Dave Friedman’s view of kemper.....

  • Totally agreed, and we of course don't all agree on what those ethics are, how we feel about them, and to what degree we take them. But any good, fruitful discussion about such a topic should include honest representation of where each perspectives ethics come from.

    Perhaps not an "entirely" separate discussion, imo, at least in so far as considering the connection between law and ethics (and that brings into the ethics of that connection too) but I agree with the overall sentiment for sure.

  • I have to say, I went back and listened very closely to the question about Kemper, and very closely to Mr. Friedman's answer. These are my observations:

    1. He said "I feel that it is piracy" and that "you work really hard on your sound and they come and "steal your sound". Two observations here. First I can see Mr. Friedman legitimately "feeling" this way even if he is lacking insight into his own actions. Second, there is no doubt he is talking about the "sound" of his amps. He is not talking about the more complicated idea that someone is using his IP to boost the value of Kemper.

    2. He said that the Kemper does not have the feel of the real amp and does not interact with the guitar in the same way. One takeaway here. Mr. Friedman believes the Kemper sounds like his amps, it just doesn't feel like his amps.

    3. He is not calling out anyone in particular nor calling names, I think he is just stating what he feels, and he's entitled to feel how he feels(at least in my opinion). I don't doubt that he has worked really hard to build his business, and being a small business owner, I know what it feels like to carry the burden of keeping the doors open and employees paid. I might feel the same in his situation, but I would probably express myself differently.

  • From my perspective, Mementomori has tried to illustrate part of why -- and possibly -- some amp makers feel the way they do.

    Obviously nobody here was there when I discussed this issue with Joe Morgan, but judging by some of the insinuations about my stance on things, they'd probably be surprised at some of the things I said. I just don't feel an obligation to express that "I'm one of you, not one of them" because the core issue and merits each argument stands on is all that's really important. People shouldn't have to qualify their thoughts to cater to any sort of "tribal" mindshare so long as they're not trying to instigate with nefarious intent.

  • He said that the Kemper does not have the feel of the real amp and does not interact with the guitar in the same way. One takeaway here. Mr. Friedman believes the Kemper sounds like his amps, it just doesn't feel like his amps.

    Good post -- only as a side note, I can't seem to understand how (perhaps aside from latency) something can "have the same sound" but "feel different" assuming same monitoring. If we only view sound as a metaphysically subjective experience, as an experience one is having and exists only in his mind, and that this negates nearly anything metaphysically objective "about this experience", yes.... However in terms of otherwise measurable properties the popular distinction, even if useful in some ways, seems a bit bizarre at times. But I don't know if he was referring to the whole "cab + tube power stage" vs monitors type of bonanza.

  • Obviously nobody here was there when I discussed this issue with Joe Morgan, but judging by some of the insinuations about my stance on things, they'd probably be surprised at some of the things I said. I just don't feel an obligation to express that "I'm one of you, not one of them" because the core issue and merits each argument stands on is all that's really important. People shouldn't have to qualify their thoughts to cater to any sort of "tribal" mindshare so long as they're not trying to instigate with nefarious intent.

    Absolutely people shouldn't have to.

  • Good post -- only as a side note, I can't seem to understand how (perhaps aside from latency) something can "have the same sound" but "feel different" assuming same monitoring. If we define sound as a metaphysically subjective experience only, as an experience one is having and exists only in his mind, yes; however in terms of otherwise measurable properties the popular distinction, even if useful in some ways, seems a bit bizarre at times. But I don't know if he was referring to the whole "cab + tube power stage" vs monitors type of bonanza.

    Caveat, I've had my KPA for a few weeks, and am far from an expert with it. However, one of the things that I have noticed playing it with IEM's is that it does not have the same feel as a tube amp. I can get feedback from it, without standing next to a roaring cab, and I can get "bloom" from it by increasing the sag in the amplifier section. Neither feels the same as my actual amps, and I can't really explain why. The other thing the I've noticed is in gainier profiles the bass and treble do not act the same as they would in an actual amplifier. At least at this very young stage in my Kemper education it seems that the treble is way too present and crisp and that the bass doesn't sound or act the same way as a cranked amp. Typically with my amps, when I run them dimed, I have to turn down the bass at the very least, and sometimes add treble. It's like there is a different resonant frequency.


    I haven't run my KPA through good monitors at loud volume yet, so we'll see how that changes my mind.

  • Caveat, I've had my KPA for a few weeks, and am far from an expert with it. However, one of the things that I have noticed playing it with IEM's is that it does not have the same feel as a tube amp. I can get feedback from it, without standing next to a roaring cab, and I can get "bloom" from it by increasing the sag in the amplifier section. Neither feels the same as my actual amps, and I can't really explain why. The other thing the I've noticed is in gainier profiles the bass and treble do not act the same as they would in an actual amplifier. At least at this very young stage in my Kemper education it seems that the treble is way too present and crisp and that the bass doesn't sound or act the same way as a cranked amp. Typically with my amps, when I run them dimed, I have to turn down the bass at the very least, and sometimes add treble. It's like there is a different resonant frequency.


