KPA and boost pedals... just a bit disappointing

  • Hey all.


    So had my KPA about a year now (maybe a wee bit less). On the whole love it.
    However. I'm trying to set up two rhythm rigs for 8 string guitar (yep, djenty, high gain nonsense - sorry).


    I've got a ReampZone VH4 and a Britt 5150 as my amp with two OwnHammer IR's for cabs. The issue starts here. I've also got a Fortin Grind and a Fortin 33 bought because I just love what they do to the sound of an amp. The way the tighten up the bottom end and add a stack of rich harmonic mids. But I can't get them working with the KPA. The pedals are just either not driving hard enough (i.e. the pedals are two low and not adding the richness they can) or driving too hard and it all descends into a fuzzy mess with loads of fizzy high end and no definition.


    Question is, am I expecting too much from the Kemper? Given it's nature (a profiler, capturing a snapshot of an amp with specific settings and a specific amount of gain), is it just never going to fill out and tighten up the way an amp would (I mean i'm not dim and I know they're different beasts but I've heard people using boosts with modellers before and Misha Mansoor developed the Precision Drive specifically to work with the AxFX so this isn't an outrageous suggestion)?


    Any experience in running a classic TS tighten up a high gain amp scenario using real pedals into the KPA and any tips on how to achieve that would be appreciated or any thoughts on if I'm expecting too much of the Kemper.


    Thanks in advance.


    Matt

  • I have found the Kemper does not take pedals the same way that a tube amp does. I think partly it has to do with how Kemper keeps the patches at similar volumes. So it tends to squash the signal of some pedals and adds compression to the sound.


    This can be good or bad depending on the pedal you want to use. Try putting your pedal after your Kemper and the results are really different. But that does not help when using multiple outputs. I have a some success with pedals but they always react differently than what I would expect when using my tube amp.


    I really hope Kemper adds more options for OF/Dist/Fuzz as it really lacks there.


    My suggestion would be to profile a real amp with your pedal and use it that way.


    I know this does not help much.

  • I've heard a bunch of great things about the Cusack OD V2 / Fuzz? Might want to look into this one, I personally haven't tried it but almost bought it last night. Of course an exotic BB is always a good choice for most apps. Strange that the Fortins aren't doing it for you? Friedman's Buxom Boost is another that comes to mind.

  • From my experience, many profiles might be somewhat mix ready or close to it which means that some lows are not always prominent. When adding a tube screamer type pedal externally, you're removing more bottom from a profile that's intended to be tight already.


    One solution is if you need to use an external pedal because you like the character of that pedal would be to use the amp parameters in the Kemper. I've had a lot of luck by reducing the "definition" significantly. Try it out and if it's still not as tight engage "clarity" to about 3 or 4. Don't forget that Tube response also can be lowered to give more of a tight preamp response verses loose power amp if increased.

    Dean_R
    Thanks for the tips. Been playing around last night and this has helped a little.
    I’ve pretty much taken the rigs back tfrom basics and built them from the amp up again. And I’m closer this time. Have to be really careful with the boost level. I think you could get away with a lot more into a valve head.
    I found a balance of an actual increase in definition with an increase in sag and adding a good slug of clarity and pushing the tube shape towards power amp seems to have given me some of what I’m looking for.

  • Just a thought, would placing the pedals in an efx loop assigned to Slot 1 make any difference instead of running the pedals into the input of the Kemper? The reason I ask is I have experimented using my Ethos before the KPA and also assigned a loop in the stomps and preferred it in the loop. Also as above Definition, Clarity and some of the other amp
    parameters can be your friend

  • I have had great success running front end pedals in the loop. I use a Decibel 11 loop expander which gives me 4 pedal loops and I just choose what’s on via MIDI. Boost pedals in particular seem to be much more friendly AFTER the input stage of the Kemper as I don’t have to worry about hitting the input to hard. I vary the location in the first four slots according to what internal effects I may also have in the rig.

  • Hey,


    Boosters will work much better with valve amps than the Kemper because of the nature of the electronics involved.


    Using a booster pedal with a valve preamp boosts the level feeding the input so that the components and valve(s) in the preamp get pushed to the point of saturation and compression, creating a nice squashy and overdriven feel. Much in the same way we engineers will crack the input on an analog mixing console.


