Why aren't merged profiles more popular?

  • Try it yourself with an amp. A merged profile is way better for me, because just taking the cab of a studio profile sounds quite brash and unpleasant. Having the direct profile for my cab is a lot more inspiring with a 4x12 and you still have the studio element for front of house.

  • Your FoH gets spill in if you use a cab onstage. Does not matter if vocals spill in guitar mic or the other way around. It's always not optimal.

    Agreed. With FRFR 'though, there's no need to mic the cab, so there's one less source of "contamination".


    I guess that would be the same issue with FRFR too. The only way to get rid of spill is to all have in ears and still the drummer will enter the vocal mic.

    Correct, but as I said above, at least one can remove one of the spill sources, and in this case, it's the one guitarists care most about - into the guitar-cab mic.

  • You are painting with a wide brush here.
    It should go without saying that noise pollution coming off the stage at high volumes is going to make the room sound like crap. On the flip side, having a well thought out and balanced mix before a mic ever approaches your cabinet is also a good idea.


    Venues come in all shapes and sizes with different levels of PA support and quality. Even some bigger venues that have arrays of mains mounted above the stage have a dead area if you are standing right up against the stage. I have also played bars that have holes in the main's speaker cones. We never leave that much creativity up to FOH. We also play clubs that have in-house FOH guys, so they don't really give a crap in the end, anyways.

    About that well balanced mix before a mic ever approaches your cab being a good idea, off course it is, and if that's the case all the PA needs to do is 'support' things. Even your monitors will be there to "support" things, and your stage volume will eventually be lower. But I've mixed more bands who suffer the 'more me syndrome' than those who successfully balance their mix on their amps, so you could get away with only have the singer on the PA. And offcourse, when there are holes in the cones, that's end of story ;)


    But then you have to think: how am I the most flexible? And that could mean you ditch the cab sometimes to go DI out to reduce stage volume, sometimes you'll use a cab to commit the crappy FOH situation. But If that cab is FRFR it'll be more consistent with your DI out sound.


    [GAS-mode]Offcourse, that's theory I bring from being a sound tech. I'm a piano player too, and I feel that a grand resonates at you in a way a digital piano will never do. I sometimes tell people my Nord Stage sounds like a music box instead of a piano (but that's a difference a live audience will not hear due to microphone issues). But then sometimes, as a beginning guitar player I start wondering: will a real 4x12 inch cab make the same difference? Honestly, never tried it, but I'm tempted. But there are 2 things holding me back, first of all being the volume wars I've witnessed as a sound tech, but on the other hand: If I play for example Sultans of swing, I'll do that on a profile from a Twin Reverb, while surely for AC/DC I want a super lead profile. I can't have both a 4x12 closed back cab and a 1x12 open back cab connected to the Kemper (or I'll need to switch the cables), but I can have both studio profiles loaded into the Kemper and use FRFR. That's like: do I bring a real hammond+leslie and a grand piano, or do I just bring my Nord Stage? Or do I ditch the hammond in favor of the grand? Off course the difference between a hammond and a grand is bigger than the difference between a grand piano and a Nord stage, not to say a hammond an a grand don't fit my car (and are heavy), so I bring the Nord Stage :D. BUT: 2 guitar amps DO fit in my car! The question here is: is the difference between FRFR and a real cab bigger than the difference between a profile from a clean open back 1x12 and that of a profile of a clean 4x12 cab.


    So much gear to buy... must... resist... :D[/GAS-mode]

  • ... and then there's the situation where you need 3 or even more cabs to deliver the tones you use in a cover set. Better have a huge car (Buick, anyone?) and a resilient spine.


    I agree; well-put, mate. It's after all the principle argument for FRFR IMHO.


    Dudes gigging their own material in particular genres and bands covering single bands / artists by and large won't feel the need to use more than a single cab, and for them, I understand the preference for their favourite air-pushing boxes.

  • Agreed. With FRFR 'though, there's no need to mic the cab, so there's one less source of "contamination".

