What are your ideal settings?

  • So sure I know that no two guitars are the same but it'd be interesting to see what others are using.


    For me I've found that my Stock 2008 Les Paul Standard (PAF pickups) needs the input sensitivity settings to both be at -4.1dB to get the best out of the Kemper (and pure and space disabled) for recording tones. What settings are you guys using with your various axes?

  • Clean and distortion sense locked @ 0.
    I play Ibanez jem, gibson, strat and evh wolfgang. Sometimes i use different rigs for the strat (only for clean/ chrunch). The rest of settings are done in the rigs ( amp section, eq).
    Biggest thing is to use the right cab.

  • Clean sense -1
    Dist. sense -1,5
    This once I found playing a Strat with Häussel PU . (cant remember the type but have a higher output)


    I use different performances/ profiles for different guitars (SC or HB) so I did not screw in the input section since 2 years.

  • Strat
    CS +4.1
    DS -0.6


    335
    CS +3.0
    DS -2.0


    LP with Classic 57's
    CS 0
    DS -7


    P90
    CS +0.5
    DS -5.0


    I normally set it up for the Strat on stage as I use that the most and only change it if the guitar I'm changing to will be used for more than a couple of tunes
    I use the same rigs for every guitar.
    I've gotten WAY better at using the guitar volume controls these days.
    I find changing input settings on a dark stage too much for my tiny brain

  • Interesting settings you guys have with your LP's, I find the PAF's much too hot for default settings. It makes a dramatic difference to lower the input sens to the point where there's absolutely no clipping/breakup, if it's left up all the profiles sound very similar, and well, amp sim-like, drop things down and you lift the curtain (you just have to raise the gain on your poweramp), it's not even a small difference which is part of why I started this thread.


    Here's my workflow with setting up sens settings in case it's of any use for anyone -


    I find the best way to set sensitivity is to go with a clean profile then slightly raise the gain on it till you can hear it on transients, the distortion tends to amplify clipping effects so you can really hear the point at which you dial it out completely. Also when you raise a clean profiles distortion it doesn't sound like a normal amp, it's more like you're mixing between a digitally clipped fuzz distortion channel and your clean signal channel, this makes it easy to detect where things are going wrong. Once you have the clean sens set raising the distortion or lowering it on a dirty rig should sound much more natural.


    After that distortion sens is a matter of taste. I believe that Kemper have confirmed that this is purely a global gain adjustment. But I've tried to adjust the gain on a rig to match and compensate and for some reason it didn't come out the same, maybe there's some other setting involved. Anyhow, I found that reducing Distortion Sens acted more like adjusting the attenuation Z on an input and less like adjusting the amp gain control. The result was subtle shift in frequencies, more string separation, closer to a Soldano effect than a Marshall effect, or even mixing in a parallel path YMMV and this could be total psychoacoustic nonsense. Either way, higher = more smeary rich saturation, lower = more clarity as you'd expect. You probably want to compensate against your pickups in order to try and hear the amp as it was profiled which I assume is probably where distortion sens matches the clean sens value.

  • Distortion sense at zero, I don't see a point of touching this, it's just global gain control, maybe if you have super hot or really weak guitar and want to adjust all rigs in one place. Clean sense varies from guitar to guitar from 0 to -7.

  • Here's my workflow with setting up sens settings in case it's of any use for anyone -


    I find the best way to set sensitivity is to go with a clean profile then slightly raise the gain on it till you can hear it on transients, the distortion tends to amplify clipping effects so you can really hear the point at which you dial it out completely. Also when you raise a clean profiles distortion it doesn't sound like a normal amp, it's more like you're mixing between a digitally clipped fuzz distortion channel and your clean signal channel, this makes it easy to detect where things are going wrong. Once you have the clean sens set raising the distortion or lowering it on a dirty rig should sound much more natural.


