My Relatively Short Kemper Experience... (Long Post with Photos)

  • I started researching the Kemper when I finally got tired of hauling around my Dr Z Maz 18, Pedal board, and my guitars 3-4 times a week. I started by looking up a few videos on YouTube and was, at first, turned off by the Kemper due to it's seemingly complex interface. I was also skeptical of going the digital route for my sound as in the past I had purchased a Line 6 Helix and after a year of owning it I couldn't ever dial in a "great" tone.


    Flash forward a couple of weeks and I thought, maybe I'll just give this thing a chance. I watched the Kemper 101 video by Tone Junkies and realized that the Kemper might not be as intimidating as I originally thought. I quickly became consumed by watching hundreds of YouTube videos comparing real amp tones and the Kemper, Kempers worship tone videos, so on and so fourth. I was blown away at how seemingly close the Kemper got the REAL amps and how veterans in the industry could rarely ever tell the difference between the Kemper and their own amp in a blind test.


    Well, obviously, now I had to play one. I headed to one of our local music stores and started pushing random buttons and really enjoyed the responsiveness of the Kemper. One of the techs there owned one and dialed in a brilliantly vox-y style sound filled with tons of ambient reverb and delay. I loved it. I went another time a few days later and played the Kemper and actually found myself really dissatisfied with the sound. I was so used to the big "amp in the room" feel that the Kemper felt week and "sterile". I thought, this couldn't be right. I played it only a few days prior and I loved it. I came back a third time in a later week and tried it once again, this time at a bit louder volume and found myself enjoying the tones once again. I decided at that point I needed a cab or an frfr (coaxial) speaker that emulated something close to that "cab in the room" feel for home use and then potentially for stage volume at shows.


    Flash forward another two months (as my budget was tight) and I finally pulled the trigger. I found an incredible deal on Reverb with a Gemini 1-P speaker, Powered Kemper Head, and Remote for a dang good price. I was super pleased with the deal I got because not long after I saw a similar posting go up on Reverb for about $700 more than I got it for. I eagerly waited as the Kemper showed up at my doorstep and once it got to me I immediately started plugging away and exploring tones/amps/effects, etc. I was blown away by how amazing the Gemini 1-P sounded. It VERY much has that amp in the room feel. It is very dynamic and has an incredible dynamic range that I don't think I could've gotten out of most guitar cabs.


    One of my most frustrating experiences with the Kemper thus far (and it's not even directly with the Kemper itself) is the seeming lack of available cases online. I know there are tons and tons of hard cases, but a lot of the reason I swapped to the Kemper would be for more convenient transportation and having a TSA/hard case wouldn't allow for that as well as I would've liked. I wanted a bag that I could throw on my shoulder and haul it around. The original Kemper bag is kind of expensive given that I've seen tons of mixed reviews on the product and I wanted something that fit the Remote/Kemper/ and more cables, potentially an expression pedal (I know the official bag does this, but it seemed somewhat unreliable). I bought a bag on Amazon that didn't end up fitting which was disappointing and then continued to browse on the forums until I came across a forum where a guy used a Husky tech bag. I went to my local Home Depot and bought one for $50 bucks. It's crazy rugged and tough, fits everything perfectly PLUS a lot of extra space for whatever I may want to haul to a gig. The only downside is that there are some flaps on the inside meant for holding tools that can be a bit of an inconvenience but they are easy to work around. (Link - https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-18-in-Total-Tech-Tool-Bag-43888AN13/203989163 )


    After about 6 days I had my first "live" experience with the Kemper and I have to say my tone sounded incredible. I found a performance by Worship Tutorials using Selah Sounds Mk2 amp and with my Suhr Alt T Pro my sound had never sounded quite as lush, full, fat, and squishy. I loved the ease of the remote as it is pretty easy to tap one button to go from a verse to a chorus and so fourth. It definitely makes it a bit easier than stomping on 3/4 stomp boxes to get a different delay, OD, compression, and an octave pedal.


    I've since then started dialing in sounds for my own band and have found it incredibly enjoyable to be able to dial in any amp in the world (for the most part) for the songs that we play. Rather than only using one amp, I've found that some songs of ours have more "crunch" and therefor may need a different amp than a song that is more of a straight forward rock tune. My only grievance with that entire process is just that there is somewhat of a learning curve to dial in performances just right. It just takes time. So, I've worked to dial in only one song a day since at this moment in time it can be a bit of a rabbit hole and kind of overwhelming to try and do much more than that.


    All in all, I'm incredibly pleased with the Kemper. I love how incredible it sounds, I've never found a sound that feels "fake" or "plastique", I love that each profile (due to the Gemini 1-P) feels and sounds incredibly different. It truly feels like I switch amps when I go to a new profile, the responsiveness is different, the tone is different, the compression, power sag, everything. I also love being able to tweak things like clarity on the amps. I play mostly P&W music alongside alternative rock/indie rock stuff and I feel that having more clarity on my distorted tones helps keep that "Kings of Leon" kind of feel.


    Thanks a lot for reading my rant and hopefully someone finds this beneficial as a newcomer/beginner in the group.

  • Great stuff, man. I went through a similar experience and bought one a couple of weeks ago, though not the kind of deal you got - nicely done!


    I've heard mine through guitar cabs and studio monitors but haven't yet plugged into an FRFR. I can see my credit card twitching as I speak.

  • My initial thought on the thread title was that you were exiting Kemperland. Super happy to see I was wrong!

    Great story and explanation, and kudos for finding the tone and joy!

    LOl lost in the translation... english is my second langage. I make progress everyday . One day I will be able to explain myself clearly