(Update)Kemper rack owner debating getting Ax8 or 2nd Kemper toaster for live use. Anyone with experience?

  • 2nd Kemper (toaster) or Fractal Ax8 for live use 16

    1. 2nd Kemper (11) 69%
    2. Ax8 (5) 31%

    So after my first kemper I see no need for a real amp anymore. I use my kemper 100% for recording so far but recently got a FRFR speaker and after a couple weeks I absolutely love how it sounds with the kemper . My kemper is in a rack thats built into my recording desk and with how much I love it I cant bring my self to take it out of the desk and out of the house for live use. That being said I was debating getting a toaster for using live but I started to debate getting an ax8 instead as fractal describes it as “built-like-a-tank”. I definitely know I will like the sound of another kemper better but for smaller gigs live I think the ax8 would do fine if it is more durable. The footswitch part isnt an issue even with using ax8 it would be on the side and I'd use midi to switch patches as I use backing tracks anyway. So question is is the toaster durable enough for gigging? and Does any one have an ax8 in edition to their kemper and think it is a better route to go for live? Thank you guys for your time!

  • I have the powered toaster and just carry it in the Kemper gig bag (no flight case). I wouldn't like to let someone else chuck it about in a van but for taking to gigs myself I have no concerns about its durability.


    I haven't tried the AX8 but have a friend who uses one and swears by it. I'm sure either would be great. However, if you have sounds that you know you like already set up the studio KPA that you want to use live then another KPA would make life easier. Having said that, I use my Toaster mainly at home in my studio. It sits on my work desk desk to my old Mackie 8 Bus mixer. When I go to rehearsals or a gig I just unplug the cables and leave them lying on the desk. When I come back I take the Kemper out the bag and plug the cables back in. It takes less than a minute each time :)


    In your case, I would just take my rack unit out of the studio rack and put it in a small flightcase (3 or 4u SKB or similar). Put a little patchbay on the back or front to make connecting easier and more secure if necessary. That's just my approach though as I can think of lots of things to do with nearly £2k than by a second anything :)

  • Exactly I feel weird spending so much on something I already have but I wouldn't enjoy gigging as much using my pride and joy kemper worried if something happened Id be left with nothing lol So getting an ax8 is a different product so ill have two options but in the end i know it wont be a kemper lol

  • Own/d both.


    I second the Kemper because the workflow would be simple. Just a USB stick away. It would be a fair amount of work getting the AX8 to sound exactly like you're accustomed to.


    If you weren't already invested in the KPA I'd suggest the AX8. If you like to tinker and learn new things, by all means, get the AX8. It's certainly good enough to do what you want.

  • Own/d both.


    I second the Kemper because the workflow would be simple. Just a USB stick away. It would be a fair amount of work getting the AX8 to sound exactly like you're accustomed to.


    If you weren't already invested in the KPA I'd suggest the AX8. If you like to tinker and learn new things, by all means, get the AX8. It's certainly good enough to do what you want.

    Yeah though the ax8 sounds good im worried its gonna sound more digital than ive grown accustomed to with the kemper. Do you feel the kemper is as durable as your ax8?

  • There are always some issues with respect to damage or theft when you take gear to a gig. Not to mention back pain!


    The Pros for the AX8:


    I think the AX8 is made for the rigors of the road. It's also smaller and lighter than the KPA. AX8 is less expensive than the KPA. So if damaged or stolen, it will be less of a monetary loss. Further, it undoubtedly adds to your sound arsenal.


    Potential Cons of the AX8:


    Will you will be satisfied with the sounds you get with the AX8? And what will be the required learning curve that you will need to overcome just to get to a point where you are satisfied with your sound with the AX8? Also, speculation of an AX8 version 2 release in 2019 seems to be rampant. So you might have buyer's remorse if you pull the trigger now.


    The Pros for the KPA:


    Proven sound quality. Ease of use. No new learning curve.


