which kemper which config

  • hi all,
    I got rid of my big mesa boogie and will shortly get a kemper amp. I have some questions though before I purchase one with regards to the config.

    So I don't play in a band anymore. I just play for myself. I want great gear great sounds, especially at low volume as I am going to play home. I want an easy to set product and the kemper is all of this. I am going to play through headphones but I also want some little good sound when my GF is not at home ;) I may also play with friends from time to time and maybe one day back in a band, who knows.

    I would initially go for a classic KPA head + a pair of neutral active speakers. this would allow me benefiting from the kemper stack profiles. I just saw Yamaha HS5 speakers. Small, cheap and pretty good reviews, that's looking great. HS7 or HS8 may sound better but they are bigger, heavier and more expensive. After spending 1600€ in a KPA I will not have much for speakers left. Anyone ever played these? How do they sound for guitar playing?

    Another option is a KPA powerhead + passive speakers. this leaves me more config options if I ever play back on stage but I am feeling this is just because I want the top KPA gear. And I don't see much choice for neutral passive speakers on the market.

    last option is the KPA powerhead + 1*12 cabinet. it may sound more guitar like (unless the KPA profiles are as ultimate as I am reading/hearing) but I will lose the gain of choosing cabinet profiles as the 1*12 will have its sound.

    so, just for a check. Is everyone in line with my preferred config?

  • I have a pair of HS5s that are primarily used for my home studio, but they work very well with the Kemper as well. They actually sound much "bigger" than they really are, so for your situation they would probably be perfect. If you were playing primarily at much louder levels I would recommend something larger, but for "household" volume levels they're outstanding.

  • For me stereo is really great / needed when playing alone at home using my DAW or just playing songs. I think in those situations a stereo guitar image truly sounds better and fills out a room mix better then a mono one. When on stage I find it better to use mono with stage monitors or IEM and go stereo to FOH.

    I really love my pair of Focal Alpha 65's in my home studio and think they sound absolutely amazing for the price. A/B tested many speakers on the Kemper including the Adam a7x, Yamaha HS8, and Yamaha DXR8. Between all of those I thought the Focal's were hands down the best to me. I also tested the Focal CMS 65 and did not find them better enough to justify the huge cost jump. Overall I thought the design of both Focal models (CMS and Alpha) gave me a significantly better more focused bottom end that I really prefer over all the others I tried.

  • True, but I prefer what a better cab adds :)
    I'd give up all the stereo fx in the world for a CLR, just saying X)

    Ha, you fell into your own trap! :)
    The CLR doesn't add anything, does it?
    I get what you actually want to say, but would recommend going stereo monitors like the aforementioned Yamaha HS for this use case.

  • thanks much. yeah I'll get the KPA and will head to my music shop with it to do some tests. but they don't sell EVE speakers. great review although, however more than twice the price of the HS5... I'll see, i am not sure about my ability to test speakers one after the others. i will go slowly, as usual :)

  • Hi Pamplemousse
    I think everyone's experience is different. But the good thing is the Kemper gives you a lot of flexibility.
    If you are used to playing tube amps, going to frfr and miced amp sound might be a difficult transition (to some).
    After trying all the configurations, what I like best is using a powered kemper with a guitar cab. (and what I like the least is playing through studio monitors)
    Playing with monitors is great for recording and jamming with backing tracks on your computer, but imho it's not the best to give you the real guitar amp feel (even with the new pure cab features). But that's just my opinion. If you can afford it, go for a powered kemper, which gives you the most options. Best thing would be to try in person if you can (but it's not easy to find a kpa in stores)

  • ..My opinion only... Never liked kemper through inexpensive monitors.. You have headphones when it has to be that quiet so I would look at some Frfr powered speaker options as opposed to a min 150 each for cheap monitors ..Kemper and speaker turned down can still produce fuller sounds with pa options

  • thanks all,
    i am suprised by the number of people who likes to play through cab. As I just read elsewhere "You are going to lose a LOT of the flavor of different amps if you use a powerhead and a guitar cab. You lose the sound of the speaker that was profiled, and the sound of the mics and any preamps or EQ also." To me this is not much the KPA philosophy.

    I will 99% play home, and low. I think I need to choose a KPA first (likely unpowered), get used to it thru headphones and then take it to the shop find FRFR, but I don't want to spend much on them.

    any reason to recommend a powerhead instead?

  • Clearly, those people are trading versatility for "the" sound(s) they love. Fair enough :)

    Since you believe you're not going to use guitar cabs, save on the power section and invest more in the cab(s). Saving on the most important part of the chain (loudspeaker) doesn't seem a good strategy, specially because you're aiming at really appreciating the nuances of each profile.
    Now, while many cabs are considered (or defined by manufacturers) "FRFR", linearity comes at a cost. You may also like a less linear cab better, but if you really want to hear and feel how the original rig sounded, invest in a transparent system.