning to make its models even better than its competitors. Since the Quad Cortex is going to be launched at the end of the month, I thought it was time we revisited this unit.
Neural DSP Quad Cortex
The Helsinki based company Neural DSP claims its Quad Cortex is “the most powerful floor modeler on the planet”. The unit is based around the 2GHz Quad-Core SHARC architecture, and this dedicated DSP is essentially the heart of the unit, providing it with a lot of realtime processing power. Add to that a 7” multi-touch display and it should also make the Quad Cortex super simple to navigate for users. It even has a built-in WiFi module that can be used for wireless preset sharing, or cloud backups, over-air firmware updates, and more.
The modeller comes with over 50 amps, 70 effects, and 1000 IRs, so there should be plenty to keep you occupied and up and running. You get 11 footswitches on the front and one big Volume dial. The footswitches can also be used to control virtual knobs on the amp and effects models, by turning them to adjust the parameters. Combine this with that massive touch screen, and this should be a breeze to use.
The floor unit itself has a robust anodised aluminium unibody, and at only 1.9 kg, is lightweight and portable, but also very strong. You should have no issues transporting it to gigs and rehearsals, and it should be able handle the rigours associated with the road.
Capture, share, and download any rig’s sounds using the Neural Capture function. Neural DSP is using its own biomimetic AI technology which allows the Quad Cortex to learn and replicate the sonic characteristics of any physical amplifier, overdrive, or cabinet. This is what the company hopes will set it apart from its competitors. And if it works, it could put them way ahead of the competition.
IRs and EQ
With over 1000 impulse responses at your disposal, plus a parametric EQ, this unit should have enough ways for you to tailor your virtual rig. However, if you need more, then it can also handle any third party IRs you want to add to it.
With a pretty extensive input and output section, the Quad Cortex has you covered for just about every scenario when it comes to plugging your gear in and out of the unit. All the inputs and outputs are high-quality Neutrik parts where appropriate. So again, it is built to tour with.
It features dual combo inputs, with TS, TRS, and XLR. You also get variable impedance and level controls, with built-in microphone preamps and phantom power. A dual effects-loops can handle external mono or stereo effects in your signal chain.
For outputs, you have two mono, balanced (TRS) jacks along with two mono, balanced XLR output jacks, and a headphone output. Capture Out is used for the biomimetic AI technology, Neural Capture function. The unit also has MIDI In, Out/Thru, and dual expression inputs for two expression pedals, along with USB for any firmware updates, etc.
Neural CNS Mobile & Cortex Desktop Controller
You can explore and share your presets on the cloud with the Neural CNS Mobile, which syncs up to your device using the Quad Cortex’s built-in WiFi module. Once synced, you can send presets to and from your device with no cables involved, making back-ups or adding new sounds to your unit, a hassle-free process. The Cortex Desktop Controller then allows you to control the floor unit in real-time. Or you can use it to access the Neural CNS which is used for exploring, sharing, and downloading presets.
There are three main switching modes available for users: Stomp Mode allows you to assign and activate any block in a rig to a footswitch, just like you would with a normal pedal board. Scene Mode lets you easily select any footswitch, and instantly activate it and control the settings of any number of blocks within a rig. Finally, with the Scene Mode, you can choose any footswitch to instantly activate and control the settings of any number of blocks within a rig.
Setlists and Gig View
The Quad Cortex uses Setlists to make the various Presets easy to organise. Simply put, you make your sets and then access them. Each Setlist can contain 32 banks of 8 Presets, which should be plenty for most players. The Gig View will let you see all three Stomp/Scene/Preset modes, making it even easier to see what’s on the display when you’re standing above the unit. Gig View uses the whole 7″ screen and shows you what is assigned to each footswitch.
It looks like the new Neural DSP Quad Cortex could well be the latest must have all-in-one floor modeller. Shipping is expected to start between the end of October and beginning of November, and I for one, am really looking forward to hearing it in action, as on paper it sounds pretty amazing.
You can follow the link below to read the full specification and and hear it in action in the demo video below.
RRP – (update) USD 1599/ EUR 1599 rising to USD 1699 / EUR 1699 (Jan 1st 2021)
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