Playing through headphones - how do you get it to sound right?

  • Hello,


    I have owned my Kemper for a few months now and this is also the first time I am playing through headphones, so apologies if any of this sounds very basic.


    I got some headphones (beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro) which I was told should work well with the Kemper, and I also read in some other threads here that the space parameter plays a big role in making them sound good, so I played with that and it did make it better than with space at 0.


    However, the sound is still very compressed, metallic, and even if I roll back distortion on the rig it does not sound nearly as good as through my 1x12 cab which I have normally connected.


    So my question: Has anyone managed to get a sound through headphones with is as good as through a speaker (cab or monitor)? And if yes, how did you do it?


    Thanks in advance for your help :)

  • TheMatthias

    Changed the title of the thread from “Headphone sound - can it be as good as through speakers?” to “Playing through headphones - how do you get it to sound right?”.
  • Welcome to the forum.


    I’m sure you’ll get some responses that are far more helpful and technical than mine. But I ran into this same issue when I first got my Kemper and the way I handle it is to have different rigs for different applications.

    • I have rigs for live performances
    • A copy those same rigs tweaked for headphones
    • And finally, my rigs that I use specifically for recording

    I do this because a rig is going to sound different depending on how you use it. A rig played through nice headphones that are just an inch away from your ears could sound vastly different when put through a PA system. Even my rigs that I use for live use sound a little different if I play on a foreign PA because the speakers might be different.


    So that’s how I handle the changes. It’s a little time consuming. But to me, it’s worth it to have an awesome sound in all applications.


    I usually start my search for tones using headphones. Then I adjust them (at gig level) for live use.

  • Is the cab off globally?


    Monitor Cab. Off is a global setting. • It will bypass the cabinet module for all outputs, whereas "Monitor Cab Off" will only affect the signal routed to the MONITOR OUTPUT (and the built-in power amp of PowerHead and PowerRack).

  • If you’ve ever tracked guitar from a normal mic’ed up amp it sounds extremely similar to using headphones on the kemper. Definitely not as nice as through a cab, but that’s the sound you get. Just tweak the profiles to be less harsh and it should be easier to play with (less definition, treble and presence) and obviously space as you said and a bit of reverb (if it’s for playing and not recording).

  • I do use the Space effekt on the kemper itself a lot. There is a option that this will not effekt your outputsignals expect the headphone out!
    so you can have it only on the headphones and the oder outs (main, monitor, cab, spdif) will not be effected.

    hope this helps

    PS: I do find, that the DT770Pro do sound a little bit harsh. Thats just my opinion.
    Maybe in the future the Headphone out will become a seperate ouputpace with EQ, MixLvL ect....nobody knows ;-)

  • I read a lot of thread of members about the sound of the Kemper sounding better on headphone than speakers and they wanted to sound as good as headphone . So I am very suprised that it's the contrary for you. LOL maybe you should meet ;-)

  • Thanks a lot for your input, that makes a lot of sense. Obviously some more work, but I guess it is the most sustainable solution and provides ongoing headaches. ;)

  • If you’ve ever tracked guitar from a normal mic’ed up amp it sounds extremely similar to using headphones on the kemper. Definitely not as nice as through a cab, but that’s the sound you get. Just tweak the profiles to be less harsh and it should be easier to play with (less definition, treble and presence) and obviously space as you said and a bit of reverb (if it’s for playing and not recording).

    I have mic'ed up other amps in the past, and you are right the sound is different (less natural, for the lack of a better word), but it was always still fine - just different. With the headphones here, the distortion sounded like fingernails on a blackboard. =O


    However, I have now found that for some rigs it actually works better (what DennisJ mentioned above). So I guess some rigs really sound great on headphones, while some I really like through the cab do not work so well.


    So I guess rig discovery will involve both methods in the future.

  • I have a few a cabs from profiles that I've really liked and have saved those as presets. Whenever i get new profiles i will swap the cabs out.


    Also for headphones only, i usually turn the character knob in the cabinet section all the way up and toggle the pure cab on and off at 0.1 along with high and Low shift. Usually jist high shift for me if at all. Chairs!