Quad Cortex vs. Kemper (A LOT has Changed Over the DECADE!)

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If you are a guitarist or, perhaps, genuinely passionate about music creation and editing, you must have known by now about many floor modelers for the guitars.

While they are indeed a significant innovation in the field of music and especially for guitarists, sufficient knowledge about these music accessories is still lacking.

Before you make a purchase, you always want to know whether it is worth the price. How frequently would you use it? Does it really deserve the hype people around you have created about it?

Should you even buy it, to begin with? Such questions are common and even necessary when purchasing a floor modeler for your guitar

The most common question in the world of guitarists is which one to buy: Kemper or quad cortex. Which one is better? Which one is superbly great at what it does? Which one has the best value for its price?

Which one is cheaper? Which one suits my electric guitar? Was Kemper a thing of the past? Which one will give me the tones that I want? This guide that you are reading is all going to be about these questions.

Starting from the most basic questions and moving on to the comparison between these two famous amp modelers, this guide is all you are going to need. 

What is an Amp Modeler?

An amplifier modeler, more commonly known as an amp modeler, is a device, or software, which allows you to replicate different tones by various amplifiers so that you can experiment with the art of music-making with not only one but a thousand tones available at your fingertips.

Amplifier modeling can be defined in simple terms as the reproduction of a physical amplifier, one of which is a guitar amplifier. 

Since amplifier modeling is a digitized technology, something that came into being in the early 1990s, people did not have many options back then. However, since then, there have been vast advancements in this field of amplifiers. 

An amplifier modeler, more commonly known as an amp modeler, is a device, or software, which allows you to replicate different tones by various amplifiers so that you can experiment with the art of music-making with not only one but a thousand tones available at your fingertips.

Amplifier modeling can be defined in simple terms as the reproduction of a physical amplifier, one of which is a guitar amplifier. 

Since amplifier modeling is a digitized technology, something that came into being in the early 1990s, people did not have many options back then. However, since then, there have been vast advancements in this field of amplifiers. 

Are We Over the Kemper?

Kemper Profiler Stage was introduced a long time before the Quad Cortex came into the picture. The Kemper was released back in 2010 and was available for sale in the year 2011.

As a matter of fact, it turned out to be what many music professionals wanted for years, a terrific profiling amplifier. On the other hand, Quad Cortex was released much later in 2021, with a lot of features that Kemper did not.

Quad Cortex instantly became the elephant in the room, knocking Kemper out the door. 

Having said that, I must mention that while Quad Cortex was released as a stomp box only, Kemper released many other versions over the years, such as its mounted rack units and stomp box.

This versatility of the Kemper still keeps many people profoundly attached to its use, no matter what the technological innovations may bring.

Quad Cortex Review vs. Kemper Review

The first more impressive thing when it comes to reviewing the quad cortex is its appearance. The quad cortex comes with a huge touch screen which is about 7 inches wide.

As compared to the Kemper, this is a big plus as the knobs on Kemper can be very intimidating sometimes.

The 7-inch-wide touchscreen allows the user to control everything at their fingertips, adding immensely to a positive user experience.

Presets

As far as the presets are concerned, they are much more manageable in the Quad Cortex as compared to the Kemper. This is because of the better and more extensive graphic interface. 

Moreover, the format for modifying presets is largely similar in Quad Cortex to the original amplifiers, which makes navigating through the screen and clicking the suitable options a lot easier.

Getting the sounds dialed in the Cortex also becomes very handy, owing to the graphic interface of the LED screen. 

In comparison with the Kemper, Quad Cortex definitely gives an upper hand. With Kemper, modifying presets can be a significant problem, especially for those who are new to the process of profiling.

You will have to read the manual given with the Kemper Stage a lot of times before you finally get the idea as to how to perform the dialing and profiling actions. 

The usability of Kemper is also very limited, as all the essential controls are handled or manipulated through either physical buttons or switches.

Given the small LCD screen of the Kemper, these buttons can put off the experience of a new user.

Available FX

While Quad Cortex comes with a set of 70 FX presets that are arranged in 23 blocks, Kemper has gone a little higher with its FX distribution. It has 78 different FX effects, arranged in 12 blocks.

The most surprising thing here is that although Kemper has the more significant number of presets while profiling pedals, it captures the entire rig. 

This is not the case with Quad Cortex, in which you can individually control the amp and the pedals as separate units so that they can be used in different chains and a more diverse collection of tones can be profiled. 

