NEURAL DSP
Guitar Player|July 2021
Quad Cortex Floor Modeler
DAVE HUNTER
HAVING FORGED A stellar reputation in the world of plug-in software, Finnish developer Neural DSP announced its move into amp-modeling hardware more than a year ago, eliciting excitement from a world already enthralled by the works of Fractal, Line 6, Kemper, Atomic and other amp emulators. Units of the long-awaited Quad Cortex Floor Modeler finally started shipping a few months ago and are just coming to market at the time of writing.

On paper, this excitement was totally warranted, given the Quad Cortex’s promise as “the most powerful floor modeler on the planet.” That boast encompasses 2GHz of six-core SHARC- and ARM-based processing; more than 50 amps, 70-plus effects and over 1,000 IRs; 256 factory presets and up to 2,560 user preset slots; amp, cab and pedal-capture capabilities; comprehensive touch-screen control and editing; and USB audio-interface capabilities, all in a rugged box measuring 11.5 x 7.5 x 2 inches and weighing 4.2 pounds. Within minutes of my using it, the Quad Cortex demonstrated it is a major new competitor in this market that is defining the future of guitar tone.

The UI consists of 11 stomp switches that double as rotary controls, a large volume knob and, governing it all, a touch screen. In short, just about everything is edited and accessed via that touch screen. (Think of it as a smartphone or tablet remote-control app built right into the floor unit.) For instance, not only does the home screen display the current preset and detailed signal flow, with access to all amp, pedal and cab blocks, but a quick tap on the top right changes whether the foot switches are set for Stomp mode (traditional on/off of pedals and effects), Scene mode (accessing multifunction foot-switch assignments) or Preset mode (accessing eight sub-presets within any current bank). Tap tempo, tuner, and preset bank up and down are also always available.

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