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  • #16
    Originally posted by Top-L View Post

    If it does anything, it will cannibalize sales of Kemper. Its basically a Kemper with a nicer interface.
    And a quad-core processor that's far and above anything available in current modelers from what I gather.

    I agree that tone and feel are "debatable", but the Andertons guys have demo'd just about everything and even they claim this is next level in terms of sound and feel, so that's intriguing at least.

    Just to be clear, I'm not arguing. But if Neural can "build a better car", so to speak, I'm all for it.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Masta' C View Post

      And a quad-core processor that's far and above anything available in current modelers from what I gather.

      I agree that tone and feel are "debatable", but the Andertons guys have demo'd just about everything and even they claim this is next level in terms of sound and feel, so that's intriguing at least.

      Just to be clear, I'm not arguing. But if Neural can "build a better car", so to speak, I'm all for it.
      The whole game is about marketing and excitement, imo. You've got products like Helix which to my ears has inferior modeling, but somehow has a large market share. Go figure. My impressions of what is available:

      The Helix has a large presence on the forums, they spend a ton on advertizing and yet I personally think it sounds like last generation modeling. I did not like the Native demo, and I did a deep dive in the features. But some people love it, I suspect they love the interface and their ears are different than mine. I liked alot of the demo videos until I actually played with it.

      The Fractal stuff... has the exclusivity of a custom shop.. yet in A/B demos I don't hear it being any better than the other ones. Yet there are people that will tell you its the best. Even though the FM3 is still plagued by hardware and software issues. (Does it yet function as a usb interface?) They have some highly skilled demo artists creating daily content for it. I enjoy these videos and think it sounds great.

      Kemper. If you go to TGP you will read there are people who have bought and sold the Kemper multiple times. Like they can't make up their minds. It sounds great, but it involves countless hours hunting profiles. When you change the gain and eq its no longer like the real amp it profiled. I think there is some evidence that the whole profiling paradigm has some issues of accessibility for typical users who want their processor to work like a virtual collection of amps and pedals.

      GT1000- Boss is like the Toyota Camry of the modeling world. Its not exciting, but when you look close it has a ton of really smart features. In AB testing it can be made to sound the same as the other ones. Some people will tell you its junk, not at the same level. Others tell you it feels better than the rest. I have many years with boss digital processors, I understand their paradigm and I know they can be made to sound good. Roland makes their own dsp so no one knows how it compares to ots sharc processors.

      Headrush- Has solid modeling, Imo as good as it gets, but the interface is "form over function". Its pretty and easy to use, but the box is missing core features like amp switching. Its really huge, too big to travel with or take to work. The Gigboard is intriguing because its smaller, but features still kinda thin.

      Zoom- The new box is brutalized for looking ugly (I dont agree), although its a modern incarnation of the much loved ME-80, in digital form. I think its a great idea, but I haven't heard any serious demos. I dont know how it sounds and for 800 clams, it should have amp switching. Id rather have amp switching than a color touch screen. I bet if I owned this I'd enjoy it.

      The Quad Cortex is in the honeymoon marketing phase. Obviously there are tons of house-bound musicians who need something new to pass the time, so excitement is naturally high. They are one upping Fractal in the "most powerful processor" game. But that doesn't mean the algorithms are better. If they can pull off instant patch switching with spillover , like Boss, that will put them in a unique category. The thing about their website that concerns me, is the claims of "Artificial Intelligence". Their website and some of their claims seem a bit hyperbolic. There is too little known about it for me to get excited in any way. I expect the feature list to be thin like the other newcomers. The interface looks like the helix. Instead of using touch capacitance like Helix to select effect blocks, they are using rotary stomp switches. That seems too smart for its own good. Should people be stepping on the encoders? Potential for high failure rate. Do you really want to be touching things with your hands that you have also stepped on?

      Anyway, like I said, I'm not excited about the QC because it strong suit is profiling, which is a paradigm Kemper has already explored. And there are too many other unknowns. I think a year after release I will have a better picture of whether it is worth $1600.
      Last edited by Top-L; 01-26-2021, 11:13 AM.

      Comment


      • #18
        Kemper broke new ground with the profiling tech, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement. After all, a '90s Honda Civic will get you from point A to point B just fine, but a Tesla will do it faster, more efficiently, and more enjoyably. Similarly, borrowing from successful interfaces like the Helix and making improvements is a positive thing in my book.

        I also really don't think that the QC absolutely has to do something entirely "new" and niche to be valid in the marketplace. Plus, it's beneficial for a product like this to have a lot of support up front to keep it evolving and become successful out of the gate. As I recall, the Kemper was subject to similar hype when it was emerging and that early adoption/interest paid off long-term.

