Your Honest opinion on Kemper as a live rig

  • Just back from a gig last night:


    I've been through everything you can imagine ( Fender Concert, Acoustic G100T valve Amp , Marshall JCM 800, 1987, 2061,Mesa Boogie Quad, Soldano/Caswell, Bogner Ecstasy 100b, and still own BlugAmp1 and Friedman Small Box)


    I never sounded better :thumbup: than with the Kemper with assorted and dedicated Rigs but there's still some tweaking to do, which is fun though :thumbsup:

  • Had my second gig with the KEMPER last night. On stage I used a real cab with a solid state poweramp (monitor out), and and monitor (main out). No mic used, just sent from main out to FOH. Sounds very nice and clean, but when at loud volumes (-20 db and more) it FEELS strange. It doesnt behave like a normal amp, tube or solid state. It has too much pick attack (I experimented with the parameter, doesnt change much), the transient is unnaturally strong and in your face, it has an unnatural "punch" but without the real depth of a pushed tube head. That happens with all profiles. The pick attack is so strong and unnatural that thins out the notes on the high strings when soloing.

  • I’ve played a couple shows with mine so far and I’ve been completely happy with it.


    I’m running the main out to FOH and the monitor out to a powered wedge so I can have some stage volume since we use IEMs. I’ve profiled my own amps and that’s what I use live (except for clean, I use the JC120 profile).


    The best thing for me is it’s consistency. When you mic a speaker on a noisy stage there are so many variables. Stage volume, mic placement, interaction with everything else on stage, different rooms... One night it can sound great, the next time it’s crap. With the KPA it’s just plug in and it’s there. Especially with IEMs.


    There’s some dialing in, but that’s true of any rig. That’s half the fun.


    I still love my amp rig, which is a head, 4x12, 8 space rack and pedal board... but I don’t love moving it.

  • Had my second gig with the KEMPER last night. On stage I used a real cab with a solid state poweramp (monitor out), and and monitor (main out). No mic used, just sent from main out to FOH. Sounds very nice and clean, but when at loud volumes (-20 db and more) it FEELS strange. It doesnt behave like a normal amp, tube or solid state. It has too much pick attack (I experimented with the parameter, doesnt change much), the transient is unnaturally strong and in your face, it has an unnatural "punch" but without the real depth of a pushed tube head. That happens with all profiles. The pick attack is so strong and unnatural that thins out the notes on the high strings when soloing.

    do you used your kemper output on a return loop or in front of the amp? already notice that much pick attack but did not related with the loud volume
    you may try a class d amp or tweak the clean and distortion sens....

  • do you used your kemper output on a return loop or in front of the amp? already notice that much pick attack but did not related with the loud volumeyou may try a class d amp or tweak the clean and distortion sens....

    The signal went from the monitor output to a poweramp and then to the cab. Also gave the engineer an xlr of the main out, and sent me back my guitar signal to a side monitor on stage, so I was hearing my guitar 50/50. Whenever I plug the kemper into a guitar head, I always go through the fx return, in order to avoid having a doubled preamp section.


    I've tried different ss poweramps and cabs, many profiles and different guitars and pickups but this unnatural attack and punch is always there. It's nice at the cleans and the crunch sounds, but at the leads this weird pick attack is really annoying. I only get this strange feel at high volumes, don't know why...Maybe I should try my mesa 2;90 with it, but the whole point of the kemper was to lighten my rig haha...


    I also messed with clean and dist sens with no results.


    I'm glad that someone else noticed the same thing, because I started thinking I was crazy...Maybe they tried to make the kemper very punchy to react like a tube amp but they overdid it somehow...


    I love my kemper for studio use, but I think for the gigs I'll go back to my classic tube rig...except if someone comes up with a solution to the problem...

  • Takes some time to find the right profiles for my guitars in live situation.
    Common mistake was to choose profiles with bedroom volume.
    Last two years we had several gigs with the kemper and everybody is absolutly happy with the sound.

  • I love my kemper for studio use, but I think for the gigs I'll go back to my classic tube rig...except if someone comes up with a solution to the problem...

    Have you tried a compressor before or after the amp stack? Pick attack is essentially a transient so you could smooth those out with a compressor set to fast attack.

  • Takes some time to find the right profiles for my guitars in live situation.
    Common mistake was to choose profiles with bedroom volume.
    Last two years we had several gigs with the kemper and everybody is absolutly happy with the sound.