    Indeed. Since we changed to IEM with the whole band (before it was just me and le keyboard player) the overall band sound quality has gone up about 400%. FRFR is as step in the "right" direction concerning spill reducing.


    BTW: to the whole discussion about if the KPA is as good as the amp or not. Soundwise, everything is said. Feelwise, I prefer the KPA for high-gain sounds because it's much easier to play than a real amp and much more tweakable regarding pick attack. Lead-shredding is so easy and sounds really differentiated with the KPA like it never did with my amps.

  • From what I've seen there are commercial sellers that have gotten away from it because they found it ultimately didn't make as much of a difference. I've even talked to a commercial seller who talked about the idea with a merged profile that the cab and amp have a clearer line of separation isn't more accurate in the cab section. He remarked that using his captured cab sim on the original profile sounded great, but when transferred to a different merged profile (of the same amp, same settings), it sounded muddy and vastly different. From that he chooses only to do studio profiles since you can't hear a difference anyway.


    Perhaps merged makes a better DI for use with cabs, but it certainly doesn't create better cab separation from what I've heard.

    Sounds like he was hitting "Merge" when trying to use the Cab with other profiles, when in fact, all you need to do is scroll to the relevant Cab in the Cabinet section. There's been a lot of confusion about this, not least when the feature was first introduced. Merge should only be pressed during the original profile merging ie. once you've made the Direct Amp profile and the Studio profile with the exact same settings. Once merged, you can create further Direct Amp profiles and use the Cab from the first profile just by scrolling to it when the Cabinet section is in focus; no need to hit Merge again!

  • Sounds like he was hitting "Merge" when trying to use the Cab with other profiles, when in fact, all you need to do is scroll to the relevant Cab in the Cabinet section. There's been a lot of confusion about this, not least when the feature was first introduced. Merge should only be pressed during the original profile merging ie. once you've made the Direct Amp profile and the Studio profile with the exact same settings. Once merged, you can create further Direct Amp profiles and use the Cab from the first profile just by scrolling to it when the Cabinet section is in focus; no need to hit Merge again!

    To be fair, neither of us actually know that's the case, so it's unfair to deduce as much. He only noticed when using the same cab from a merged profile on a different direct profile of the same amp sounding substantially different. Another commercial seller also chimed in to say he experienced the same, hence why he only does studio profiles.

  • About that well balanced mix before a mic ever approaches your cab being a good idea, off course it is, and if that's the case all the PA needs to do is 'support' things. Even your monitors will be there to "support" things, and your stage volume will eventually be lower. But I've mixed more bands who suffer the 'more me syndrome' than those who successfully balance their mix on their amps, so you could get away with only have the singer on the PA. And offcourse, when there are holes in the cones, that's end of story ;)
    But then you have to think: how am I the most flexible? And that could mean you ditch the cab sometimes to go DI out to reduce stage volume, sometimes you'll use a cab to commit the crappy FOH situation. But If that cab is FRFR it'll be more consistent with your DI out sound.


    [GAS-mode]Offcourse, that's theory I bring from being a sound tech. I'm a piano player too, and I feel that a grand resonates at you in a way a digital piano will never do. I sometimes tell people my Nord Stage sounds like a music box instead of a piano (but that's a difference a live audience will not hear due to microphone issues). But then sometimes, as a beginning guitar player I start wondering: will a real 4x12 inch cab make the same difference? Honestly, never tried it, but I'm tempted. But there are 2 things holding me back, first of all being the volume wars I've witnessed as a sound tech, but on the other hand: If I play for example Sultans of swing, I'll do that on a profile from a Twin Reverb, while surely for AC/DC I want a super lead profile. I can't have both a 4x12 closed back cab and a 1x12 open back cab connected to the Kemper (or I'll need to switch the cables), but I can have both studio profiles loaded into the Kemper and use FRFR. That's like: do I bring a real hammond+leslie and a grand piano, or do I just bring my Nord Stage? Or do I ditch the hammond in favor of the grand? Off course the difference between a hammond and a grand is bigger than the difference between a grand piano and a Nord stage, not to say a hammond an a grand don't fit my car (and are heavy), so I bring the Nord Stage :D. BUT: 2 guitar amps DO fit in my car! The question here is: is the difference between FRFR and a real cab bigger than the difference between a profile from a clean open back 1x12 and that of a profile of a clean 4x12 cab.