        On a side note, given Zoom's history and my own experience with their G5, I would rather spend $1600 on the QC than $800 for a flooboard that will be completely unsupported in another year or two, have a flakey fanbase, suffer terrible warranty support, and have horrible resale value to boot.

        I think the issues most of us are contending with are that a) the QC is very expensive and b) we're reaching a point of diminishing returns in terms of what "new" technology can really offer the player.

        As for the way the controls work on the QC, I believe you can do everything you mentioned by touch, if desired. That said, the foot/rotary switches have been tested vigorously to withstand significant abuse, so I doubt those will be the source of too many failures. However, it does seem a bit odd to be using your hands to turn knobs your dirty shoes have been smashing regularly.

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by Masta' C View Post
          Kemper broke new ground with the profiling tech, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement. After all, a '90s Honda Civic will get you from point A to point B just fine, but a Tesla will do it faster, more efficiently, and more enjoyably. Similarly, borrowing from successful interfaces like the Helix and making improvements is a positive thing in my book.

          I also really don't think that the QC absolutely has to do something entirely "new" and niche to be valid in the marketplace. Plus, it's beneficial for a product like this to have a lot of support up front to keep it evolving and become successful out of the gate. As I recall, the Kemper was subject to similar hype when it was emerging and that early adoption/interest paid off long-term.

          On a side note, given Zoom's history and my own experience with their G5, I would rather spend $1600 on the QC than $800 for a flooboard that will be completely unsupported in another year or two, have a flakey fanbase, suffer terrible warranty support, and have horrible resale value to boot.

          I think the issues most of us are contending with are that a) the QC is very expensive and b) we're reaching a point of diminishing returns in terms of what "new" technology can really offer the player.

          As for the way the controls work on the QC, I believe you can do everything you mentioned by touch, if desired. That said, the foot/rotary switches have been tested vigorously to withstand significant abuse, so I doubt those will be the source of too many failures. However, it does seem a bit odd to be using your hands to turn knobs your dirty shoes have been smashing regularly.
          I'm neutral on it. I wasn't particularly excited about the Kemper, the QC doesn't move the needle much for me. Although if I was a Kemper owner, if that was my approach, I would give it a serious look.



          Comment


          • #20
            My Fractal FM3 is the best feeling modeler I've tried, certainly over the AX8 and the Helix. I don't have much use for the USB recording outs of the FM3, although a recent update is said to fix it. Also, recent updates brought the firmware in line with the modeling (and models) or the Axe III.
            Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Mincer View Post
              My Fractal FM3 is the best feeling modeler I've tried, certainly over the AX8 and the Helix. I don't have much use for the USB recording outs of the FM3, although a recent update is said to fix it. Also, recent updates brought the firmware in line with the modeling (and models) or the Axe III.
              My next processor will either be an FM3 or Gt1000.

              Comment


              • #22
                On the "AI" thing - it's absolutely marketing but they do it because in 99% of people's heads machine learning (which is what they are doing) and "AI" are the same thing - and it's not really their fault. Companies like Google, Apple, Tesla, and many others have all dubbed machine learning as "Ai" because AI sells basically.

                So yes Neural isn't building generalized artificial intelligence, but they have built and trained a very specific and sophisticated ML algorithm to do their capture. While what they are doing exactly will obviously never be talked about, they do talk about it hearing "like a human" and so I suspect they have invested a lot of time into trying to train a model that is aware of (and hence captures) the psychoacoustic anomalies of the human auditory system. Which is really quite interesting. If you've done music and mixing for any length of time you know there are just as many auditory "illusions" as there are visual ones - our brains and ears play tricks on us in certain ways. That's what led to the loudness wars for a while - because "louder" sounded "better" - only it didn't really. It's the basis for a lot of compression technology because frequency masking is a thing and the "loudest" thing at any given moment masks a quieter thing in the same frequency ranges so we can preserve the loud thing, discard info for the quieter thing and our dumb human hearing can't really tell the difference. We are more sensitive to 5-7k (baby cry) because.. we just are, cause babies crying, and so on - we perceive certain frequency balances more or less depending overall volume, etc, etc

                So, I believe neural have spent time trying to model THAT. Not to take a flawless, 20-20k perfectly flat "sample" and determine the precise deltas between source and response. I think their capture tries to "hear" the response as a human ear would, with all of its dumb little quirks and illusions. Without that, yes you can capture a perfect "tonal" profile - you can reverse engineer an eq curve and determine how a very specific waveform you fed in gets clipped, you can do Fourier analysis to determine harmonics and overtones... but sometimes there's just a weird... swell, or a "bubble" or a grunt, or thump, or any other esoteric term we try to use to describe the "feel" of an amp. but we KNOW it's there we HEAR it - like a human. And they happen over time, things bloom or diminish over time, so you need to sample and "learn" the response of what you're capturing a certain way to get that. I think Neural - whatever they are doing - has THAT, a little something extra. Something that doesn't just get very close on tone, but also gets more (not all) of the "feel" because it's "hearing" things like people do. It's not a rigid algorithm, it's adaptive, it's "learning" (so yes, misnomered as 'intelligent') and they can keep training it on new things, making it better, and then update the models on all the QCs. It's the adaptivity, I think, that sets their POV on how to capture apart from the rest.

