Your Honest opinion on Kemper as a live rig

  • The sound guy at one venue we play (i should say, its not a very high class place :)) has stated a few times that he thinks the FOH sound would be significantly better if I had a cab and he mic'd it in a traditional manner. I dont even take cabs to gigs anymore, so thats not gonna happen. I think by default he is adding/subtracting eq's etc as he does for his normal cab mic'ing technique/position and just doesnt was to mess with his favorite desk settings through laziness - instead of using his ears. But so be it. I see it as a reflection on him more than anything.


    I guess this particular person is the only issue that the Kemper has produced for me in a live situation - and I cant really blame the Kemper. :P. Every other sound guy loves the convenience and I ask most after the show if they needed to do anything fancy on my eq. Most reply with something along the lines of "Nope, just set everything back to being pretty flat and it sounded great". Seems old habits die hard for some.

  • Great thread!


    First off, when I was considering replacing my venerable VHT rig (head, 2x12 fat bottom + 4x12 slant top), I read zillions of posts about the various options out there.


    My biggest draw to the Kemper was that the people who recommended it the most tended to be people that previously played out regularly, and who previously owned a boutique or high end tube amp.


    What I am getting at here is that it is one thing for someone who used to use a little digitech stomp box to say the love the way a Kemper makes them sound, but quite another for someone who used to play a Bogner or Matchless to say the Kemper is the shit ;)


    Live sound quality:


    The biggest thing people get confused over is that there is a big difference between what you hear on stage from a tube amp, and what the audience hears. I play rhythm and sing lead in my band. The lead guitarist has a couple of tube amps he plays with.


    When I first got the Kemper up and running at practice, the lead player was not convinced. Fast forward a year later, and he now can't get his own rig to sound as good as my Kemper. The difference that one year had was that I had time to audition different profiles, and learned how to bring out the characteristics I find good from each profile.


    As mentioned, consistency from gig to gig and song to song is exceptional. Way better than what is possible with a real tube amp and a bunch of pedals.


    Finally, live sound isn't about what it sounds like on stage. It is what it sounds like throughout the audience. Guitar cabs are very beamy. They are very loud directly where they are pointed, and not so much everywhere else. I have never heard a band that I thought sounded great out front that didn't have the guitar volume low and the FOH doing the work for the guitar output.


    IEM's


    I have been using IEM's with the band for around 10 years now. It has been quite a trial since it is difficult to replace band members with those who will use them. Lots of guys are old school and simply don't like them.


    Using IEM's has HUGE advantages in all sizes of venues. You can hear everything, and it allows the stage volume to be brought way down (this is particularly true if you have vDrums in your band ;) ).


    The disadvantage of not having any stage volume is that the harmonics and string interaction suffer for the lead guitarist. I believe that it is absolutely necessary for good lead tone to have a guitar monitor cab pointing at the guitarist. As the rhythm guitarist, I get enough action from the sound reflected back onto stage. Not so for the lead player IME.


    Setup/teardown


    Much easier with the Kemper. Light, fast, and nearly impossible to get wrong. It is the ideal live gig rig.


    Practicing at home


    The most difficult thing I had to overcome with home practice was that my headphones are NOT representative of my full PA rig sound. Something that sounded good through my headphones, might lack clarity and cut through the PA. Something that sounded brutal through headphones might sound muddy through the PA.


    To fix this, I found that using the master eq was the answer. I setup rigs on the PA to sound good for gigging. I then used the master eq at home to get a pleasing sound through my headphones for at home practice. Problem solved!


    Gig Setup


    I use an FCB1010 with the Uno-4-Kemper chip in it. I have seriously considered making modifications to the FCB so that I can use a single 7 wire cable to both power it, and provide MIDI IN and MIDI OUT all in one connection, but haven't done this yet (it is on my list).


    I have about 4 banks of performances setup that I use at gigs. I arrange each bank from clean to heavy. I fit songs into one of the 4 banks. I have a separate 5th bank that has a few gizmo's I use infrequently.


    The KPA goes directly into the PA through 2 XLR cables.


    This makes for a very simple gig rig that sounds great every gig.


  • IEM's


    The disadvantage of not having any stage volume is that the harmonics and string interaction suffer for the lead guitarist. I believe that it is absolutely necessary for good lead tone to have a guitar monitor cab pointing at the guitarist. As the rhythm guitarist, I get enough action from the sound reflected back onto stage. Not so for the lead player IME.


