My 2 cents as a new Kemper user

  • So, just bought a Kemper powerhead a week ago. I think I must have spent over 20-30 hours of researching all kinds of things about the Kemper and whether it would be a fit for me. I had a ton of questions and had to look so much things up, in the manual and deducting from posts on this forum, reviews, youtube... So I figured: I share what i've learned.

    After all, if I would have found this thread 2 weeks ago, it would have helped me immensely.


    Here goes:


    Question 1: Should I get the powered version?

    Yes, you should, so you can play on a traditional cabinet and it sounds awesome! Really no reason not to, unless you're only planning to use it in the studio or have other options. I cannot imagine a guitarist who would not rather have the powered version. I use it on a 1x12 Jensen Blackbird 100 Watt speaker and sometimes 4x12 Marshall 1960 V30's, both sound great with merged profiles, direct profiles and even studio profiles (with cab off).


    Question 2: Is it worth it to buy it now as this thing is getting 'old'? Is it better to wait for a Kemper 2?
    Kemper hasn't said anything about Kemper 2 and is still making great additions to the original. It sounds great, I can't imagine something that'll sound 'better' as with all that modeling stuff that keeps getting better, but never quite there (for me). So, no, you won't feel disappointed.

    Question 3: Why is it so expensive? Is it worth the money?
    This is something I could only know for sure when I had it and could play with it. I thought it looked a bit plasticy, but it is made out of solid material and feels very sturdy. What I like is that there are many knobs physical outputs (2 XLR main outs and 2 jack outs is great for me!). You can see that Kemper didn't save on these things, which is great! Everything seems to be well thought of. It does kinda look like a WO II military radio though..

    Question 4: What is purecab?

    Still no idea, but it adds something to the signal to get more of a 'real' cab or something like that. I don't see the point. The first time I hooked the Kemper to my studio monitors I was really dissapointed, I even wanted to return it. Then I found out that PureCab is globally on by default, so I turned it off and the sound became alive!


    Question 5: How about the output section?

    The output section is really advanced and easy to change and save for different environments. You can use different outputs at once and rout different things internally.


    Question 6: Different kind of profiles? My preference.

    So the Kemper is a profiler, I'm sure you know what that means, right? Simply put: it can imitate an amp on one specific setting. It can profile Amps (direct amp profiles) and amps with miced speakers (studio profiles).


    Direct Amp Profiles are the usual 'head' and gives you the most authentic reproduction of an amp if you go straight to a cab. This is awesome for playing on a cab and sounds identical to the real amp. Yesss, that's right...


    Studio profiles are studio sounds to go to the front of house (FOH) or straight into your computer for recording. These sound amazing and record ready, depending on the profile. You can however turn the cab off, then the kemper makes a real good approximation of what the cab added (however, this is not in any way, real information, it is a calculation by the Kemper). This way you can still use your cabinet, this sounds really good, but is not as authentic as a direct Amp Profile.


    Pure Merged Profiles are for me, the most authentic, they are made differently and combine a Direct Amp Profile with a real information about the cab and mic. These are by far my favorites as they provide authentic tones for recording and also for the cab and live use. It is a pity that there are much less merged profiles out there, because in my eyes (ears) a merged profiles has no drawbacks. It is a perfect live profile as well as a studio profile. If anyone knows some good ones for me, please let me know!


    Question 7: So what about the EQ and Gain on the Kemper?

    You have to realize that this is not authentic, you are not in any way turning the knobs of the original amplifier. So different profiles from the same amp with other EQ and gain settings are more authentic. However, these knobs do their jobs really well, which is magic to me.

    Question 8: Are the effects any good?

    They are good and usable to serve the sound required. Very easy to find what you need and lots of tweakability. I don't use drives, but rather switch to a higher gain profile of the same amp.


    Question 9: How does it feel to play the amps? Responsiveness and volume knob

    I played a whole rehearsal (of a cover band!) on one profile of an EVH 5150 from M. Brett. Used the Volume knob for clean sounds, because I hadn't yet done any programming for that band, wanted to test it out first. The band thought it sounded awesome, I think this says enough... It feels dynamic, which is something modelling never ever has been able to do for me.


