Distortion Stomp Level

  • One thing that I can’t seem to wrap my head around is how the level control works for the distortion stomps. In real life, a drive pedal’s level knob controls the output. If the level is all the way down, no signal passes through it.


    The Kemper’s drive pedals do not appear to work this way. Even when the drive and volume controls are turned down all the way, I’m still hearing a boosted/distorted tone.


    Am I missing something simple here? I checked the manual, but didn’t find the answer. Is this a distortion/clean sense issue?

  • i believe ckemper has said many times that he doesn’t believe in copying the undesirable effects of traditional analog effects. An example would be the gain control on the KPA


    “The "Gain" parameter always compensates for loss in level, no matter how much you reduce it by. You can turn the gain value to zero for every Amp PROFILE, and the result will be a totally undistorted and uncompressed sound that has the same perceived loudness as the fully distorted version.”


    i think the distortion pedals work in the same way. So although the gain hitting the front of the amp or the following distortion pedal does change when you turn the volume up or down the actual signal level in the chain is compensated to maintain a consistent perceived volume.

  • the result will be a totally undistorted and uncompressed sound that has the same perceived loudness as the fully distorted version.

    I do not agree. "perceived" shure is very subjective. My experience since many years (before the Kemper) is that in live situtations bringing the distortion in, kicks the loudness down in terms of per perceived volume. Loud, but clear or crunchy sounds I always found to be more full and mighty than distorted sounds. And this experience was the same if I was a listener in the public or if I was playing on stage. And this is the same with Kemper. With the Green Screamer, which I use often, I turn the Drive parameter to 0 or 1, but Volume I turn nearly full up.


    Ok, in the end: all is subjective to what you can and want you to hear.

  • I agree that clean and distorted sounds have a different perceived volume due to both frequency content and transient attack. I also find that clean sounds tend to over power dirty sounds with clean sense set to 0. However, if you adjust clean sense correctly at outset then the internal perceived level I was talking about does work.

  • Something strange definitely happens with the gain staging that does not happen in the real world.

    When I had my Soldano SLO100, it sounded amazing with a Keeley comp (or dynacomp) In front of it. In the old days, I used to sometimes use a dynacomp in front of one of my old JMP Marshall’s (2203) to hammer more gain out of it instead of my MXR Microamp. The results were great.
    When I put the Kemper Comp in front of a crunchy amp Profile On my Kempers, it cleans up and most of the crunch disappears. You have to really mess about with the volume setting of the compressor to try and replicate that sound. It’s a lot of bother without maybe trying to plug a real dynacomp or keeley in front so you could try to a/b what it should actually sound like.

    So, I don’t know what is going on but something is not the same as just plugging a comp into a real distorted amp.
    I do really like that green scream pedal that is in the Kemper though. It actually made me go out and buy a real one. Never owned one before. 😂

  • What compressor settings are you using Vinny. I am sitting here with a DynaComp (I pulled it out the cupboard just to test it because I hate Dynacomps at the best of times) and am A/B ing it next to the Kemper Compressor. I can't get them to sound exactly the same but the are doing the same thing. I'm probably not the best person to comment as I don't really like the Kemper Compressor (too much like a Dynacomp to my ears :D) but the volume does seem to work with the gain as expected. If I have the volume set to a negative value it cleans up the sound of the crunch amp. If I set it to a positive value it pushes the profile. With it set to +5 it really pushes the profile like running a compressor or boost in front. The range is much more extreme than my Dynacomp though.

  • I agree that clean and distorted sounds have a different perceived volume due to both frequency content and transient attack. I also find that clean sounds tend to over power dirty sounds with clean sense set to 0. However, if you adjust clean sense correctly at outset then the internal perceived level I was talking about does work.

    Keep in mind that the level of clean sense depends on the output of the specific guitar.

    Kemper PowerRack | Rivera 4x12 V30 cab | Yamaha DXR10 pair | UA Apollo Twin Duo | Adam A7X | Cubase DAW
    Fender Telecaster 62 re-issue chambered mahogany | Kramer! (1988 or so...) | Gibson Les Paul R7 | Fender Stratocaster HBS-1 Classic Relic Custom Shop

  • Hm ok. My Les Paul is at 0 while the strat is at - 9

    Kemper PowerRack | Rivera 4x12 V30 cab | Yamaha DXR10 pair | UA Apollo Twin Duo | Adam A7X | Cubase DAW
    Fender Telecaster 62 re-issue chambered mahogany | Kramer! (1988 or so...) | Gibson Les Paul R7 | Fender Stratocaster HBS-1 Classic Relic Custom Shop

  • Heh let me check if I got that reversed :)

    Kemper PowerRack | Rivera 4x12 V30 cab | Yamaha DXR10 pair | UA Apollo Twin Duo | Adam A7X | Cubase DAW
    Fender Telecaster 62 re-issue chambered mahogany | Kramer! (1988 or so...) | Gibson Les Paul R7 | Fender Stratocaster HBS-1 Classic Relic Custom Shop