Profiler crashes - fixed - after poor support experience

  • Recently, I have been getting hard crashes on the Kemper, either when switching Rigs in Performance mode, or, more frequently, when engaging the Looper to start or stop a loop.

    ‘Hard crashes’ means that any sound from the Kemper stops, the user interface becomes completely unresponsive, no buttons on the Kemper or Remote have any effect, the only way to recover is to switch off the Kemper, and switch it on again.

    I have seen that after switching the Kemper back on, it sometimes confuses Rigs in a Performance - so you have to reboot a second time to get it to work correctly.


    The crashes occur seemingly at random, in different Rigs, different Performances, when hitting different buttons on the Kemper Remote.

    The crashes occur on average maybe once per hour at minimum - no way to get through a rehearsal or a gig crash free at this stage.




    I have been in touch with Kemper support, after much back and forth, they were able to reproduce the crashes.




    Here’s what I learned from the interaction with Kemper support:


    - there is no fix for the crashes


    - if you use ‘DSP hungry effects’ - like one mono Transpose, one mono Delay, two stereo Delays in a Rig, and engage the Looper, you can get the described crashes , due to 'DSP overload'


    - the crashes are expected behaviour, Kemper support does not acknowledge that DSP overload should not result in a hard crash (if you get DSP overload in a DAW, you do not have to reboot the computer because if freezes completely. In ideal condidions, depending on the CPU spike, you may get uninterrupted playback, and not even notice the temporary overload.)


    - Kemper support blames end users for these crashes


    - Kemper support acknowledges that their Looper is not functional, and recommends to purchase a looper pedal if you want to loop and use ‘DSP hungry’ effects in your rigs at the same time


    - Kemper support is aware, and could not care less, that, due to the mono-send, stereo-return nature of the external effects insert, the only way to loop in stereo (like the built in looper) is to connect from the Main Out to the Looper pedal - which means, Balanced Out is not an option anymore; Output Level has to be adjusted for the requirements of the looper pedal, not the audio interface or FOH board (which compromises correct gain staging); both Monitor Out and SPDIF out become unusable because they don’t contain the looped signal; and there is one additional A/D/A conversion in the chain, which does not help audio quality.


    - it is the responsibility of the end user to determine how much DSP an effect in each slot in the Kemper uses, and adjust DSP consumption accordingly, so that no crashes occur






    When I am supposed to estimate how much DSP an effect uses to avoid crashes, I do have follow up questions on how exactly to do that.



    Kemper support has (repeatedly) refused to answer any of the following questions (quotes from email correspondence):


    - how am I supposed to determine which effect uses how much DSP?

    - please kindly provide a list of all the effects the Kemper uses, with reference to how much DSP they use individually

    - please also provide a contextual reference as to how much of summed DSP causes DSP overload - e.g. 4 slots with Green Scream etc.

    - why are you blaming end users for crashes?

    - will you remove the ‘Looper’ functionality from your advertisements and feature lists of the Kemper Remote, as it does not work?

    - please kindly explain why I also got crashes when the Looper was not in use, and why the same Performance failed once when switching Rigs after working reliably for months - how can I determine that the root cause is actually DSP overload in a case like this?

    - why does DSP overload cause a hard crash with no sound, instead of failing gracefully, like on every modern computer?

    - why are your developers not willing to look into the reason why DSP overload causes a hard crash?

    - will you re-imburse me for the purchase of an external looper, as the advertised functionality in Remote is not available?

    - you use the term ‘workaround’ when suggesting to use ‘less DSP hungry effects’. Will there actually be a solution?




    My experience with Kemper support has been awful. At one stage, the support person had completely forgotten a week’s worth of email exchange (and the fact that he had reproduced the issue), and suggested a troubleshooting step that I had performed 2 or 3 times before, to determine if it’s a hardware fault.

    When, after that, I sent him a mail with our complete correspondence pasted in for his convenience, he still could not be bothered to actually read through it and answer questions.


