Getting a decent high gain tone on kemper?

  • Hey guys


    Ive had my kemper a few months but not spent a lot of time with the settings, i struggle to get a highish gain tone with it that sounds nice, so I have a few questions (not im a noob generally with gear so i may have made some glaring errors)


    So I have a few profiles mainly using Orange, 5150 or JCM800's, I play with either an orange 212 cab or through open back headphones. first question here is, should i be using the cab section or not? As profiles almost always sound worse with the cab turned on either through headphones or my orange cab, so generally i always leave it off. Issue then, is i just get such a gain'y tone its almost just like playing static unless i turn the gain down to around 3/10...


    Other question is a lot of my profiles sound quite flat, so i have the studio EQ locked on with these settings on all my profiles (images below of the EQ pages) but im not sure if this is damaging the profiles or enhancing them but it makes them seem more bright and interesting...should i get rid of this and do all my EQ in the amp section block? i normally leave that defaulted to the profile


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    To be honest overall im quite overwhelmed with how many parameters and settings there are and im concerned im doing things to just make it sound worse than it is, considering selling up and moving to something a bit more noob friendly in the hope itll sound better with less room for error! Is there a 'bare minimum' set of parameters i can work with for now to craft sounds without ruining them?


    Thanks!

  • Heya :)


    What profiles exactly are you using? I assume these are profiles others have made. If these are "studio" profiles targeting amp-cab-mic, turning off cab portion will typically not result to the best amp-cab/mic separation kemper can do. That's one thing to keep in mind even when using a real guitar cab.


    Saying that, it's very bizarre that these profiles sound better with "cab off" when using open headphones.. if that's what's happening. Very, very few play with direct amp tones themselves and like these better, especially when it comes to guitar and and gainy sounds.


    So there could be something else weird going on, not giving you proper results... at least some credible chance. On that end, what could help is to mention which profiles you use and perhaps share some audio clips as well.


    It may just be you haven't found profiles that sound good to you yet, too; hence the need to tweak as much.

  • If you use profiles with a real cab you should always turn off the cab in the kemper. With headphones you shouldn't turn off the internal cabs. If if sounds awful with headphones you need better headphones. Some will sound better with the kemper than others. With different guitars/pickups you maybe need to tweak them a little to suit your sound better. With some profiles you don't need to tweak at all. Some profiles might sound killer on their own but in a band or mix they won't work at all.

  • If you use profiles with a real cab you should always turn off the cab in the kemper. With headphones you shouldn't turn off the internal cabs. If if sounds awful with headphones you need better headphones. Some will sound better with the kemper than others. With different guitars/pickups you maybe need to tweak them a little to suit your sound better. With some profiles you don't need to tweak at all. Some profiles might sound killer on their own but in a band or mix they won't work at all.

    I have Audeze LCD-X headphones which are pretty much the best money can buy, to my ears it sounds wierd having this artificial reverb in open back headphones which already have a wide quite organic sound stage of their own, having the cab on sounds super boxy!


    Im considering turning off all the EQ in my chain pre or post amp and just doing it all on the amp for now until i learn what im doing and dont ruin any profiles!

  • Mainly TAF profiles for the orange and jcm, so reasonable quality profiles, i just feel with the cab section engaged they sound way more boxy and less organic and dynamic that running them straight to open back headphones


    To add, i use pretty high output bridge pickups, passives but bareknuckle models so they are quite severe

  • Mainly TAF profiles for the orange and jcm, so reasonable quality profiles, i just feel with the cab section engaged they sound way more boxy and less organic and dynamic that running them straight to open back headphones


    To add, i use pretty high output bridge pickups, passives but bareknuckle models so they are quite severe

    While TAF does surely does quality work in terms of knowledge and time spent on creating the tones, most profiles I've tried from them wouldn't cut it for me. It's just a matter of taste though and intended purpose. There may be other profiles out there that fit what you are after by a meaningful margin, without turning cab sims off or tweaking much at all.


    Also, source tones profiled are dialed in while using particular pickups. With a bareknuckle beast, you wont get the same tone one has gone for when he profiles a plexi using a particular set of single coils, for example. That may or may not sound good; but the point is the end result will be quite different, much like it would be if you were plugging into the source tone profiled with your pickups, guitar.


    That may or not may not be part of the problem.


    Now someone who does make profiles that sound a bit "raspy" to me and definitely not boxy, comparatively speaking, is George Alayon. You can search for his name on rig exchange from rig manager. There's some chance these fit you better, just going by your descriptions.


    But they are studio profiles -- and again disabling the cab wont mean an accurate amp-cab/mic seperation. Not that this absolutely cannot sound good when using a real guitar cab.


    Another tip would be to go to kemper's output settings and turn off "pure cab" globally. Some like pure cab; others do not. It has a particular effect on profiles, even if from what we know partly dependent on the profile, and many highly dislike its effect on the sound. You could also try having it on and increasing it to see what it does.


    All that with cab sim on.

  • My advice would be, if you need to tweak the profile by much to get it to be useable then you are using the wrong profile. With about 15,000 free prfiles in Rig Exchange plus all the commercial profiles on the market there are bound to be some profiles that suit your taste better.


    As for TAF, I have two of Andy’s packs as Soldano SLO which I’m not that leen on and a Vox AC 30 pack with is totally killer. So even if you find a profiler whose general sound you like, there is no guarantee ttat you will like all of their rigs.


    Although some people dimiss the factory content as somehow being throw away and suggest that you need to buy a bunch of orofile packs to get something useable. It is worth rememberng that much of the factory content is actually free rigs taken from some very good/popular commercial packs. Spend some time trting different profiles from the factoy content and note which profilers style you tend to gravitate towards.


    I try to pick a profile that sounds great right out the box and only tweak anything if I am looking for a specifc minor change. Anything more than that and I move to a new profile instead.


    As others have said already, if you prefer the sound of hi gan amps through headphones with the cab section turned off there is probably something else wrong because this is not a sound that most guitarists would ever want to subject themselves too. For playing through a traditional guitar cab, yes, turn off the cab setion but through headphones - that’s strange.

  • Couple of comments from me:


    Guitar cabs colour sound way more than you might expect, so finding a sound that works on a cab might does not mean its a "good" profile that will translate onto headphones. Therefore I would start with headphones.

    When using a cab, make sure cab monitor is off. as Wheresthedug said, you will not like the sound without a cab in headphones...you must have cabs on for headphones or FRFR speakers.

    As also said, try different profiles. I only "tweak" my profiles, I never have to make major changes.

  • with your 212, I am assuming you have the powered head, start with a merged or direct profile. I run mine with a 412 cab loaded with 2 V30's and 2 Creamback H-75's. I haven't ran too much with added EQ's to the profiles I use. I always go to the amps definition and compressor to taste. I start off looking for profiles that are profiled with very high gain and back it off to taste. Better to back off then add I have noticed. My pickups are pushed PAF styles pups, around 8.9k to more modern pups of 12k and they work great with the high gain profiles I use. I have one guitar with an 17k pup and it sounds good too. My teles with lower gain pups work good too, just a few minor tweaks of the profiles so I just save those for those two teles.