About myself - A long time AXE FX II owner with my newly acquired KEMPER - along with some observations from an objective user

  • 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".

  • While I offer a hearty welcome as well, it might be a bit pretentious on my part since I've been here for all of five minutes (got my Kemper last weekend).


    I looked at the AxeFX III when considering which to buy, and it sounded absolutely awesome. However, a big part of my choice was the fact that sadly, I don't possess your talent in dialing in tones so spending hours tweaking parameters in a modeler isn't how I want to spend my time. I might feel differently about it if I had some skill in that area, but it is what it is.


    With the Kemper I can just load profiles created by those who are far better at it than I am. What I didn't realize until I got it was that loading a profile isn't just employing someone's skills at accurately capturing the stack. They first dial in a killer tone, that thing which has always eluded me, and then profile it. This means I don't have to load a profile, aka amp model, and then spend a lot of time turning it into the sound I want. I just find what feels right and then play. My guitar has never sounded this good. Of course, that doesn't make my playing any better but hey, one crisis at a time. :)

    I've seen people who just shelled out over $2,000 get told to "RTFM" by the company's owner

    As highly regarded as they are by major touring acts, I'm in the U.S. and Fractal doesn't have the presence with retailers here that other amp manufacturers have. That was a concern for me, as I figured if they don't have a high profile with the people who stand to make money selling them, what are the implications for support?


    As I poked around, I bumped into some posts on people's personal websites describing this kind of response from the company's owner. I took that with a grain of salt because unless you're part of the community you never know if the person complaining was just a troll who brought it on himself. Even so, after seeing enough of these incidences, coupled with the lack of a strong U.S. retail presence, I ruled out Fractal even before I decided on the Kemper. I actually like supporting Mom & Pop companies over huge corporations when possible, but only when they conduct themselves professionally.


    Above and beyond the sound and ability to tap into the talent of the tone gurus around here, the other thing Kemper has a reputation for is the unusually positive and helpful vibe of the community. Spend any time at all on the Internet and you know that forums are almost always overrun by those with a negative and snarky attitude. I've only been here a week, and while I'm sure there must be the occasional troll that slips in, I haven't seen it. They even seem tolerant of my rather verbose tendencies. Turns out there really is a different vibe here, which is very refreshing.


    I think you're going to enjoy the community as much as the Kemper.

  • Welcome!


    I experienced the Fractal arrogance way back when they were just starting out. I emailed to see if they would sell to NZ and they said there's no dealer here so they wouldn't even consider it. Just a short, sharp, dismissive reply. Watching the way they've tried so hard to build obsolescence into their products over the years I'm really glad they fobbed me off and I eventually found the Kemper.

  • Hello I'm sampleaccurate and I have been the owner of an AXE FX 2 for several years.


    Hi sample accurate welcome to amp-a-holics anonymous ^^


    I'm wheresthedug but you can call me Al (Alan actually).


    They're not a bad bunch around these parts :) and several of them have been very helpful to me since I got my Kemper at the start of the year.

  • I'm in the U.S. and Fractal doesn't have the presence with retailers here that other amp manufacturers have.

    It's not just the US. I believe Fractal stopped selling through retailers all together here in the UK too.


    When I bought my Kemper I tried it side by side with the Helix for a a whole afternoon before making my mind up but I couldn't get a chance to try an Axe first hand. Although I have heard numerous demos and have heard others using them live I wasn't about to spend that kind of money without trying it first. I had no doubt the Axe would sound fantastic but I wanted the simplicity of plug 'n' play rather than tweaking a few hundred parameters and without actually sitting in the room with the product you just can't get a feel for how it will work for you. I decided to go Kemper and am very happy I did. However, at the end of the day they are all just tools and if gets the job done it's good regardless of who makes it or how many flashing lights it has :)

  • I was first introduced to Axe FX in 2010 at a Dweezil Zappa band camp in New York. He used that and a midi controller at the time.

    I was impressed with the tones and the flexibility, but I knew there was no way I wanted to dive that deep into making the tones I wanted.

    Dweezil left it all up to his guitar tech.

    I don't have a guitar tech.

    Or roadies... or anything...:D

  • I was first introduced to Axe FX in 2010 at a Dweezil Zappa band camp in New York. He used that and a midi controller at the time.

    I was impressed with the tones and the flexibility, but I knew there was no way I wanted to dive that deep into making the tones I wanted.

    Dweezil left it all up to his guitar tech.

    I don't have a guitar tech.

    Or roadies... or anything...:D

    It's just me, myself and I over here as well! I'm tired of tweaking.