Kemper KPA vs. Axe-FX II (Yes, another one...please read!)

  • The best advice here is to try both, and keep what you like more.


    I've had both units a while back. Around AXE FW 4.0. It was a clear Kemper win back then. So I sold my Axe.
    I've heard the new Axe firmware is great, but I don't really care to be honest.
    If you are a tweaker, like spacey effects and have more fun tweaking/routing etc than playing.. go Axe.
    Otherwise KPA is a much friendlier unit. It sounds like an(y) amp. It sounds perfect for me.

  • Yep. I'd buy a Profiler with a good return policy and just try if for a couple of weeks. No risks.


    As regards re-profiling your amp(s), I'd not think it would be necessary: like in a real amp, when you change guitar you just retweak it. The clear advantage with the Profiler (Vs. the amp) is that you've got way more ways of tweaking, should you want\need.


    Last, a word about the two communities: I am a member over fractal as well. The way some talibans there can try and crucifix you is unheard here. And, should it happen, the community and the mods would redact the guy. The main reason is that, while Mr. CC takes profit of any means (be it fair or not) to bash the Profiler, no-one in Kemper Mothership would event think of such a "strategy". Please note I'm speaking of facts I've personally witnessed.


    Just to tell a short story, around Axe's FW 4 (or something) general excitation, I dared to write that surely future FWs would have make the device sound even better (I was praising CC's attitude towards neverending improvements). I was quite stoned (sadly not in the sense of a joint) by a couple of guys because - in their sick and poor minds - I was implying that the sound was not perfect 8|
    OTOH, at every following FW update there has been the usual chorus of "ohs" and "ahs" and "now it's really IT!", and "I don't see how it would get any better now" and "100% real". I guess this is still continuing... That's why we have coined the "120% realer" expression :D


    Not for me, thanks :)

  • Ok, I think you need to research the purpose and sense of the KPA. The way you describe your concerns in regards to either selling your guitars or amps and having to rematch the sound to a new component will be the same with the Axe or with any other amp or guitar you...there's always a change...and that's why you can tweak the profile to match it but you don't re-profile the amp because of a changed component. That would be like tearing down the house every time you get a new piec of furniture. Try to understand that the profiles you get are based on your skills and taste. These might change and yes, you might not have the amp again to re-do it but unless you keep all your amps, there's nothing that can be done about it. Neither Axe, Pod, or Elevenrack will prevent that.

  • I guess the point the OP was making (Profiler Vs. Axe) is that, since the Axe can reproduce every setting of the modelled amp, it would always be possible to make it sound like the real amp, while he's afraid this won't be possible with the Profiler.

  • I see what you are saying viabcroce. if you think about it tho, it makes no sense. The Axe sounds are an engineers idea of amp sounds. There's no absolute to that since it's subjective and even when measured the 100% match is impossible. The KPA relies on the users ability to capture the sound that is possible with an amp to his/her liking. That is subjective too but that at least can be changed. Anyways, the point of selling amps or re profiling every time s component changes is total overkill:)

  • Maybe some clarification is in order - please feel free to jump in if I provide the opposite here :-)


    On the kemper, you can "tweak" the profiles using the normal EQ knobs and the gain (which do not necessarily represent how the real amp would react to the tweaks). Then there are some deeper tweaks below the surface that can be done. But you can't build a profile from scratch and you can't make an existing profile into something that it is not, so to speak.


    I THINK that with the axe-fx you can tweak everything, so maybe you can continue refining and refining and refining until you get someting that reacts to EQ changes, gain changes etc etc in the way that the real amp would - or something close to it. BUT that is part of the deal - you have to tweak tweak tweak to get there - I would never be able to do it, let alone have the patience... :-)

  • Wont lie. I had a similar concern about the 'snapshots' aspect - I thought I was going to have to take a profile of my amp with each step of the gain knob, or the bass knob, to get the proper sound.


    But really... I just took one of each channel with a variety of settings, and I'm happy. I do tweak them on the fly, but mostly the gain knob tbh.