    Good point here. Depending on the style of music you're playing, this can have a significant effect. Not exactly the same syndrome you describe, but I actually have a patch on one of our songs that I have made to solely assist the onset of feedback (used in the intro of one of our songs). Some shows I don't need to use it (simply maxing the guitar volume and leaning towards the monitor sometimes do it), while at other shows, it's the only way I can get it to generate as our stage volume is modest (no guitar amp and bass is DI, so our monitor volumes can be surprisingly low). We don't use IEM's (yet), but this is something I'd like to explore. Have absolutely zero experience with them though so I guess I need to do some serious research before the band takes that leap.



    Practicing at home


    The most difficult thing I had to overcome with home practice was that my headphones are NOT representative of my full PA rig sound. Something that sounded good through my headphones, might lack clarity and cut through the PA. Something that sounded brutal through headphones might sound muddy through the PA.


    I have also fallen into this trap. I'm very happy with my live sound (adjusted over many rehearsals through a PA at volume with the band) but admit I find it very hard to not adjust things when playing the same patches through headphones! Will use your Master EQ idea for sure.


    Great post OneEng1 :thumbup:

  • ...


    The disadvantage of not having any stage volume is that the harmonics and string interaction suffer for the lead guitarist. I believe that it is absolutely necessary for good lead tone to have a guitar monitor cab pointing at the guitarist. As the rhythm guitarist, I get enough action from the sound reflected back onto stage. Not so for the lead player IME...


    Great post!


    I play lead in our band, and I agree I have to be able to hear myself very good onstage. I have to be able to adjust my volume, too, without having it change the level that gets sent to the FOH. A good FRFR wedge is perfect for this, because I have the speaker pointed directly and my head and away from the audience. The drummer can hear enough from my wedge so he knows what I'm doing (combined with my guitar in his monitor mix). I get to hear all of my guitar that I want, and nobody else hears any more than they want. It's a perfect solution to a very old live gigging problem.

    PRS Singlecuts
    Kemper PowerHead/Remote



    Quote from skoczy

    When you turn the knob on KPA, you wake up the captured souls of tube amps living inside.

  • My experience...I've been using the KPA w/ a standard guitar cabinet (65 Amps 2x12) for a couple of years now. Our FOH guy was mainly micing the cabinet and I was just running it through the PA like I would any standard tube amp. Recently, my band all switched to IEMs, and I decided to start running it direct from the rear XLR outs. I think this method really shows how the KPA shines in a live setting. Once I unlinked the master volume to the direct out volume, I could play with my onstage level without affecting what was being sent to everyone's IEMs. This way, everyone's monitor mix stays the same show to show even if I mess with my cabinet's stage volume


    I've mentioned before that I've never really bonded with FRFRs, but this is all personal taste. I just prefer the way a standard cabinet reacts. Even with IEMs, I like to run a live cab on stage, because:


    A. Unless you are playing really large venues (arenas/sheds/etc) I think having a rig that actually moves some air off the stage affects the overall vibe for the audience. Maybe sometimes for the worse, but I keep my stage volume under control. Honest!
    B. As mentioned above, harmonics/controlled feedback work best with an actual cabinet.
    C. If, for some reason, I can't get the attention from our monitor guy, I can pull my IEM out slightly and hear my cabinet if I need to hear a specific part.
    D. I've been ingrained with the masochistic necessity to carry a cabinet for so long...It just feels WRONG not to haul the damn thing around.


    Once I was happy with the live cabinet sound, I tweaked the EQ/cabinet settings for the direct out profiles wearing my IEMs. It's a pretty good representation of what is being sent FOH, and the exact representation of what you will hear on stage with your ears in. You also can get a pretty good idea of how to set the relative volumes between profiles.


    The first few gigs with the in ears were all outdoors, so the ambient mics we used for our monitor mix weren't really giving me the reflection of a room. I was kind of second guessing the direct sound in my ears, so I checked some live recordings to give me a little more impartial perspective. Our monitor engineer multitracks most shows we do, and I listed back to a few songs...I could isolate my guitar tracks and really hear what was going on tonally. I was pretty blown away! I guess I shouldn't have been...It's really no different that listening to the KPA through my studio monitors...But again, we're guitarists! We're always over analyzing our tonal perception of what we sound like onstage. Everything sat in the mix perfectly, and when the track was soloed, it sounded no different than a close miced amp. Plus, our FOH guy really prefers the tone/consistency of the direct line.


