Dave Friedman’s view of kemper.....

  • Interesting debate...


    Personally - I don't differentiate between modellers and Profiling in the sense that its a different approach to get the same thing - a close representation of a particular amp rather than its own specific sound.


    Everyone knows ( and if they don;t then they are creating their own hype) that profiling and modelling has limitations but as said the valve amp vs modelling/profiling is much more about accessibility to sounds...Would I prefer a "copy" of 100 amps done 95% accurate or 1 amp 100% accurate.....already made my choice.


    Some people might be more excitable about how one does it better than the other but there is always something missing, whether is is true or perceived. A copy of the original can never be the original, right?


    When credit cards came out, everyone said cash would disappear. It hasn't but has reduced...all banks had to adopt credit/debit cards to remain competitive.


    In my view Mr Freidman needs to continue to make his great amps but embrace the changes by developing endorsed profiles and see it as an opportunity to maintain his business - which is creating great guitar sounds through his products. They should live alongside each other...


    Its a bit like cover bands, without the original, there is nothing to cover.

  • There is no comparison between a Kemper and a tube amp, a Kemper is simply a snapshot. It’s like the difference between a video and a picture. A video is pictures moving, and snapshot is a frozen picture.


    When you take that snapshot of an amp, it is that sound and that second only, the character and everything is there, but always at that second, never changing.


    A tube amp is more human like, it is ever changing.


    Recording with a tube amp is like recording with a moody person, you get one take out of a hundred that might be awesome. But what an awesome! Never again to be recaptured.


    Kemper on the other hand is a frozen snapshot, so if you capture magic, it will always be ready for you.


    But is that better? Sometimes not. Sometimes the imperfections make it better.


    Hard to explain, it’s like watching a sunset, and all the colors and changes into night, compared to a sunset frozen and always retaining the same colors. Oh, you can mess with the tint controls, but it is not the same thing.


    There was this problem with digital gear from the beginning. Amazing sounding, until your ears finally started picking up the fact that this creeping sterile aspect never leaves. It’s always the same. That is why we always went back to tube amps.


    Even the ax fx cannot do this. It can digitally create an amp, but can’t fluctuate from changes in the real world.


    Until that happens, nothing digital will ever capture things like tube amps 100%


    On the other side, tube amps have a fail rate. They are heavy and bulky. They are limited in function. You have a lot of other gear needed with it, you got to get tune ups, etc...etc... There is a lot of aggravation with those things.


    So, Kemper solves A LOT of problems in the daily activity of playing electric guitar. The ability to have this little tiny box or rack that does so many things makes up for a lot. As far as tone, screw it, close enough, haha...


    I loved all my rack gear of the past. Like many I owned almost everything new coming out, all the pre amps, power amps, etc.. always trying to fix the connection issues that big amps couldn’t solve, but then always ending up with a 400 lb giant crate that needs wheels. What did I solve?


    Pluses and minuses, I still have fun with my Kemper and that is a good sign.

  • Of course Kemper does steal the soul of the amps 8) When I make 100 direct amp profiles of - lets say a 1-channel tube amp head - I have covered all usefull settings I'll ever need... and more.


    100 or 200 profiles of one amp (there are bigger packs out there) are not "snapshots" anymore - so many pictures make a movie :thumbup:


    You can argue with studio profiles. They do capture a signal chain. But with direct amp profiles it IS and feels like owning the amp (or very close to it).

  • Of course Kemper does steal the soul of the amps 8) When I make 100 direct amp profiles of - lets say a 1-channel tube amp head - I have covered all usefull settings I'll ever need... and more.


    100 or 200 profiles of one amp (there are bigger packs out there) are not "snapshots" anymore - so many pictures make a movie :thumbup:


    You can argue with studio profiles. They do capture a signal chain. But with direct amp profiles it IS and feels like owning the amp (or very close to it).

    I mostly only shoot direct profiles, due to convenience of using these profiles later on, and typically prefer the real amps at home. But I would agree, as per my own standard, that kemper is very close -- depending on the playing, audio test,just what the evaluative framework is. It's often not clear what is meant by "close" or "99 percent", pla pla.


    In terms of snapshots, I've found that -- relatively often -- I need to shoot too many profiles for kemper to remain convenient in every day use for me personally -- a movie typically doesn't require manually switching frames :) Neither do amps magically set dials for us, but at least real pots allow me to get what I want quicker (compared to going through libraries of profiles, trying to find what works among a million possible settings) especially when some experimenting is needed, considering the nature of how most such dials typically work. That's also where modelling gains ground for me.


