New KPA user - nervous for 1st show

  • Hello,

    I just bought the Powered Kemper Rack with remote. I have downloaded some decent tones from either the rig manager or 3rd parties that sell kemper packs. I don't really have a great PA to plug into at home to do any "trial run" to see what this will sound like outside of headphones. I do have some powered Yamaha studio monitors/sub in my studio, but I don't know if that is a reflection of what I can expect to hear with a bigger PA system at a venue. This might be super dumb questions but I just don't want to take it to my first show with it and have it sound like trash.

  • Hi Cody. You don't say how soon your first show is, but you really should get to know the Kemper before using it like that IMO. The Yamaha monitors should get you close, so start there. Can you get to your show early to try things out well in advance? That would cut some of the risk. What's your backup scenario? The Kemper is certainly more than capable of giving you amazing sounds, but like any new gear it requires some time to get to know ...

    Go for it now. The future is promised to no one. - Wayne Dyer

  • Hi Cody. You don't say how soon your first show is, but you really should get to know the Kemper before using it like that IMO. The Yamaha monitors should get you close, so start there. Can you get to your show early to try things out well in advance? That would cut some of the risk. What's your backup scenario? The Kemper is certainly more than capable of giving you amazing sounds, but like any new gear it requires some time to get to know ...

    The next show is June 8th, so I do have a little bit of time. Otherwise, my normal rig is mainly a KSR Orthos combo amp. I did try to plug in the KPA into the speakers of my KSR to see what that sounded like, but all I got was a low volume thin buzz sound. I had the cab sim turned off and wired it just like I would a normal head/cab.

  • Hi and welcome, Cody.


    How well what you hear on the Yammies translates to any given PA system is entirely dependant on how flat the latter's frequency response is, the suitability of the room / venue it's run in and the extent to which it's tuned into it.


    So, a house PA that's been tweaked over a long period to suit a room and that was a good-quality setup in the first place is likely gonna sound way better than a hire-in that's never been heard in a particular space. I say "likely" because the engineer can work miracles depending on how good he is; this depends on setup time and his opportunity to familiarise himself with the room's sound and tune the system to it (usually via a 1/3 octave graphic EQ).


    The bottom line I s'pose is that there's no point trying to second-guess the shortcomings of a system, so as with anything else audio, the best approach IMHO would be to achieve the best sound you can on a "flat" system like your home one, knowing that the efficacy of any system you play live on will determine how close to this "ideal" sound you're able to get. Make sense? IOW, if things sound crap, you could be confident that it's not your fault and that you've done all you can on your end.

  • The Kemper will be no different than a regular amp with a 57 in front of it. If the sound coming out is good to start with there is a chance of it sounding great out front but if it sounds bad to start with the engineer will always be trying to poish a turd. In addition to this even if the sound at source is good the engineer, PA and room can all make it sound anything from stellar to utter crap. You are always at the mercy of the full system. Therefore, you need to focus on things that are under your control. The Kemper profiles are about the only thong that you can control.


    The best starting point is to listen to profiles at reasonable volume through as close to a flat system as possible (in a room that doesn’t colour the sound too much either) to hear what the real base profile sounds like. If that sounds good then the engineer has something to work with to make it work perfectly in the mix at the venue. No difference really from a traditional amp.


    Once you have the sounds set to something you are happy with I would hore a rehearsal facility with a good PA for a few hours and double check the sounds concentrating on the differeces in volume between the various rigs as the perceived loudness does change with volume (but if the core sound was good on studio monitors it will still be good on the PA).


    Best of luck with the show.

  • As you have some time, I suggest getting hold of a reasonable PA - you could hire a rehearsal room with a PA in it for example.


    The reason being is I think you need to hear it at volume and it will take out the uncertainty for you. You can also ensure your output ( which should be set around -12 to -18dB to avoid frying the desk) is all set up. Plus you can ensure your solo boosts and effects are set up correctly..


    Ignore the engineer aspect as that is a constant - regardless of gear, the sound engineer plays a part and not much you can do about it. But presented with a good sound, it takes a particular engineer to screw that up! Its too big an ask to get and engineer to resolve a poor sound so go in confident in your sound.