    After suggesting countless times to have the crashes looked into by developers, and being ignored each time, here’s the last response from Kemper support:


    “They will consider implementing a routine that will prevent the looper from being used in such a scenario in a future version of the operating system.”


    So the Kemper developers’ approach to avoid crashes from DSP overload is not to investigate why DSP overload causes a hard crash (and fix the code), but to work around it by limiting resources that can cause DSP overload. And maybe not even that - they consider it.





    Two ways to view the Kemper are:

    - as a convenient, almost there, 1:1 replacement for a tube amp

    - as a creative tool with virtually unlimited potential, that can by far surpass the sound possibilities of a conventional ‘tube amp & pedal board’ set up


    I’ve always been a strong advocate of the second point of view.



    Changing a musician’s process from ‘how can I use this tool to create the most amazing sounds I can imagine’ to ‘how can I babysit this tool, using a bunch of unpredictable, arbitrary, fear-based parameters, so it does not crash’ means completely breaking the creative potential of a mindblowingly brilliant product.







    TL;DR:

    - we end users take the blame when the Kemper crashes

    - Kemper developers have no interest in fixing crashes that occur due to DSP overload

    - Looper is not available when you purchase a Kemper Remote and are planning to use internal effects in the Kemper indiscriminately - if you want to use a Looper with effected rigs, Kemper support recommends you buy a looper pedal

  • Thats what it is !!

    It is one, absolutely legitimate, way to use it. Like Guthrie Govan did, when he played with Hans Zimmer. He prefers tube amps, but uses the Kemper when his regular set up is too loud for the occasion.


    But it's not the only way to use it, and does not even scratch the surface of what it's capable of.

  • Update: got a 'DSP Error. Communication with DSP board has failed' message today, while I was away from the Kemper - not while playing, no loops.


    The response from Kemper support at this stage can only be described as cynical.

  • stratology

    Changed the title of the thread from “Profiler crashes” to “Profiler crashes - horrible support”.
  • I use quite a few effects and have never had that kind of crash. The looper is a cool little add-on feature for jamming, practicing, and auditioning profiles. I wouldn't gig with it.


    Given the vast scope that this unit covers it's not going to compete with something that's designed and engineered to do one thing perfectly.

  • Not sure what is the point of this long post besides venting. While limited, the looper is still useful to have but is in no way what people buy the Kemper for so the focus isn't there. I feel your discontent but while they've been persistently addressing things like delays, reverbs, editor, 48k Hz, ODs and whatnot that the community has been nagging them with for ages, a little understanding about the other weaknesses would go a long way. In the meantime, if you have a problem with the looper, the reverbs, the ODs or any side-functions just buy a cheap looper (you can for 50$) or other pedals you think will suit you and move on. Your "horrible support" comment based on your experience is anecdotal and a hasty generalization.

  • Your "horrible support" comment based on your experience is anecdotal and a hasty generalization.

    It's not a generalisation, just my personal experience, with this support case. Expecting the Kemper to work as advertised, without crashes, is not too much to ask.


    To be fair, the latest response from support from today was much more constructive, they actually found something wrong in the data. Bottom line is still 'blame the user' - in this case, claim I installed a beta release and then downgraded to a stable release - which is, in itself, a perfectly reasonable explanation for data corruption and crashes, just not something I would do. I never install betas, because they're not stable, and nobody can reasonably expect them to be stable.

    But: the rig corruption they found is something I can fix and test. I'll post results as soon as I know more.



    While I'm most definitely frustrated, the point of the thread is not venting. It's trying to get attention from both Kemper and from other users, to find a solution.


    I've worked in tech support myself in the past. Which means, I'm perfectly aware that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. It's essential to be respectful - while still being determined - in all communications. It also means I know the culture: most of us enjoyed the challenge of digging into difficult problems, and experienced how rewarding it is to find a solution and make a customer happy. It also means that I know that good troubleshooting is organised and systematic. Get as much information as possible, then find a solution - as opposed to making an assumption to start with.