    I did many rehearsals where I tested the sound at high volumes. As I mentioned, tried lots of profiles, studio Di or merged, different guitars, different ss poweramps and cabs, all at high volumes. Different settings of every possible parameter. Its more a FEEL problem and less of a sound/tone problem, altough the sound is affected too (thin high strings). I've found others talking about the exact problem here:


    Spiky attack


    "However, I do have one problem with the actual sound: the attack can be extremely "spiky" when you hit the strings hard. This is difficult to explain, but there is a quick popping sound in the beginning that doesn't happen with a real tube amp. This happens mostly with the first note/chord after a short break, not so much if you play constantly. This can be witnessed with studio monitors or headphones, but is most apparent in high volume with a guitar cabinet. Some profiles are worse than the others, but I think this happens with most of them to some extent."


    And another friend says


    "This has been reported and documented. Kemper, it seems, has no interest in fixing it."


    So I guess it's a general existing flaw of the Kemper and either someone will have to live with it or gig with real amps.

  • Jimmy, you are not alone… I have noticed this with my powered KPA, through cabinets especially…
    The one thing that does help a little bit, you might want to try it, cut your definition back…
    I have also tried a post studio EQ, cutting certain frequencies, but it does something to the tone, whenever I try to use the studio EQ, the profile loses some life… So I no longer use it at all…
    I have noticed many / most profiles, (direct, merged and studio) are extremely bright, people are addicted to treble and presence?!
    Over the last six months, since owning my KPA, I have discovered that a lot of people have absolutely no ear for tone, they like the ‘glass breaking on cement’ brittle extremely painful-bright tone.
    It just blows my mind what crappy tones a lot of guys seem to adore…
    ?( I don’t get it, I guess I never will...

  • I have been using my powered toaster for live gigs with conventional guitar cabs for several months now. It has proven to be more compact and versatile than my vintage and boutique tube amps and still sounds and feels close enough to them for my needs.


    That being said, I think I know what you are talking about. What I have noticed about my Kemper and other digital units I have used is that as I get louder, the attack stays the same as it was at lower volumes. With my tube amps, they get more compressed and roll off more highs as they get louder and hotter and I push them more with my pick attack. If you've grown up gigging loud tube amps, it is something you immediately notice but maybe not something you can quite put your finger on.


    While this isn't necessarily a bad thing for me, it does take me a little bit of effort to adjust my playing and setup the Kemper to react more like I am used to at stage volumes.

  • did you tried with monitor's cab off and on?


    in fact i use cab on all the time even throught cabinets, just a couple of profiles sounded better than with cab off, but with cab on i tried kemper in front of other pre-amps and amps too and not only on the return loop, tried some gates, and it helps a lot, super boosts at treebles, adding some reverbs at solos


    did you profiled your own amp? i have profiled mine, very poorly miced and sounds awesome especially after tweaking the cab frequences


    i will profile again with a better mic and let you guys test, at my cabinets sounds better than other profiles...


    trying to boost the volume at kemper and reduce or attenuate at the power amp can be usefull as well...

  • Have you tried a compressor before or after the amp stack? Pick attack is essentially a transient so you could smooth those out with a compressor set to fast attack.

    Yes I have, didn't work. Thanks!


    Yes. exactly. It happens mostly through cabinets. Tried with the definition parameter, if I cut it waaay back it reduces the pick attack a little bit but takes all the brightness away and the sound becomes very dark and muffled. So much that when I switch from rhythm crunch to lead there is a huge difference in brightness, so big that I must have the lead tone A LOT louder to cut through, and of course all the bite is gone. As I mentioned tried a lot of things but nothing seems to work, tried all stomps before the stack section to fatten the sound and reduce the strange excessive pick attack but I guess it's a flaw...thanks very much mate for trying to help



    I have been using my powered toaster for live gigs with conventional guitar cabs for several months now. It has proven to be more compact and versatile than my vintage and boutique tube amps and still sounds and feels close enough to them for my needs.


    That being said, I think I know what you are talking about. What I have noticed about my Kemper and other digital units I have used is that as I get louder, the attack stays the same as it was at lower volumes. With my tube amps, they get more compressed and roll off more highs as they get louder and hotter and I push them more with my pick attack. If you've grown up gigging loud tube amps, it is something you immediately notice but maybe not something you can quite put your finger on.


    While this isn't necessarily a bad thing for me, it does take me a little bit of effort to adjust my playing and setup the Kemper to react more like I am used to at stage volumes.

