Problems with input distortion

  • So I'm recording metal guitars that are to be sent to a studio for re-amping and mixing. My thought was to record via the Kemper splitting the sound into one clean, unprocessed signal and one processed signal. When listening to the unprocessed signal I hear quite a bit of distortion on tremolo picked parts, it's also visible in the waveforms in my DAW. When recording directly into my audio interface there is no distortion.

    I've lowered the sensitivity on the input section to -12 dB but still get distortion that is also visible in the input led. I'm not using any active pickups, just a regular humbucker so I don't think the line signal from the guitar is that hot compared to most other guitars.
    I can't really hear any negative artifacts in the heavy distorted sound so I don't think it affects the sound in any audible way. Then again, I really don't want the engineer in this high end studio to think I'm a complete idiot that can't set my input levels properly. :D

    So my question is, is there any other way to adjust the input to get rid of the distortion?

  • Are you sure that you're not clipping the input of your audio interface? Even if all levels into and out of the KPA are fine, your audio interface's input gain maybe set too high or you're accidentially using the wrong input.
    If you're seeing a clipped waveform in your DAW, does it peak up to 0 dBFS? If yes, the Audio Interface input is clipping, if not, the KPA is clipping.

    In case of the audio interface clipping, here are the choices I know:
    a) Make sure you're using the DIRECT OUTPUT (Output Source: "Git Analog") from the KPA into a DI/Instrument/Hi-Z input of your audio interface. Adjust the input gain on the audio interface so that the resulting level will be about -18 dBFS.

    b) Or use a S/PDIF Connection between the KPA and your audio Interface and you don't have to/can't care about the levels.

    c) Set the DIRECT OUTPUT to "Git Studio" and go from the KPA into a line level input on your audio Interface. Again, set input levels correctly.

    And I don't know any other way to adjust the KPA's input level other than using the Clean Sens in the input section.

  • Thanks for the reply!
    There was plenty of headroom into the interface, and no distortion when recording directly into it without using the kemper, so I’m 100% sure the clipping occurs in the Kemper.
    Since I saw the input LED indicate clipping I actually didn’t borher trying to use a different output. I’ll try the different options you recommended!

  • The only way to adjust the input sensitivity is by using the CLEAN SENS knob in the INPUT section. After reading the manual about what this control is supposed to do, I have no idea how it could affect the input gain of a distorted sound, but it is how it is.

    What pickups are you using? My highest output guitars are equipped with active EMG 81 and EMG 808's and if I lower the CLEAN SENS to -5 dB, the input LED stays green. Well there might be a very tiny amount of yellow in there, but you have to look very carefully.