    Intermittent issues are always the most difficult to troubleshoot. So why I can't empathise with the attitude I'm getting from support, I can relate to the frustration of trying to figure out what's happening on a technical level.



    The 'blame the customer' attitude, and clear annoyance of support with a customer asking questions, is not something I've seen often - both while working in support, and while receiving support from other companies, which has, with few exceptions, been very good.


    The other thing that threw me off is - like you mentioned - the continuous, dedicated brilliant work from Kemper developers on new releases and new features. Completely inconsistent with my support experience in this case.


    Kemper support (and you) suggested to buy an external looper - which I did, waiting for it to arrive now. I was so happy to get rid of my (huge) pedalboard when I got the Kemper. That being said, the external looper will have more features and a longer loop time, and can be synced to tempo via MIDI - so if I can get it to work the way I want it, all good.

  • The 'blame the customer' attitude, and clear annoyance of support with a customer asking questions,

    To be frank, the "questions" you quoted in the OP were aggressive and over the top. "Re-imburse [you] for the purchase of an external looper" ... really??? Whatever support you got after those questions I would consider a credit to Kemper. IMNSHO.


    That said, I'm glad the problem(s) are getting resolved and any issues Kemper found will ultimately lead to a better product in the long run.

  • @benvigil : I can see where you're coming from, but we have to agree to disagree on this one. If it's supposed to have a looper function, being able to use the looper function is not an unreasonable expectation.


    The Remote looper is not a major feature - but imagine another minor feature - like your favourite distortion stomp - crashing the Kemper at random, and Kemper support suggesting you buy a distortion pedal as a solution.

  • On a side note: the current assumption stated by Kemper support is that I downgraded from 5.7 beta to the current stable release, and rigs modified in 5.7 caused issues afterwards. (Like I said before, I never install beta releases..)


    I submitted the support ticket describing the crashes on Dec 31st, nineteen days before the 5.7 beta was released.


    :huh:

  • Before I start I want to say I love my Kemper. Greatest single piece of guitar gear I've ever owned and the company's ongoing (free) features development is, in this day and age, simply amazing.


    The KPA is an expensive and complex piece of gear. And bugs are bound to emerge as the unit capabilities keep expanding. I think most users know this and we hope we aren't affected. But when it happens to YOU and you try to logically diagnose the issue(s) and reach out for help from the company, only to have your efforts ignored or brushed aside ... that's really hard to swallow. Although his rhetoric is slightly intense, ultimately I have sympathy for stratology on this.


    In a previous life I was a Pro Audio rep and dealt with lots of Customer Service problems. Sometimes, even with great processes in place, a situation escalates into a "blow up". Usually the culprit is a personality conflict between the customer and the particular person working the issue. That can be hard to turn around. But what's worse is when a company's position is "dismissive". That's something Kemper's management should be concerned with and look at carefully.


    Bottom line and the potential silver lining is: acknowledging and fixing issues is what makes the device even better for the whole community. And with a little compassion on both sides, maybe Kemper and stratology can actually help each other and the rest of us.


    Let's work together, gentlemen.

    Kemper Toaster, Vox AC30, Custom Bassman-Marshall head, '64 Fender Band-Master (modded), 65Amps Lil Elvis, Various cabs & speakers, '09 Dosdude hacked High Sierra Mac Pro, Logic Pro X 10.4, Apogee Rosetta i/o, Ox Box



  • We are the nicest forum on the internet. We are the nicest forum on the internet. We are the nicest forum on the internet... ||


    I'm really surprised Kemper told you that their looper is non-functional. You're the only person they told it to apparently.


    Can you please post an FX rig or describe what FX you are using that cause the crash? I am curious, since we are now able to use multiple delays and reverbs without the Kemper crashing. Must be some really heavy usage. Or are you just testing the limits? I'd be really surprised if the system crashes every time the DSP is exceeded, there would definitely be a failsafe.


