Dave Friedman’s view of kemper.....

  • Indeed. He clones Marshalls with tweaks. And the original Marshall circuit was a clone of a Fender. And Leo started his company straight out of the RCA tube manual. I think tube amplification was invented by De Forest (he was great as Dr McCoy in the original Star Trek series, lol).

    I don't understand the attitude. I was telling a close friend about this thread, and he reminded me of Dr Z's better approach. Z profiled his own stuff and made the profiles commercially available.

    Time marches on. My only lament, is that I cannot work under the hood anymore.

  • While I love these guys who make these tube amps for their skill and artistry, I think they are just on the wrong side of a technological wave.

    A few days ago I posted about trying actually a Friedman in a store. Beautiful amp, I would never buy it. Heavy, and did not sound good quiet. (And mind you used it costs 1.5 times the price of a new Kemper.)

    The next generation - like my 12 year old - would never consider one of those pitted against a Kemper. This is the generation who grows up with heavily optimized computer (and phone) apps surrounding them 24x7. They will choose convenience (weight, workflow, ability to play quiet or loud, etc) over history and a perceived 1% tonal difference.

    I totally acknowledge that we would not have a Kemper/Axe FX/etc if it wasn't for people like Friedman. However he definitely sounds a bit like Lars sounded when he complained about people stealing Metallica's music with Napster. Look what happened, the entire music distribution industry changed and whomever did not adapt is gone by now.

  • I guess he just fears profilers taking business away, especially at the prices he charges for something that you can get for 1.5 less in a Kemper. It's not a healthy view of the ever changing landscape of technology to be so static and resistant in my humble opinion. Why isn't he looking at profiling his own amps? Or why doesn't he call CK up and see if he can build in a profler into a Friedman power amp combo with Friedman profiles? Think of the business opportunities he could open up and expand into.

  • He could be looking to hire a few software geeks and start making VSTs for his awesome amps. Sell (license) those for a bunch of money.

    Look what happened to Tower Records, Blockbuster, etc. Now Netflix and Amazon video are making a killing streaming things. Times and technologies change.

  • While I love these guys who make these tube amps for their skill and artistry, I think they are just on the wrong side of a technological wave.

    You got that right! Suhr have the new Pete Thorn prototype with a builtin loadbox and IRs. I wish every amp had that and it seems very obvious how useful it is for everyone. It's the same DSP chips and so on that have been out for 20+ years, why only now?

    The answer is that most of the tube dudes aren't skilled at current tech, especially not DSP. Don't get me wrong, there's a whole world of uses for tube circuits, but most just stick around guitar amps or hifi.

    You see a ton of digital reverb and modulation/delay pedals out now too that were pretty rare 10 years ago outside the major brands, until Strymon and a few others broke the barriers. It seems that pedal hackers aren't as stuck in their ways, or got bored with replicating tube screamers finally. I wonder if Ibanez got bothered about all the clone pedals and VST plugins?

    Profiling is a wonderful, uplifting technology that removes a great deal of frustration every guitarist endured to record music.

  • There was an uproar in the 80s when samplers first became available because it would put musicians out of work. In the end it became a new and inventive tool for artists and you have to accept any industry will evolve whatever you personally want.

  • I watched Carbon Based Lifeforms (I think it was them) do a full live show on what appeared to be an iPad.

    It was a bit much for me as far as performing music live is concerned but definitely could not deny that technology to make electronic music came a long way :)

  • I have so much respect for Dave Friedman, If you don't want to buy his AMPs buy his pedals and you can almost turn any tube amp into a monster.

    Interesting side note:

    I just tried overloud THU VST Plugin and the RIG Player sounds no different than the Kemper! Would you still say the same thing if all the sudden, you no longer need a Kemper to play the Kemper profiles? I have no doubt that Overloud is considering the legal ramification, otherwise, they have figured out a Kemper Player VST and any day they can open it up and let it become a Kemper player. They have the exact parameters of the Kemper to edit the Kemper Profiles it comes with.

    Certainly very interesting times and I couldn't help but laugh when I looked at the Rig Player made by OVerloud, the only thing it's missing is the Kemper Logo LOL I Played it on an old laptop and it sounded just like the Kemper with no lag whatsoever at 4ms Latency, almost like that of the hardware Kemper, so where do we go from here? I'm for advancement and technology evolution but if someone else gets the Technology and sends it to china, they'll put it less than 100 dollar Pedal and with an SD card you can load profiles! My guess at that time, everyone will agree it's piracy. Right? I'm not saying either way. I just think it certainly interesting and one thing is also certain and that is technology is unstoppable .

  • I didn't read through this whole thread but it did remind me of when I talked with Joe Morgan last year. I actually asked him about the Kemper and if he'd be willing to do an official amp pack. He said his "amp" was already the most popular profile on the Kemper (referring of course to rmpacheco's classic profile). That profile actually has a lot of deep tweaks from what I remember mods saying when discussing it. Regardless, that's only the amp at 1 particular setting and 1 particular signal chain.

    I do feel for these guys because even if they make "modified clones" of other amps, it's still hardware. It still takes time to R&D, voice, experiment with, etc. They also build pedals, cabs, sometimes guitars or pickups, etc. The idea that somebody can just make a digital facsimile of all that work while the amp maker potentially makes nothing for it would bother anybody. But regardless of the ethical argument, this is just the present reality.

    I think Dave and these other guys should make profiles of their amps the way they want them to be represented. Make a little money from it, but make it clear that this is no substitute for the amps themselves. There are enough blind tests out there to demonstrate that while impressive, profiling is not 100% accurate. It also doesn't give you the same visceral feeling of a tube head. You can sell them and be honest about what they lack but if someone already has a KPA and is interested in buying profiles from you, the guy who makes them, profiling them exactly the way you think they should sound, why not participate. People aren't buying less KPA's because of your ethical arguments.

    Part of what I think disturbs these guys is also the "KPA culture" of people talking and behaving like having a bunch of profiles means they "have" the amp. Beyond the fact that a profile is just the amp at 1 particular setting and the KPA doesn't profile the EQ or gain stacks, it's also a signal chain. Amp > Cab > Speaker > Mic > Mic placement > Mic preamp > Cables. All of those leave an impression on the resulting tone. You don't "steal" an amp, you just get a sound from an amp as part of the chain.

    Basically, amp builders should just embrace that this is part of their reality. You can be an old stick in the mud or you can embrace the changing landscape.

  • Certainly 7 years is a lot of time for "computer" hardware, so today a phone can probably do for what 7 years ago you needed a big beefy server. So even Kemper has to be ahead of the technology wave - as shown by that Overloud VST thing.

    Speaking of the video above, if a phone app could do say 10% of what the Kemper does with a USB guitar cable and its headphone jack, that would be pretty interesting. Imagine in-app purchases for the different profiles, the whole phone-software business model.

  • I just tried overloud THU VST Plugin and the RIG Player sounds no different than the Kemper!

    Dean, did the plugin come with any profiles converted to the THU format?

    The plugin is a lot less expensive than a second Kemper. So I can see myself using the following chain:

    Kemper with a preamp profile loaded --> Universal Audio Apollo (to host time based effects) --> THU plugin hosting power amp profile

    That sounds really tasty to me. I'd use the Kemper at the start of the chain because the preamp section of the profile has more influence on sound and feel than the power amp section.

    Having said that, I do see a potential problem with Overloud's requirement that you send them your profile(s) to be converted to the format required by the plugin. By sending the profile(s) to them, are you releasing your exclusive usage rights to them? I didn't see anything about this potential issue on their website.

  • Dean, did the plugin come with any profiles converted to the THU format?


