No usable Kemper Tones

  • Hi guys, apologies that I am an idiot. I have recorded nearly 80 songs in the 4 years since I got the Kemper. I always knew something was off, but it was not exposed till the engineer got back to me and said all of my guitar tracks are not usable? With the Kemper I noticed alot of strange high end stuff going on and I could never figure it out. I partially did right now. I dialed back the presence switch and that tamed most of it. I have a question for you brilliant folks that know what you are doing... I am running the Kemper direct into my interface. I am just using the main output. When you record a track with the Kemper is it best to basically have the presence nearly off and the effects off? What is a going starting point to dial in a good recording tone for the set-up I have. At this point I am devastated that 4 years of work is trashed! I wish I was 20 again, but that was 32 years ago. Thanks guys, I appreciate you all.

  • By presence switch do you mean the knob?


    If anything, IMHO, cranking the bass and / or cutting the mid knob would probably be the worst things you could do in most recording situations.


    If you want to keep your options open so that even your engineer can't complain, just record simultaneous-DI tracks from the KPA's Direct output every time you track. That way if the tone you chose on the day doesn't end up suiting things perfectly, you or the engineer can reamp to your heart's content until you find something that does.


    Switching Rigs in real time whilst the mix is playing theoretically puts you in the best-possible position to make such judgements 'cause you're listening and not playing.


    HTH

  • Please do, Storms_of_Evermore . Did you provide the engineer with tracks that were recorded using the Kemper as opposed to DIs? It could be he's just crochety. Or alternatively, he may find the tones you selected are not suitable for the type of music you are aiming for.


    PS: Usually I change nothing on the Kemper profiles. That means all the bottom controls at a 0 reading. It could be that by turning your presence off, you have totally killed your tone. Not something I would do.

  • I also do not touch the knobs unless I have to. Since the KPA tone stack is different than whatever amp you're playing a profile of, it makes sense to me to leave the profile as the creator intended, and switch profiles instead of turning knobs.


    That said, the KPA is at the least, Pro-sumer studio gear, that can be heard on many albums throughout the last years. No one can tell you why you're having this issue, but there's really only a few explanations that I can see:


    You and the engineer have a very different opinion of what good tone is, the engineer is not giving the KPA an objective ear, something in the signal chain (guitar/pickups) is less than ideal, something is wrong with the KPA (unlikely, but it happens), either way, no one can help you without clips. A DI recording of the guitar used would also be very useful.


    On that note...my heart kind of sunk for you when you talked about all the time and effort you've possibly wasted here. 80 songs, 4 years, man...


    Not to pile on, but for the love of all that is holy, if you're recording something important (ESPECIALLY IF YOU ALREADY NOTICE SOMETHING OFF WITH THE TONE), always, always, always record a DI of every single guitar track. If that had been done, we'd just be talking about re-amping instead of lost blood sweat and tears.


    Best of luck.

    Disclaimer: When I post demo clips for profiles, there will be some minimal 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, though 90% of my clips will be from packs I have purchased.

  • Hiya, sorry to hear that...post some samples when you get chance mate - lots of really helpful and knowledgeable folk here - and it might not be as bad as you think, it can be easy (and very understandable) to be critical of your own music when you invest so much emotional energy into it - and there is lots of fixes for audio that I'm sure will come your way!


    Cheers,

    Greg

    PRS Custom 22's - Fender Strats - Diezel VH4 - Carol Ann OD2 - Toneking Imperial MK2 - Colin the Kemper - CLR Neo ii.

  • Did the engineer give any clues as to why the tones were unusable?


    I would be interested to hear his reasoning.


    I used my KPA for the majority of the last record my band recorded. Listening back there are certain songs where I can’t tell if it’s the KPA or my tube amp. Other songs I remember which I used.

  • Please post what you can so we can try to help.