    So much gear to buy... must... resist... :D[/GAS-mode]

    Well stated and definitly agreed with.

  • People, DO NOT put a DI box between your amp and cab before checking it can handle the voltage.


    You need to buy a DI box or dummy load that can handle the wattage which is a $200 investment by minimum. You can't use just any $10 di box off the shelf, it's likely you'll destroy the box and your amp. Most DI boxes have been built to handle signal levels (0.1V-1V), not 100W power amps. Want to be safe? Get a load box with line out, like a Hot Plate, and put that between your amp and cab.

    this is WRONG, yes a DI box alone can't handle the voltage a tube amp puts out, BUT for merged profiling the DI box is technically parallel to the speaker load of the cabinet, and thus even a cheap 10-50 Eur/USD DI box can work just fine as long as it is offering a line signal attenuation of at least 12 dB and a parallel output jack for the the Input signal.


    Your posting shows exactly why so many people are kind of scared of the risks of taking DI profiles - while looking at it technically and software wise just shows its offering lots of advantages with a really small amount of additional efforts while profiling.

  • To be fair, neither of us actually know that's the case, so it's unfair to deduce as much. He only noticed when using the same cab from a merged profile on a different direct profile of the same amp sounding substantially different. Another commercial seller also chimed in to say he experienced the same, hence why he only does studio profiles.

    Fair enough, though the fact that it sounded muddy hints as much. In fact, a commercial profiler (who will remain nameless) had been remerging Cabs in the wrong way that I described above (though he liked the sound) and wasn't aware that it wasn't the correct procedure. My point being, if it's done right, Merged profiles are every bit as good as Studio, and the Cab separation is great. I'm sure @Deadlightstudio will chime in at some point :)

  • this is WRONG, yes a DI box alone can't handle the voltage a tube amp puts out, BUT for merged profiling the DI box is technically parallel to the speaker load of the cabinet, and thus even a cheap 10-50 Eur/USD DI box can work just fine as long as it is offering a line signal attenuation of at least 12 dB and a parallel output jack for the the Input signal.
    Your posting shows exactly why so many people are kind of scared of the risks of taking DI profiles - while looking at it technically and software wise just shows its offering lots of advantages with a really small amount of additional efforts while profiling.

    Hey you're right. I was thinking of a situation where you'd plug the di between amp-di-speaker but connecting it to a parallel speaker jack makes much more sense. :)
    I've never seen the need for it so I haven't looked into it too much.

  • I'm amazed at how often people misunderstand merged profiles, how to create them and how to use them. Surely there should have been a short official video in the series.

  • A perfect example of why I prefer the Merged profiles and wish more commercial sellers would use them -


    I picked up some Tonehammer profiles and, while they sounded really great through my guitar cab, I wasn't thrilled with the cab end of it. They are brighter than I tend to use, but it was a simple fix to swap them out for another cab (my custom blend of Ownhammer IRs that I've converted into a KPA Cab) and they absolutely work great through that cab.


    More importantly, they changed the way that I expected them to based on the sound of the cab that I know. When I changed cabs on studio profiles, it's hit and miss. My tried and trusted IRs never work because the "split" isn't quite right. So it's a guessing game, and I simply don't have time for guessing.


    So my thanks to Tonehammer and the other vendors who make merged and/or DI profiles.

  • People, DO NOT put a DI box between your amp and cab before checking it can handle the voltage.


    You need to buy a DI box or dummy load that can handle the wattage which is a $200 investment by minimum. You can't use just any $10 di box off the shelf, it's likely you'll destroy the box and your amp. Most DI boxes have been built to handle signal levels (0.1V-1V), not 100W power amps. Want to be safe? Get a load box with line out, like a Hot Plate, and put that between your amp and cab.

