New Kemper Owner- Not too impressed, useable

  • Hi Guys,


    first off i want to complement you all on the fantastic community you guys have here, and the willingness to help each other. The Thread title isn't meant as dismissive or anything, but i have some thoughts and concerns and wanted to pick your brains about it.


    I'm a professional musician who's been playing all kind of different amps for 15+ years now. I also play sessions so i'm used to hearing my amp back through mics, preamps and monitors or headphones. I have experience with programming digital devices and understand routing etc. My tonal references (either live or recorded) Mike Landau, Tom Bukovac, Robben Ford, and a lot of session tones


    So, i've had a lunchbox + remote for a couple of days now, i was really looking forward to playing it and too start making sounds.(bought it brand new) First night i downloaded the rig manager, the free MBritt profiles and some BM profiles (along with what's already in the Kemper and rig manager) plugged in and put in my Shure se425 into the headphone input and was....underwhelmed. Everything sounded thin with a lot (and i mean a lot) of high end frequencies, didn't like it at all. (played my strat and tele) Read all the tips on the forum about space, cab, definition, pick etc. Didn't help much. This especially concerns rainy, and higher gain sounds. Clean sounds are ok, as soon as gainer profiles are introduced i'm not happy.


    Next day i plugged it into my apogee, listened back over my studio monitors: Better results: More bass, less high end. But still some frequencies i can't get rid off. Another headphone also was better than the Shure but still.


    There are a couple of things going on in my mind and i'm going to try to explain them.


    First off: I'm missing something. Call me crazy (and a lot of you probably will :D lol) but i feel there's "harmonic content" missing. I just received a cd which i've played on about two months ago: My 6l6 amp with a pedalboard, SM57 and a Ribbon. And i'm feeling it's a richer sound, more complex, more alive than the Kemper profiles.


    Identity/homogeneity: So, every studio you play, every record you play you will sound a little different. Even with the same gear (amps, guitars, mics, room) it will sound a little different, that's how things work with tubes, room, movement, cabs etc. in other words with "organic" materials. Isn't that what we want? I'f i'm playing on 10 records this year do i want them to sound EXACTLY the same? 'Cause that's what happens with the Kemper (if you use the same kinda sounds, but be honest: who goes from one end of the spectrum to the other regularly? you get hired because of the way you play and sound)


    Also: if i use a MBritt profile of a Marshall and you use the same profile we have the same tone. We sound different because the player is different but the basic fundamentals of the tone are there. If i use a Marshall OF THE SAME KIND as somebody else we will sound different: Because no two amps are alike because there are a lot of factors that come into play: Tube age, component values etc etc


    Another: With the Kemper it's easy to get a decent sound, but it totally removes (as i feel about it at least) the craftsmanship of getting tones and sounds true to YOUR identity. So the amps you choose with the mics you choose and the cabs etc etc and then GETTING a good sound which is a craft!


    How i see it right now: Usefull, sure, ok sounding, but that's what it is. Usefull for getting sounds on demo's quickly and a easy solution for gigs that are fully in ear. But is this worth almost 2200 Euros? To me, right now, it isn't, i think. I can buy a Royer r121 and a 57 and still keep almost 600 euros in my pocket. (of course where not talking about preamps here but you get the picture)


    This isn't about not willing to accept digital or something because i already bought the thing.


    Please tell me your thoughts on this and any tips or ideas, thanks guys!

  • BTW, no-one said the Kemper ´s perfect - and tastes vary, depending on the ear and background. Try FRFR (if you haven´t already). Sorry - you´re a pro. ;)
    What´s your favourite tones - man where´re you coming from? Sounds like you have some problems with harmonix. I have heard this before about the Kemper, but youwill have to be little more precise - we love precision here. There are many sound engineers & Co amongst us isn´t that right @Monkey_Man?


    You know If all else fails try adjusting the EQ or sell the Kemper and have a go with AXE or Line6 ;):evil:


    Oops - I forgot to say "Welcome" @future2future :P

  • @Freisegler I haven't gone the FRFR route yet, will do this week, thanks.


    Well favourite tones vary, but i love Mike Landau's tones for example


    It's hard to describe because i can't really put my finger on it, i feel like it's less organic, rich, complex, more raw conventionally as opposed to the Kemper (but i do understand these are vague terms)


    and thanks :thumbsup:

  • For me kemper sounds and feels different to my real amps. Low riffs feel more congested, weird, dips at 150-200, boosts elsewhere that make a "garbled" tone there. And leads feel "raspier". Just my experience. I am more bothered by the low riffs issues at times; others when playing Gary Moore type stuff, it's the high notes that bother me more.


    Other than that I love profiles by sinmix and big hairy profiles. They both know their stuff. I use their profiles a lot now and appreciate the work of both. Top quality stuff. I don't use many other profiles other than a free Morgan amp profile that is great for cleans. I bought Mbritt plexi pack and prefered the plexi from S Gear 2 easily -- then I profiled S gear, but wasn't happy with the feel of what I got.


