Thinking of giving the Kemper another chance. Have some concerns.

  • I bought a Kemper back in August of 2017, had it for about 2 weeks and ended up returning it. At the time I had an Axe FX 2 XL, and felt that the AFX was more versatile because you could create elaborate patches, and dial in amps exactly how you want them.

    I am now realizing that versatility was more of a hindrance. All I ended up doing was noodling, changing presets, noodling some more. I realized that most of the amps sounded similar. At the end of the day Clean tone was a clean tone, gain was gain, etc.

    I sold the AFX 2, and bought a Axe Fx 3 last week. Only spent 2-3 days with it until I came to the same conclusion as above. I ended up returning it (and losing money on shipping in the process but whatever). And overall to be honest I was never happy with the tones of the AFX 2 or 3. I remember Kemper sounding a bit more realistic.

    I'm thinking of giving a Kemper another shot. However I have some concerns:

    1. I will get caught up in profile changing hell. I'm a very simple guitar player and just want to plug n play. Last time I had a Kemper I found myself doing the same thing as the AFX, changing profiles, noodling for a bit, changing again, etc. I pretty much just need a good clean, good crunch, good high gain.

    2. The age of the unit is getting up there and I feel for some reason that a new hardware revision is coming within the next year. The last thing I want to do is spend a crap ton of money only for a new unit to come out, and me having to sell at a loss to pickup the new unit (I always like having the latest and greatest, and if I know a newer unit exists, it bothers me). I would love to get a used unit to help offset money lost, but with me being burned both times by the AFX 2 and 3 because I had to buy before I tried, I don't want to make this same mistake again. Selling anything is a huge hassle if I don't like it. This means I will have to buy full price from Guitar Center since they have a 45 day return policy. This further concerns me when you take into account the age of the kemper, new devices being released by competitors, etc. It just seems like a KPA 2 is within 1-2 years away.

    3. Not sure whether to get a powered or non-powered unit. The main use case would be quiet apartment practice, and occasional recording. I do own a marshall 4x12 and like the idea of having the flexibility of plugging the kemper into it, but wondering if I realistically will ever do it, and if it even sounds good. The main draw of the Kemper is the complete profiled tones and that includes the profiled cabs which I'd be missing out on plugging into a real cab.

    4. I had issues with volume levels in my apartment. You can read my last thread back in 2017 where I talked about this. Rereading that thread, it seemed like I couldn't get the unit past 0.2-0.3 on the master volume which seems wrong. I remember on such low levels, the gain/distortion profiles were extremely loud. I have JBL 305's that I have the volume full up on. This time around however I would be plugging the Kemper into a Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 via SPDIF, and then direct monitoring from the 6i6 into the monitors. The 6i6 has the Monitor knob on the front that I could probably use to tame the volume but i don't know.

    5. Is it overall even worth it? My goal is just to get inspiring tones at home. Im a bedroom player, I don't have a band and have no interest in that. All I do is noodle at home and play with backing tracks. Occasionally record and create "beats" using guitar as the main instrument, using guitar rig 5. I'm wondering if I should just get a Yamaha THR10 and call it a day? I have enough to either buy just a powered kemper, or get an unpowered kemper AND the THR10. Or like I said, just get a THR10 and call it a day?

    Any insight and advice would be appreciated.

  • 1) - that's on you. You'll have the same problem with ANY modeller or the Kemper. Wanna have some REAL fun? Dive into impulse responses. That's a bottomless pit of despair all it's own.

    2) Ugh- this comes up every so often. Look, there's new firmware coming this summer - 6.0 was just released to beta. 7.0 sometime while the sun shines warm. New Rig Manager too. Kemper Kone is coming as well. The profiler has SO much life left in it. The big difference here is this: Fractal, Line 6, Atomic have to release firmware to introduce new amps. Kemper does not. There are at present over 15,000 amps profiled just in rig exchange alone. Find the ones you like and go from there. See point 1.

    How's this- the most coveted tube amps have been LONG out of production, and the Kemper can profile them accurately. So what if Kemper releases K2 one, two or three years from now? It doesn't immediately invalidate your profiler. It's still an amazing piece of kit.

    3) I play live- and record. I went with the unpowered. Live I go straight to the FOH. In the studio, straight to the board. I do have an FRFR cab that I can use if I want to- and I've used it exactly ONCE - and that's only because I was doing work on our mixer rack. If you're a bedroom player, skip the powered and go for the 'naturally aspirated' model.

    4) see point 3. And dude- headphones. over ear, closed back for studio work.

    5) Only you can answer this question. Just like how only I can tell you if my Kemper is worth it to ME. So- with ME- I still have my mesa boogie, but it hasn't been powered on in ages. I don't even feel the need to profile it.

    If you're looking to justify the purchase: Yes. Totally worth it.
    If you're trying to be talked out of it: Yes. Totally worth it.

    But that's just me. Your mileage will vary.

    KPA Unpowered Rack, Kemper Remote, Headrush FRFR108s, BC Rich Mockingbird(s), and a nasty attitude.

  • In your case, I’d buy the cheaper option first and try it for a while, see if you’re satisfied. The Kemper is amazing, very powerful and realistic. However, if you’re only going to be using it for three main sounds, that’s a heck of a lot of money. There are many great amp sim plugins around these days, my current favourite is TH-U (though not because of the Rig Player, supposed Kemper-in-a-VST). If you’re fairly happy with Guitar Rig 5, I’d give something like the Slate Bundle a shot for a month or two, which includes a slightly cut down TH-U, or demo S-Gear (another realistic plug) and see if that floats your boat. The hardware is much more convenient, but is also more of a risk if you don’t like it.

