How to get a great sound

  • Don't panic - something is wrong!


    The KPA sounds great!


    All you need are three things:
    Step 1) The KPA
    Step 2) A great linear speaker system
    Step 3) The right profiles for YOUR guitar and style


    Yes, it works more or less good with guitar speakers
    Yes, it works more or less good with not so decent monitors


    But the real fun is to work with great linear speakers and the right profiles!



    Detail for Step 2) A great linear speaker system


    How can I check if the reason for not so great sound is my monitor / studio speaker / PA?
    This can be checked very easy!
    Grab your favorite CD and play it via your monitor / studio speaker / PA!


    If you like the sound - great - done!


    If you don't like the sound - don't waste your time to find the "best profile" and don't complain about the KPA - your monitor / studio speaker / PA is the problem!
    You will waste a lot of time to find "great profiles" for your system and even to tweak all your profiles may be a waste of time.
    In this case you compensate the problems of your system with bad profiles.
    e.g. your system delivers very little bass - then you may like very boomy profiles or tweak your profiles to be very boomy - it may sound fine on your system - but the recording may sound like shit - and when you ever update to a decent system - all your work was in vain.


    So go and find the error in your system - or upgrade it - then read on.



    Details for Step 3) The right profiles for YOUR guitar and style
    (Did you read and fix step 2 first?)


    There is no "best profile" forget the search!


    A great profile of a vintage amp will not help you when you love metal.
    And a metal profile may sound bad for blues.


    But this is not all.


    Each guitar is different - and the fingers of the players.


    That's why all great tube amps have some knobs - some a lot of knobs.
    It's not possible to create a 3 channel amp and only provide this:
    -The channel switch
    -A volume control for each channel


    Yes, that's easy to understand ...


    ... but why are so many KPA users searching for "that one killer" profile of the first channel of amp xyz?


    Best would be to have the real amp in front of you - turn all the knobs and switch all the switches of the amp until you find a great sound for each channel of this one amp - and then profile this amp setting - done - the perfect profiles for your guitar from this amp.


    This set of profile will most likely sound decent for other users with the same guitar - and taste.


    But .... may sound bad for most other guitars!


    So we may need a set of profiles for each of our guitars!
    And everybody needs another set of these profiles!


    The solution?
    We need a lot of profiles of each channel of an amp - with different settings (drive, tone stack, switches, ...) and then select the best profile for each channel for each of our guitars!


    This work has to be done to get total satisfaction!


    Then all other profiles of these amp can be erased from the KPA and stored for later - when another guitar should be used or another type of music played.


    Now - and not before - can we use the KPA knobs to "fine tune" the profiles to our taste.


    It's so much fun to do this work and get finally 100% the sound we are looking for.

    (All trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners, which are in no way associated or affiliated with soundside.de)


    Great Profiles --> soundside.de

    Edited 2 times, last by Armin ().

  • What Armin says is the truth - step by step :thumbsup: Also position of monitors, room, strings, picks (!) and many things more are involved :whistling:


    But I really have to add something: Give every profile at least a SECOND CHANCE, on another day! Judgement of a rig today can be totally changed in a week or next day (same guitar, but with a pair of fresh ears).


    I wrote off whole packs that sounded "muffled, shrill, woofy or just bad" - later rediscovered the pack and picked real gems out of it, now essential rigs.


    The other way round - how many times have we found the ultimate rig (to rule them all), the best vendor (he must use magic) or the final tweak to make the riff sound stellar. Only three days later we can hear something "strange" and doubt - or we search for something better than the last ultimate rig.


    How to break that circle? Everyone has to find his own solution. I learned to live with decisions done yesterday (as it sounded best), but I know and accept, that my hearing chances from day to day. "Adjusting" my sound over time is not a "fight-to-win or loose it all situation" anymore, but a fun process, that is worth spending some time granted.


    Look at EVH - how many times has this man "adjusted" his sound and worked on an "even better" amp! That is part of the journey...

  • Quote

    But I really have to add something: Give every profile at least a SECOND CHANCE, on another day! Judgement of a rig today can be totally changed in a week or next day (same guitar, but with a pair of fresh ears).

    With all due respect but here I would disagree..


    For all guys comming from tube rigs and try hard to make the "change" to the profiler/frfr thing I would rather recommend the opposite:Dont try to make a profile sound good to your ears if there is no "love on the first sight"-thing going on..move on quickly untill you find a profile which got at least something you really really love..and then yes,check this profile again on the next day with fresh ears.


    Dont tweak to much,if a profile does not "make you play" despite it has in the very beginning and without any tweaking fizz or to much bass or whatever then just leave it alone.The kemper is not for this.


    Even when our ears are not fresh and our psychology is down (very very underestimated issue ie "sound") our ears "know" what we like.Specially if the guitarist is playing for years.


    Tweak only the profiles which "have it" from the very beginning.Actually one of the biggest mistakes a lot of people do with their profiler.Always in my opinion ofcourse.. ;)

  • Great post, Armin.
    Thank you for this easy to understand flowchart.


    I generally agree and most times I give profiles a second and a third etc. chance. I like to believe that is a personal parameter that has nothing to do with science. Instead I'm thankful for all the work someone has put into producing this very profile. So I'm trying to do justice to the profile and the producer. So I find profiles I discarded for one reason or another on a regular basis. And of course the comparison of so many (good) profiles teaches my ears a valuable lesson...


    I neither experienced the Kemper nor the guitars to be that unforgiving in the sense of right or wrong, but that certainly is a personal matter. I agree that monitors are of the essence. I use Adam Monitors (50W) and never had reason to complain.