    I used to work with an 'engineer' and he and I always had a difficult relationship. I remember playing a riff to him once and he acted as if it pained him and made it very clear how much he disliked it. Fast forward about a year and he fawned all over it and we built a song upon it. Some people like to be critical of things as it makes them feel superior. There might be something wrong with your tracks however 'unusable' is a very dramatic phrase. I've used all sorts of tracks in recordings that weren't what I'd choose but managed to make them work well enough with some effort.

  • Did the engineer give any clues as to why the tones were unusable?


    I would be interested to hear his reasoning.


    I used my KPA for the majority of the last record my band recorded. Listening back there are certain songs where I can’t tell if it’s the KPA or my tube amp. Other songs I remember which I used.


    Please post what you can so we can try to help.


    I used to work with an 'engineer' and he and I always had a difficult relationship. I remember playing a riff to him once and he acted as if it pained him and made it very clear how much he disliked it. Fast forward about a year and he fawned all over it and we built a song upon it. Some people like to be critical of things as it makes them feel superior. There might be something wrong with your tracks however 'unusable' is a very dramatic phrase. I've used all sorts of tracks in recordings that weren't what I'd choose but managed to make them work well enough with some effort.

    I bet you both are onto something. OP, have you considered a second opinion. Any decent engineer I know would make it work, it's kind of hard to screw up a tone so badly that it can't be fixed (it's not ideal to do this in post, but it happens all the time). I find it to be a very strange response from him.


    Maybe tell him you re-tracked with his favorite tube amp, send the same files back, and see if it sounds different to him then. :D

    Disclaimer: When I post demo clips for profiles, there will be some minimal 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, though 90% of my clips will be from packs I have purchased.

  • All tracks not usable? Get a new engineer. I really mean it. An engineer that throws that right in the face is obvious not a very smart guy. If he was worthy the name he would probably say something like this, look the tones may sound good in solo but not the best ones in a mix. I could be true that you have choosed profiles that work better in isolation rather than in a song. Anyway hire someone else.

  • Perhaps the recorded tones were pushed to digital clipping? Ie. taking the Kemper analog out, and pushing the gain too high in the recording device, so that the input signal in the DAW/recorder is way beyond 0.0 dBFS. As 0.0 is the absolute digital limit, anything signal beyond 0.0 will simply be cut out. That would ruin basically any tone, but it is unfortunately a user error and an uncorrectable one if you didn't record non-clipped DI tracks at the same time.

  • Yes the presence knob. When I backed off it today it was a game-changer. I never touched it in the past, because I thought it would change the original profile, but it seems like they have nothing to do with the profile it's just the default settings of the Kemper? Roger that on the DI. I will have to do that.

  • Also, I am wondering if when I am running the main output into my Zen Tour if somehow I am clipping the Kemper without seeing it clip in Pro Tools on the way in. I know sometimes I turn up the master volume when PT12 is only showing -25 dB

  • Hi guys. I figured it out pretty much. So all of the knobs below the bass, mid, treble and presence, I have never touched those for paranoia of ruining the original profile. I have found on many of these that the presence knob creates a lot of harsh tones (even at zero) that is very unpleasant to my ears. I have found if the presence knob is backed down to -2.0 it renders a better track without all of that upper stuff. I mean I guess if it's printed it can be dealt with via a LPF? Also, my biggest mistake was printing the effects (I think?). I am recording in mono, so printing reverb and delay in that setting probably isn't best? Know if I was recording stereo from the Kemper then yeah if I love the tone and I can live with it print it! From now on I will record a DI. Monkey-Man told me this a month or two ago and I should have listened!

  • Hi guys. I figured it out pretty much. So all of the knobs below the bass, mid, treble and presence, I have never touched those for paranoia of ruining the original profile. I have found on many of these that the presence knob creates a lot of harsh tones (even at zero) that is very unpleasant to my ears. I have found if the presence knob is backed down to -2.0 it renders a better track without all of that upper stuff. I mean I guess if it's printed it can be dealt with via a LPF? Also, my biggest mistake was printing the effects (I think?). I am recording in mono, so printing reverb and delay in that setting probably isn't best? Know if I was recording stereo from the Kemper then yeah if I love the tone and I can live with it print it! From now on I will record a DI. Monkey-Man told me this a month or two ago and I should have listened!