    Kemper's DI price is 90€

  • honestly i only make di profiles of the amp at the moment sometimes i add one or two with the cab but i think it is a faster and more secure method to capture a amp and i never found a normal studio profile that sounded good with the cab turned off for use with a guitar cab ... so yeah ...

  • In summary to answer the original question, I think its because either people are using the configuration in a particular way e.g. FRFR or they don't know much about them?


    The principle makes perfect sense and should be a real asset to those using regular cabs but I've not found a good DI profile ( although not looked since they first came out) hence not bothered with merged. Definitely going to re-visit this myself.


    Apart from the description, can you actually tell if a profile is merged or not? This is pretty key - I couldn't find any reference in the manual, only how to make one.


    I think Kemper should re-launch this feature i.e. include it in their advertising as well...

  • I think we digital amp dudes are tinkerers and perfectionists by nature. We're also stubbornly conservative at times. The differences (in my opinion) are subtle in the heat of a live gig and I guarantee that the audience will not know if you used a studio profile or merged profile going to a cab or vice versa. My approach? I'm 98+% FRFR so I'm mostly using MBritt profiles and going right to the board. When I'm playing live guitar, it's typically in a variety cover band at what I would call mixed-use venues (in the US). That means one thing if you want to get invited back or get good reviews...volume control. I also figure out what the rest of the band is going to use (amp/cab or direct) and match up to that so that I don't get an offset of one guy dominating because of a combo of amp/stage volume and PA. For the times I do need an amp/cab approach (which I haven't in years), I'll likely use the Top Jimi merged Marshall profiles and call it good mostly so I can use some of what I bought. I'd be just as happy to use my MBritt stuff for this application. Or, if I'm playing bass on stage it's likely to be an originals project and I'll use the MBritt Ampeg 8x10 to my 4x10 cab and send the other to the board. I don't even know if it's Studio or Merged. I don't really care on bass though. The net is, it's not too hard to cover all the bases and have a profile/rig set up to meet any need you may come across...and don't sweat it too much!

  • I think we digital amp dudes are tinkerers and perfectionists by nature. We're also stubbornly conservative at times. The differences (in my opinion) are subtle in the heat of a live gig and I guarantee that the audience will not know if you used a studio profile or merged profile going to a cab or vice versa. My approach? I'm 98+% FRFR so I'm mostly using MBritt profiles and going right to the board. When I'm playing live guitar, it's typically in a variety cover band at what I would call mixed-use venues (in the US). That means one thing if you want to get invited back or get good reviews...volume control. I also figure out what the rest of the band is going to use (amp/cab or direct) and match up to that so that I don't get an offset of one guy dominating because of a combo of amp/stage volume and PA. For the times I do need an amp/cab approach (which I haven't in years), I'll likely use the Top Jimi merged Marshall profiles and call it good mostly so I can use some of what I bought. I'd be just as happy to use my MBritt stuff for this application. Or, if I'm playing bass on stage it's likely to be an originals project and I'll use the MBritt Ampeg 8x10 to my 4x10 cab and send the other to the board. I don't even know if it's Studio or Merged. I don't really care on bass though. The net is, it's not too hard to cover all the bases and have a profile/rig set up to meet any need you may come across...and don't sweat it too much!

    The studio profiles always sounded good through my cab at home and at lower volume. Battling the other guitarist live is where the studio profiles fall apart for me. They retain some high end that makes them feel loud enough, but when the band kicks in, the cut goes away.


    The Top Jimi merged profiles are a great set to A/B with, since the ones I got came with both studio and merged versions. The studio ones are noticeably buzzier through my v30 cab. Funny thing is I thought they sounded better at first. I was disappointed when I discovered the "M" in the profile titles meant merged. Then, when I got to practice I realized the merged ones at volume sounded much fuller through the cab.