    Oh yeah...If you are going to dive in, get the remote. The functionality definitely warrants the price tag.


    I've got some shows coming up where my band is backing up former Journey singer Steve Augeri and Starship singer Mickey Thomas. I'll try to post some clips of full band mixes and soloed guitar tracks if anyone is interested.

  • I've done somewhere around 400 shows in the year and a half I've had the Kemper and don't miss any of my old amps, including my beloved Mesa's. It's really all about having the patience to get your tones dialed in and then tweaking them a bit for each different venue. I use 2 FRFR cabs that move plenty of air(?) so I don't feel like I'm missing my real guitar cabs anymore either. I have several different Monitor output EQ's saved for different stage sound situations, that way my FOH stays the same. I tell the sound guy (if we have one) to run me flat and then I go out and check it myself before we go on.


    As for the WAH problems mentioned my foot controller (Roland FC-300) has a toe switch that kicks on the wah so I've never had it turn on unless I meant to do it. With 2 expression pedals, bumping one accidently once in a awhile is a given, at least for me.



  • As for the guitar cabinetry you are using with your Kemper what wattage is it rated at?

    CURRENT:
    (FLOOR) Kemper Remote w/ Mission exp + EB VP
    (RACK) Kemper PowerRack

  • To get most out of your KPA (soundwise) it is recommendable to use FRFR speakers even on stage, though -as said above- it's a huge change of pardigm (I'm still adapting for now about 2 1/2 years). And to summarize all replies: A well sound-programmed KPA is unbeatable concerning sound quality for you and the public.
    Concerning "live-handling" I have to commit, there are more advantages for a real amp. It begins with: where to position your KPA (when not using a guitarbox to put it on). You need to make a bunch of connections (Floorboard, external stomps, P.A, Monitorbox, Wireless a.s.o.) while wiring up your combo and floorboard is no matter of time.
    And at last, due to the fact, that the KPA has so many features, there are always a few parameters to tweak before starting to play. This lead me to use my combo-amp for live-venues like blues-sessions or jam-sessions as a guest. But when it comes to a gig of my own band, I always use my KPA.
    One thought still to the remote:
    It looks and feels very reliable/solid and for me the main advantage is, that it's powered and controlled via the KPA. The amendment with expression pedals is very well solved and also very reliable (I use Mission control pedals, very solid and good looking together with the remote). But the programming of the remote is not yet adaquate to these hardware quality because the looper still doesn't work as it is supposed to do, and the effect switches are only programmed for switching one effect on and off. Multi-assignment isn't possible and creation of effect-scenes is not intended to be implemented. But the Kemper-Team is really busy in user- and product-support, so that I'm convinced that this genious product will develop further on to the state-of-the-art of digital guitar-amplification.


    Have these issues that you addressed been sorted now? (It's a few months on since your post....)

    CURRENT:
    (FLOOR) Kemper Remote w/ Mission exp + EB VP
    (RACK) Kemper PowerRack



  • Excellent post... Have you ever had any problems with burning smells from your 412 when using with the 600w Kemper...?! Used my PowerRack through a Marshall 412 the other week and wasn't even pushing it that hard and it started to smell at one point!


    As for the global eq's - where can you set/save them?


    I still don't think the rest of a band would listen to reason if they thought you're too loud though - even if you show them the numerical figure was the same haha!

    CURRENT:
    (FLOOR) Kemper Remote w/ Mission exp + EB VP
    (RACK) Kemper PowerRack



  • Just wondering what your preset is set to to induce that feedback with ease...?


    and also, what sort of things are you tweaking in live scenarios?


    Cheers

    CURRENT:
    (FLOOR) Kemper Remote w/ Mission exp + EB VP
    (RACK) Kemper PowerRack

  • Just wondering what your preset is set to to induce that feedback with ease...?


    and also, what sort of things are you tweaking in live scenarios?


    Cheers


    - My "feedback" patch isnt a severe instant squeel generator - was going for a swelling/growing type of feedback. We are basically a modern rock kinda band so our gain levels are pushed, but a long way from full metal mayhem.