                So yes... "AI" is marketing. but it's not fair to discount their approach to the technology of capture as garbage or just more of the same because they use a marketing term they basically MUST use because others before them have abused it so much that it's the only thing Joe Public will understand and respond to when referring to machine learning and adaptive algorithms.

                And this isn't meant to sway you, just wanted to clear up the marketing nonsense POV - yes it's hype, but it's also unique and has a very real basis in some good technology.

                Disclosure - I work in technology for a silicon valley company and actively build, train, and use ML/AI models for various parts of my day job. And yes, much of what I said is speculation because Neural isn't going to give up the special sauce, but I at least have a basis in understanding how and what I think they are trying to do and I suspect I'm in the ballpark.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by RexRemus View Post
                  On the "AI" thing - it's absolutely marketing but they do it because in 99% of people's heads machine learning (which is what they are doing) and "AI" are the same thing - and it's not really their fault. Companies like Google, Apple, Tesla, and many others have all dubbed machine learning as "Ai" because AI sells basically.

                  So yes Neural isn't building generalized artificial intelligence, but they have built and trained a very specific and sophisticated ML algorithm to do their capture. While what they are doing exactly will obviously never be talked about, they do talk about it hearing "like a human" and so I suspect they have invested a lot of time into trying to train a model that is aware of (and hence captures) the psychoacoustic anomalies of the human auditory system. Which is really quite interesting. If you've done music and mixing for any length of time you know there are just as many auditory "illusions" as there are visual ones - our brains and ears play tricks on us in certain ways. That's what led to the loudness wars for a while - because "louder" sounded "better" - only it didn't really. It's the basis for a lot of compression technology because frequency masking is a thing and the "loudest" thing at any given moment masks a quieter thing in the same frequency ranges so we can preserve the loud thing, discard info for the quieter thing and our dumb human hearing can't really tell the difference. We are more sensitive to 5-7k (baby cry) because.. we just are, cause babies crying, and so on - we perceive certain frequency balances more or less depending overall volume, etc, etc

                  So, I believe neural have spent time trying to model THAT. Not to take a flawless, 20-20k perfectly flat "sample" and determine the precise deltas between source and response. I think their capture tries to "hear" the response as a human ear would, with all of its dumb little quirks and illusions. Without that, yes you can capture a perfect "tonal" profile - you can reverse engineer an eq curve and determine how a very specific waveform you fed in gets clipped, you can do Fourier analysis to determine harmonics and overtones... but sometimes there's just a weird... swell, or a "bubble" or a grunt, or thump, or any other esoteric term we try to use to describe the "feel" of an amp. but we KNOW it's there we HEAR it - like a human. And they happen over time, things bloom or diminish over time, so you need to sample and "learn" the response of what you're capturing a certain way to get that. I think Neural - whatever they are doing - has THAT, a little something extra. Something that doesn't just get very close on tone, but also gets more (not all) of the "feel" because it's "hearing" things like people do. It's not a rigid algorithm, it's adaptive, it's "learning" (so yes, misnomered as 'intelligent') and they can keep training it on new things, making it better, and then update the models on all the QCs. It's the adaptivity, I think, that sets their POV on how to capture apart from the rest.

                  So yes... "AI" is marketing. but it's not fair to discount their approach to the technology of capture as garbage or just more of the same because they use a marketing term they basically MUST use because others before them have abused it so much that it's the only thing Joe Public will understand and respond to when referring to machine learning and adaptive algorithms.

                  And this isn't meant to sway you, just wanted to clear up the marketing nonsense POV - yes it's hype, but it's also unique and has a very real basis in some good technology.

                  Disclosure - I work in technology for a silicon valley company and actively build, train, and use ML/AI models for various parts of my day job. And yes, much of what I said is speculation because Neural isn't going to give up the special sauce, but I at least have a basis in understanding how and what I think they are trying to do and I suspect I'm in the ballpark.
                  I am currently getting my Master's in Computer Science (undergrad CS too), am actually taking a KR&R course atm; haven't taken ML yet. That said, I can't think of any reason/benefit to apply ML to performing a capture, which is something that can be done procedurally (Kemper).

                  Sometimes when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. One of their developers may be trained in ML, but that doesn't mean there is any tangible benefit from using it in captures, beyond marketing.

