Your Honest opinion on Kemper as a live rig


  • I disagree with quite a few of the points you made.


    1) Just as there are tones that cut, there are tones that get buried. Even the guitar that you use with a profile makes a huge difference. It would have been great if we had tone stacks with the Kemper. As things stand as far as tweaking, it's actually better to have hundreds of rigs so that you don't get caught wrong footed. Also as far as "translating", that depends as much on what you are playing the Kemper through. FRFR cabinets will probably surprise you, you should try them. Just like studio monitors, but able to push some real volumes.


    2) I think of the Kemper as less of a studio tool and more of a live tool actually. Who wants to be in a small club blasting people in the front row with your 4x12? The Kemper makes things simple with FRFR. But in my studio, I want to record with real amps, specifically because of the difference in "body" that you mentioned in earlier post. Plus the fact that I can dial in my own tone rather than rely on someone else's "mixing decisions".


    3) I think the difficulty you're having is more with your issues with FRFR rather than any real shortcoming. Have you played your Kemper through a studio monitor often? It is a really killer tone. In a live situation, the Kemper feeding a PA and a stage monitor makes for a pleasurable experience for not just you, but the audience as well.


    4) I experience no notes thinning out at higher registers when playing my Kemper through my studio monitors. Are your speakers working at 100%? Have you tried increasing treble just as a test?

  • 1. So, which sound cuts better in your opinion, Petrucci's or Aldrich's? The one is much darker than the other... ;)


    2. There is something called "volume knob". You can turn it on and off either with a real cab or an FRFR... :P no need to blast nobody


    3.4) Come on man, those two show that you haven't read my previous posts...

  • Hehe, but which? It wasn't a yes/no question ;-)

    Tim Pierce talks about the high end "grainy tone / lack of sweetness / lack of body" of the Kemper compared to his real amps numerous times in this video... He uses real amplifiers 100% of the time for sessions, unless his client is in a complete rush and has limited space for cabs etc... then he uses Kemper.
    Remember, Tim didn't profile his own amplifiers, a Kemper rep profiled his amplifiers for him.


    The KPA works for me live, when I go XLR to soundboard, I don't have to lift and carry all kinds of heavy gear. BUT, there are differences in reaction, response and tone from a real Tube amplifier, especially when using my 4X12's, then it's really obvious.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLcuSVCul5M

  • Hehehe, sorry bro,
    Both... I have monitor Cab off in output section and I am using direct profiles so there is no cab Involved anyways…
    Now, when I play live, obviously, I use a complete profile and I add my favourite cabinets to my direct profiles and I run XLR straight to the board

  • Hehehe, sorry bro,
    Both... I have monitor Cab off in output section and I am using direct profiles so there is no cab Involved anyways…
    Now, when I play live, obviously, I use a complete profile and I add my favourite cabinets to my direct profiles and I run XLR straight to the board

    Hahaha ok, cool :)
    Just checking, no worries

  • I don't use many effects and I don't do the 7-string chugga chugga thing. I go about as far as 80s metal tones and generally stay in the cranked, vintage amp tonal range with a slight bit of reverb. So take the following for whatever it is worth to you.


    All I know is, I run my powered toaster into 1x12 and 2x12 conventional cabs for my live gigs and it compares favorably to my Carol-Ann , RedPlate or vintage amps. I primarily run TAF and Britt profiles with the cabinet turned off in the output section and on for the mains. I then EQ my guitar cabs so they sound best with the stock rig and generally leave the main EQ alone. Stage sounds great and main outs sound great. No noises, no weird anomalies no BS. It just works. It may not sound 100% identical to my amps but, A) I am using someone else's profile of someone else's amps and B) on a stage with a full band, the slight differences in tone are more than made up for by the conveniences the Kemper offers me.


    All that being said, I have noticed the following:


    1) As the Kemper gets turned up, it doesn't compress like a tube amp. At first, this felt odd to me but I have adjusted to it and it is no longer an issue for me.