    Greetings
    Joachim


  • You mix up different things? I never said one should try to tweak any profile until you "love" it, or force yourself to play with the worst rig ever, or something?!


    Kemper makes it possible to try out and compare different kind of amps (and complete setups) from many vendors and free stuff more easy and fast than ever before. But if I had skipped everything I did not fall in love in the first sight - man, I would have missed so much! That is not different with real amps or gear. I would not appreciate a good old traditional Telecaster today - for sure was not "love on the first sight"!


    There are many interesting books about hearing and psychology - your statement above is the opposite of everything I ever experienced or read, but it's o.k. :thumbup: Be sure, everyone will find totally different profiles which "have it" as you say- and the other day you listen to an new album and WITHOUT WARNING you fall in love with that freakin' thin fuzzy lead guitar sound. Suddenly you remember that shitty thin and fuzzy rig you deleted... :D

  • Different kind of experiences are a good thing.. :thumbup:


    If you really like to go through thousands and thousands of rigs and "test" them all once and the next day..be my guest..I would just recommend not to forget to play your guitar.. ;)


    greetings

  • Different kind of experiences are a good thing.. :thumbup:


    If you really like to go through thousands and thousands of rigs and "test" them all once and the next day..be my guest..I would just recommend not to forget to play your guitar.. ;)


    greetings


    To be honest, since owning the Kemper I play guitar more than ever before!


    And I am more creative and productive too. In 5-10 minutes you can scroll through a lot of rigs, with totally different cabs and mics, that would stole you days or weeks to setup with real gear. When testing rigs and stuff I always have my DAW open - push one button and my ideas are fixed, drum pattern arranged quickly...


    I also work (and compare) with various modelling plugins, IR, stomp boxes, guitars... O.k. you first have to spend time to UNDERSTAND the options, but than you SAVE so much time. And having options IS a great thing! Different tuning? Just grab that already tuned guitar. Another tuning - just grab another guitar. Need a Tele or 7-string - just grab it. Of course you have to start somewhere and can achieve the goal walking the long road: Always change tuning on 1 guitar...


    Having options, knowing them and have them well-ordered is my key to fast working flow. Tips from the forum helped me a lot to organize my stuff (rigs and everything - I even labelled my guitar cases for quick access, stored my external stomp boxes in transparent boxes...).


    But yes, we are all different :thumbsup:

  • So we may need a set of profiles for each of our guitars!

    I'm not disagreeing with you, but this is the one frustration I have with KPA. My real amps sound great with all of my guitars, but the KPA profiles of my amps don't translate to each guitar the same way the real amps do. Especially going from single coil guitars to humbucker guitars.


    Anyone found a trick so you don't have to change profiles when you change guitars?

  • I'm not disagreeing with you, but this is the one frustration I have with KPA. My real amps sound great with all of my guitars, but the KPA profiles of my amps don't translate to each guitar the same way the real amps do. Especially going from single coil guitars to humbucker guitars.
    Anyone found a trick so you don't have to change profiles when you change guitars?

    I've noticed that as well, it's pretty strange that it seems to be a pretty common experience, but yet Kemper claims that the pickups/guitar has no influence whatsoever on the profile. Hard to understand...?

    Disclaimer: When I post demos of profiles, there will be some post-processing, unless stated otherwise. I normally double-track hard L/R, and add to the main buss a small amount of EQ and a limiter/comp set pretty light as well. Sometimes I get test profiles in advance of release, but so far I have paid for all packs I have posted demos from.

  • I've noticed that as well, it's pretty strange that it seems to be a pretty common experience, but yet Kemper claims that the pickups/guitar has no influence whatsoever on the profile. Hard to understand...?

    Did they mean no influence on the profile during the profiling process ? I think that would be true.


    In my experience going from passive to active pickups certainly had a huge effect on how the profile sounded in my setup while playing. I started with active pickups and liked the sound but was blown away when I switched to passive pickups.

  • Did they mean no influence on the profile during the profiling process ? I think that would be true.
    In my experience going from passive to active pickups certainly had a huge effect on how the profile sounded in my setup while playing. I started with active pickups and liked the sound but was blown away when I switched to passive pickup.

    Yeah, that's what they mean, I don't really get it, but I don't understand he profiling process very well at all. I mean, I understand that most of the profiling comes from the spaceship sounds it puts through the amp, but what about the refinement process? The guitar can't matter there? Blows my mind, haha.

    Disclaimer: When I post demos of profiles, there will be some post-processing, unless stated otherwise. I normally double-track hard L/R, and add to the main buss a small amount of EQ and a limiter/comp set pretty light as well. Sometimes I get test profiles in advance of release, but so far I have paid for all packs I have posted demos from.

  • Pickups DO matter - while setting up the amp before profiling. You would dial in an amp different when using a neck single coil versus EMG in the bridge. Of course, when using the rig dialed in for single coil with humbuckers it now will sound different (= like an amp already dialed in for single coils :D ). There had been sellers that made profiles at neutral noon position rather than sweet spots (for the used guitar). But thats not the solution, cause Kemper EQ than does not exactly the same as EQ dialed in on the specific amp.

  • Yep , pickup type, height , outup level and so on are a critical factor for getting a good tone out of any amp.


    It's the same for a KPA, that's why it's important to profile on a given set of guitars and describe components in your signal chain.


    I even had very different results from two similar Les Paul with HB.

  • Yes, a few profiles sound great with almost any guitar / pickup combination.


    Some profiles work only with some guitars / pickup combinations.


    And a lot sound poor with anything.


    The same is true for real amps.


    But its great fun to find (or create) the great ones.

    (All trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners, which are in no way associated or affiliated with soundside.de)


    Great Profiles --> soundside.de