    I haven't run my KPA through good monitors at loud volume yet, so we'll see how that changes my mind.

    Sure, but then the issue is more so with IEM vs using guitar amp with tube amp?


    Yea, then the "feel" will be super different for the vast majority of people. But using tube amp and only monitoring via IEM shouldn't be that different, not considering cab interaction, and assuming kemper would profile that tone well enough. Also If you run Kemper through a good power amp and cab you are likely to get much of that "amp feel" back, I believe, especially with the right profiles.


    But yes, I don't know what Friedman meant exactly.


    When I talk of "feel", I typically mean profiling an amp right there and monitoring profile and source through the same gear. It just narrows down whatever differences to judging the quality of profiling in terms of emulating the source tone. Otherwise, the issue is not exclusive to kemper but more about monitoring and perhaps amplifying a signal too.

  • Pretty certain we all agree that anyone who buys a piece of gear, knowing full well that they are going to use it in some beneficial manner and then return it for a full refund - is a 100% AAA-Grade douche-bag.

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

  • Pretty certain we all agree that anyone who buys a piece of gear, knowing full well that they are going to use it in some beneficial manner and then return it for a full refund - is a 100% AAA-Grade douche-bag.

    It's a seedy part of retail, but almost inevitable. Doing so obviously has an adverse effect on the retailer which can have an adverse effect (cost) on the manufacturer in returns/repairs/restocking items at a sharply reduced margin. Some rationalize that both of these parties "have more than enough money" to absorb these expenses, but everything has a reaction and invariably the consumers are left to foot the bill in the end, usually in the form of price increases.


    Beyond the self-defeating economics, the ethics of abusing return policies in a premeditated, systematic way is still slimy. I know of people who've done it, as well as YouTuber gear reviewers who do this very same practice. There's no way to avoid it since human nature is human nature, and sadly those of us who abide by the honest intentions of a return policy tend to suffer when policy privileges are changed or revoked because the added expense becomes too costly.


    C'est la vie...

  • I see what you're saying about it possibly being more of a monitoring and amplification issue. I think you may be right. I really need to run the KPA through the PA. I have access to a world class Meyer array system that it will be fun to crank it through. I know front of house sound is a different thing than monitor or cab sound, but if FOH is really good, I can live with differences in monitoring "feel".

  • This discussion brings me back to my earlier discussion about the ethics of using commercial IRs to create profiles.


    In that regard, if you can dictate that no one takes your IRs and distributes them or that no one can take your profiles and distribute them, why can an amp creator say you cannot profile my amp?


    Again, in that regard, going back to the IR, remember, it is just an impulse response, basically a sound in some respects.


    And going back to that "ripping off amp designs bit" (which I am glad has died down), isn't creating an IR also ripping off someone's work in some way (i.e. the cab builder, the speaker manufacturer, etc)?

  • This discussion brings me back to my earlier discussion about the ethics of using commercial IRs to create profiles.

    ...

    And going back to that "ripping off amp designs bit" (which I am glad has died down), isn't creating an IR also ripping off someone's work in some way (i.e. the cab builder, the speaker manufacturer, etc)?

    Celestion instead of going against IR, decided to compete and delivered "CelestionPlus, offering the ultimate in impulse responses...capture our authentic guitar speaker tones with amazing faithfulness and precision"

  • Celestion instead of going against IR, decided to compete and delivered "CelestionPlus, offering the ultimate in impulse responses...capture our authentic guitar speaker tones with amazing faithfulness and precision"

    But that's the manufacturer's choice with the product they designed. I think the "ethically ambiguous" ground nightlight is pointing to is people using Celestion speakers to make and sell impulses of their own. Of course, then that begs the question, what part is "property" of the cabinet, or the microphone, or the power amp, or any other influence over the resulting sound.


    Profiles are similar in that it's a signal chain. You can take an identical chain and swap out just the cabs and the 2 profiles would likely be very different.

  • Caveat, I've had my KPA for a few weeks, and am far from an expert with it. However, one of the things that I have noticed playing it with IEM's is that it does not have the same feel as a tube amp. I can get feedback from it, without standing next to a roaring cab, and I can get "bloom" from it by increasing the sag in the amplifier section. Neither feels the same as my actual amps, and I can't really explain why. The other thing the I've noticed is in gainier profiles the bass and treble do not act the same as they would in an actual amplifier. At least at this very young stage in my Kemper education it seems that the treble is way too present and crisp and that the bass doesn't sound or act the same way as a cranked amp. Typically with my amps, when I run them dimed, I have to turn down the bass at the very least, and sometimes add treble. It's like there is a different resonant frequency.


    I haven't run my KPA through good monitors at loud volume yet, so we'll see how that changes my mind.

    Regarding the 'feel' of the Kemper vs an amp and how the tone controls function. Neither reacts precisely the way a tube amp would.