    The analog electronics in the input section of the Kemper are obviously solid state and I assume designed with the approach of keeping the guitar signal clean and pure to be converted to digital, and then digitally processed in a familiar way to guitar amps. So when you push the Kempers input level it will remain clean until it will quickly reach the point of clipping, where it will sound nasty, thin and unlike a valve guitar amp being pushed with that rounding of dynamics and good fatness - which sounds like what you are experiencing with nothing much happening then fizzy mush. You may even get digital clipping too depending on the headroom.


    Once past the analog to digital conversion of the Kemper you can use a booster pedal in the stomp section to simulate the effect of jacking the level in to a guitar amps preamp, it works pretty damn well. Failing that working, you could try a valve guitar pedal. Maybe something like the EHX Black Finger, where you can drive the input valves without compression (or a little compression :) and lower the output to get a decent level in to the Kemper...

  • The analog electronics in the input section of the Kemper are obviously solid state and I assume designed with the approach of keeping the guitar signal clean and pure to be converted to digital, and then digitally processed in a familiar way to guitar amps. So when you push the Kempers input level it will remain clean until it will quickly reach the point of clipping, where it will sound nasty, thin and unlike a valve guitar amp being pushed with that rounding of dynamics and good fatness - which sounds like what you are experiencing with nothing much happening then fizzy mush. You may even get digital clipping too depending on the headroom.

    That's exactly what I'm thinking. I'm going to expand the Chevron comment. Due to this electronic behaviour: If you want to add the tipical TS9/808 with the volume cranked up before the Kemper you have to get the desired amount of gain from the TS (or any pedal stomp) to get his flavour, but with a REASONABLE volume. Then you can set a clean booster first in the KPA chain to get the desired amount of "volume cranking" you usually get from the TS.
    This way you ensure not to saturate the KPA analog/digital converter in a bad/fizzy/digital and not desired way.
    Hope it helps and sorry about my bad english!

  • You could try using the distortion stomp loop too, that might have a different outcome. But all in all it is a bit of a different game when using dirt boxes of any kind internal or external.


    My friend got a berhringer hm2 clone for like 15 or 20 bux and he wanted to see if he could get that classic black metal sound you can get from running all the knobs at 10 through a clean or relatively clean valve amp. So I pulled up some clean profiles and some slightly more gain profiles with gain set to 1.5 to 2. something, I think , and there was definitely a point where it turns mushy but it worked! For sure if you want to max out a pedal or internal drive stomp and hear the character of it you generally wanna keep the gain down. There are exceptions of course and I recommend playing loud or at a decent volume through a guitar cab. Try the distortion loop and let me know how that goes! Plus side to using the loop is you can mix in what ever percentage you want and get a 2 tones kinda thing going on ;)

  • I like a little yellow glow in mine, but defitenly get nervous when I see red, although... I changed mine to blue so it goes from bluish purple to magenta kinda to red. Lol


    I've wondered though what a good rig volume should be when using stomps and real overdrives though. What I mean is, what does it take to get the kemper to yell at you. Example would be that immediate difference in volume , gain and amount of air moving when I playing my fender super sonic 60 1x12 combo on the clean bassman channel and then activate any fuzz,dist,od,etc. I've had a hard time transferring that same amount of clean headroom with the added pedal gain without the kemper either A: compressing and not increase in volume or B: sending the ins and outs into loads of flashing lights.

    From a different thread

  • That's exactly what I'm thinking. I'm going to expand the Chevron comment. Due to this electronic behaviour: If you want to add the tipical TS9/808 with the volume cranked up before the Kemper you have to get the desired amount of gain from the TS (or any pedal stomp) to get his flavour, but with a REASONABLE volume. Then you can set a clean booster first in the KPA chain to get the desired amount of "volume cranking" you usually get from the TS.This way you ensure not to saturate the KPA analog/digital converter in a bad/fizzy/digital and not desired way.
    Hope it helps and sorry about my bad english!

    Yeh that's a good point too. As using a Tube-screamer or other coloured overdrive/treble booster before the Kemper will still be worthwhile as the tonal character of the overdrive might tighten up the low end or boost the higher freqs in a desirable way.... I use the Boss GE-7 in a similar way to modify the tone before the Kemper, as with a tube amp, boosting certain frequencies gets some nice crunchiness happening :love: