Tone issue, through cab and interface

  • Hey All, brand new Kemper owner here.


    I’ve read through the forum and haven’t been able to find a solution to my problem so I apologize if the tipic has been discussed before.


    My issue is Im getting a very, very underwhelming tone/ from my device. Both through my Orange 212 cab, and when I go into my interface for recording purposes.


    I purchased 12,000 profiles on eBay. Most of them are commercial packs. Regardless of the profiles I use, I simply cannot get a sound that’s anywhere near comparable to the quality and bite of my Orange TH100 head through the cab (just sounds lifeless and dull, like a cheap solid state amp) and when recording with the interface I am barely getting better quality than I ddI using Amplitube. Certainly nothing I can work with in a mix, even after compressing, EQ, etc.


    I have tried cab sim on/off, I’ve tried different outputs, different cables, different guitars, different profiles.


    I know this has to be something I’m doing wrong as so many professionals are using them live and on albums now and wouldn’t be if they were getting the synthetic tone I am.


    If it helps, I’m after a pop/punk tone. Blink 182, alkaline trio, etc. in fact both of their new albums heavily utilized Kemper, which is what got me interested in the device.


    I do realize things need to be tweaked and it’s not justness a plug and play and you’re good device, but I’m hoping you guys can share your knowledge and tips and get me in the right direction. Cleans sound amazing, I can see the high gain metal stuff being useful, but that in between I am struggling to find.


    Thank you all!

  • To be honest, it is just a plug ‘n’ play device for me. If a profile isn’t working I just find another profile. Fortunately, pretty much every profile I’ve tried sounds amazing. I haven’t turned on any of my Mesa’s since getting the KPa over a year ago. I rarely tweak anything. I made profiles of my Mesa’s and they were almost identical. Infact the profiles sounded very, very slightly better than the real thing.


    What is “underwhelming” about the tone?

  • To be honest, it is just a plug ‘n’ play device for me. If a profile isn’t working I just find another profile. Fortunately, pretty much every profile I’ve tried sounds amazing. I haven’t turned on any of my Mesa’s since getting the KPa over a year ago. I rarely tweak anything. I made profiles of my Mesa’s and they were almost identical. Infact the profiles sounded very, very slightly better than the real thing.


    What is “underwhelming” about the tone?

    I guess by underwhelming I would say there is no warmth (to any distorted tones) . The distortion is very fizzy, tinny, synthetic sounding both through a real cab and my interface. There is no bite, no depth. The distortion I’m getting out of it is no better than a cheap crate or line 6 amp, and only slightly better than amplitube. I’ve tried changing cab sims, tried the pure cab settings, I’m unable to get anywhere even remotely close to a usable live tone, or a usable recording tone. I also tried changing settings and playing through a PA speaker as well with the same result.


    I know it must be something im doing wrong because I hear what others produce with it, and such big names use it, I’m just at a loss as to what else to try.

  • Welcome, judkins. :)


    Yeah, something must be amiss 'cause the unit should sound awesome. You said you're a "brand new Kemper owner" - does that mean a brand-new owner or are you also referring to the unit? If it's 2nd-hand, it could be that the previous owner messed something up settings-wise or simply chose parameter values that don't suit your tastes. In this case, a reset of the unit and / or reinstallation of the OS (firmware) might be worth a try IMHO.

    I purchased 12,000 profiles on eBay. Most of them are commercial packs.

    Hate to break it you mate, but commercial packs are not allowed to be resold. You can include them with / in a KPA being sold second-hand but can't sell them as discreet entities. Every commercial vendor explicitly spates this in accompanying literature when you make a purchase AFAIK.


    Whoever sold them to you would not enjoy what folks around here would have to say about his actions.

  • As others have said we probably need to hear what your hearing. At a recent gig the monitor engineer literally ran up to me after we came stage yelling it was the best guitar sound he had ever worked on 8) i was using a bog standard MBritt 69 Marshall with absolutely no tweaking whatsoever.

  • Here is a sound sample as requested. I used 4 different profiles form 4 different commercial packs. It sounds awful... I tried another interface to try and rule that out. But again, it sounds awful through my cab as well.


    Kemper Sample

    Moderator Notice:

    In most cases, Soundcloud uses a bandwidth of only 128 kbps. As a result, what you hear isn't free of artefacts, especially the high end. For critical listening and also product comparison, please keep that in mind. Users who setup a comparison should use linear wave files and supply dropbox links.


    Wheresthedug, I downloaded and tried your MBritt 69 Marshall and played it through my cab, and the interface, and while it didn't sound bad, I can assure you nobody with ears would say it was remotely close to the best guitar tone they have heard, which leads me to believe even more that either I'm doing something wrong, or the Kemper has a problem.

  • Crumpets! :huh:

    Yeah, something must be amiss 'cause the unit should sound awesome. You said you're a "brand new Kemper owner" - does that mean a brand-new owner or are you also referring to the unit? If it's 2nd-hand, it could be that the previous owner messed something up settings-wise or simply chose parameter values that don't suit your tastes. In this case, a reset of the unit and / or reinstallation of the OS (firmware) might be worth a try IMHO.

    I don't know if you tried to answer this in post #8, Chris; you quoted me but there's no reply from you. I figured you'd notice this if you read it after hitting "submit", but I'm guessing you didn't.