    Question 10: Are Commercial Profiles better?

    They are not better, there are really good free profiles out there. However, commercial profiles have lots of advantages over free ones:

    -A professional profiler works systematic and gives information about materials used.

    -You know for sure there is a consistent volume and sound idiom.

    -Generally, they provide more profiles of the same amp at different settings

    -Because of all this, less tweaking is required to get a good sound. There are other things to worry about!


    This is enough for me to buy some commercial profiles. I love to have 30+ profiles of one amp made systematically with 2 cabs, it seems more real than 100's rigs of all kinds of amps, miced differently and other cabs, I lose track of what I'm doing with so many different impulses.

    Question 11: Is tweaking required to get a good sound?

    For me: NO, every profile sounded good going straight to my cab. However, some studio profiles were not great at all on my studio monitors.
    With a humbucker guitar, all was good, but with my strat with noiseless pickups I had to lower the 'definition' a few times to get a usable sound.


    All other knob fiddling wasn't necessary, and I must say that the sounds were always kind of usable in a given situation. There are a whole load of options, but they all have their purpose.


    Question 12: Can I run 2 Amps within the Kemper?

    Not really, but you can get the direct out and go to another physical amp. I want to go Kemper-> FOH and also Kemper-> Octaver -> Bass amp. I think it's possible, but still have to try it out.


    Question 13: Can I use the same effects (in the Kemper) for all rigs?

    Yes you can, there is a function called LOCK and it is geniusly simple!


    Appendix 1: No, there is no editor :D

    OK, That's enough for now. Hope someone finds this interesting. Still have a lot to try, maybe I'll add more stuff in the future if people find this helpful.


    Cheers!

  • Well done putting all that info in one place, I’m sure people will find it useful.


    Having owned a kemper for 5 years these are all things that have come up before, but I think it was worth you putting it all together. :)

  • Well I really don't think there is only one way to answer those questions. You got your truth I got mine and I am sure every Kemper user could answer differently. So to help newbies and give them perspective , here are my answers...



    Question 1: Should I get the powered version?

    Not necessarely. If you record in studio mostly you'll be fine with different output behind the Kemper. If you make shows you can plug yourself directly on the PA and get the monitering on the stage like the others... But if you are like me you will buy a great cab (the best you can find)


    Question 2: Is it worth it to buy it now as this thing is getting 'old'? Is it better to wait for a Kemper 2?

    Life is too short to wait .


    Question 3: Why is it so expensive? Is it worth the money?

    The price is faire plus... a bit expensive. A cie cannot survive without profits


    Question 4: What is purecab?

    Just turn it off


    Question 5: How about the output section?

    You got everything you need spdf etc


    Question 6: Different kind of profiles? My preference.

    I just buy commercial profiles and take many on RExchange. Got no time to profile amp.s In short, I don't even want to see an amp around me for the rest of my life. Is it clear enough?


    Question 7: So what about the EQ and Gain on the Kemper?

    We EQ everything in studio right or in live performance? Same with the Kemper


    Question 8: Are the effects any good?

    I love the new beta reverbs a lot. The rest is OK. But if youre in love with some of your old pedals just keep it and plug it on the Kemper (front or in send retun behind , your choice)


    Question 9: How does it feel to play the amps? Responsiveness and volume knob

    Well I'd say its up to you to play a great part , depending on the style of music. If its jazz you'll get great clean sounds... if it's heavy metal well I don't play this style so I cannot tell. But if you want overdrive distortion you'll get it


    Question 10: Are Commercial Profiles better?

    Question of personnel taste . My favorites profiles are the one I bought yes , but I tweaked them to fit my needs. Same thing with Rig Exchange you can find gold over there but again, I fine tune it coz And dont forget that your sound depends also on the guitar and pick ups , not only the Kemper. It is not a midi keyboard with samples.



