Dave Friedman’s view of kemper.....



  • 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?

  • 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.

    I would suggest that the profiling process will capture the dynamic response as well. The ability to translate the transient to the speakers would likely be more a property of the amp and speaker being used. I believe that the actual signal contains the accurate transient response in most cases.

  • The comments on feel of amps by some suggest to me they are saying the dynamic response they get standing in front of the amp and cab (at the sort of levels they use to get the tone they desire) are not what they get with the profiler - presumably through monitors, cans or FRFR. As CK suggests this is apples with oranges.


    A better test in the studio would be to mic up the amp and stand in the control room playing with monitors or cans ie isolated from the direct amp sound. Human hearing is far from linear in terms of how things seem at different volumes, Fletcher Munson curves apply to the frequency balance and there is also compression at high levels.

  • The comments on feel of amps by some suggest to me they are saying the dynamic response they get standing in front of the amp and cab (at the sort of levels they use to get the tone they desire) are not what they get with the profiler - presumably through monitors, cans or FRFR. As CK suggests this is apples with oranges.


    A better test in the studio would be to mic up the amp and stand in the control room playing with monitors or cans ie isolated from the direct amp sound. Human hearing is far from linear in terms of how things seem at different volumes, Fletcher Munson curves apply to the frequency balance and there is also compression at high levels.


    That "amp in the room" tone is why a lot of people don't gel with Profilers or modellers. The powered Kemper is amazing in that regard, since it gives you the best of both worlds.

  • Here's my 'amp in the room'. Plenty of great low end from the rear ports. I have them close together on a stool about 10" off the floor instead of on the workstation. Spent an entire afternoon messing with their placement and this gives the best AITR feel.

  • Here's my 'amp in the room'. Plenty of great low end from the rear ports. I have them close together on a stool about 10" off the floor instead of on the workstation. Spent an entire afternoon messing with their placement and this gives the best AITR feel.



    You might enjoy the sound but I can guarantee that it sounds different playing through a real amp cabinet

  • Often when tonal discrepancies are discussed, the common thread is to suggest user error. Early on Kemper tweaked the profiling algorithm to fix a low end issue, then Lasse Lammert and others pointed out that the mids were now a little off. This doesn't make the KPA unusable by any stretch, but it's nonetheless been noticed by many for a long time as something "baked in". There have also been a number of examples over time of, especially commercial profilers, saying their profile are 'indistinguishable" from the amp they profiled. Most cases comparisons aren't shown, but in the few cases where they are, some differences can often be detected, even if they suggest there is none (and of course this varies). That can definitely account for "feel". Low end response, especially in direct profiles, has been another long-discussed topic that may have an effect on "feel" depending on how it's defined by the player.


    CK definitely has a point that it depends how somebody is comparing a profile. If it's not of the amp and setup he has in front of him, it's of course not going to be the same. There are times when digital emulations give themselves away. Buried in a mix it's much, much harder to pick out, especially the closer the profile got to the source tone. But if we're talking about perceptibility to the player, small nuances can be exaggerated much more to them than a casual ear in the audience, thus "feel".


    It's also worth pointing out that it's not an apples to apples comparison if somebody is comparing an amp/cab in the room to a profile of a mic'd amp. Still, when I've played direct profiles through my Powerhead into a 4x12, it definitely feels different from an amp. Before people go off the rails and accuse me of hating the KPA or being a troll or whatever, I want to emphasize that I do still like the KPA for plenty of reasons. It does some things remarkably well, sometimes passably well, but it also has imperfections like nearly any product. Those can matter more to some than to others.


    Sometimes how profiles are made or approached can be "user error", but some years back when the forum erupted for a while discussing profiling differences that were repeatedly demonstrated, the Kemper team was asked how to help improve profiling accuracy when they kept suggesting it was "user error". To my knowledge from the people I know here who asked that question, there was never a specific or satisfactory answer. One of the KPA's early adopters that got people really excited was producer/engineer Michael Wagener. Even he suggested in an interview that there are special things he needed to manipulate about a profile fed to the KPA to make it "more accurate" but said you'd have to be there with him to demonstrate it. Point being, it can't always be "user error" if there's no in-depth examination of what error is being made or what would make a proper, more accurate profile. But that takes us further from the Friedman point/issue, I just felt it was worth considering what CK means by "user error", and perhaps he wants to elaborate.

  • Regardless of experience there can be magic captured in a profile. It can be perfectly accurate or even better than the original tone with creative tricks. I profile daily and can say I am continuously amazed at the results the Kemper brings. It isn't a capture of the amp but a piece of art created by the profiler made possible by the technology of the Kemper.

  • Regardless of experience there can be magic captured in a profile. It can be perfectly accurate or even better than the original tone with creative tricks. I profile daily and can say I am continuously amazed at the results the Kemper brings. It isn't a capture of the amp but a piece of art created by the profiler made possible by the technology of the Kemper.


    A good way to look at it!