    Then there's also settings that I just can't profile well enough. In these cases, I must use the real amp if I want anything resembling the "tone in my head". I can't produce good enough profiles of my orange when it's smoking and farting all over the place. Can't do that with a fender amp either I wanted to "keep". Can't do so even with a particular, modded jcm I used extensively, and which tends to sound pretty good, provided the right settings, when dual stages are distorting -- of course always according to my own, limited taste. Then again.. more often than not, I don't need such "cranked" tones from master vol amps, so that's not some kind of a massive deal breaker. Definitely not.


    For the first reason, I've mostly kept profiles that some "standard settings" I'd use. But still, quite often, I tend to dial in an amp tone first for a particular purpose and THEN use that with kemper for convenience if I don't have access to the amp in ideal set up/scenario. It's usually all within the span of some particular project though. That's probably the most common way I use kemper.


    Point is that for me, in real world use, there's some nuance to the whole "stealing soul of an amp" narrative, provided my own preferences.

  • The Kemper is not just stealing and conserving the soul of amps. This tool in the right (or wrong) hands can even "pervert the soul" and go to places the original amp will never be able to follow. When hot-rotted is not enough and you dial in settings on the Kemper, that go far beyond eleven on the amp - sacrilege - and you know a new time has just begun. Kemper - The Perverter of Souls!


    Aaah, sorry... listening too much METAAAL...

  • Its so very interesting about what is important....as per one of my previous posts, I have shit ears...I state that upfront :).


    We all search for the golden tone and I believe it doesn't exist because:

    Everyone has a different view on what that is ( of course) - so no amp will ever have that for all and as most people have multiple applications it might have say the best blues breakup sound but be crap for harder rock

    I think it changes constantly - one day I think my amp sounds incredible and another day awful (ok, maybe not that extreme but I'm sure everyone gets that). We can talk about room temperature and other factors but our interpretation is probably the biggest variable.


    I cannot afford to change my amp every time this happens so what the KPA does for me is an endless access to great sounds. Does the profile of the 1969 plexi sound exactly the same? I don't care because I can't afford a Plexi...as well as a fender twin...as well as a dual recitifier...etc. and therefore can't languish in their "souls".


    However, whilst a profile is a snapshot, this also assumes that any deviation from that point is bad...its not, its just different to the reference amp - so its not a still picture, probably more of a mini series than a film :)


    I don't think I'll ever go back to a tube amp in the same way I won't go back to 35mm film in a camera. The quality is now so good and the pro's so convincingly outweigh the cons. I don;t except a valve amp to appear that is going to be so radically good for me to change...if it does, I'll look for the profile

  • One important thing the Kemper taught me is that many amps sound very similar with pretty much the same tube components. Of course this is mainly from my experience of high gain sounds, so maybe low drive is more critical. As V8 implied, one day to the next can change the sound or perception of it too.


    While profiling everything that comes into the studio to be able to reproduce album tones, it became obvious that the speaker has much bigger influence on the tone than the amp. On one album I managed to make the 6506 and Powerball 1 sound pretty much identical with a Mesa cab.

  • The Kemper is not just stealing and conserving the soul of amps. This tool in the right (or wrong) hands can even "pervert the soul" and go to places the original amp will never be able to follow. When hot-rotted is not enough and you dial in settings on the Kemper, that go far beyond eleven on the amp - sacrilege - and you know a new time has just begun. Kemper - The Perverter of Souls!


    Aaah, sorry... listening too much METAAAL...

    It's funny but I often think something similar. Many of the people who complain that digital technology will never be able to compete with "real tube amps" are metal players. When I listen to most modern metal the sounds are so multi layered and processed that they don't actually sound like valve amps anyway. Many end up using so much gain that they need to use Tube Screamers and EQs in front of the amp to tighten the bottom end because valve amps themselves aren't tight enough. If ever there was a genre that was custom made for digital processing it's modern metal and yet metal players are among the most resistant to digital amps :/


    That's not a criticism of metal player or their tones just an observation about the strange conflict between the desire for a certain sound but a refusal to use the technology best suited to producing it. Seems weird to me but I'm an old fart so what would I know :P

  • If ever there was a genre that was custom made for digital processing it's modern metal and yet metal players are among the most resistant to digital amps :/

    Boy, do I have a few profiles that would change their thinking! Also, I'd recommend any metal player, especially those who de-tune and/or play 7-8 string or multi-scale guitars, head on over to Victory amps and check out their official Kraken profiles! Those suckers are heavy with a capital H.