    Yes, it did, some really unknown profiles from the bottom of the barrel for sure , worst profiles you can find. They want to sell packages of profiles too and maybe by the time they release more packages and by the time customers pay for that, might's well bought a Kemper. You really don't need to Keep buying many profiles however, few good ones are more than enough with EQ and other effects. I didn't see anywhere where they will convert Kemper profiles for customers. They have an authorization scheme for the rig player profile packages they sell based on what I read, I didn't buy anything , just tried the demo, and if good profiles were used, it does sound like the Kemper.

  • The only way a VST plug in would be any good live, is if you could also run a pedal board like the Kemper Remote, create performance sets, have a rig manager, etc, etc.

    Then you are relying on a PC for your live sound and all the things that go wrong with PC's.

    Maybe some day ;)

    Kemper is doing a good job of .... doing what a tube amp rig and pedals do, and making it easy to gig with IMO. For me (live use only), Kemper is valuable mostly because it is a great gig setup. It is also quite cool that it happens to sound fantastic :)

  • OneEng1 I think you downplay how many touring bands do use laptops live for automatic MIDI changes. Not unreasonable to think you can also run your sound through it as well, and for each instrument simultaneously. Plus, a backup laptop is certainly cheaper than a swath of backup devices for each player when it boils down to that.

    Of course there will always be players who prefer dedicated hardware, but for those wanting the ultimate convenience, especially with how good some plug-ins are getting, it's not really that far fetched. Hell, I've seen someone use the BIAS iPad app live.

  • What I'm currently working on makes heavy use of computers for midi, dmx lighting and video, with Cubase at FOH driving everything and the drummer working to a click. Since it's a 3 piece, I'm using backing tracks for keyboards. All of which is to say that I'm perfectly comfortable (well, as comfortable as you can be) having computers as part of the show.

    However, for real time sound generation, i.e. guitar amps, I prefer dedicated hardware, even if that hardware - e.g. a Kemper - is itself just a computer at heart. My primary reason for this is that I haven't heard any vst amp sims that sounded quite right to me (a highly subjective and personal assessment, to be sure). However, even if there was one that could nail the tone, my other concern is latency, and this is where dedicated hardware comes into play.

    I've tried tracking in the studio with vst amps and there's been enough latency for me to feel and be distracted by. A vst has to live within the host DAW, which itself has to live within the host OS, not to mention the audio device driver involvement. That's a lot of "withins," meaning the vst doesn't have completely control over its world, so you can only expect so much from it.

    The Kemper has a custom OS dedicated to one and only one task - playing guitar. Because it doesn't have to run spreadsheets, databases, your favorite video games or any other software, it can be tweaked to within an inch of its life for performance. The same can be said of Fractal and Line 6, I just happen to prefer Kemper.

    My philosophical objections to Overloud's ethically challenged product aside, I wouldn't be comfortable playing guitar through a laptop / vst configuration for live use. Reamping in the studio is a different matter in terms of functionality but there's still that ethics thing, so their product is a non-starter for me.

  • OMG what is happening...all this talk of laptops on 5tage....you're all turning into keyboard players....JOKE!

    Seriously I'd hate to have to rely on Windows 10 updates to continue to ensure I can play live.

    Its clear for some applications, this will definately become more attainable/the direction.

    At the moment for me the KPA is just a very clever guitar AMP. I prefer not to play to a click with a fixed structure/sequencer but definitely lots of applications out there that use and need that.

    However, applications are evolving and tablet/PC based amp processing will continue to increase. Users will push the boundaries and this will drive development.

    Exciting times.

  • Not per se. There's a little program called "VSTHost".

    You're right, of course, but I was mostly referring to the concept that a vst lives in a host that lives in a mainstream computer OS, compared to a dedicated OS like the Kemper that has the luxury of focusing on one thing.

    OMG what is happening...all this talk of laptops on 5tage....you're all turning into keyboard players....JOKE!

    Actually, my joke is that I survived dealing with the arrogant SOBs back in the 80s, when you simply couldn't get good rock gigs without a keyboard player and they knew it, so I have no qualms about putting one out of work today with backing tracks. :)