    Have you tried other guitars? This is not a common issue (never heard of it before), I would want to check other guitars.


    Yes, I would think that some form of pass filter or shelf would take care of the issue, since to my understanding, Presence is a boost to the high shelf. Generally a Presence knob can only boost high freqs, but not cut them. I would not be surprised at all to find that the KPA can cut them, which makes the whole thing even stranger to me in a way (because you like it at a negative value).


    Yes, printing the effects is not a great move for several reasons. Obviously, once they're printed, that's it, no adjustment can be done, and effects act differently in a mix than with just guitar playing. The effects on the Kemper are fantastic. For an amp. They are pretty poor when put up against any good VST in your engineer's DAW. Like you noted, they are printed in mono, and there are a lot of cool things that can be done in stereo.


    Yes, always record a DI. Not a bad idea to generally take Nicky's advice pretty seriously.


    Also, I am wondering if when I am running the main output into my Zen Tour if somehow I am clipping the Kemper without seeing it clip in Pro Tools on the way in. I know sometimes I turn up the master volume when PT12 is only showing -25 dB

    I don't know my way around your interface/routing software/DAW, but I think this is definitely possible. What is the output level of the KPA set to when you record? What is the input of your DAW set to? My Babyface will not go below +9db, and I leave it right there, as it should be for a line level signal. You would turn the Input gain up if you were recording through a mic for example, but with my setup at least, turning up the input gain on my interface is a bad idea.


    What do your waveforms look like within your DAW? Do they fill the whole verticle section, or are they much smaller? What db level do you record at?


    Edit: Paul's post below sounds pretty dead-on to me.

    Disclaimer: When I post demo clips for profiles, there will be some minimal 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, though 90% of my clips will be from packs I have purchased.

    Edited once, last by Locrain ().

  • You never know what's going on in this business. He might want to get one of his buddies re-do the tracks and come up with some excuse, or it could be legitimate user error. An honest engineer would present you a way to salvage the tracks at the best of their abilities. But yeah, the 4 track method (one DI, one dry stack, one stereo wet) as explained in the Kemper videos is my safe way of doing it.

  • The wav forms are super tiny, so I would assume that means mostly treble and upper frequencies?

  • Not necessarily.


    It could be low level overall or simply the waveform-display-size setting.


    Hi guys. I figured it out pretty much. So all of the knobs below the bass, mid, treble and presence, I have never touched those for paranoia of ruining the original profile. I have found on many of these that the presence knob creates a lot of harsh tones (even at zero) that is very unpleasant to my ears. I have found if the presence knob is backed down to -2.0 it renders a better track without all of that upper stuff. I mean I guess if it's printed it can be dealt with via a LPF? Also, my biggest mistake was printing the effects (I think?). I am recording in mono, so printing reverb and delay in that setting probably isn't best? Know if I was recording stereo from the Kemper then yeah if I love the tone and I can live with it print it! From now on I will record a DI. Monkey-Man told me this a month or two ago and I should have listened!

    Nothing wrong with backing it off as a matter of course to -2.0 if that's what works with a particular guitar. I've got an old Squire Strat that's super-scratchy and it demands taming of both the presence and treble. Terrible-sounding guitar, but that's what you get for $50 second-hand.


    Yes, the engineer can LPF it. In fact, it's generally-better to do this than to try to add missing high frequencies back in via EQ. The ol' "cutting is better than boosting" rule applies here too.


    Relieved to hear you're gonna finally take my DI advice, man! Awesome. You may hardly ever need to reamp, but you'll know it when you do, and you'll be grateful that your energy spent on takes wasn't wasted.

    Not a bad idea to generally take Nicky's advice pretty seriously.

    Where have you been all my life, Bruce?