The ultimate all-in-one guitar and vocal rig? HeadRush continues its assault on the modeling market with amp-cloning, Auto-Tune-loaded Core FX processor

HeadRush Core
(Image credit: HeadRush)

Earlier this year, HeadRush drastically upped its multi-effects pedal game with the Prime – a touchscreen-equipped, amp and pedal-cloning unit that vowed to be “the most powerful, versatile, and realistic-sounding floorboard FX processor ever”.

The whole thing looked to be an impressive package, arriving with an assortment of onboard parameters that could control its comprehensive feature set – which comprised amp modeling, digital effects and even vocal processing – at an impressive price point of $1,299.

Well, HeadRush has once again showed its commitment to the amp modeling arms race by releasing the Core – a streamlined, even more affordable multi-effects pedal that builds on the precedent set by the Prime.

If the Prime was HeadRush’s answer to the $1,849 Neural DSP Quad Cortex and slightly cheaper Line 6 Helix – and if the brand’s MX5 unit from 2021 could be classed as a competitor to the Line 6 HX Stomp – the Core seems to operate in a middle ground area.

As such, it’s smaller than the Prime but bigger than the MX5, arriving without the expression pedal but with an impressively intuitive five-footswitch and three-control knob layout. There’s also the touchscreen display, which does most of the heavy lifting.

Performance-wise, it’s a fairly similar story to most modern multi-effects units. There’s a huge library of modeled pedals, amps and mics to get stuck into, which supposedly recreate “the most cherished vintage, modern, and boutique guitar gear with unprecedented accuracy and jaw dropping natural dynamic response”.

This digital arsenal is subject to regular updates and expansion packs, and in practice these pieces of digital gear can be drag-and-dropped into custom rigs via the seven-inch display screen.

Other additional features for guitarists include a five-minute looper, MIDI connectivity, a USB output for use as an audio interface, and Bluetooth and WiFi compatibility for practice purposes, meaning you can load songs directly to the Core to play along with.

A fair amount of attention has been awarded to vocalists, too, making the Core a very solid all-in-one rig for the all-rounder musician. A suite of vocal effects, including Antares Auto-Tone software, are loaded in.

As was the case with the Prime, though, it's the amp and pedal cloning capabilities here that will generate the most interest. HeadRush’s proprietary cloning tech, it is said, “precisely captures the sound, dynamics, and most importantly, feel, of your favorite amps, pre-amps, distortion pedals, overdrive pedals, and even fuzz pedals”.

Once again, HeadRush has picked a competitive price point for its Core, which is available for $999 – that’s significantly cheaper than the Quad Cortex and more attainable than the Helix.

Yes, Neural DSP and Line 6 are considered some of the industry’s gold standard for multi-effects and amp modelers, but HeadRush looks to be on a mission to shake up the status quo. Only time will tell if the Core can help the company achieve its goal.

Head over to HeadRush for more information.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.