    Metal tip of the day: search out profiles by Alessio Forlani of the Mosotti X100M. Those'll peel paint!


    If I were Dave Friedman I'd get in touch with Michael Britt and work out a deal. Dude's maybe the first true "superstar" profiler. Offer up official profiles with Britt's name on them and I think they'd sell really well!

    "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." - Douglas Adams

  • If ever there was a genre that was custom made for digital processing it's modern metal and yet metal players are among the most resistant to digital amps

    I'm not sure this is really true. There are multiple schools of thought, but metal players for many years have been using POD's and Axe-FX's openly. It's also not hard to find recordings of djenty metal bands where the guitar is actually MIDI and uses a plug-in.

  • I'm not sure this is really true. There are multiple schools of thought, but metal players for many years have been using POD's and Axe-FX's openly. It's also not hard to find recordings of djenty metal bands where the guitar is actually MIDI and uses a plug-in.

    I totally agree with you there that there are many examples of pro Metal bands openly embracing digital technology and I am sure there are many more who actually use it but don't admit it because of endorsement deals with valve amp manufacturers. However, there is also a massive number of bedroom players and weekend warriors who refuse to even entertain the idea that digital could conceivably be a viable option. Many of them in the Mesa groups (I have be a Mesa user for 30 +years and still love them even though they are just expensive ornaments in my room these days) spout such nonsense as "digital might be OK for some things but they will just never come close to a real valve amp for Metal". I honestly think a lot of these players (who own Triple Rectifiers and JP2c as "bedroom" amps) buy their amps based on what they think their heroes use rather than what suits their needs.


    It is obviously wrong of me to stereotype a single genre and I apologise for that. It is probably because I notice it more. There seem to be more metal players with strong opinions happy to share them with anyone who will listen. And it's a bit like when you go to buy a car. You never notice the make, model or colour until you decide you fancy one; then every second car you see suddenly seems to be your car.

  • I totally agree with you there that there are many examples of pro Metal bands openly embracing digital technology and I am sure there are many more who actually use it but don't admit it because of endorsement deals with valve amp manufacturers. However, there is also a massive number of bedroom players and weekend warriors who refuse to even entertain the idea that digital could conceivably be a viable option. Many of them in the Mesa groups (I have be a Mesa user for 30 +years and still love them even though they are just expensive ornaments in my room these days) spout such nonsense as "digital might be OK for some things but they will just never come close to a real valve amp for Metal". I honestly think a lot of these players (who own Triple Rectifiers and JP2c as "bedroom" amps) buy their amps based on what they think their heroes use rather than what suits their needs.

    I know we often roll our eyes at "bedroom players" and "weekend warriors", but the truth is none of these companies would make money without them. The "pros" that are often talked about either get their gear for free or at a heavy discount. To sell thousands of units, it's the general public who pays full price from distributors who must eat the lions share. Even in this very forum, I'd say far and away the vast majority of users fit the exact description that they often take sideswipes at (not saying you are necessarily). Weekend warriors or not, these are the people who dictate the market.


    But I agree that there is always going to be a segment of people who become stubbornly pro-something, which they interpret as a zero-sum game where that means they have to be anti-something else. Tube snobbery is real, and if this was 5-10 years back it would be far more extreme. In recent years I've started to see almost the opposite, digital proponents trashing traditional valve amplifiers. I can imagine the Mesa forums & groups being anti-digital because they want to justify their gear to themselves. Other amp people do it. Axe users do it. Helix users do it. Kemper users do it. Pickup company users do it, etc. There's always a segment of snobbery in any mindshare.


    By "never come close a real valve amp", it's important to know what the person means. I think there's enough blind tests out there to demonstrate that digital is definitely making rapid advancements and can at times be crazy close to matching a tone. They'd be too dismissive to deny this. Still, if you watch Ola's segments "Guess That Tone", he guesses right almost every time it's a plug-in or modeler even if he doesn't know which one. There are certain cues that stick out, even if they sound great or very close. But if they mean that you're never going to get the visceral experience of analog circuits bending and behaving erratically in the room that gives you that unique experience, that's hard to disagree with at this point.

  • You are right about weekend warriors making up the lion's share. I'm one myself :D


    I also agree with the point about confirmation bias and the need to justify our purchases to ourselves. Although, I do try and be objective and, while I can't see me going back to valve amps in the future you can never say never. I haven't sold my Boogies so you never know.

  • The issues is whether the consumer even wants a valve in the first place.

    This!