    I ended up with a Distortion in one of the early blocks (this is the only patch that I use a distortion effect in, all other patches I've just adjusted the amp gain for drive levels) and eq'd a fair amount of the really high end out with an EQ block, Normally use a Noise Gate block as well on all patches and leave the global one off. Because of this I was able to remove the gate in this patch, which helped greatly. Finally added a subtle delay and reverb to sweeten it all up. All this is over a moderate gain Bogner XTC profile. Was trial and error really to find something that worked well, but now its made, it does its thing nicely.


    - Not sure what you mean exactly in your second question. Sorry! :)

  • ... It's really all about having the patience to get your tones dialed in and then tweaking them a bit for each different venue...


    Very well said!


    It's ironic that we will spend months researching and trying out amps, looking for that perfect one (until the next search :D ), but often we have little patience when dialing in our tones on a KPA, etc. I think we get used to having SO many different amp tones, plus effects, that it seems like it should all be perfect without tweaking. We can sometimes forget how many tonal compromises we make with tube amps, and how much a single tube amp's tone can vary night to night.


    A little study and a little time spent tweaking pays off so much.

    PRS Singlecuts
    Kemper PowerHead/Remote



    Quote from skoczy

    When you turn the knob on KPA, you wake up the captured souls of tube amps living inside.

  • Excellent post... Have you ever had any problems with burning smells from your 412 when using with the 600w Kemper...?! Used my PowerRack through a Marshall 412 the other week and wasn't even pushing it that hard and it started to smell at one point!


    As for the global eq's - where can you set/save them?


    I still don't think the rest of a band would listen to reason if they thought you're too loud though - even if you show them the numerical figure was the same haha!


    No issues with my powered Kemper into my 412...I'm going into the 16ohm load, so that makes it a 300W Kemper and my output volume is 3.4.


    For the global EQ, check out my 2nd post in this thread where I explain it (its supposedly in the manual but I couldn't find it but hit a few buttons and figured it out):
    Global EQ

  • Thanks. I think you replied to another of my threads as well about the guitar cabinets.... So I'll reply you to you there rather than taking up more space on this thread...!

    CURRENT:
    (FLOOR) Kemper Remote w/ Mission exp + EB VP
    (RACK) Kemper PowerRack

  • Have these issues that you addressed been sorted now? (It's a few months on since your post....)


    Just one further experience from last live-gigs:
    When the stagefloor is vibrating when f.e. the P.A-Bass-bins are positioned on the stage, or the drummer's action makes a weak stagefloor moving, then my Mission-control-Pedal from time to time makes the KPA activate the Wah from (which is always on in effect-Slot 1). I fastened the Pedal-Action-screws but this was not successful, so now I have to put the pedal on a foam-plastic-pad. These issues show, that we all are "beta-users" because nothin's as real as real life! :D
    Maybe sometime a kind of "sensitivity-Parameter" will be programmed in the Wah-Effect-module (but I'm not that convinced about it, when reading all those Feature requests) :/

  • My experience from the last gig was very, very positive. :) We did a really quick soundcheck 2 hours before the show. I've checked my sounds with the PA system and tweaked one a little bit. Right before the show we had to do the stage handover and a quick line check. I was finished in under 1 minute... booting the Kemper up took longer than everything else. Our other guitarist needed to re-setup the microphone and adjust volumes... and... something during the gig went wrong and the microphone turned a little bit away from the speaker so his sound was too weak and could not get through enough.

  • Was just about to mention the same, the time needed for guitar soundcheck went down from severeal minutes to max 15 seconds :thumbsup:


    Another thing ist that "sound in the room" issue, this made me crazy for many years. I really hated it not being able to hear the same sound on stage as the audience hears, since a miced cab over FoH usually has not much to do with the on-stage sound of an amp. I never had confidence if it sounds for the audience the way i wanted it to. On some gigs it was that bad that it took over my whole thinking, i was concerned about the sound during the whole show and due to this i lost much the fun and joy of live playing.


    After more than 20 years of struggeling the Kemper solved this problem and i can't tell how much of an relief it is for me. No more concerns about live sound, just playing and having fun! What better could you say about a piece of gear?

  • [quote='Firebird','http://www.kemper-amps.com/forum/index.php/Thread/20722-Your-Honest-opinion-on-Kemper-as-a-live-rig/?postID=235919#post235919']Was just about to mention the same, the time needed for guitar soundcheck went down from severeal minutes to max 15 seconds :thumbsup:


    Maybe 20 seconds, 15 to have the sound guy set the eq flat and set the volume, then 5 more to tell him what I mean by completely flat and also to turn me the hell up! lol