    For reference my amp of choice at the moment is a Fryette Sig X, and I love it. I'm actually still using it for live playing, hopefully until firmware 3.0 drops and I get the quicker rig transitioning.


    But I took these:


    Clean
    Rhythm channel without boost
    Rhythm channel with boost
    Lead channel without boost
    Lead channel with boost


    And they sound great. Now my recorded tones are very close to my live tones, and I can get an idea of what a song is going to sound like live, before we've even taken it into the practice room.


    And the profiles are very tweakable, even though most of the time I don't tweak them because I dialled them in to sound how I wanted at the profile stage.

  • Totally agree! The KPA has some really powerful parameters to adjust any profile to the closest sound possible or take it to the extreme opposite! I find the parameters much more intuitive and reactive than the Axe-FX and that even without the usage of an editor. The KPA is designed like an amp, so you tweak everything just like on an amp without being a rocket scientist :)

  • Yes, the idea is to dial in a good sound, then find a good mic position...the profiler will get the right profile and settings and there's no need to "snapshot" sounds. Once a profile is established it can be changed just like on the actual amp. Of course you need to profile clean sounds and distorted sounds separately but that's about it...

  • Yeah, the pro-Kemper comments here, nor the pro-Axe comments there, are not surprising (I fully expected it), nor are they problematic (I want to hear what people love about their choice/device).


    Re: the community, I've found helpful folks on both sides, though their constant harping on my complaints about shipping costs is annoying. $80 shipping for two items totalling 20lbs is just nuts, no matter how many times they say, "It's worth it. Just get over it." No thanks. But otherwise...at least so far...both communities have been helpful.


    Just another two cents for shipping with Kemper: I have the toaster and recently sent it back in for warranty work on the LED's. Response was very good from starting a support ticket, which I assume originates in Germany, to USA's Rep contacting me. To my surprise I received an email with prepaid UPS call tag for the KPA to be shipped out. The unit was fixed and returned all on their dime. Good as new and ready to go, can't beat that! :thumbsup:

  • Not for me, thanks :)


    I will say this: so far Cliff has been pretty open and fair. I believe you re: what you said, but maybe he's mellowed out? Maybe it's just because I'm genuinely looking for answers, not trying to start a flame war or whatever. But so far he's been pretty helpful. OTOH, there have been a couple of other idiots there...one of whom accused me of being a marketing shill for Kemper, trying to stir the pot or some such nonsense...and a whole bunch of people that have jumped all over me for complaining about the shipping costs of their items.


    Still, in the same way I won't hold Cliff's past actions against him if he's put that behind him (or until I experience it), I won't hold the whole community there responsible for the actions of a couple of morons.

  • Ok, I think you need to research the purpose and sense of the KPA. The way you describe your concerns in regards to either selling your guitars or amps and having to rematch the sound to a new component will be the same with the Axe or with any other amp or guitar you...there's always a change...and that's why you can tweak the profile to match it but you don't re-profile the amp because of a changed component. That would be like tearing down the house every time you get a new piec of furniture. Try to understand that the profiles you get are based on your skills and taste. These might change and yes, you might not have the amp again to re-do it but unless you keep all your amps, there's nothing that can be done about it. Neither Axe, Pod, or Elevenrack will prevent that.


    Except that I'm fairly sure that I am clear on the differences. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but Axe creates a more generic "overall" amp model that sounds pretty close to the original amp, if not 100%. That model includes all of the original tone shaping tools (EQ, gain, etc). The Kemper takes a snapshot of the actual sound coming from the amp, including settings, guitar, pickups being used, etc, then perfectly replicates it. Then (note that I'm going by what I've read, from both those for Kemper, AND those for Axe), because the Kemper takes a "snapshot" in time, once you start tweaking it from the profile, it stops sounding accurate. Not bad, just not entirely like what the amp sounds like when you make the same adjustments. For example, start changing the EQ curve and it starts not sounding accurate anymore. Use a different guitar with different pickups and it doesn't sound like that guitar, pickups, etc, would sound through that amp. That's less of an issue with the Axe because it's more of a generic model in the first place.