    Per,


    Can you clarify this for me a little if you don't mind as I'm a little confused and I'd like to experiment. Are you suggesting to start with a clean sound and then adjust the clean sensitivity upwards (add gain) until you hear the transient break up and then back off slightly to set the clean sense level for a specific guitar/pickup? Sorry if I am being dumb!


    Si

  • Per,


    Can you clarify this for me a little if you don't mind as I'm a little confused and I'd like to experiment. Are you suggesting to start with a clean sound and then adjust the clean sensitivity upwards (add gain) until you hear the transient break up and then back off slightly to set the clean sense level for a specific guitar/pickup? Sorry if I am being dumb!


    Si

    Hi sure. I leave the sens at 0.0, pick a clean profile and then just slightly raise the gain till when I hit a chord or note hard I can hear the crackle from it just starting to distort. At that point I lower the sens setting playing as I do to find the point at which I no-longer hear any crackle.


    If the input LED showed no strong green or yellow with a guitar because it had low gain pickups then I might raise the sens setting to a point where it started to show a little first on hard chords or strongly picked/muted notes, use that as the starting point rather than 0.0.


    One other thing people may not realize is that you can store input presets. So I store my presets per guitar, that way I have settings that (in theory) are ideal for each axe.


    Interestingly in the videos it's called "Sense" but I'm pretty sure it's meant to be "Sensitivity", given that there's room in the UI for it to be written in full as Sense and it isn't, and I seem to recall someone from Kemper saying explicitly that "it doesn't stand for 'sense'" waaaay back.

  • I thought it wouldn't make a big difference either but so far after "correctly" adjusting it there's quite an apparent improvement when browsing between rigs.


    Before the frequency response was accurate and amps were different enough, but it's still very samey somehow, there was to my ears a "kemper signature" to the sound. After changing this setting when I change rigs it really sounded like playing an amp from a control room, changing rigs the sound was more different, they now sound as I am used to when switching between real amps in the real world. It gives more headroom for more dynamic sounds too, the "limiter" was lifted.


    I also feel it's worth setting your distortion sens this way too, the documentation says it'll just be masked by the distortion output but I find even there the effect can be quite marked.


    I used to think it didn't matter all that much but at this point I think that any clipping (even "soft") at all going in that doesn't match the clipping the input circuit on a real amp would experience is hugely deleterious to the sound and feel both for clean and for distorted sounds.

  • I leave mine at 0. Tried using clean sense with + or - but tbh I don’t think it makes a massive difference to the sound tbh. Maybe it’s just me …

    Clean sense is not suppose to change the sound. It's used to balance the clean level and distorted levels, so you don't get a large sound jump/difference when you go between clean and distorted sounds.


    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1Fn3iXGFm8o

  • So I did a bunch more experimenting tonight. And I have to eat my words. Here's what I found.


    While adjusting the sens settings does allow you to control the relative volumes between the distorted and clean sounds it results in an unnatural crossover.sound when the settings are too divergent. i.e. it sounds like your'e mixing a distorted and clean channel recording rather than you're adjusting gain. This is different from a real amp of course where you expect that due to the way the circuit is designed raising gain automatically increases volume. It also means that with the Kemper it is designed really to have volumes at parity regardless of artistic choice.


    Next - Input sens you would think would affect the stomps prior to the amp given that the input LED clipping light is affected by it. However that's not the case at all. Try this, just place a distortion stomp in the front of a clean amp and adjust input sens. It really is just adjusting output volume. However place the stomp after the amp and input sens affects it. It also doesn't affect the drive of the amp itself. So this effect is applied after the amp block but before the effects section.


    Because of the unnatural crossover I think it works as a parallel path to the amp block rather than as a supplemental volume adjustment to the amp attached to the gain control.


    Which leads o the final thing and the "aha" moment. The issue I found was not the input sens settings which are apparently output modifiers (and nothing to do with input at all), which is confusing, but the clipping that occurs in the output section.


    The trouble with this is that it's actually hard to see and determine. You can globally reduce the output including SPDIF out to fix this. The output "clip" light doesn't seem to be that attached to other outputs.