    The feel *is* different. If all you've ever known and what you expect is to be *exactly* like a tube amp, you will be disappointed. The KPA reacts, but not just like your favorite amp. Whether that's good or bad depends on your experience.

    The bass, mids and treble control will act *nothing* like the amp. Going to extremes with them can sometimes produce desirable results. But if you're approaching the KPA as if it were identical to a tube amp you'll get weird stuff. Like a tube amp, you have to learn how to manipulate it in its own way. Again, not bad or good.....just different. Like setting a Vox up with Marshall-type settings. It ain't going to sound like you expect.

    YMMV.

    As for Dave Friedman........ He's got an opinion and that's fine. Don't begrudge him one bit. You can also contrast that with Dr. Z who digs the KPA and creates and sells his own profiles.

    “Without music, life would be a mistake.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

    Edited once, last by Ruefus ().

  • To me, EQ controls of kemper feel closer to some post-EQ applied in daw.


    I've had cases where they've helped quite a bit, especially using other people's profiles (which is rarely).... But typically I don't touch them at all. If I want to alter eq I'll just use a studio EQ in kemper and target what I want.


    About feel: imo if A has the exact same sound as B, not just as "someone's aural experience", but other, existing properties, so will the "feel" be the same (not considering factors irrelevant to profiling accuracy, such as.. Seeing the amp and ending up with "more feels" because if it) . We may include "latency" here too.


    Considering this, "kemper doesn't feel the same as the amp" feels too vague of a statement. Are we taking about the signal kemper gives out? Differences in amplifying that signal? Monitoring?


    Because if I take a friedman amp and run it through load box all that "cab mojo" will be gone too.


    Does that in turn mean that profiling is accurate to the level where, even with a comparison that narrows down things properly, there's no difference anyone can perceive, prefer, not prefer?


    Well, that's another topic.. And these things are testable, on some level, with known methods .... But from what friedman has said in this and other interviews, I don't know what he believes exactly.

  • Not that kemper users are bereft of bias. Some can hear, in some random show, on a youtube recording, just how bad axe sounds -- disregarding all the examples to the contrary -- while being charitable as heck when it comes to their own device. Same from the "other" camp, or parts of it.


    And I think (not accusing you of that) that at times prescribing bias to people is also largely determined by one bias or another. It gets quite comical at times. Everybody have been paid by aliens -- if for whatever reason they still use amps, other products.


    Now if Friedman narrowed down his critique or made it more clear just what he means, there's a big chance I'd more or less agree with him (likely not about the piracy part though) even if the issue is about "feel" with similar monitoring, amplification, ect, ect.

  • I‘m happy to chime in late to this topic.


    Here is my view, made up as a little guideline. I know you guys are aware of every single fact, but I want to try to put those facts on a solid base for you, if you get trapped into an argument about sound :)



    When the Profiler does not sound right to ones ears, then it might be about the profiles he/she is listening to. All profiles available are done by users, pro or semi-pro. There is only two handful of profiles made at the company Kemper. We rely on the cultural plurality of our users.


    And if there is a tube amp that sounds better, then it should be profiled and compared afterwards, not before.

    Usually everyone that state that his amp sounds better or different than the Profiler, without mentioning that he has profiled his amp already and comparing to this, has not profiled his amp yet.


    Any digital guitar amp monitored through linear speakers should not be compared to a tube amp monitored by a guitar speaker (amp-in-the-room). If one states that a tube amp sounds better in comparison, without mentioning the speaker setup, then it is highly probable that apple and oranges were compared. Question it.


    When two amp sounds sound the same, then they feel the same. There is no way how a sound would feel different for the player, but sound exactly the same for the listener.

    The (assumingly) only exception to this is different latency of both sounds, which is only perceivable by the player, but not by the listener. We learned from you that the Profilers latency - while not avoidable - is about imperceptable.


    When two amp sounds sound the same, than it is impossible that one sound will drown in the mix, while the other doesn‘t. If these sounds behave differently, than they simply do not sound the same, no matter what a pro says.

    And yes, this might be about high frequencies and transients, as some users state in this thread.

    If there were esotheric parts in the sound, that would make a difference in a busy mix, then those parts would easily be identified, when listening solo, especially for a pro.


    Professional producers or mixers are not gods or scientists. Most of them are artists using equipment mostly created by scientists. And sometimes even the best make pseudo scientific statements, that they don‘t feel it‘s worth further proving.



  • This is a really great post, very incisive.


    The part about sounds disappearing in the mix is really interesting to me as a user, since I have been guilty of suggesting that with high gain sounds, I always seem to believe there's more usable low end content when comparing a recorded tube amp vs the same profiled tube amp.


    In that regard, Mr CK, there used to be quite a number of videos when the Kemper was just getting popular where users would suggest increasing the bass of a profile to compensate for what was perceived as less low end from the profile.


    But I guess you're saying that's more likely user error during the profiling process?