I noticed after I posted my first message on the forum that straight after many other people posted "Should I buy a Kemper". What I thought I would try to do is give a first impression and my little journey to tone heaven.
I ordered the Power Rack, foot pedal, 2 x Mission Pedals and the DXR10.
My previous kit was a Gibson and a JVM410H with 4x12 GT75's.
Effects are to subjective so I will leave them out.
My JVM and Amps
Let me start by making a rather strange statement.....I hate/hated the sound of guitar cabs. I have been playing for over 20 years and in this time I owned a HH amp as my first, then a Laney solid state, even with my JVM I hated the sound of the cab as it was either to shrill or my ears would compress quickly and I could hear nothing. I moved onto Line6 and Boss modelling as I would mainly write music rather than played live and I think all those years with modellers has tuned my ears to a more processed sound rather than an amp.
Then I bought a Grandmeister36 for one reason......to much tweaking. Once I opened up the tubes on that amp there was no looking back. Now the Grandmeister36 has a flaw in my opinion, and a strange flaw for me from my previous statement, but it sounded so processed. Then I bought my JVM, hit the OD1 channel and I have been hooked ever since.
In a band context the JVM is just a monster hence why I own two and I learnt one thing......I love Marshall tone. When I bought my Gibson I had various Jacksons, Epiphones and all revisions of the Variax and all none inspiring but once I had a Gibson I have not even looked at another woman.
Well I have gigged a lot in the past with modellers. Now I am 41, carrying around a JVM and 4x12 with a huge pedalboard (the largest pedal train is full to the brim) and I am now not only the song writer and lead guitarist but I am the singer too.
TOO MUCH KIT!!!!
Here I am today
Well I took my order in this morning, I am now sat in my little modest home studio and have it all set up.
My first test was to just connect it and play, no altering sounds or changing any EQ as I wanted to see what it can do out of the box.
Well I have to say the sheer weight alone was impressive, my whole body was elated that I may never have to carry my amp and cab again. I have yet to unpack the pedal or Mission's as I don't see the point until I know I love the sounds. The Kemper is a very well built piece of kit with a LOT of inputs and outputs I will certainly put to good use.
After I plugged it all in, I read the manual before I bought it, I turned it on and began browsing the amps. At this stage my only disappointment was that the 4 main large knobs touch the front panel when turned, luckily they pulled out ok......I am very fussy.
Now after a few models I am feeling mildly positive, not as overwhelmed with joy as I anticipated. Then I got to the clean section with a little delay, 30 minutes of playing lead I fell in love with the preset (it now escapes me which one) but the distortions were ok but not to my taste which would be a killer for me as I actually have no use at this stage for clean sounds.
Then it hit me, I have no idea what a Bogner sounds like so how the hell can I judge it on that. So I scrolled along to the Marshall amps..........Shit, the JVM sounded like a monster, far to much distortion but the creamy full bodied sound was righty there, and which channel, the bloody OD1 on the JVM, the nirvana of sounds for me. It had to much gain so I turned down my volume, holy crap. Now any Line6 owner knows 1 thing, turning down guitar volume = lower distortion, not less, just a drop in volume. This crazy piece of digital madness actually cleans up.
I scrolled through all the presets and found nearly all would be extremely useful in the studio, about 30% I can see me using live!!!! This is with no firmware update, no Rig Manager and no packs just absolute stock .
My biggest problem I had with modellers was applying firmware. As a high level infrastructure person I know the consequences of a firmware corruption and it equals an RMA back to the manufacturer 90% of the time. I have chewed my fingers to the bone updating modellers as they are so reliant on a PC........1 power outage, "Windows would like to reboot" or knock of a cable and you have a brick on your hands.
How bloody cool was it to move a file to a USB, then plug it in and have the manual process removed whist it just updates on its own.......hats off to Kemper for this.
This is as far as I have gotten so far. I am about to try the new firmware with Rig Manager and a few downloaded packs.
Is this unit confusing to use, yes as I am new to it and will figure it out but I have managed to alter all the parameters I need from the interface without having to refer to the manual.
Oh and a further hats off to Kemper for an actual basics manual in paper format that has actual content. One of my frustrations is receiving a manual in 3000 languages that contains no real information and is a token gesture.
Sorry if this has bored the life out of everyone but I would like to update it a I go along and share my experience.
Time to play a little more.