Is it time for a Kemper II ?

  • Hi, I’m about to buy a Kemper OR a FM3.


    -For the sound, on YouTube I prefer most of the time Kemper sounds (did a blind test with 70+ samples and I can recognize the AxeIII sound most of the time, it’s like the sound was always with a little chorus effect, Kemper sound really like an regular amp, more analog, in fact it sound like all the records I love from 70-80s)


    But for the form factor, screen, audio interface, and rough horse power I’m attracted by the FM3 and many users are describing a better amp feel in the room compared to Kemper...


    - for Kemper I, I know the DSP is running out of production and will be discontinued in 2020 or sooner, and had the same experience with AxeFxIII rumors when EVERYBODY (Cliff included) arguing that they had DSP chips I’m stock for “ten years”.

    It was bullshit and fractal released axefxiii with a new Motorola dual DSP like expected by guys like me.


    So it appears that K I is at the end of its life and K II is going to be the solution against FM3 competition with Ares amps that sounds pretty good, better effects, usb audio interface, pedalboard, better screen, shiny brand new... for less money and better user interface/functionalities...


    So yes I’m still debating if it’s the moment to buy a Kemper knowing the probability to see a KII coming is higher that ever...


    For now I’m like 51% FM3 49% K



  • A Kemper profile doesn’t require much DSP at all. There’s no indication that it is at the end of its life cycle. If you want a modeling device then get the Fractal. If you want a profiling device then get the Kemper. The Kemper will still be able to capture real amp/cab/mic setups 10-15 years from now. They are always adding features with software updates and that hasn’t slowed down in 7 years.

  • The profiling process isn't going to change so nothing new will come from that. The only things that could change would be to the product itself however it's going to be difficult to get replacement chip to run without a fan, at 200Mhz, silent and produce what the Motorola 56K can and that's a problem. Look inside the AXIII and see how many heat-sinks and fans are needed to keep that monster in check.

    They might plan to double the chip count and maybe incorporating dual profiles for those who want them with a new larger colour display, EtherCON connection on the back for the foot controller, a new arrangement of interface controls on the front but that's about it. These are mostly cosmetic so I don't see it as a major part of their plan. However I could be wrong. Only the lads at Kemper know...

  • For the sound, on YouTube I prefer most of the time Kemper sounds (did a blind test with 70+ samples and I can recognize the AxeIII sound most of the time, it’s like the sound was always with a little chorus effect, Kemper sound really like an regular amp, more analog, in fact it sound like all the records I love from 70-80s)

    In my experience, it is very difficult to compare axe fx to kemper in this manner, considering the gazillion variables at play. When this is the case, there's more room for biases to come in, never mind confuse A or B as the cause of a difference when it's something else altogether not related to "what the units can do".


    There's also the question of "what is easier to get" with each unit. You may get the tones you like easier with kemper, or even the other way around. Workflow is often a reason why one pick one unit over another. It's even possible that a certain amount of users tend to go for kemper more often, and that these guys play more of the music you like... But even if true, this may not point to detrimental differences in workflow in terms of what's possible to adjust to.


    That aside, in my experience, both units can "get you there" for the vast majority of tones, even if one may need to adjust his approach. In regards to achievable tones, I've used Axe Fx 2 and 3 for a few projects now, had kemper for a long time, and when I've made blind tests between both these units emulating a given tone (typically) most people were not able to hear the difference. (Some could, for sure, but we are talking about quite narrowed-down tests). That includes blues, crunch, metal tones, a variety of each at this point.


    On that end.. much of the time, when people offer views on what "sounds better" this is not based on proper testing. Views also tend to be largely forum-dependent towards which side the pendulum swings. Same may go for a few users claiming "better feel from FM3" (or axe 3) more or less. Other reasons can involve using one or another workflow in a sub-optimal manner (not that there aren't genuine reasons to prefer one over the other; at times a workflow will just work better for a person, even given available time investment)


    On the topic of feel: even when you have a very similar tone between kemper and axe fx 3 (and FM3) there's bound to be slight tonal differences. "Slight" is a relative term here. What I mean by "slight" is that these differences may be hard to hear in a recording, albeit become more obvious when you play. I am assuming the same monitoring and having the 2 units as close as possible in terms of emulating a given tone.


    You may then find yourself preferring one unit to another in terms of "feel". That is also something that can carry over from one tone to another.. or perhaps less so, and you find yourself more generally preferring one unit over another, even assuming getting as close to "perfect" tweaking as you can.


    Saying this -- it would be pretty hard to conclude that you'd have such an experience in favor of the FM 3 vs the kemper as based on what a few people's experiences have been (I assume people online). It can be that their opinions were not based on good testing or that you would simply react differently to tonal nuances and prefer kemper.