                  Unless they explain the algorithm (they won't), my gut reaction is that its ALL marketing. There may be elements of Machine Learning in their code, but the problem of profiling an amp doesn't suggest machine learning. Maybe, it will do something unique, like let the user twist all the eq and gain knobs during the profiling process to generate an intelligent profile that encompasses EQ band/sweep, multiple guitars, etc so the profile actually works like the real amp. That would appeal to me.

                  These auto tuning and profiling solutions have been used in car audio for 20+ years. They may be taking a different (not necessarily more effective) approach to avoid patent/copyright infringement. IDK the legal situation around Kemper, but if Kemper holds patents or copyrights on using auto tune for guitar rigs, if Neural all of a sudden has the same technology it could cause issues (not lawyer), they may be trying to skirt any legal issues (again, not lawyer.)

                  On TGP today there was a lengthy post by someone who recognized the same thing I did; that all of the demos sound the same. Earlier in this thread I mentioned it sounds like they don't have many models yet, but it may just be the Neural "sound". I will have to download their plugin demos at some point. They sound good but I'm not about to spend $200 on a plugin with a few artist sounds, so better to not even try them. Whole business model looks like took a page from Apple. I'm a PC/Linux/Android guy.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Video embargo lifted today - so I think we'll all see a lot more info dropping soon and a lot less speculation.

                    I disagree to some extent that I definitely see the use case of an ML approach - that doesn't instantly make me think it's "best", only that I understand the thought process of addressing it as an ML challenge because if you're modeling the complexities of a biological organism (us) and their hearing, then there are opportunities to optimize that in certain ways via a trained model vs a procedural algo. They STILL need to make a good model, but there's nothing inherently "wrong" about tackling the problem or capture in that way.

                    Comment


                    • #25


                      Overview and User Interface: 3:19
                      Neural Capture: 12:00
                      Quad Cortex vs. Kemper vs. Amp 16:08
                      Effects: 19:15
                      Final Thoughts: 23:22

                      Comment


                      • #26


                        00:00 - Intro
                        00:35 - Factory Presets
                        04:47 - Quad Cortex Overview
                        08:00 - Control Layout & Build Quality
                        09:33 - Preset/Scene/Stomp Modes
                        12:04 - Demoing Scene Mode
                        12:43 - Quad Cortex Dynamic Response
                        13:33 - It Does More Than Metal!
                        14:55 - Demoing Stomp Mode
                        16:07 - Creating a Preset from Scratch
                        16:17 - The Directory/Librarian
                        16:55 - Factory Neural Captures
                        19:04 - Adding FX Blocks to the signal chain
                        21:07 - Adding Delay and Reverb
                        22:00 - Adding a Drive Block
                        23:11 - Assigning Footswitches in Stomp Mode
                        24:05 - Creating Scenes in Scene Mode
                        25:16 - Utilising More Than One Row
                        27:07 - Saving Your Preset , TAGS & Setlists
                        27:52 - Quad Cortex I/O Capabilities
                        29:33 - Patching Effects Back Into The Inputs
                        34:03 - Neural Capturing a Wampler Dual Fusion Pedal
                        37:23 - Comparing The Capture To The Real Pedal
                        39:19 - Marshall Silver Jubilee Capture Demo
                        41:51 - Outro

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                        • #27


                          00:00 - Intro & Unboxing
                          04:55 - Strat Ambience Preset
                          06:18 - Major Strat Vibes
                          11:40 - Clear Lead
                          13:24 - Jerry Can't Tell
                          13:50 - Nolly Andy Timmons Preset
                          14:28 - The Best Preset Ever!
                          16:23 - Pitched Delays
                          17:24 - Necromangust
                          19:13 - Baritone Ambience
                          20:33 - Grimacemonger
                          22:12 - Heavy Baritones
                          23:38 - Summary

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            I'm not hearing it. Sounds like a Helix. Its in that "realm", so I'm not complaining; I know good music can be made with it, but it would be hard to say its a "slam dunk" from the samples posted.

                            None of these guys are going to make a negative review; they are in the game of getting free gear and don't want to spook any companies. I like all these reviewers, and I respect their playing, but I also know their careers depend upon not pissing anyone off and getting more subscribers.

                            I think it will honestly take a year for it to shake out. When Fractal owners buy this and make the comparison, I think we will get a better picture. To my ears, its in the Helix family of tone.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Any more, it is like magazine reviews, essentially bought and paid for. Gear videos are pretty intolerable to watch unless you are just trying to get a sense of how something works, but not if it is good or not.
                              Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Top-L View Post
                                None of these guys are going to make a negative review; they are in the game of getting free gear and don't want to spook any companies.
                                That's totally fair. Figured some of the vids might hit on the features you were wondering about. I haven't had time to watch them yet.

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