    Often when tonal discrepancies are discussed, the common thread is to suggest user error. Early on Kemper tweaked the profiling algorithm to fix a low end issue, then Lasse Lammert and others pointed out that the mids were now a little off. This doesn't make the KPA unusable by any stretch, but it's nonetheless been noticed by many for a long time as something "baked in". There have also been a number of examples over time of, especially commercial profilers, saying their profile are 'indistinguishable" from the amp they profiled. Most cases comparisons aren't shown, but in the few cases where they are, some differences can often be detected, even if they suggest there is none (and of course this varies). That can definitely account for "feel". Low end response, especially in direct profiles, has been another long-discussed topic that may have an effect on "feel" depending on how it's defined by the player.


    Sometimes how profiles are made or approached can be "user error", but some years back when the forum erupted for a while discussing profiling differences that were repeatedly demonstrated, the Kemper team was asked how to help improve profiling accuracy when they kept suggesting it was "user error". To my knowledge from the people I know here who asked that question, there was never a specific or satisfactory answer. One of the KPA's early adopters that got people really excited was producer/engineer Michael Wagener. Even he suggested in an interview that there are special things he needed to manipulate about a profile fed to the KPA to make it "more accurate" but said you'd have to be there with him to demonstrate it. Point being, it can't always be "user error" if there's no in-depth examination of what error is being made or what would make a proper, more accurate profile. But that takes us further from the Friedman point/issue, I just felt it was worth considering what CK means by "user error", and perhaps he wants to elaborate.


    Michael Wagener is an extremely highly regarded producer though. If he says there is a workaround, there definitely is one.


    From my own limited experience profiling, it is practically 1:1 tone cloning. There is a marginal difference, but in a band setting, the strengths of the unit far outweigh any shortcomings.


    I think I'd also like to clarify my own stance regarding "feel". The Kemper feels bloody good, there's a lot of dynamics that you can feel in your fingers. It reacts very similarly or even exactly like a tube amp.


    The only thing I wish I could change is that little bit of latency. It's definitely negligible and doesn't affect playing.


    But from a tactile perspective, amps react quicker - i.e. not differently in terms of feel, but in terms of the instantaneous reaction that you get in your ears, which is sort of like the sound interacting with your fingers.


    This is not a golden ears or magic touch argument. I can play my Kemper without any issues whatsoever as the latency is around 1-3ms.


    The interplay between fingers and sound is just a little bit less, imho. Such is the price of using a digital device.


    Thankfully, not a deal breaker. You'd have to be pretty anal to say that it makes it impossible to use the Kemper, though there's a video where Steve Vai makes that exact argument about modellers and other digital tone generating devices.


    But he's Steve freaking Vai, so I will accept it as the reasoning of one of the greatest guitarists in the last 100 years.


    Not applicable to ordinary mortals though, thankfully! :D

  • I know everyone is saying they are going out and buying amps, but believe you me: the number of people who will buy an amp after buying a Kemper is really small.


    In fact, I was having a discussion with a band mate the other day and he said he only wants a profiler because he gets access to so many amps. I am sure he will never buy another amp in his life because the Kemper isn’t exactly cheap and some years ago, I would have been very sad at being unable to afford one once, forget about three times.


    So by all means, contest his views but don’t sledge the man. A lot of amp builders have similar circuits or based their designs on other circuits.

    I have to absolutely disagree , The Kemper is a sampler for amps plane and simple and just like samplers there's 2 kinds of people that buy them, People that don't want to drag all of there keyboards/drum machines/amps out to a gig or even in the studio to do a take and people who cant afford/don't see the value in owning all that gear. The latter won't buy the amp/original synth/drum machine because they cant afford it or they cant afford all of the keyboards/amps they want/ or they don't have the space. END OF STORY. This idea that someone will buy a Kemper and get by with "snapshots of all the amps they want" vs buying all of them when they can afford them is ridiculous. There no lost sales when the people your accusing of stealing cant afford to buy or don't value or have the space for your products in the first place. Almost every one I know who owns a Kemper (me include) got turned on to amps they never played and then bought them. Shit I had one amp left when I bought my Kemper 4 years ago. Now I have 9. Don't even get me started on what a hypocrite Dave Friedman is. He built his name and reputation on modding and cloning other peoples intellectual property, But I will say this he filled a market that they original amp makers chose to ignore and there's nothing wrong with that,Chris Kemper did the same thing..........only he picked a much bigger market and had a much better plan. Just my 02 cents

  • I have to absolutely disagree , The Kemper is a sampler for amps plane and simple and just like samplers there's 2 kinds of people that buy them, People that don't want to drag all of there keyboards/drum machines/amps out to a gig or even in the studio to do a take and people who cant afford/don't see the value in owning all that gear. The latter won't buy the amp/original synth/drum machine because they cant afford it or they cant afford all of the keyboards/amps they want/ or they don't have the space. END OF STORY. This idea that someone will buy a Kemper and get by with "snapshots of all the amps they want" vs buying all of them when they can afford them is ridiculous. There no lost sales when the people your accusing of stealing cant afford to buy or don't value or have the space for your products in the first place. Almost every one I know who owns a Kemper (me include) got turned on to amps they never played and then bought them. Shit I had one amp left when I bought my Kemper 4 years ago. Now I have 9. Don't even get me started on what a hypocrite Dave Friedman is. He built his name and reputation on modding and cloning other peoples intellectual property, But I will say this he filled a market that they original amp makers chose to ignore and there's nothing wrong with that,Chris Kemper did the same thing..........only he picked a much bigger market and had a much better plan. Just my 02 cents


    I don't know where you are getting all this info you are ranting about. I haven't accused anyone of stealing or anything.