    If this understanding isn't accurate, please correct me. But there are several pages here and a bunch over on the Axe forum that say the same thing, again from proponents AND detractors of the Kemper. And, FWIW, that's not a bad thing. But it leads me to believe that it would be better (or, rather, ideal) to re-profile rather than make adjustments over time.

  • I see what you are saying viabcroce. if you think about it tho, it makes no sense. The Axe sounds are an engineers idea of amp sounds. There's no absolute to that since it's subjective and even when measured the 100% match is impossible. The KPA relies on the users ability to capture the sound that is possible with an amp to his/her liking. That is subjective too but that at least can be changed. Anyways, the point of selling amps or re profiling every time s component changes is total overkill:)


    I'm not sure I understand this notion of "some engineer's idea of an amp sounds." You think it's a bunch of engineers in a room guessing that a Dual Rectifier sounds like x, y, and z, while a Princeton sounds like a, b, and c? From my understanding, the models are based on the real amps. Not with 100% accuracy for each user, the way the Kemper is, but still pretty darn close.

  • Use a different guitar with different pickups and it doesn't sound like that guitar, pickups, etc, would sound through that amp.


    If you change guitars, the Kemper will sound like the original amp would with that guitar. The profiling process primarily uses the test tones to create the profile, not the guitar that is used for refining. Refining the Profile is optional - not a requirement. It is only needed if the profile does not sound exactly like the mic'ed amplifier.

  • Yeah I just spotted your thread over there. There are a couple of guys who are a bit overzealous in their love for their bit of gear. No biggy. If you look at my post I linked to earlier, you'll see some of the guys here can be the same.


    I will say the one guy who called you a shill is a known face, and has stirred up crap on The Gear Page over time as well. Ignore him, pay him no mind.


    One thing about the Axe FX... If you can purchase a 2nd hand one, you definitely wont lose any money on it. That's what I did. I bought a 2nd hand one from G66 in Germany (I'm in the UK) and I got a decent price. When I sold it, I sold it for the same price (including shipping) and didn't lose a penny.


    My wife actually bought me the Kemper, I guess coz she loves me! ha! So that's how I ended up with both at the same time. It wasn't planned, and I didn't go through an exhaustive a/b process. I used them alongside one another for about 3 months, and made my choice.


    I used the money from the Axe FX to buy my Fryette Sig X - I used a Sig X to record my bands 2nd album, and stupidly sold it afterwards. I spent years missing it, and had to buy one again. I probably would've done it even if I didn't own the Kemper.


    The thing is - for me - the Axe FX did not really inspire me to become a better player or a better musician. It felt like a development environment of sorts... and I have to put up with complexity and overwhelming feature sets in my day job. When I play guitar, I want simple but effective tools.


    I guess that is what swung it for me in the end. You don't strike me as the kind of guy who wants to build large and complex signal chains. You strike me as a basic three-pedals-and-an-amp-plugin-and-play kind of a guy.


    You *can* do that approach with both units quite easily. And if you can ignore all the extra stuff on offer, you should be able to get the tones you want with either of them.


    It's similar to picking between a Marshall and a Fender. Both companies do simple single channel amps, and multi-channel beasts... but there is a general character to them that people seem agreed on.

  • Maybe some clarification is in order - please feel free to jump in if I provide the opposite here :-)


    On the kemper, you can "tweak" the profiles using the normal EQ knobs and the gain (which do not necessarily represent how the real amp would react to the tweaks). Then there are some deeper tweaks below the surface that can be done. But you can't build a profile from scratch and you can't make an existing profile into something that it is not, so to speak.


    I THINK that with the axe-fx you can tweak everything, so maybe you can continue refining and refining and refining until you get someting that reacts to EQ changes, gain changes etc etc in the way that the real amp would - or something close to it. BUT that is part of the deal - you have to tweak tweak tweak to get there - I would never be able to do it, let alone have the patience... :-)


    YES. This is my understanding too. In fact, it's what people have been repeatedly saying are the main differences between the two units. If that's not the case, then if someone can clarify, I'd appreciate it.