    2) Since this thread started, I have run the Kemper through two of my 4X12s. One is a 1960TV with a blend of Eminence Red Fangs and Wizards. The other cab is an old 1960B loaded with Red Fangs. I tried for a couple hours to get what I wanted out of the 4x12s using the same rigs I use with my 1x12s and 2x12s but, I just couldn't find it. The high end on the 4x12s just sounded thin and cold to me. FWIW, both cabinets sound like god driven by my 73 Marshall 100W and the rigs that I didn't like with my 4x12s sound perfect through my smaller, open-back cabs. I have some spare time coming up so I will try the 4x12s again with different rigs. Considering how good my smaller cabinets sound, I see no reason why my 4x12s shouldn't sound as good.


    Finally, just a small rant, I wish guitar players would stop trying to "cut through a mix". We are a part of a band and we need to "fit" in a mix, not brutalize our way to the front with excessive treble through Vintage 30s. When I wasn't playing in bands, I mixed monitors and FOH for several years. You would be surprised how many guitar players I made happy by simply applying a few subtle frequency cuts to other instruments. There is a sonic niche for everyone. Just find it and fit in. Your audience will thank you.

  • Does is really live up to the hype as a live rig? Also, when used in a live situation, is it best to use the built in power amp, or could a 3rd party power amp such as mesa or engl be used? And are PA speakers generally preferred or guitar cabinets?
    Thanks! sorry if that was too many questions


    Yes it has proven itself to be a great live rig. See the link in my signature, a list of hundreds of bands using kemper live and on albums. There is a big variety in how it is used, some use monitor on stage and some use a guitar cab.
    The vast majority are also sending the full kemper profile to the PA. Some mic their guitar cab.
    Some use a powered kemper, some a 3rd party amp. Any of all those options can sound great.


    This thread needs some good sounding live videos


    Here are some videos with Doug Rappoport using the Kemper profiler live playing with Edgar Winter Band.
    Playing the kemper through a Marshall cab. But what we and the audience is hearing is the kemper sent direct to PA, we don't hear the sound through his Marshall cab on stage since it's not miced up. Sounds great to me






  • He is using a Marshall head for power… I don’t know of anyone who uses the power section of the KPA through a cabinet on stage… Everyone I have seen uses a separate power amplifier, 90% of the time it’s tube power amplifier…
    He’s got a wire to his right ear? What’s that? Maybe he’s using in ear monitors plus the cabinet?

  • Outlaws, with Chris Anderson on guitar, Kemper and micing his guitar cab.


    Outlaws - Hurry Sundown Live June 13, 2013


    Grey Ghost The Outlaws 7 18 2014
    I like how Chris says "thank you, thank you very much" with his guitar at 6:18 min.
    No problem sounding great next to the other guitarist who's using a "real amp".
    :)



    "Green Grass & High Tides" The Outlaws live in Asheville NC on New Years Eve 12/31/15 Part 6
    Chris is playing with a stratocaster here.


    The Outlaws @R,R,& R's, Augusta, NJ 6/25/17 Green Grass And High Tides
    Chris is playing a telecaster here.


    The Outlaws @R,R,& R's, Augusta, NJ 6/25/17 Grey Ghost
    Again the duelling les paul and strat guitars.

  • Thanks @HappyKemper


    Rappoport's tone is great. Of course he is a great player too. But the cab isn't miked, all we hear is from FOH where he probably goes direct. And probably uses a tube power section on stage


    The outlaws' tone isn't worth much to my ears. In fact, at the second video you can hear a bit of the weird pick attack I always talk about at
    2.09. If he played a strat the tone would be very thin.


    I guess the difference in tone between these two bands is exactly what happens with Kemper and me...through monitors it sound awesome and through cabs...not so much.

  • This is becoming a bit of a pointless/circular thread.


    I use a 4 x12 cab and I get a good tone out of the Kemper, I think (that being the main point, what I think, others may not agree). I don't mike because no point as there is a direct out. Mic bleed is a by product you can live with but its better without.