    One beer too many last night? Have another one and calm down.

  • I don't know where you are getting all this info you are ranting about. I haven't accused anyone of stealing or anything.


    One beer too many last night? Have another one and calm down.

    Pretty sure he was referencing Dave's own comments when using the word stealing. This is, after all, a thread about them.

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

  • Crystal clear who's being referenced.

    Pretty sure he was referencing Dave's own comments when using the word stealing. This is, after all, a thread about them.


    Cool, thanks.


    I have to absolutely disagree , The Kemper is a sampler for amps plane and simple and just like samplers there's 2 kinds of people that buy them, People that don't want to drag all of there keyboards/drum machines/amps out to a gig or even in the studio to do a take and people who cant afford/don't see the value in owning all that gear. The latter won't buy the amp/original synth/drum machine because they cant afford it or they cant afford all of the keyboards/amps they want/ or they don't have the space. END OF STORY. This idea that someone will buy a Kemper and get by with "snapshots of all the amps they want" vs buying all of them when they can afford them is ridiculous. There no lost sales when the people your accusing of stealing cant afford to buy or don't value or have the space for your products in the first place. Almost every one I know who owns a Kemper (me include) got turned on to amps they never played and then bought them. Shit I had one amp left when I bought my Kemper 4 years ago. Now I have 9. Don't even get me started on what a hypocrite Dave Friedman is. He built his name and reputation on modding and cloning other peoples intellectual property, But I will say this he filled a market that they original amp makers chose to ignore and there's nothing wrong with that,Chris Kemper did the same thing..........only he picked a much bigger market and had a much better plan. Just my 02 cents


    If someone buys a Kemper, it's because they like the idea of getting real valve amp like tones. I know when I bought it, I sold all my other gear to finance it.


    I don't think that comparing CK and Dave Friedman is accurate though. After all, we are both saying that profiling isn't stealing or ripping off designs.


    But I completely disagree with the idea that Friedman is just ripping off amp designs. If it was that simple, there would be far more amp builders of repute.

  • ...


    A better test in the studio would be to mic up the amp and stand in the control room playing with monitors or cans ie isolated from the direct amp sound. Human hearing is far from linear in terms of how things seem at different volumes, Fletcher Munson curves apply to the frequency balance and there is also compression at high levels.

    And there's a lot of video evidence on YouTube suggesting professionals can't tell the difference in this situation.

  • Comparing CK to Dave Friedman is Apples and Oranges. Regardless, neither is stealing squat. It's a massive double-standard anyway.

    If that comparison were even remotely valid, then you have to call out every pedal maker who's based their designs off something else. Tube Screamer, Klon, Blues Breaker, Big Muff, Fuzz Face....on and on and on..... Then you can start in on the amp makers again. When you're done there, how about all the companies digitally 'stealing' from Mike Battles' Echoplex. Or Binson's Echorec or the original Memory Man or..........

    Hey....I've got a *great* idea. Let's squash any and all innovation or variations on a theme. Only 100% original thought is permissable.

    Everybody.....stop playing Chuck Berry. Because he stole it from Jimmy Reed who stole it from Robert Johnson who stole it from.....

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

  • Sorry to kick start an older thread but had to add this for chuckles. Via a video from the great Pete Thorn I just found out two things.


    1. Pete owned the 2nd ever BE-100.

    2. Back then the company name was 'Marsha' - before it ended up 'Friedman'.


    I kid you not.

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

  • Only fair to chime in here. I gave in to all of the hype and picked up a Friedman PT-20 combo about 3 weeks ago. I have enough time with it to say that believe everything you read - the tones I'm getting out of this thing are glorious. Everything from early 70s classic plexi rock to 80s modded JCM800 with ridiculous amounts of gain on tap. Cleans up really well with the guitar's knobs and by simply adjusting your picking - but when you dig in - the best Marshall crunch and saturated tones without any flub on the low end - stays really tight and articulate even with fast playing! Excellent MV too. Very usable for late night and because the amp is voiced around the pre-amp, it doesn't lose much when you turn it down (Fletcher Munson aside). Rock solid construction too.


    On top of that, I've reached out to inquire about adding some mods and have been going back and forth with Dave Friedman himself via email. He even turned me on to his cabinet maker so I could pick up a head shell.


    Regardless of his views on modeling/profiling, the man makes a killer amp which he supports personally. I see a mini-Dirty Shirley in my future.


    For the record, playing through the Friedman has actually made me appreciate the KPA even more. Bert M's BE-100 profiles captured the Friedman thing to a tee. When I have the house to myself the LOUD combo peels a little paint, the rest of the time the KPA takes center stage. Win win!

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