When the Quad Cortex launched at NAMM 2020, Neural DSP hailed it as “the most powerful floor modeler unit on the planet”, with one of its USPs being compatibility with its popular suite of Archetype plugins.
It’s now been over three years since the amp modeler and multi-FX first launched, and users have been waiting patiently – and judging from some YouTube missives, not so patiently – for that elusive plugin capability.
Well, Neural DSP finally has some good news on that front. A new post on the company’s website, headlined ‘Plugin Compatibility – Quad Cortex Development Update - September 2023’, reveals Neural is taking “the next step in our mission to make our plugins compatible with Quad Cortex”.
The first plugin to make it to the floor unit is Archetype: Plini with the release of Archetype: Plini X – the X designating Quad Cortex compatibility.
There’s a but, however. Although APX is arriving “in a few weeks”, it won’t be compatible with the Quad Cortex from launch.
“Our plugin teams and Quad Cortex teams have had to significantly improve the architecture of both platforms to ensure plugins can run on Quad Cortex,” Neural’s post reads. “There will be a CorOS update in the future that introduces the functionality required to support plugins.
“By that point, we intend to have more plugins finalized for Quad Cortex compatibility, and we will continue to release more QC-compatible plugins in batches.”
There’s no word on when users can expect this CorOS update, but once it lands, the process of adding plugins sounds straightforward. Players simply need to log into their Neural DSP account to verify their plugin licenses, and from there, the Quad Cortex will unlock plugin-exclusive blocks.
Even better, you can import your presets using Cortex Control, the Quad Cortex’s desktop controller. You don’t need to buy the plugins again, and you can connect to up to three different iLok accounts. You can even use your plugins on up to three QC units.
There’s good news for plugin users who don’t use Quad Cortex, too, as upgrading to version X of any plugin nets you new global features including Transpose, Doubler and Metronome, plus a Live Tuner.
Although there’s still no roadmap for full compatibility, Neural says it plans to release new batches of Quad Cortex-compatible plugins every few months – so we can expect the likes of Archetypes Tom Morello, Tim Henson and Petrucci in due course – but it should be noted that future plugin launches are unlikely to be compatible with the QC from day one.
As for what’s been behind the Quad Cortex’s plugin compatibility delay, Neural adds: “Our plugins and Quad Cortex are built on two extremely different architectures, and how we build plugins has evolved drastically over the past five years. This means that older plugins are built in entirely different frameworks to the ones we use now. Everything released prior to Archetype: Petrucci had to be rebuilt, often from the very beginning, for us to make it ready to test on Quad Cortex.
“Rebuilding 13 plugins in the past two and a half years while simultaneously releasing new plugins and Quad Cortex updates so that we can continue to sustain and grow our team has been an immense challenge but one we're incredibly proud of and happy to see progress.”
Despite the plugin compatibility hiccups, the Quad Cortex has reshaped the live guitar scene, with established names such as Dave Mustaine switching to the platform, and even notorious tonehounds like Eric Johnson experimenting with the unit.
Back in January, Neural DSP unveiled its CorOS 2.0.0 update, which added improved assignability, extensively expanded tonal options, cloud connectivity and an all-new Hybrid Mode.
To read the full September 2023 plugin compatibility update, head to Neural DSP.