As for people, I first met Marc and Kaytie while they were putting up Halloween decorations the day before Halloween.
The place, the house around the corner from us that they bought just after COVID shut down the world. Their timing was perfect. The owners before them wanted to sell the house immediately and lowered the price considerably to do so. Little did they know the pandemic would cause the housing market to spike upward instead of downward.
The thing, well...you have to read a little more about the people and the places I learned about.
I didn’t ask, but I suspect they are in their mid-30’s. They are married, and have a dog that doesn’t like people. Her name is Isabella. As I was getting to know them, and Isabella getting to know my dog, I learned Kaytie works in the architecture and design field, and Marc is the creative director for School of Rock music schools. This is important, because as many of you might already know, I need to learn how to play guitar. After 25 years of trying, I could use some proper education.
And that is where the thing comes in. It's called the Quad Cortex, and it's an odd piece of musical equipment Marc asked me about. It seemed so intriguing that I had to reach out to Marc to send me a link so I could learn more about it.
I will confess right here, right now, that was a bad choice. I’m better getting to know people than machines. As I discovered after researching and watching tutorial videos on YouTube, the Quad Cortex is a very futuristic, highly technical “vulgar display of power” as the company describes it on their website.
Created by Neural DSP Technologies based in Helsinki, Finland, the “Quad Cortex is the most powerful floor modeler on the planet. With 2GHz of dedicated DSP from its Quad-Core SHARC® architecture, this ludicrous amount of processing capacity provides limitless sound design possibilities.”
Actually, I prefer the way Marc originally described it to me, “It’s got like a bunch of amps and pedals and splits for like four different amps, all in one machine.”
No...there’s more. The Quad Cortex can also “capture, share, and download your favorite rig sounds,” which means it can learn and replicate your personal sound set ups thanks to its “unique biomimetic AI technology.”
What that basically means is that it uses biomimetic artificial intelligence technology “powered by a unique neural network architecture that is capable of autonomously analyzing, learning, and replicating an amplifier's sound and dynamic response akin to human perception.” This is not some sci-fi invention. This is the future of music where a machine can learn and replicate any amp, pedal or cabinet “with unprecedented accuracy.”
But beyond all different algorithms and technical stuff I know nothing about, the Quad Cortex offers different “scenes” which are like feelings you’re trying to capture through sound. For example, I can be chillin’ with a 60’s California vibe one minute then stomp instantly to a crunchy grunge sound from the 90’s. I guess you might say it’s a futuristic time traveling that does basically everything but play my guitar. And there we have the connection. I can’t play my guitar either.
There’s the old adage that says, “There are just somethings money can’t buy.” Good neighbors like Marc and Kaytie are one such thing. However, for around $1,600 you can buy the Quad Cortex.
Judging by Rhett Shull’s review on his YouTube channel , that would be money well spent. As for me, however, I’d rather use the extra cash for something more important. Like guitar lessons.
In a text conversation with my friend Matt, a guitar snob of the best kind, I got this: "When it can use AI to fetch me a 1964 AC30 and a Tube Screamer, I might be interested." All in due time, my friend.