    Even if you didn't buy it 2nd-hand, it might be a start to do what I suggested; try in this order, testing after each:


    Init Globals

    In the System Settings menu. It'll reset most global parameters in System Settings and the Output Section as well as returning all locks to their default state. Stored Rigs, Presets, Performances, and Slots won’t be impacted by this reset.


    System Reset

    Hold System while rebooting. Initialises settings but retains Rigs. Resets the global parameters plus the System ones.


    "Forced" Firmware update

    1) Download the update from Kemper Amps | Downloads. In case the one you might've already used has somehow become corrupted, re-download it.

    2) Place the kaos.bin file onto a Kemper-formatted USB stick, but not inside any folder.

    3) Insert the stick and switch the unit on into Browse Mode whilst holding down both Page buttons.


    See how you go, and good luck, Chris!

  • Sorry I must have screwed up when I tried to reply! So the unit is brand new. I did update th me firmware, and I also did a factory reset after tinkering quite a bit, with no success at this point. I will try the forced update when I get home as I did not do the update that way.


    As for those clips, the first 2 are the very best sounding I could get out of the thing, the vast majority of the tones sound awful like the last 2 in the sample.


    I have made one observation, when the Kemper is played through the interface and directly out to monitors, it sound much better (not great, but better) than when I’m playing it in my DAW (reaper) even with the same audio settings, I am wondering if there is some degradation through the USB connection possibly. I’ve noticed every distorted tone sounds almost the same, and each ahas the same synthetic/digital sound to it. I’m wondering if something is muddying the signal. While this doesn’t explain why it doesn’t sound good through a real cabinet it’s something I plan to explore a little tomorrow.

  • Ok, so tried the forced reset with no change. I also plugged in headphones for the first time to see how it sounded. Cleans sound 100% amazing, as they did coming out of my cabinet and studio monitors. ANY sort of distortion is extremely synthetic and strange sounding, as they were in the demos I uploaded. Could there be something going on with the gain stage, power amp, whatever it is that creates distortion in the unit?


    I'm really at a loss here. It seems every profile, stock, purchased, and the one I profiled myself has something added into the gain/distortion. A lot of them almost sound like theres a very subtle wah or instability to the tone itself, and a graininess that doesn't belong. I'm having a hard time describing it but it also causes each and every distorted profile to sounds damn near identical. I can hear there trying to be a good tone underneath it all, but whatever is on top or blending is killing it.


    I've mic'd and recorded many, many amps, so I know that that I'm not looking for the in a room tone, but what I'm getting here is totally unusable. and doesn't compare to even the raw samples I've listened to of the same exact profiles (granted guitar will change the tone some, but the bottom line is theirs sound crisp, punchy, and usable, mine do not :( )


    Any other suggestions that you guys think might help?

  • I assumed that the resets would ensure that the Cabinet module is activated for your outputs, Chris, but in case it isn't, go into your output settings and check that it's enabled for all outputs.


    Even if the button is lit, if it's disabled in your output settings you won't hear it. That would certainly make the distorted tones, as you say, "sound damn near identical" to each other.

  • I assumed that the resets would ensure that the Cabinet module is activated for your outputs, Chris, but in case it isn't, go into your output settings and check that it's enabled for all outputs.


    Even if the button is lit, if it's disabled in your output settings you won't hear it. That would certainly make the distorted tones, as you say, "sound damn near identical" to each other.

    I Double checked that setting, and it's as it should be. I spent another hour today playing with output settings, volumes, swapped cables, etc. No matter what I do, the fuzzy, fluttery,unstable sounding fizzy crap is there. I even played it with the output at -25db on the main out, and padded my interface to rule out any distortion or grain from clipping or a hot signal. Even with the sound near inaudible, that infuriating sound is present. I tried several different cab IRs, Tried disconnecting the interface from the PC and playing straight through the interface > monitors (Rokit5's and some audio technica headphones), still there. I even tried to EQ out whatever that noise is in my daw, and it was impossible, it was everywhere, on the entire track! lows, highs, and mids and literally couldn't be removed, which really frustrated me as I have cleaned up some absolutely atrocious guitar recordings. So the signal has to be just botched all around and I'm beginning to think it's not user error, as I've tried your suggestions as well as some from other forums, and everything I could find online.


    Do you think it's possible this is just a bad unit and it's got bad outputs or hardware?


    I'm feeling pretty defeated and considering returning the unit at this point. I consider myself a very techy guy, and while I'm no audio engineer, I have enough audio & recording knowledge/experience to know this just isn't right, or isn't what it's supposed to be. So bummed!

  • I know you've checked the output settings a number of times, Chris, but is it possible you made sure only one of the outputs was set to Cab on, rechecking that same setting each time and thinking "job done" when another wasn't set this way?


    When you reinstalled the OS, did you do as I suggested and re-download it again first in case your copy had somehow become corrupted?


    Assuming you've checked the output settings as described and reinstalled a fresh copy of the OS and things still aren't right, I reckon support would be happy to restore a testing unit with a backup you've made if you contact them. Send the sound-test example/s along with your backup, assuming they ask for it, and if they experience the same crappy sound, they'd fix / examine your settings, you'd think. Create a ticket, briefly explain your issue and they'll instruct you from there.