    Question 11: Is tweaking required to get a good sound?

    For me: YES !!! and I tweak a lot and save it on Rig manager


    Question 12: Can I run 2 Amps within the Kemper?

    I bouht the Kemper to get rid of my big amp and transportation. Free at last... Next question


    Question 13: Can I use the same effects (in the Kemper) for all rigs?


    I use different effects and levels on every single rigs plus an expression pedal

  • Wow. Very well thought out. I just bought mine a couple of months ago and pestered the guys here (who seem to possess infinite patience with newbies such as myself) with many of those exact questions.


    In the spirit of giving back, I'll add a Q. Because of your thoroughness, about all that's left is:


    14. What is the air speed velocity of an unladen sparrow?

  • I'll answer that with a related-but-appropriate, typical question, Chris:


    Question 14. What about latency? I've heard that modellers can feel sluggish.

    Due to the speed of sound, the Kemper's latency is equivalent to your ears' being 3 to 4 feet from your cabinet's speaker/s. IOW, it's irrelevant.

  • Nice write-up.

    However, I wouldn’t turn off pure cab as it does exactly what it’s intended to do. It smooths out mic phasing and harshness that gives kemper owner’s a huge advantage tonally speaking to achieve a polished sound over an engineer that is capturing sounds traditionally.

    I keep mine set at 6.4 globally and as soon as I turn it off, an unnatural harshness is present. Toothy high end and the mic setting doesn’t seem as sweet.

    Spend some time with it, inch it up a little at a time until you find the sweet spot, It definitely adds a lot to the overall sound, so much that I wouldn’t use the kemper without it.

  • Well it depends on either the profiles or the pickups you use or maybe both. Most of may fav profiles don't sound harsh. But it also depends if you use kemper for gig or in the studio. If it's the latter I just EQ it when it's time to mix. The same is true for real amps. You need to EQ them too in the mix and get rid of harshness, ringing sound.

  • Question 2: Is it worth it to buy it now as this thing is getting 'old'? Is it better to wait for a Kemper 2?

    No one, except the kemper team knows if there ever will be or not be a mk II. Okey? Getting old? In which way is it getting old? Today there are so many good profiles, both free and commercial that sounds awsome. The delays are topnotch compared how it was in the beginning. The new reverbs are that too. There will be other updates eventually with the stompboxes . Many famous musicians use the kemper both in the studio and live. If it was getting old, would they still choose to use it? Would so many here still use it? And kemper is not like Line 6 or Fractal, releases new incarnations where users sell their stuff to buy the newest version. If you like what the kemper does, you will still like it tomorrow. Go and get it. You won't regret it. Oh and expensive? It's still cheaper than most amps and you can all the amps in the world stored in the kemper. Now that's what I call cheap.:)

  • Wow. Very well thought out. I just bought mine a couple of months ago and pestered the guys here (who seem to possess infinite patience with newbies such as myself) with many of those exact questions.


    In the spirit of giving back, I'll add a Q. Because of your thoroughness, about all that's left is:


    14. What is the air speed velocity of an unladen sparrow?

    African or English?:)

  • Wow, this community is alive! Thanks for the nice comments and adressing the issue of sparrows! I'm sure we can get into more detail. And I will experiment more with PureCab!


    Currently still looking for more merged profiles (more specific: vintage fenders with volume knob breakup for single coil strat) and was wondering which profiles from TAF are merged?

  • It's MONO. If you need stereo, get a stereo Poweramp. And in my experience a separate (tube) poweramp cuts better through a band mix and has a more 3D sound than the build in SS poweramp.


    Good write up, though and welcome to the family.

  • It's MONO. If you need stereo, get a stereo Poweramp. And in my experience a separate (tube) poweramp cuts better through a band mix and has a more 3D sound than the build in SS poweramp.

    Erm, he never said he wanted stereo did he? Some people don't...


    I also don't agree that a tube amp is necessary, but that's a personal choice/view.