Amps essentially useless in my apartment :(

  • Got my Kemper this past weekend and have been playing around with it every day. The problem is, and I've run into this issue with the Axe Fx that I also own, is that for my environment, an apartment, it just doesn't seem to work. For a lot of these profiles, they need a good bit of volume before they start sounding good. I play through JBL 305's. I usually practice/play when I get home from work at night, and I can't really push the Kemper's master volume past 0.3 on the gainer profiles. If it's a clean profile, I can get to about 1.5 on the master, but that's pushing it. Gain profiles I can only do 0.2-0.3, that is extremely low. Because of this, the profiles don't sound that great, but I do know when I crank them for a split second it sounds a lot better.

    Unfortunately, I can't do this without complaints. I hate the way the unit sounds with headphones, and I personally don't like to use headphones when practicing anyways.

    It's the same with the Axe Fx. I can't go past a small hair on the output knob, without it starting to get too loud for the space.

    I feel like I can't use these units to their full potential. This is the crap that goes along with being an apartment dweller. Not very good for a guitarist.

    At this point I feel like I may have to just return the unit and buy it again in a few years when I am able to purchase a home. Perhaps by then there will be even greater advancements and I can add large PA speakers to the setup.

    Kind of bummed to be honest :(

  • IMO, it's not that the KPA sounds better when it's cranked. It's You ears that perceives loud as 'better' (fuller/fatter/heavier).
    I'm actually using my DXR10 in my apartment and I love the way it sounds even at low volumes. I like it better than through my Adam A7 nearfields.
    Although I'm very aware that when I use the same profiles at rehearsals they often give slightly different impressions but that is good old Fletcher-Munson in action... :D

  • I think the points above are well made - in other words its your situation that is the issue, you will have this problem with any equipment as the limitation here is your ears - unlike a valve amp which would be a totally different ball game.

    However, don't give up just yet, there are things you can try as stated. Also I think the expectation you have set, that you can get the same sound at very low volume compared to practice or gig volume is achievable as physics interferes with this.

    Persoanlly I don;t use the KPA at home except to set it up for gigs but many people use it for recording as a powerful tool so it has the sound in there.

    Getting a house won;t solve it either, as my wife will tell you :)

    Good luck, hope you find an answer/happy medium.

  • But to have the unit set to 0.2-0.3, that's starting to get pretty ridiculous.

    Turn down the volume on your monitors (and switch them to +4dB input sensitivity).
    This way you can up the volume on the Profiler a bit more.
    Also check what outputs are linked to the Master Volume knob. the values you state here are no actual output values (in dB), they are just relative values and tell nothing about the actual output used.

  • What is the volume on the speakers? I have the same speakers all the way up with the Kemper on -12 and my interface output halfway up. Mid gain and distortion sound great at a reasonable volume. For cleans, I need more volume, but the ONLY clean I like at super low volume is the Kemper through headphones. With any real amp or modeler, I need the speaker moving air to really enjoy the cleans.

  • +1 on the headphones. I'm confident, that you can find a model that will meet your expectations.

    To me the Kemper is one of the best silent practice tools I've ever worked with. And I also practice at night with my child sleeping next door. Usually I use headphones for monitoring, through mu interface (not directly). And I love how it sounds.

    Hope you can find a way to make it work for you.

  • Hi Rich,
    I tend to agree with your assessment that the Kemper sounds better loud, but I don't think it's because of your speakers or headphones, I think it's because whoever made the profile you were playing was probably playing it loud. As the others have said, If you like a profile loud, you will probably think it sucks at an apartment room level (and the opposite is true also). You can tweak them to sound better at bedroom levels, but it will take you a while working with the Kemper to build up those skills. I've had mine for 4 years and I still haven't figured out a formula to convert a profile which sounds great at gig level to one that sounds great at talking level. I've actually tried keeping two sets my favorite profiles, but I haven't been very successful because my low volume home practice level is never the same. Sometimes low (for me) means talking level, and other time it means playing at home alone but cranked up just enough that neighbors don't complain. So my low volume profiles are really all over the map.

    I'll tell you what I did (which might not be too popular on the forum) but I bought a Yamaha THR10c for my bedroom, and I keep the Kemper set up for mostly band practice levels. Again, I think the reason the Yamaha sounds so great at bedroom levels, is because it simply cant get very loud, so the designers tailored the tone to be really pleasant at the quieter volume. I honestly think it sounds better than most of my tweaked low volume Kemper profiles . Now to be fair, I haven't sat the two units down next to each other and tried to match them one to one, but I have spent weeks chasing a tone I wanted on my Kemper at a low volume, and finally settled for something close but not great. When I bought the Yammy, I was able to dial a similar tone in in in a few minutes. It's just made to sound good at really low levels. Like I say, I probably could get the Kemper to eventually sound great at low volume too, but it would take a considerable amount of time to tweak my 50 or so favorite profiles, and I would have to do it in a controlled environment (always at the same low volume) and honestly, I would rather just plug in and play.

    One of these days I might try to build a reverse Fletcher Munson transform using the studio EQ for one of the curves that best represents the difference between what I consider loud and quiet playing levels. Unfortunately the Kemper has no graphical monitor of EQ, so I' would have to monitor in a DAW, but it would be a fun experiment. Maybe a good project for when I retire from my day job. :-)

  • Well, a Nord Stage also sounds shitty through headphones, compared to a my upright, but even in my seperated house I cant play the upright at midnight: wife and daughter would soon kill me ;) Even during the day, my 4 year old aleady discoverd how to, well, mute my strings. Digital instruments have their place, and that's right in your appartment, I'm afraid...

    What headphone are you using? There is a lot of difference in quality here... I love my HD-25!

    Also, setting the gain on your speakers inputs lower would make it possible to drive your kempers output harder, but then again, essentially the problem is that you live in an appartment. And i'm not sure where you would go instead of a modeller? Sure, a real amp sounds better, but has no headphone out...

  • Lets talk about the REAL problem , I wont be rude but straight to the point and clear... I had the same problem for many many years. Pay a rent and be restricted by neighbourghs. Til I decided to buy a SMALL house that I paid little by little with the same amount I gave to a stranger for the rent. One day if you wanna get rid of that for ever try to do the same. I think if anyone is serious about doing music , we need to play whatever we want, whenever we want and at whatever volume we want.... I suffered 10 years in an appartment til I decided ok that enough I want a house , even a small one I cant stand it anymore... Thats the best decision of my life Now the house is almost totally paid btw ;-) It can be achieved in many years of course as you need a downpayment but my point is you need to plan it and calculate it and visit many houses etc GOOD LUCK