    Now on to the concept of kemper: if your goal is to craft your own tone... you can do it through amps, cabs, mics, then profile. But if you wanna do all that digitally kemper is not the device for you unless you are ok with searching for profiles and use other people's profiles. If your aim is to "craft" a tone then something like an Axe Fx comes to mind. Some people prefer that route; others not.


    Personally I can make good, at times great use of kemper but I'm not totally happy with it.

  • Welcome.


    First off: I'm missing something. Call me crazy (and a lot of you probably will lol) but i feel there's "harmonic content" missing. I just received a cd which i've played on about two months ago: My 6l6 amp with a pedalboard, SM57 and a Ribbon. And i'm feeling it's a richer sound, more complex, more alive than the Kemper profiles.

    You are NOT crazy, I heard the same thing the first day I plugged into the KPA and spent months chasing my tail thinking either something was wrong with my device or I was doing something wrong. Not so. The KPA simply has tone issues in too many instances. In the very areas you are describing. Rather than a rich, organic, real sound it too often does a raspy, congested kind of thing in the gain/dist structure. And you may also notice that solo notes sound thin or "phasey" and don't "separate" well, rather some smearing in the harmonics.


    Kemper is now aware of this for at least a month now, tests and data have been provided by users, so hopefully they will fix this issue because, as you imply, it may be fine for demos or live, but IMO for serious recording applications it currently fails to meet an adequate standard of realism.


    Sonic

  • And now wait for 31415415 links to commercial packs sounded 41515161 better than all what you hear so far - same story every time :D I think You need to profile your own amps and cabs and then compare again - IMO best way to understand Kemper. Good Luck!


    Stay Metal!

  • The best part of the Kemper is you can capture your favorite combination of drive pedals and amps and thus you get YOUR sound. Yes, there is nothing that sounds as good as a real tube amp cranked up in front of you, I don't think any guitarist will argue that. But, the fact is, 99.999% of your audience (live or recorded) is not going to hear the difference. If you were paying for studio time and had to choose a session player, would you pick the one that comes in and spends hours setting up cabs and mics. Or, would you pick the player that comes in, flips the power button and just plays?

  • I think if you try and describe (or give samples) the tone you are looking for people will be more able to point to the right direction of what profiles to get.


    Like I said, I do sinmix and I do big hairy profiles :) Sinmix has amazing cabs and has a great, great ear, and the guy behind big hairy profiles is a great producer.

  • All that said I think the ultimate test is profiling your own amps. Only then you know what's up and if kemper is close enough. People expect different things from their tone; only you know what you want, and profiling is the sure way to see if this device can work for you or not.

  • If you were paying for studio time and had to choose a session player, would you pick the one that comes in and spends hours setting up cabs and mics. Or, would you pick the player that comes in, flips the power button and just plays?

    I'd pick the player that had the best tone, or at least the most realistic tone. If the tone isn't there, or doesn't sound real, then it is a compete waste of studio time no matter how many flashing lights or bells & whistles the device may have, or not.

  • And now wait for 31415415 links to commercial packs sounded 41515161 better than all what you hear so far - same story every time :D I think You need to profile your own amps and cabs and then compare again - IMO best way to understand Kemper. Good Luck!


    Stay Metal!

    Yea.


    And usually most of these profiles will sound super similar. Small differences. But somehow people "see the light" when they try a new pack even if they think differences between profile and amp are "meaningless". There may even be smaller differences between profile A and B than between profile and real amp, in some cases (well, I know so).but yea..


    I still think though some people do better profiles than others, depending on people's taste. He will be better off trying out your profiles vs profiles I did at home at very low volume with an average cab. And some people profiling stuff try to go after album tones, using EQs, this, and that, which can produce different tones too.

  • EXACTLY what i'm hearing and trying to describe, thank you for finding the right words :) The thin and phases sound is spot on. Funny thing: My wife heard it too, she's not a musician, but even she heard there is something odd sounding.

  • If you were paying for studio time and had to choose a session player, would you pick the one that comes in and spends hours setting up cabs and mics. Or, would you pick the player that comes in, flips the power button and just plays?

    Well, i doesn't take hours because you know the drill so to speak. You know what mics and cabs work and where to place them. In my experience it isn't too much of a hassle and also: If they can take a hour or two to make a drums sound they can spend 15-30 min on guitar right?

  • All that said I think the ultimate test is profiling your own amps. Only then you know what's up and if kemper is close enough. People expect different things from their tone; only you know what you want, and profiling is the sure way to see if this device can work for you or not.


    (just wait for the solo :)





    These are just some of the things i like, but a reference for what i look for generally

  • Ok, well, many profiles go after these tones. The point is whether they achieve the tones when it comes to nuances (that many think don't matter anyway).


    I can only say that you should profile your amps. This is always the real test with kemper. Otherwise you may actually go through buying a million profiles and always be unhappy. It's also worth trying what others can come up with, but yea.


    Profile your amps is my advice ;) Then report back if you can/want to :) Because it takes some time and experience to get profiles as accurate as they can be anyway imho.