    The Cons of a second KPA:


    It is tough to lug around. You are paying twice for something you already have. You need a Kemper remote or some other MIDI pedal for live use. That increases the overall cost and therefore the potential financial hit with damage or theft.


    So here is a suggestion. It might be an impractical one for you. It might not.


    Pull your KPA from its fixed rack and put it into a portable one. Take it with you for gigs and you have only spent a little on a portable rack. Find a good place for your KPA in its new rack in your studio. I suggest putting it on your studio desk in the portable rack so you have easy access to the KPA front panel.

  • scratch17 Thanks man best response I received on here and on Facebook groups. I'm now leaning towards the ax8 because of it being cheaper if anything does happen its not my kemper plus I'm not paying double for something I already have you're right. Thanks again man

  • I own both. Originally used my Kemper live. I bought the AX8 for an all-in-one compact floorboard. It does have very good tone and very very very good effects. I was able to dial in rigs that worked for my live situation. It was actually kind of fun. I did find that the rigs I could purchase for the AX8 never ever sounded as good as the Michael Britt rigs I purchased for my Kemper. I ended up just making my own. I was happy with its compact size and sound. However, a couple things turned me back to the Kemper for live gigs. First, there can be an abrupt "pop" or short silent period when switching rigs. There are ways to get around it when programming rigs and playing live but it takes work, and it can be a pain to anticipate when it will happen live. I don't worry about that with the Kemper. Plug and play! Second, I use the beat scanner function, almost religiously, for songs where my delay and rotary effect has to be in synch with our drummer (who does not play to a click track). I desperately missed that feature with the AX8. So while the AX8 delay effects are really good and sound amazing, they are a total disaster if my drummer slightly changes the tempo mid-song, and then again and again. Tap tempo, by itself, is definitely not sufficient to handle this. This is never a problem with the Kemper's beat scanner function. That is a huge benefit for me. I've actually tried to find an external delay pedal with that function so that I can use the AX8 live, but haven't found anyone that sells a pedal with a similar function.

  • I had an AX8 and sent it back. I found it nearby impossible to tweak without a PC. The effects are little better than the kemper,but kemper's plain amp "sim" much more authentic. And thats -for me- the most important thing, especially live.

  • I had an AX8 for a year. Sold it went back to amps and plugins. Then got a good trade in deal for a new Kemper and sad I didn’t get one sooner. So much better than the AX8 in my opinion. If you want to get a backup floorboard based unit I would get a used Helix. I tried the plug in on a trial and while it doesn’t sound nearly as good as the Kemper to me it was similar to the AX8 and the Helix gives you a lot of things the Kemper and AX8 don’t have.

  • Ohhh such a tough choice...


    Stay with what you know or try something different, bearing in mind it gives more versatility to have 2 units to play with then suitable for either scenario!


    Both are clearly great, I don;t think one is better suited to live, just different.


    I like the fact that the powered rack doesn't need a separate amp and therefore is versatile...but you need the remote as well..


    Probably not the response you might expect but I'd go AX8 ....oh hang on but why change something your happy with, KPA....oh I don't know!!


    If you've not used your KPA live, why not try that first..which will be a pain ripping in and out of your studio, but couple of gigs in, you'll know...just a thought..

  • I have one in my live rack and one in my studio rack, perfect solution for me. I also run both through a Radial ABY box and record dual amp set ups for recording which is killer.



    (RACK) Kemper KPA, ISP Decimator Pro G; (back of rack) Rack Solutions Power Strip, Xotic SP Compressor, Xotic EP Booster


    (PEDALBOARD) Kemper Remote, X2 Wireless, Visual Sound Pure Tone Buffer, Mission Engineering EP-1 KP, Digitech Drop, Rocktron Banshee Talkbox, Digitech Freqout, Xotic BB Preamp

  • battle322

    Changed the title of the thread from “Kemper rack owner debating getting Ax8 or 2nd Kemper toaster for live use. Anyone with experience?” to “(Update)Kemper rack owner debating getting Ax8 or 2nd Kemper toaster for live use. Anyone with experience?”.