OD pedals - are they good enough!

  • A couple of caveats before I say anything further:


    I have never been an OD pedal kinda guy. I've always relied on the amp's gain. Played Mesa all my life and just love them without anything in front. I've tried pedals but always end up going back to the basic amp.


    I don't have an extensive collection of OD pedals to compare.


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    I've seen a lot of comments about the OD stomps in the Kemper being nothing special and not as good as sticking a real OD pedal in front of the KPA. I decided it was time I tried out properly myself. Last night I tried my Boss DS1 both in front of the KPA and in a loop. I A/B tested the real pedal against the DS1 stomp in the KPA. I started by playing live then recorded a loop to let me tweak easier. Try as I might I just couldn't get the Kemper DS 1to sound exactly like the real Boss pedal. This was actually a good thing though. The Kemper DS1 sounded much better to my ears. The Boss always had a bit of mud in the bass or low mids that the Kemper didn't suffer from. They were fairly close and I think I would have recognised them as the same style pedal in a blind test but would have assumed they were just set up slightly differently.


    Anyway after about an hour playing with it I unplugged the DS1 and stuck it back on the shelf. Maybe I'll try my Full Drive 2 at some point if I can ever be bothered dragging my old pedal board out but I don't see that happening anytime soon ^^


    For me the Kemper ODs are as good or better than the DS1 and certainly good enough for me if I ever want to stick a pedal in front of a profile. Mind you, I would still be interested to try any new OD stomps or OD updates that might come along in the future 8)

  • I've had a lot of OD pedals but I sold all of them one by one over the last few month since i brought a Kemper and I never looked back. The only pedal that i still use is my Muf­fu­letta fuzz. The gated fuzz sound of a guitar with a rolled off volume knob is not so easy to reproduce with a Kemper.

  • While I like the OD pedal emulations in the Kemper, they do not sound like the ones where I have the real hardware counterpart on my pedalboard. To be clear, they are not worse but they are different.

    Because of that, I am always profiling without a pedal (to do what you want) and with the hardware-pedal in the chain.

  • Hi RiF, as I mentioned I’m not a real pedal geek so don’t have an extensive list of real pedals to compare against. With the DS1 the Kemper was close but definitely not the same. In this case that was a good thing as it sounded much better than my actual DS1 to my ears. Others may feel differently thats just personal taste.


    However, I think there is also the issue of realism being influenced by which real pedal was used to create the model. Two versions of the same amp or pedal can sound quite different de to component tolerances. I remember a video Brian Wampler did a while back where he compared two of the same pedals and measured the components. Some of them use +/- 10% pr even 20% tolerance which can make two pedals that should sound identical sound quite different. Perhaps as different as a real pedl and a Kemper model of that pedal.


    It isn’t something I lose sleep over :) as I just want a “good” sound and don’t really care how I get it. Equally, I want my rig to be as simple (bomb proof on stage) and easy to set up/strip down as possible so if I can get something in the box to get me 95% there I will always do that instead of carry external pedals and power supplies and cables etc etc. Again, I fully understand that is a personal choice and a matter of priorities. There is no wrong or right. All that matters is that it works for the individual.

  • I have owned many OD pedals over the years, several of which I really loved and kept on my pedalboards. I have sold all but one, my Bogner Red - awesome pedal if you're looking for one. I really don't care for any of the OD stomps in the Kemper, so I don't use them. I really am in love with the gain knob and this is all I use for my different OD sounds.


    I certainly would be curious and would like to try out a new series of Kemper OD stomps, should they ever present them to us, but I'm quite happy with gain.

  • Tried a few of the Kemper OD's and settled on the Lead Booster. Did not like the green scream. And as the name implies, that is what I use it for. I use to just bump up the gain and volume a bit for my morphed leads. By keeping the gain the same and adding the Lead Booster, my lead tones are much more crisp. They cut better. And the Lead Boost does not color the tone.


  • Noooooooooooooooooooo!


    Don't use the DS1 as an OD pedal. It is a distortion pedal.


    You want to try something like a Tube Screamer, Klon, Timmy in front. Not a distortion pedal.


    Boss ODs like the OD1 and SD1 come to mind.


    I've never liked DS pedals personally, even into a clean amp. You'll get far better tones with the right amp (like your Mesa Boogies) than a DS pedal into that amp.


    There are some notable exceptions in the tonal annals, such as the HM2 into distorted amp trick. But those are more like one-offs imho.

  • Thanks AJ. I hear you and understand the point you are making. To be honest I was using OD as a generic term for any gain pedal rather than the specific type of clipping involved because I was to lazy to type “distortion “ ^^


    In this case I was only using it for an A/B comparison. Both the real DS and the Stomp DS were going into a clean profile. The objective was just to see how close I could get them to sound.


    My experience has always been that nothing sounds as good as plugging straight into one of my Mesa Boogies (except a Kemper profile of plugging straight into a Mesa Boogie) :)

  • Thanks AJ. I hear you and understand the point you are making. To be honest I was using OD as a generic term for any gain pedal rather than the specific type of clipping involved because I was to lazy to type “distortion “ ^^


    In this case I was only using it for an A/B comparison. Both the real DS and the Stomp DS were going into a clean profile. The objective was just to see how close I could get them to sound.


    My experience has always been that nothing sounds as good as plugging straight into one of my Mesa Boogies (except a Kemper profile of plugging straight into a Mesa Boogie) :)

    Well, in that regard, think about a real world situation of using a distortion pedal into an clean amp for a dirty tone versus going straight into a dirty tube amp built for that kind of tone.


    In my mind, there’s no comparison, which is why the Kemper is such a good option for someone looking to get tube amp tones.


    As far as the built in stomp boxes, I sometimes use the green scream or lead boost, but as others have pointed out, the Kemper dirt boxes could use a revamp like the other Fx.


    In that respect, scuttlebutt from Mr CK no less suggests this is on the development plan, so good news for us.