    I am not sure that this is the exact problem, many times I used to use my Engl E570 through an SS poweramp and a cab, and the lead tones with my strat were ultra fat and singing...there was not tube poweramp compression there, just the quality of the preamp.... At last night's gig I had to use my prs custom 22 because my strat was very thin-sounding at high strings, because of this unnatural pick attack of the Kemper. And I am a strat guy so this is a big compromise for me, I thought that I would be able to get great tube-like tones with a strat as advertised. I could adjust my playing to this weird thing, but I can't get fat singing lead tones with a strat so this is a big problem for me!

  • This is a crappy phone video from Thursday's gig and my first with a Strat into the Kemper. The Strat is an older Cunetto Relic with vintage spec pickups and totally stock vintage Strat wiring. I am playing my powered toaster through a 1x12 EVM 12S loaded cabinet using Michael Britt's Dumble profile with some of the gain and reverb dialed back and the compression turned off. I could have dialed in more fatness but this tune works better with more of an old school cranked Fender tone with a bit of cut. It sounded and felt right and very tube-like to me and comparable to my Carol-Ann Tucana that I used to gig with prior to my Kemper.


    Strat Tune

  • The link doesn't open to me, but I guess you are talking about clean to medium gain tones...I dont have a problem with those either, they are great with the Kemper. I m talking about gainy lead saturated sounds where you can bend at the 20th fret and still sounds fat (or at least not dead) like 3.38 of a song of mine here



    I can't do that with the Kemper at high volumes with a strat and a real cab. Sounds too thin. With the Prs not so thin, but still not huge like it would be with my Engl E570. That's the only problem I have with my Kemper, other than that I love it, but it's a significant problem for my needs.

  • I reset the link in my previous post. Hopefully it is cooperating now.


    What pups are you using in that Strat? They definitely are hotter than typical vintage specs. Regardless, it is a nice tone you got there (great touch and feel too!) and I understand what you are after. I can dial in Trower type tones on my Kemper with vintage spec pups with no problem but that is about all the gain I ever use for my Strats. That being said, my tube amps do fatten up when I hit the gas, something my Kemper just doesn't seem to do.

  • I have that sort of sound in this clip, not the same but close I think. It sounds the same through in ears with a really similar feel and through an FRFR (EV ZLX12P). It is bright through my EVM12L guitar cab though. Suhr strat is the guitar. Please pardon the odd phasing on the crash cymbal




    The link doesn't open to me, but I guess you are talking about clean to medium gain tones...I dont have a problem with those either, they are great with the Kemper. I m talking about gainy lead saturated sounds where you can bend at the 20th fret and still sounds fat (or at least not dead) like 3.38 of a song of mine here



    I can't do that with the Kemper at high volumes with a strat and a real cab. Sounds too thin. With the Prs not so thin, but still not huge like it would be with my Engl E570. That's the only problem I have with my Kemper, other than that I love it, but it's a significant problem for my needs.
    [/quote]

  • I reset the link in my previous post. Hopefully it is cooperating now.


    What pups are you using in that Strat? They definitely are hotter than typical vintage specs. Regardless, it is a nice tone you got there (great touch and feel too!) and I understand what you are after. I can dial in Trower type tones on my Kemper with vintage spec pups with no problem but that is about all the gain I ever use for my Strats. That being said, my tube amps do fatten up when I hit the gas, something my Kemper just doesn't seem to do.

    Sure, it's a dimarzio tonezone, pretty hot, but I can't get the same sound with this guitar with the Kemper, it's much thinner with the same guitar/pickups. I understand what you say, I guess we can't have it all hahaha. And many thanks for your kind feedback.

    @JimmyK
    Great playing and wonderfull sound. :thumbup:


    You saved my morning after not winning a gold medal. :)

    Haha, thanks mate, really appreciate it!

    I have that sort of sound in this clip, not the same but close I think. It sounds the same through in ears with a really similar feel and through an FRFR (EV ZLX12P). It is bright through my EVM12L guitar cab though. Suhr strat is the guitar. Please pardon the odd phasing on the crash cymbal


    https://youtu.be/cNbXcioI4qA

    Sorry mate, says "not available". Maybe something is wrong with my computer I dont know...I'm sure everyone can get great tones through frfr monitors, I can get great tones out of my Yahama monitors. The problem occurs only with real cabs at high levels. Wish Kemper fixes that, so as we can have everything inside this little magic box!