    In that regard, you also mentioned that you did an update, then rolled it back and that's when the problem started occurring. It may be corrupt firmware or rigs. Try doing a system reset and see if that works.


    If not, hard load the firmware again.


    It is very hard for me to imagine support being as you describe also. They're known for being easily accessible and responding within 1-2 days at worst. But they are human.


    Perhaps your mail went into their spam folder.


    Maybe try the trouble shooting steps they gave again.


    Also, we would love some screen shots, or even better, a video of you replicating this behaviour. :)

  • I'm really surprised Kemper told you that their looper is non-functional. You're the only person they told it to apparently.

    this is definitely not what he has been told.


    Despite you can setup 8 Delays, if they are all the most CPU hungry ones, there might be the case that one or two could switch to bypass.

    Aditionally, the looper is in the end a simple delay with a large buffer.


    The DSP crash he experienced is just a bug. The crash can be fixed but this might not happen immediately. Still, in a musical context you probably don‘t want to use more than 2 delays (not that this is the limit!).


    To bring up an unavoidable car comparison: you can either drive 200km/h or just use 5l/100km but not both the same time.


    This is without any judging!

  • this is definitely not what he has been told.

    Quotes from the email correspondence:


    "The only possible workaround is to either reduce the amount of delays in a rig or use an external looper."


    "The only way to reduce the load is to switch off some of the delays and pitch effects in your unit and use an external looper. If you want to loop stereo signals you need to invest in an external looper and then send that signal to a mixing board."


    "Taking a bit of load off the DSP by using an external looper might be the solution for your application."


    "If you want to continue using that many effects without freezes you need to use an external looper or reduce the amount of effects and use the internal looper. "



    As I mentioned before, the support person I was dealing with completely lost track of our email conversation on several occasions. If you would like me to send the complete correspondence to you, feel free to PM me .



    And - I know it's annoying, but I have to ask again: please provide some guidelines, so I can estimate which effects are CPU hungry, and which are not. At the moment, I have zero reference to estimate which effects are too much, and which effects can be used indiscriminately. If I read your post correctly, you even differentiate between delays that consume large amounts of CPU, and delays which use less resources.

    As I stated before, I'll follow your advice and start using an external looper.

  • Can you please post an FX rig or describe what FX you are using that cause the crash?

    Here's an example, I saw the crashes most frequently on this one:


    Looped Rig:

    Slot 1: Compressor

    Slot 2: inactive

    Slot 3: inactive

    Slot 4: inactive

    Slot X: inactive

    Slot MOD: Vibrato

    Slot DELAY: Rhythm Delay

    Slot Reverb: Hall


    Rig played while loop is running:

    Slot 1: Noise Gate 2:1

    Slot 2: Transpose

    Slot 3: Graphic Equaliser

    Slot 4: Dual Delay

    Slot X: Melody Harmonic

    Slot Mod: Tremolo

    Slot Delay: Legacy Delay

    Slot Reverb: inactive


    The inactive slots still have stomps in them. According to Kemper support, inactive stomps, and inactive loops in the background, do not consume any CPU.



    You seem to have misread what I previously said: I did not try out a beta and roll back. The crashes started occurring seemingly at random. Most frequently when the looper was involved, but sometimes without any looping, just when switching rigs. Sometimes crashes occurred when stopping the loop, which I would assume, actually frees up CPU.


    In terms of sound design: I try to find sounds I like, testing the limits is not really something I'm interested in.

    I was just assuming that if a feature is there, you can go ahead and use it without worry about performance limitations of the hardware. There are only 8 stomp slots on the Kemper. In my DAW, on a not terribly recent computer, I can literally use hundreds of effects (if I needed to, even though it's not necessary) before I run into any limitations. And in my DAW, I can see how much CPU each effect uses (in the Effect Performance window in Digital Performer), so I can make an informed decision of how to limit resources, should the need arise.