    Alternatively, use a guitar cab. You have the powered rack so just run it like an ordinary amp into a cab and mike it. I did this for the first 12 months as I had no PA to set up my sounds and it worked really well.


    The last thing you want to be doing is trying to find a good sound on the night.

  • The Kemper will be no different than a regular amp with a 57 in front of it.

    First, I agree with Zappledan. You might want to wait until you are more familiar with the Kemper and have your workflow, internal rigs, external rig(s) set up. At least see how it fares at more than one practice is my recommendation. I had to phase mine in due to my bandmates insecurity about me introducing new technology but overcoming their fear helped me to learn and iron out things with my workflow and set up before any lives gigs, and that was a good thing.


    Second, I don't think what Wheresthedug says is entirely accurate without specific context, but I don't want to imply this is inaccurate either. What I mean is that it really depends on how and what you are using for speakers for the Kemper, what others are using, how the stage is set up and what kind of sound reinforcement (if any) is used, what you are monitoring with, what your band mates are monitoring with, etc.


    I have found my basic rig fine for most 'pro/semi-pro' gigs meaning sound man, mic'd amps, etc. (I am still entry level with a Tech 21 Power Engine behind me and an Alto TS210 on the floor in front of me, but in these situations, they work fine for me). For that, I agree with Wheresthedug. However, I am in a bit of a woodshedding hiatus from pro level gigs, and have found that for less professional gigs, (open jams or gigs at venues that do not provide sound reinforcement), it IS different than just having a mic'd amp behind me. In those situations, I have to compete with tube amps and volume creep with no micing or use of the PA to mix the sound, and I have found that sometimes with and without my floor monitor, I do experience a lot of frequency cancellation and suffer from off-axis sound being inadequate. With the monitor, I can at least hear myself, but with just the Tech behind me, unless I start creeping the volume too, it can be challenging.


    Until I decide to invest in something more viable, I am going to experiment with bypassing the preamp and running my Kemper into the power amp of my fender blues deluxe - if nothing else, I will have a guitar cab and tube amp I can crank. Not perfect, but it will give me a chance to experiment with running stereo - one channel to the Fender, and one to the Tech 21.

  • Ideally, I will just be running the Kemper split to my IEM and then to FOH. I don't plan to have any other cab with me.

  • Ideally, I will just be running the Kemper split to my IEM and then to FOH. I don't plan to have any other cab with me.

    I can't speak to IEM, as in my area, very few bands and establishments operate at that level - the investment wouldn't be worth my time and money. Still, I think the rest holds true. I would make sure you are comfortable with the Kemper in theory and practice before trying to perform live.


  • As you have some time, I suggest getting hold of a reasonable PA - you could hire a rehearsal room with a PA in it for example.


    The reason being is I think you need to hear it at volume and it will take out the uncertainty for you. You can also ensure your output ( which should be set around -12 to -18dB to avoid frying the desk) is all set up. Plus you can ensure your solo boosts and effects are set up correctly..

    I think V8 is right on the money. I'd also bring a backing track to play through the system and that should give you a good context to check your tones. I'd crank it to whatever level feels like your typical stage volume. That volume will help you avoid over-brightening your tones and playing to a track should help you avoid too much low end. Best of luck!

    Kemper Toaster, Vox AC30, Custom Bassman-Marshall head, '64 Fender Band-Master (modded), 65Amps Lil Elvis, Various cabs & speakers, '09 Dosdude hacked High Sierra Mac Pro, Logic Pro X 10.4, Apogee Rosetta i/o, Ox Box

  • Make sure you work out how to disable it or I can GUARANTEE that you will accidentally turn it on mid-gig and not know what’s going on. You’ll be playing the chorus and the looper will start playing the verse simultaneously. Utter disaster. We’ve all been there!

  • Make sure you work out how to disable it or I can GUARANTEE that you will accidentally turn it on mid-gig and not know what’s going on. You’ll be playing the chorus and the looper will start playing the verse simultaneously. Utter disaster. We’ve all been there!

    Yep, been their, done that, got the Tee-Shirt ^^

  • Make sure you work out how to disable it or I can GUARANTEE that you will accidentally turn it on mid-gig and not know what’s going on. You’ll be playing the chorus and the looper will start playing the verse simultaneously. Utter disaster. We’ve all been there!

    I've been lucky as I've not had this :)