I play at home for fun and compose original music on my DAW. I don't have a need to duplicate tones, only get what I consider to be good ones that I like. I've also been the owner of an AXE FX II for several years. During that time I think I've managed to program about 20 different tones that I like. Those were developed only after hours and hours of tweaking per patch. In my opinion the unit sounds FANTASTIC but only if the countless number of parameters are set properly.
I was growing a little frustrated with the amount of time it took me to develop new tones. After hearing about the Kemper I decided to give it a try. All I can say at this point is that I wish I had done this years ago. I've had the unit for 2 days, and after that short period of time with assistance from some of the kind folks here on the Forum I've been able to develop several new tones in addition to profiling with extreme accuracy some of my favorite tones on the AXE FX that were developed over a period of years.
What surprises the heck out of me is the accuracy with which the Kemper duplicates the tones I use. I've had time to profile three of my favorite tones from the AXE FX modeler and the Kemper is literally indistinguishable from the AXE FX to my ears.
I try to avoid being critical of anything unless it's necessary but I'll make an exception in this case so that everyone understands my evolution in guitar tone technology. One of the things I don't like about the AXE FX has nothing to do with the unit itself but rather the condescending attitude I see on the Forum from members and in particular from the owner of the company. I've seen people who just shelled out over $2,000 get told to "RTFM" by the company's owner rather than just let others answer questions from newbs who haven't had time to read the mammoth sized manual. When I first purchased it there was a bug in one of the chorus algorithms. I discovered this the first day I owned the unit. It had been completely missed during beta testing by one of their so-called expert Forum members. Another thing I didn't care for was the fact that beta testing is apparently restricted to a few individuals as opposed to the KPA where if I so desire I can test out the new firmware with spring reverb for example.
Being uncertain whether or not I was doing something wrong I asked a very simple question about whether there was a bug in the chorus. In short order other members duplicated my problem which apparently had not been caught in beta testing. Rather than an apologetic "thanks for finding the bug, we will fix it in the next firmware release", instead the reply from the owner of the company was to belittle the problem by calling it an "obscure, esoteric" type of chorus only a few people use (which was far from the truth). Needless to say I wasn't very happy with that response particularly since I just shelled out a couple of grand for this man's device. What was really shocking and disappointing was that other members started piling on by reiterating his comment about how I didn't "need" that kind of chorus. How nice of them to tell me what I need and what I don't need!!! I've witnessed others undergo similar experiences.
My other criticism is that after painstakingly crafting tones, if one decides to install the latest firmware you can kiss all your tones goodbye. This process becomes maddening after a while and I won't miss it one bit, particularly when I hear no improvement. In some cases not only does your tone change, it completely disappears when an amp model is discontinued. All that said the AXE FX is a nice piece of hardware and an EXCELLENT modeler. The problem for me is I'm weary of programming modelers and the basic technology of recreating an amp using a real time circuit simulator isn't anything new or groundbreaking and doesn't fit my needs nearly as well as a device like the KPA. Little did I know this until 2 days ago. That's all it took for me to realize THIS is what I've been looking for but just didn't know it.
Back to the Kemper. Everything I read about it is absolutely true or if it's not the truth is actually better than what I've read. As an example I've read in more than one place that the top end or highest frequencies in the KPA don't match the amps they were profiled from. As someone with excellent high-frequency hearing I simply don't share that opinion. Every Nuance of the profiles that I've taken sound identical to the source they were profiled from to my ears. It also makes no sense to me because the raw distorted amp sound has more high frequency content than any usable sound and is only filtered by the cabinet, so it seems to me a slightly brighter cabinet would solve any "problem" having to do with less pronounced highs.
To make a long story short I'm thrilled to death with the performance of the KPA. All of the claims made by Kemper about the KPA are true. In fact, I believe the performance and accuracy of the KPA is even better than advertised.
I'm looking forward to many years of enjoyment with my new KPA and selling the AXE FX after profiling my favorite sounds, which the KPA does flawlessly to my ears.
I'd also like to thank everyone on the forum for welcoming a newb and answering questions that are found in the manual before users like me have a chance to read all of it. It sure beats "RTFM", something I've seen a lot of "elsewhere".