However, the good news for Quad Cortex users is that, with time, more and more FX presets are being made available on the app. 

Playing Live

If you want to be able to play live on the stage, the Quad Cortex is the best option since it has a floor unit.

Want to know the best part? It has stomp switches built in by default, unlike the Kemper, for which you will have to buy a separate foot controller if you want to perform mid-stage.

Studio Tones

If we are talking about the feel of the studio tones, the Quad Cortex definitely wins the race. Although related to what they do, both the modelers do a commendable job, but the user-friendly interface of the Quad Cortex makes all the difference.

Its profiling is much more accurate as compared to the Kemper with a very minimal latency period, which is an authentic replica of working with a natural amplifier.

How does The Kemper Work?

The Kemper amp modeler works by arranging multiple amps, effects, and cabinet speakers into rigs that are kept in 125 sections of five.

The interface of the Kemper also has a separate browse mode and a separate performance mode, which enables the user to store and shuffle playlists with ease. 

Two buttons are provided on the interface to move back and forth between the banks, and five other buttons are used to target each rig on the interface. Four more buttons are given to decide between all the toggling options and editing buttons.

Wait a little, for there are still more buttons to talk about. Lastly, at the right of the LCD screen display, two buttons are given, one of which controls the looper of the Kemper Stage, while the other controls tap tempo. 

How does the Quad Cortex Work?

The Quad Cortex is the top-notch amp modeler many people have got their eyes on these days. It is powered by a SHARC DSP that runs at a frequency of 2GHz.

Giving a very tough competition to amp modelers such as Kemper and Fractal, the power of this newly launched Quad Cortex lies in the fact that its latency rate is indistinguishable from the human ear when it is working with multiple effects and running a series of amplifiers. 

Just what it is named after (‘Quad’ meaning four), this amp modeler has four separate paths that you can manipulate at one time.

It gives the user 256  already installed presets, which is a significant number that you can play around and experiment with before beginning to make your own music, especially as a newbie.

There are three modes in the Quad Cortex, each with their own characteristics;

In the preset mode, you can use the eight stomp buttons to select a preset in each bank (you can choose one preset for each bank).

Moreover, there are two other buttons through which you can move back and forth in the different banks. With  256 presets installed in a total of 32 banks, you can imagine how much there is to experiment in the world of music. 

Using the scene mode, you can take about eight screenshots of the same preset. Imagine what you can do with one preset and its eight screenshots.

This is one of the most successful features of the Quad Cortex, as it gives you more than 2000 presets (original 256 presets and their respective eight screenshots) to try out.  

Lastly, the stomp mode serves more extensive features in each preset. You can do the editing by assigning independent effects, amp models, and other capture functions to each of the eight stomp buttons we talked about previously in the preset mode.

In the Quad Cortex Amp Modeler, one button serves dual roles, which once again speaks for the versatility of options in the modeler.

For instance, if you switch on the individual module, the same eight stomp buttons that you used earlier to select a preset can now be used as rotatory encoders for the effect that you have assigned to a preset. 

Is Quad Cortex Ever Disappointing?

The only area where the performance of Quad Cortex may be seen as parochial is that it does not have a desktop app yet.

The reason I added ‘yet’ in my sentence is that where so many amendments are being released in these technological softwares, hoping for a desktop version of the Quad Cortex is only fair.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Kemper sound better Than Helix?

Although the much higher price of Kemper would make you believe that it is better, it is not always true. Since money is one of the most significant factors when making a purchase of these amp modelers, Helix offers a much better value for money as compared to the Kemper Profiler Stage.

Also, the feasibility of use is more advanced in the Helix and the Helix LT in comparison with the Kemper, whose user interface is not very inviting. 

Are Kemper Amps worth it?

Although the Kemper Amps are pretty costly, they have been in the market for more than a decade now, which gives them all the applause.

The number of presets it has and the quality of profiling are exceptional. Therefore, it becomes necessary for all musicians and beginners to experiment with making different tones.

What are the main features of a Quad Cortex?

Quad Cortex has been a major topic of discussion in the music industry ever since it was revealed. It gives all the latest and, more importantly, wanted features, which include shareability of your favorite sounds, profiling the entire rigs, and an incredible profiling quality.

Moreover, the latest AI technology used in the Quad Cortex ensures a minimal latency period between profiling.

Where was Quad Cortex made?

Quad Cortex was manufactured in Helsinki, Finland, and was released in January 2020.