    Your best bet therefore, is to make use of clean sens to bring the input clip light into line (i.e. no orange or yellow at all!), then you can either reduce the rig output till there is absolutely no more clipping, or adjust the master outputs across the board to ensure you have zero clipping.


    When I tested adjusting input vs output all clipping artifacts seem to happen at the output stage, the input is very forgiving on the Kemper, it's not without some clipping of it's own but it seems to have a "soft clip". If you have "hot" pickups and want the full dynamic range you need to attenuate your guitar prior to input on the Kemper, otherwise it will level out the signal and kill the spark.


    More importantly you must ensure that the output has enough headroom. Unlike the input the output doesn't appear to have any form of soft clipping so when you clip, you really clip and it will ruin even distorted tones.


    So now schooled in the ways of the Kemper my advice going forward is this - Output is your enemy!


    Input sens sole purpose is to help you set parity for the clipping light (outside of this it has nothing to do with the "input" at all, despite the confusing name and location in the UI).


    This then becomes a useful baseline for adjusting the output volume which is where the real problems can occur. i.e. if the input light isn't showing clipping then provided your distortion sens isn't too high you should find there is no clipping on your output with settings at default (provided the rig's "Volume" control hasn't been raised).


    Treat the Clean sens setting as an output volume control/modifier tied to the gain knob for the stack block.


    If you encounter clipping, unless you have an actual amplified signal going into the input of the Kemper then regardless of the input clipping light, it's actually happening at the output. But input sens settings can still be part of the fix for this as they are output settings.


    Finally - Any distortion at all, no matter how small on the output of the Kemper should be avoided at all costs. Make sure that master LED never goes anything other than green, you can push up the volume in your DAW or on the desk or with your poweramp. You will find the playability of the Kemper vastly improved even if there's just the tiniest smidge of clipping going on it's amazing how much this affects the tone and feel because it happens all in the transients, with a real amp the transient can be many times louder than the body of the note, allow that to clip and it sounds unnatural in a way you can't quite put your finger on, what's worse it feels unnatural too.


    I hope my exploration helps some people!

  • @drog yes thanks for answering but I know this. I’ve used the kemper for about 4 years now. What I mean is I just plug and play leaving things neutral. Similar to @Eltzejupp and @MentaL.


    Reason is that all my guitars sound fine through it and it’s more the profile that makes the difference, or cab, rather than these settings to me.


    Guitars: tele, PRS 20th anniversary 24, PRS hollowbody ii, Suhr gg spec, waghorn custom 7 string.

  • Finally - Any distortion at all, no matter how small on the output of the Kemper should be avoided at all costs. Make sure that master LED never goes anything other than green, you can push up the volume in your DAW or on the desk or with your poweramp. You will find the playability of the Kemper vastly improved even if there's just the tiniest smidge of clipping going on it's amazing how much this affects the tone and feel because it happens all in the transients, with a real amp the transient can be many times louder than the body of the note, allow that to clip and it sounds unnatural in a way you can't quite put your finger on, what's worse it feels unnatural too.


    I hope my exploration helps some people!

    Thanks Per - didn't mean to cause you bags of work but seems like what you found is interesting and worthy of some further thought/experimentation.


    I'm going to dedicate some time this weekend to try and understand a little better. I wonder if this is a contributor to why I constantly feel a difference in dynamics between my 'real' amps and the KPA. Don't flame me all 'cause I'm a lover not a fighter!


    Si

  • Oh no don't worry. I need to do this for myself. It's a learning process. Now I know exactly what Clean/Distortion sens does, how it works, where in the signal chain this stuff goes, and what the real culprit is of the issues with sound quality with hotter pickups.


    It's a case of misdiagnosis. Yes reducing clean sens will remedy the problem but it's a side effect of what clean sens is doing. Knowing that the real issue is clipping on output rather than input and that the sens settings are stack output volume/mix controls, then it's clear that the better solution is a reduction in the Master Output and/or an attenuator in front of the Kemper.