    What could be also said about the "amp in room" portion (assuming you mean using a guitar cab) is that fractal offers many amp sims none of which are "tied" to the cab part. In kemper land, you'd be going for direct and perhaps "merged" profiles. With studio profiles (profiles of amp-cab-mic, not amp signal alone) disabling the cab sim wouldn't mean perfect amp-cab-mic separation. This would be a difference in how you'd approach getting tones.


    But even using a guitar cab with direct profiles plus axe fx sims without IR.. You may prefer kemper in terms of feel. It's something difficult to be certain about without making very narrow-ed down tests after being quite familiar with tweaking axe fx/profiling with kemper.


    And surely all this depends on just how "deep" you want to go with both units anyway. It is possible that one workflow "speaks to you" more so than the other... without requiring as much research, experience with it... and you prefer this route :) Plenty of posiblities at play.


    Personally, I mostly approach axe fx units like I would a real amp. With kemper, I just do the "real amp work" before profiling :)

  • Still contemplating after more than 1 year since your first post? ;)

    Can't imagine how much music you could have made on the Profiler since then.


    To be honest, I think people coming from the Fractal camp have become pretty paranoid due to the "frequent" releases of new gear while in Kemperland people just keep using and enjoying their Profilers since more than 7 years. How great is that? We not only bought amazing technology but also a good amount of "peace of mind".

  • Still contemplating after more than 1 year since your first post? ;)

    Can't imagine how much music you could have made on the Profiler since then.


    To be honest, I think people coming from the Fractal camp have become pretty paranoid due to the "frequent" releases of new gear while in Kemperland people just keep using and enjoying their Profilers since more than 7 years. How great is that? We not only bought amazing technology but also a good amount of "peace of mind".

    Yes in fact I made a lot of music using Scuffham S-Gear, and Neural DSP stuff (Fortin, Nameless,plini) and many others... and spent the price of a Kemper...!

    But now I know I have to move again for a Hardware unit (had AxefxII and III but didn’t find them way better than s-gear or Mercuriall plugins...!)


    But Kemper YouTube videos have this classic record sound I want

  • Yes in fact I made a lot of music using Scuffham S-Gear, and Neural DSP stuff (Fortin, Nameless,plini) and many others... and spent the price of a Kemper...!

    But now I know I have to move again for a Hardware unit (had AxefxII and III but didn’t find them way better than s-gear or Mercuriall plugins...!)


    But Kemper YouTube videos have this classic record sound I want

    If you want it.... you know what to do.

  • As Dimi84 said its all about the 3 W’s - workflow, workflow and workflow 8o


    I think Axe (and Helix for that matter) are great sounding tools. I think Kemper is a great sounding tool. Is one bettered than the others? That depends on who you are and how YOU want to use it. For me I went Kemper because I didn’t want an all in one floor unit and I don’t like tweaking lots of parameters. I like to plug and play and turn physical knobs like a real amp. I also have a number of Mesa amps that I love and I wanted to be able to capture the sound of them myslef. For my needs Kemper was the clear winner. For someone else it could have been Axe or............


    All great tools and in the right hands fabulous sounding guitar tones.

  • Presactly.

    :D


    Guitarboy, Christoph said many years ago that they'd bought up a crapload of chips, so I wouldn't count the EOP date of the CPU as any indication of the current unit's lifespan whatsoever.


    Matter of fact, I find it incomprehensible that anyone in Christoph's position wouldn't have done this considering the fact that it's a DSP-driven product; it'd have been a stuff-up of epic proportions to not have taken the opportunity to "stock up" on these things at any point in the last 7 years, and there's still a year to go.


    Funnily enough, this was one of two main reasons a fella at Rig Talk said he hadn't bought a Kemper. I mentioned the other one in another thread today - the fact that the unit itself is a 7-year-old product, the implication being that it's old tech. IMHO, if "old tech" delivers the best results on the market, it's state-of-the-art no matter its age.

  • It’s true that the DSP is hitting its limits if you go absolutely crazy with power hungry effects, and unfortunately there is no warning it just freezes, but you really have to push it, freezes happen usually when engaging the looper or madly scrolling through presets, at least in my case, as mentioned before the actual profiles are supposedly very efficient.


    So you have to way it up, and yeah then there’s Cliff 😳, the Kemper business model is slow but classy.

  • And think if guitarists would had said the same about an real amp. It's a 7-year-old product. It's old tech. :D

  • It's old tech. :D

    In computer terms - it's positively ancient.

    In Kemper profile terms, it's seemingly irrelevant. If the DSP isn't the determining factor in the quality of the profile (and it isn't), the Kemper is effectively future-proof. It doesn't mean it shouldn't or won't be upgraded, but the lifecycle is far, far longer.

    AxeFX and Helix seem to be much more processor-intensive. Meaning the DSP *is* a limiting factor, so upgrading them makes sense. Annoying as all get-out for players that invested, but there it is.

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