Is there any software that can give the Kemper a run for its money?

  • Bit of advice please guys. I sold all my gear a few years ago but have recently got back into gigging/recording. I’m currently using a TSL100 borrowed from a friend, but decided that I’d get a powered Kemper as it’s an investment and I’d never need another amp again. However, when it came to actually shelling out the 2k I had a bit of a crisis of conscience… ie, my wife would go crazy if she found out. I’m basically wondering if I can save some money by using a valve amp live and modelling software for recording. I play hard rock/heavy metal so I’d just go for a good old DSL50 for live purposes – I can pick one up for around £350. That’s the easy part. I know very, very little about recording but it’s something I’m slowly getting more into. Can anyone advise if there are any guitar amp software packages that can compare to the Kemper? I use FL Studio so it would need to interface with that somehow – as I say, I’m a bit out of my depth here. I don’t mind spending a few hundred quid on decent software if overall it will save me in the region of a grand compared to the Kemper. Any help much appreciated.

  • Can anyone advise if there are any guitar amp software packages that can compare to the Kemper?

    Simple answer: no

    I recently tested nerly every state of the art software amp. If you know how to do EQ matching you can get high sounds to sound very similar when fully hitting the strings. But when it comes to dynamics and playing feel, nothing beats the Kemper. Helix Native, Bias... all of those sound like crap if you take a high gain rig and turn the volume pot of your guitar. I got decent results with Waves PRS Archon, but not even close to the KPA.

  • Exactly.

    It's not just about what you hear, especially when listening to a PooToob demo or whatever, but what you feel whilst playing, which in turn affects how you play, of course. "Real" tube interaction and mojo going on, and I've never heard / felt it with any other DSP-modelled software, be it in a hardware unit such as a POD or a plugin.

    That said, to be fair, and I can only go by what I've heard, S-Gear sounds pretty-damned good compared to virtually every other piece of modelling I've heard (Kemper is not modelling in the traditional sense; Profiling is a different beast in many ways).

  • I use Amplitube but not massively happy with it. It sounds good enough to record with but I think you need to spend a lot of money for all of the options to get pro level.

    £2k is a lot of money I agree....but I spoke to my wife about it before I bought and explained it this way:

    1) It is less than the cost of a good guitar
    2) I get money from gigs, this is what I need to gig simply and better - in other words its eventually self funding
    3) As a hobby, its not a lot of money - I also do track that is big money!
    4) Its a small price for a happy husband
    5) If for whatever reason I don't like it, the resale value is really good so I'm unlikely to lose much money

    Seriously, it is the best guitar investment I have ever made. I have not bought one outboard pedal or had the remotest interest in another amp since. It is way more versatile than any conventional amp. I have 3 leads, power, speaker cable and ethernet to the remote and that's it! Literally 10 mins to set up, no 4 cable etc...

    For me the powered version is defiantly the way to go if you are gigging as you have more versatility.

    I 've not done much recording but the benefit is its the same set up, and same sound.

    Before you buy try one as not everyone is 100% happy but I think you'll love it.

    The only caveat is make sure you've budgeted for:
    A case/rack
    The remote!!!
    Expression pedals
    FRFR speaker if you want to go that route - loads of options with powered..

    Come on in, the waters lovely...

  • Using vst you'll have to deal with latency.

    Everything else is a matter of taste.
    Try some demos - everything from Mercuriall is top notch. Even feel is great here - just my opinion of course.

    Waves PRS is nice for cleans - really nice. Amplitube Fender 2 too.

    I have the Kemper and a big collection of profiles - still I am using plugins like Amplitube 4, Vandal, TSE x50... cause they sound all different and I really like some of the modelling. I even make profiles of vst plugins - so I "solved" the latency problem ^^

    Even pro guitarists like Steve Hackett are using Amplitube and vst in the studio - so I think I am allowed to like a few presets too :thumbup:

  • Line6's Helix Native is about the closest you're going to get in terms of modeling quality. Does it compare with the Kemper? I personally prefer the Kemper with respect to tone, but Helix Native can be made to sound pretty darn good. If you're new to recording and don't have any hardcore expectations in terms of sonic results, it might just fit the bill. It really depends on your particular use case. Your best bet would be to try the demo before selling off the Kemper.

  • I like this guitar tone more than the original album tone (which might be a Kemper eventually?)

    As said, all a matter of taste.

    Here someKemper spotting in the back of the video. But actually a plugin demo

  • unless you really need the Kemper for pro work, you might be better off buying the DSL50 and an SM57 and sticking the speaker cab in a closet when needing to record. Long speaker and mic cables don't affect tone like a long gtr cable.

    The Kemper does sound better than virtual amp plugins but you can get a decent sound by using the new Celestion IRs and bypassing all of the speaker emulations.

  • This is very subjective, but if all you need is to get ideas laid down, work demos out, I think L6 Native is an acceptable way to record. I've not tried Bias but from the demos I've seen and heard, they also sound like an option as well. I personally have found modeler software easier to record with but I've used it exclusively for demo ideas. I've only scratched the surface of the Kemper and have yet to record anything with it, but that's not the fault of the Kemper. I'm still trying to piece all my studio components together in a new house.

  • This is very subjective, but if all you need is to get ideas laid down, work demos out, I think L6 Native is an acceptable way to record.

    Anything decent is OK to use on demo stuff IMHO. The Kemper really records well. I was amazed how well an Axe FX 11xl sounded on a studio recording I did. The Kemper is so much more to my taste, and it sounds just so f.good. :)

    A/B trials are one thing, but if no one knows what you used, I really don't think they'd even mention it. I used a Les Paul on a video I did, and recorded the solos on an Axe FX. Amazing, people told me I had got a classic Les Paul sound, through some valve amp really loud. No, I used a Strat with Seymour Duncan's and an Axe FX... People believe what they see. :) lol

  • L6 Native has a 15 day free trial. I'd say if you aren't in a position to shell out for a Kemper, give it a go.

    That said, I am also going to mention that there are MANY rigs you can purchase that sound good and equally as many that you may find unusable without further tweaking, eq or processing of some sort, and that's not also to say they may still not be what you want to use. Similar can be said for modeling software but you really need to do your due diligence and really look into your expectations from a Kemper or modeling software to find out what is best suited to your budget and needs.

  • Tried literally almost all of them; the only ones that come close in feel and sound to me are the Mercuriall plugins. I never even used to change their built-in IRs, they worked really well for me. There are free trials available, and I'll say this...if you do the trial and really like it, don't pay for anything else. You more than likely won't dig them.