    I am too lazy to take a pic of my electronics workbench but trust me, there is a prototype circuit with a 12AX7 and I even have a Nixie power supply hooked up to it running 200+V. (I am too lazy to put a warning sticker on this, so just told the kids, don't ever touch anything on the table:) )


    I love tubes (valves), I read and mostly understood ValveWizard's valve preamp book. (Great book, highly recommended.)


    Here's the thing I realized. My son, who plays the guitar and is 12 just does not care. First, I was upset, then I realized, I am the obsolete one. ;)


    Our kids will not have the attachment to super-analog asymmetric (read the book) sounds like I do. And this is right. I was fooling around with my son and after recording realized that a free VST plugin can do better than most amps you could realistically get access to.


    First, I was sad, then the post about Victory selling their amp profiles (for Kemper) for peanuts made me very happy. This really is the future, and this is about workflow. Also I bet a lot of people were super pissed with Henry Ford when he replaced their horses with something that did not shit all over every street. :P

  • Here's the thing I realized. My son, who plays the guitar and is 12 just does not care. First, I was upset, then I realized, I am the obsolete one. ;)


    Our kids will not have the attachment to super-analog asymmetric (read the book) sounds like I do. And this is right. I was fooling around with my son and after recording realized that a free VST plugin can do better than most amps you could realistically get access to.

    Our kids often remind us that we are the dinosaurs...


    Funny how Mr Freidman has got us all philosophical!!


    I don;t think anyone disses weekend warriors ( its me as well) but we can be a fickle bunch, a little prone to locking onto concepts and being product defensive, but definitely drive the market, so winning us/them over is important to manufacturers...


    Valve snobbery started with the early modellers...personally the Pod stuff for me was OK but definitely digital. The new breed definitely closes the gap and hence why views are changing.

  • This is probably a bit off topic so feel free to shift it to a new thread if required but it was too good to pass up and seems relevant to some of the recent comments!


    This video came up on my Youtube home page yesterday and I just clicked on it out of curiosity.


    https://youtu.be/3eqiM1PpN9M


    The jist of it is;


    Three mates own different gear which they each feel is the "best" and want to compare them side by side. Dude 1 owns a real AC30 AND a Helix, Dude 2 a Kemper and Dude three a Spider. Dude 3 sets up all the tools to get as close to the same tone as possible then conducts a blind test on the other 2 mates to see A- if they can identify which is which and B- which one the prefer.


    Dude one spends the whole video trashing his own Helix and saying that it's going on Reverb after the test. Anyway, at the end of the test the one he preferred and the one he thought was the real amp turns out to be his own Helix that he hates :D


    I have to say that I wasn't a big fan of ANY of the tones in the video (although they may have sounded good in a mix) but the take aways for me are -


    1 - all of the digital platforms are now at a standard where any one of them is useable. The right one for us is simply the one that suits our own workflow needs.


    2 - we all listen with our eye and our preconceptions. When you take those crutches away it is incredibly difficult to say that any one solution (whether modelled, profiled or the real deal) is "better" than any other. They may have slightly different flavours but they are all just tools to get the job done at the end of the day. Our own mood at any given point in time is likely to have more of an influence than the choice technology.


    3 - stop worrying about which is best. Whether "tubes" are still more "..........." than digital and just enjoy making music. There has never been a better time to make a noise as the options open to use are mindblowing. The only two problems we need to worry about are 1) the scope of our own imagination and 2) option anxiety/decision paralysis :)

  • It is a fabulous time to be making music as technology has developed so far and the choices open to us are mind blowing.


    With that in mind the issue probably has nothing to do with whether the consumer thinks the profiler IS the valve amp. The issues is whether the consumer even wants a valve in the first place. I honestly can't see me buying another valve amp again (unless a used Soldano HR25 comes up at a bargain price) because they are more hassle than they are worth. There is a whole generation of players coming up (i'm 50 in a few days time so I'm not one of them) who probably don't even care who Dave Friedman is, or Randy Smith or Jim Marshall or Howard Dumble............. all they care about is getting great tones in a convenient package which they can take to gigs in the back of an Uber as venues now have sound limiters, horrendous get ins, and cities have no parking near venues etc. The world has moved on. Whether I like it or not doesn't matter. I often sit moaning at my kids about what it used to be like when I was their age. Real amps, really guitars, real music - none of that rubbish you listen to son :D To their credit, they just humour me then stick their crappy apple earbuds in their head and listen to some crap that never had a Marshall Plexi within 100 miles of it.


    Rant over!

    well said man 8o




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    free you mind and your ass will follow …

  • Could not agree more! If I could give more than one like I would!!