    Is the Kemper comparable through a 4 x 12 to a valve amp? I think so. Does it miss something in body/tone etc. I've not done a clinical back to back test with the right profiles etc so maybe it does not covert well.


    Does it live up to its claims as a useable live tool? I think it does, some don't.


    Do you have to run it with a valve amp to get that body/immediacy/thump....dunno, but for me just not worth adding the complexity and effectively turning it into an effects unit. The FOH sound is great and what the audience hears, the tone is good enough for me.


    Job done.

  • 1. So, which sound cuts better in your opinion, Petrucci's or Aldrich's? The one is much darker than the other... ;)
    2. There is something called "volume knob". You can turn it on and off either with a real cab or an FRFR... :P no need to blast nobody


    3.4) Come on man, those two show that you haven't read my previous posts...


    1) That's exactly my point. The sauce for the goose is different from sauce for the gander.


    2) Actually, even with tube amps with a master knob, there is a huge difference in tone if you are not pushing it hard. And how many amps are out there with master knobs anyway? For example, look at a bread and butter amp like a 5150III for many guys. If you don't hike the master volume, you're liable to get a sub-par tone.


    3) Seldom do I post in threads without reading all the previous posts! I totally agree with you that the Kemper is not like a tube amp. At the same time, claiming that you can't gig with it is a little far-fetched imho. Also, as far as notes missing on the high registers, that is really perplexing to me and it suggests that something is not translating (there's that word) over the cabinet. I can guarantee if you run that same profile into an FRFR solution, you will not experience that problem. That tells me it has something to do with (1) the power amp or (2) the cabinet. Something is not being reproduced accurately.


    Unfortunately, non-powered Kemper user here, so as far as notes thinning out, I have no practical experience. I hadn't even heard of the problem till you posted those links in the thread.

  • I'm just another bedroom player nowdays that gigs occasionally just for fun, but used to be a pro a few years back. And I only need five great core tones to express myself, not a bunch of sounds with a hundred different cabs etc.

    Why are you beating yourself up trying to make this work? If it was that important to me, I'd stick with an amp with something like a Fryette Power Station for home use and move on. Life is too short. Just accept that it's not for you....nothing wrong with that. :) Other people like competing products which I find sub par in tone, so I've chosen what sounds good to me. I still have amps, BTW. (Mark V, Rivera Fandango, 60s JTM-45), but I never feel like I'm missing anything for the times I use the Kemper.

    The key to everything is patience.
    You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.
    -- Arnold H. Glasow


    If it doesn't produce results, don't do it.

    -- Me

  • Why are you beating yourself up trying to make this work? If it was that important to me, I'd stick with an amp with something like a Fryette Power Station for home use and move on. Life is too short. Just accept that it's not for you....nothing wrong with that. :) Other people like competing products which I find sub par in tone, so I've chosen what sounds good to me. I still have amps, BTW. (Mark V, Rivera Fandango, 60s JTM-45), but I never feel like I'm missing anything for the times I use the Kemper.

    Haha you've got a point here, but when I said 'five core tones" I meant "five core tones from different amps". Let's say a fender, a vox, two marshalls and a boogie :) Pretty much what Kemper claims of being able to do, in a small 5kg box. If it worked, it would be like Heaven! But anyway, I guess you're right. I'll keep it for the recordings and stick with my real amp for the gigging. Many thanks to all the guys that tried to help and find me a solution and rock on!

  • Good points Jimmy, it is an amazing tool for what it does best…
    I, like you, find that it struggles in certain areas, so, I use it where it will benefit me most and where it will save me time and energy.
    For gigging, yes, there is a real compromise versus a tube amplifier and cabinet, but the trade-off for me is the ease of set up and not having to load vehicle with 300 pounds of gear, carry it into the gig, wire it all up, set up on my FX, foot switches, microphones, etc. etc. etc.
    Plus, 90% of the time we play with in ear monitors and no cabinets on the stage.
    Still, there is definitely a compromise, but I’m lazy…
    So I deal with the compromise, with a set up time of under four minutes, And my vertebrae all intact LOL
    :thumbup: