Is it ethical to share and/or sell bias amp matches of commercial kemper profiles?

  • I'm just interested in what people may think about this.

    I've been doing some Bias matches of profiles and getting real, real good results.

    Now I know some have raised the issue of whether it's moral to profile amps to begin with, without the amp maker, microphone maker, cab maker profiting in some fashion, especially when these profiles are shared and/or sold on the net.

    The dominant views seem to have been that it's ok to do so.

    But I wonder: how about taking commercial profiles people have made with kemper, turning them into Bias matches and selling them or simply sharing for free? Suppose the matches are damn close.

    All I've done up to now were very close. "Meaningless" differences I would say, if we consider kemper-to-profile differences to be meaningless as well.

    Bigger differences, perhaps, when you turn down volume knob, but I haven't tested this enough yet. Assume they are close in that way too for the sake of argument.

    No, I'm not going to become a full time kemper-to-bias converter :)

    But this is an interesting question it seems to me. Where would you draw the line?


  • I guess you'd need to read the small print from each of the commercial profile vendors.

    I think they generally say that their profiles 'cannot be copied'.

    The question for you I guess is whether or not you feel legally and ethically if you have actually 'copied' them.My view would be that all of the influencing factors in the profiling process ( like mic , cables, mic placement etc...) make the sound very unique.

    If you are just taking a piece of data that they have created (created with all of those little nuances mentioned above ) and converting it then it kinda seems wrong to me. But that's just my opinion.

  • I know the volume matching is not good; was too tired to check it properly as I mostly compared "in the room" and was pretty sure it'd be damn close.

    So yea this is the level of "close" we are talking about. First is kemper commercial profile then is bias match of that. It's not exactly the same (I could use more gain on this amp match, didn't even change it from how the stock bias amp was), but can be closer than you hear here quite easily.

    Thing is: why would it be ok to profile an amp to begin with, but wrong to do a bias match of a commercial profile of a commercial amp and share (or sell) it? @Michael_dk

    Certainly there is "artistry" involved in the design of the amp, cabs, mics, to begin with.

    I'm a moral philosopher by education so these kinds of questions interest me quite a bit, especially in terms of how people think of moral issues :)

  • It wouldn't be an exact copy (as in copying a file, say) but very close. It's a bit similar to a kemper profile of an amp, in which case can't something similar be argued there? Even just an amp, for example, has a lot of "artistry" within, different decisions having being made, this or that tube used, ect, ect.

    And I know a couple of amp builders who really, really view the Kemper negatively because of such reasons. They wouldn't want anyone profiling their amps. They just cannot stop it from happening. Is the guy bias "matching" commercial kemper profiles in a meaningfully different position?

  • I think its a very different thing.

    When you design and make an amp , you make an instrument thats played by guitarists.There are many different tones that the amp can make by adjusting EQ, valves etc....

    When you profile an amp you're not just capturing the amp , you're also capturing the mic, cables , cab , mic placement etc.. so its quite unique in its own right.

    If you just convert the Kemper profile to another platform then I think that youre piggy-backing on other peoples work because all of their input has made that Unique sound.

    You then have bought that series of sounds / profiles and signed an agreement to say that you wont copy/ distribute them. If you convert them to another format for sale then to my mind , that is clearly copying & distributing them.

    That's just my opinion though as I said.

  • Ponder this question: There's nothing wrong with duplicating a tone manually from scratch, even from instructions, so why would it be wrong to use a tool like Bias to do it? The only difference being a greater chance the tones would match with a tool

    People have been duplicating tones for years, including with tools like EQ matching, and I don't hear anybody complaining about that. So why would it be different to use a tool like Bias to duplicate a tone, regardless of origin (profile or not).

    I see no issue at all with using Bias to replicate a profile tone. However, outside of personal use I would recommend some research into any potential legal IP aspects. I suspect it would be a stretch to apply any law, if any even existed, to a second-tier replication effort such as using Bias to replicate an already replicated amp profile. At the end of the day, there has to be standing and ascertainable damages enough to make any such pursuit even viable. And then there's geography aspects as IP is governed in different jurisdictions. The short answer is, IMO, there is nothing to worry about in practical reality. But still, I personally would not sell or distribute Bias matches of commercial profiles.


  • Yes, that's what I wanted to hear, how people think about this. Thanks for your input @Robman

    A few notes in my mind..

    1) Commercial profilers seem to ask that you do not distribute the profiles themselves. But that's the profiles -- it's not another format, say "bias amp matches", correct? Matches are never 100 percent the same, but can be, in many cases, similar enough to profiles where few people would consider the difference "meaningful" (I myself do, just like with kemper and real amp, but that's another story). The question here is whether a "bias match" can be considered a "copy" in morally meaningful sense in regards to what one agrees to by purchasing profiles.

    2) I understand that a lot of work goes into profiling amps. But much work (more, right?) goes into making an amp. Yes, the amp can produce a variety of tones, chances are, but quite possibly it'll have some kind of a signature tone, at least on some level. And by profiling that "tone" with a KPA you are already "copying its soul", in a way, considering how close you are getting to the real amp tone. Decisions, knowledge, artistry, nuances in design have gone into making the amp (and any other equipment involved, if not making direct profiles). I am not sure whether these are meaningfully different when it comes to someone profiling an amp, even if it isn't a direct profile.

    Again, thanks for your input.

    I'd be interested to hear what commercial profilers may have to say about this, too. You may not think that Bias can emulate kemper profiles close enough, but assume it's as close as the kemper is to amps. After today I am quite confident about how close I can emulate kemper profiles with bias.

    So would you view someone "amp matching" your profiles and sharing them as doing something morally different to you profiling certain signal chains or making direct profiles? Where would the line be?

    PS: I do not personally think you are doing something wrong by profiling and sharing and/or selling profiles.

  • It's no more ethically slippery than the Kemper profiling an amp, or even profiling another modeler as has been done. And no worse than a modeler trying its best to digitally replicate a particular amp model and components.

    People citing commercial profilers wishes that profiles not be shared don't seem overly concerned to download an AXE-FX profile even though I'm sure Fractal doesn't want other devices copping their modeled tones that engineers spent countless man-hours on. The idea that it's ok for the Kemper to profile because you capture mics, cables, mic pre's, and other components, and not ok for other devices that absolutely model mic, mic position, etc is too selective to take seriously. Point is, those who think it's unethical are disproportionately rationalizing the Kemper and its profiling process while questioning the methods of other devices. Kemper can "rip off" an amp or modeler but BIAS can't "rip off" the Kemper? C'mon…

    And from what I understand, with BIAS tone matching you need to use their models and already get a pretty close tone before matching, so it's not a complete "rip off" anyway…

    No issue here.

  • And from what I understand, with BIAS tone matching you need to use their models and already get a pretty close tone before matching, so it's not a complete "rip off" anyway…

    It relies on building amp from "components"; so you can play with these to get relatively close. Then you "amp match". It's not as a direct process as kemper. Up to now I've gotten good results by just picking a Marshall for a Marshall tone, something else for another. Need more testing with more kinds of tones/ playing styles to have firmer conclusions on that end.

    I agree with what you are saying for the most part.

  • Probably as ethical as taking direct profiles of amps? Dunno.

    I once did some IRs from free profiles, Kemper asked me to take them down, so I did ...

    MJT Strats / PRS Guitars / Many DIY Guitars -- Kemper Profiler Rack / Kemper Remote / InEar

  • I think the music industry pondered this problem years ago with samplers and orchestral instruments. The real source will still give you more variation and possibilities. Nothing is lost by any of these new products.

  • I dunno, you're asking if it's ethical to copy a sound created by someone on a board of a device that copies the sound of an amp.
    Don't you think it's a bit ironic?

    Oh yea :D Just in the case of kemper it feels a bit funny them asking someone to take down IRs. One would think amp builders (say when it comes to direct profiles) can then do the same -- ought the requests be honored?

    Next step: use the matching of Axe fx to match the tone bias matched from kemper, which itself profiled an amp...

    Crazy stuff, but making interesting observations about the "feel" of these units with more and more such testing.

  • Pretty simple: Only, if the licensing terms (EULA) of the rigs in question allow you to "transfer" (in lack of better words) those. In other words, there is simply no general answer to your question. As for the ethnical part, i'd start to distinguish in between sharing and selling. But that's something you should discuss elsewhere because it has nothing to do with our products.