  • 1. I will get caught up in profile changing hell.

    Don't think of it as a bad thing in the first place :) Just imagine that you have 24h access to the biggest music stores in your country and you can try all amps they have on stock. Nobody rushes you, you can take your time, day and night, whenever you want. This is your chance to experience many amp brands and models until you finally find "your" sound. I'm sure that many Profiler users have gone through that, have learned the characteristics and feel of many amps they wouldn't have been able to ever play in the real world.

    If you take your time and enjoy the journey, then you will find the amps / sounds that suit you best. The need to try everything fades away over time. The result is that you exactly know what you like and why, priceless experience. :)

    I own Profilers since 6.5 years and you'll have a hard time searching someone more relaxed regarding the "hell of choice". It took me about 6 months to exactly know what I like and why. Played many nice profiles, found a lot of great stuff. Yes, it was a bit overwhelming. But after these 6 months I felt like "yep, that's it" and ended up with maximum 5 rigs that I consider to be "my sounds". The 6 years after, of course my taste, mood, style has slowly changed a little so maybe 3 of the 5 rigs mentioned above have changed over time. No big deal and I can assure you that there hasn't been any kind of "changing hell" in my life for many years now. :)

  • 1. You only get caught up in that hell if you let it. Any flexible system can take you into fiddle hell. To minimise this:

    a) Start with profiles of amps you are familiar with

    b) If it doesn't sound good straight away, move onto the next one

    c) Don't bother with IR's..

    d) take time to get used to a sound

    2. It works as well ( if not better) than 7 years ago, so even if its replaced, so what...

    3. If not gigging regularly go non powered.

    4. Don;t understand - volume is fully controllable

    5. Possibly overkill. Unfortunately sounds like you really care for good sound but are more of an occasional user - so really difficult

  • 2. Any alternative piece of "digital" modelling hardware's gonna be superseded really-soon anyway. At least in Kemper's case, "if worse comes to worst", you'll likely have a huge window compared with anything else, meaning that even if you sell the current unit right-away and buy a Kemper II or whatever, you're gonna get many years out of it.

    Further to this, for your stated usage scenario, IMHO it's unlikely you'll need even-fancier features than those the unit currently offers. There's a reason great-sounding gear never dies - if it can't be substantially improved upon, it yields as much gratification to play and record as the latest whiz-bang commodities.

  • RE: patch-diving......the only time I've really done that is when I can't find something I like. Something inspiring. Which has always happened with modelers. Find a decent amp sound, EQ the snot out of it.....then root through a pack of IRs. Drives me absolutely insane.

    I'd spend forever comparing, tweaking and generally pissing myself off until I got something I thought reasonable. Then I'd come back the next day and think "What is THAT crap? *liked* that?!?! Ultimately I settled on an Atomic AmpliFire for the last 4 years. Literally using ONE amp and ONE cabinet augmented with pedals. I was done tweaking, comparing and pissing myself off. The first time I plugged into a KPA was when the church bought one. I thought they were nuts......but I dialed up a clean profile of a Fender, twiddled the EQ ever so slightly and was off. In under 5 minutes I'd obliterated what to that point was considered an excellent sound by many who'd heard it.

    That was December '18. My personal KPA arrived a little over a month ago and I have zero regrets. Been copping a lot of Freddie King of late with it. I kept my beloved dirt pedals, though. Even then, all but one sit on a shelf right now and that one is off most of the time.

    I was concerned with a new model coming out "any time now". But, unlike modelers, profiles are not processor-intensive. New hardware isn't going to open some gateway to improved sounds. The KPA as-is isn't really being taxed.

    Another way to think about it is Strymon. The Timeline has been out since 2011. It's certainly a matter of taste, but is anyone looking at Strymon going "When's the Timeline 2 coming?" and waiting as a result?

    With the level of development going on right now (OS7, editor, Kone speaker, powered/unpowered Kab) I see zero indication that a new model is on the way any time soon. The amount of development bandwidth needed to do all of that AND create an entirely new box with 'new' features? Nah. Generally speaking, that's not how Germans go about their business.

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

    Edited once, last by Ruefus ().

  • There are plenty of similar posts in this forum and people (including myself) commenting about why this machine is still as awesome sounding now as it was when it came out.

    Many of the arguments have already been mentioned (regular FREE updates including new or improved effects, new OS, upcoming editor, etc.).

    My 2 cents:

    I bought the Kemper less than 6 months ago and I couldn't be happier. The sound quality amazes me every time.

    As for your fear of option paralysis : I have to admit that when I got the device, I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of available profiles (free ones on Rig Manager and paid ones). I bought about a dozen packs, which in retrospect maybe wasn't the smartest thing to do. After a couple of months though, I found +/- 5 profiles, which I have been using almost exclusively since then.

    I would advise to use Rig Manager in order to go through the profiles and choose the ones you really like.

    A thing that kind of puts a limitation to option paralysis: there's only so much you can do to change a profile... There's so much choice that it's easier (for me at least) to choose the ones I really like, make minor adjustments and go from there.

    hope this helps

  • Hot Ticket Tip for previewing profiles:

    Instant preview mode. Double click on one profile. Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move down the list and the profile will change on the Kemper. I love this for scrolling through without a lot of hassle.

  • Rich,

    I'm in exactly your position, in the sense that I'm a bedroom player, I'm using the scarlet and the jbls and honestly I could be happier.

    I've been playing on and off for over 20 years,

    And always liked to use rack type gear with a stereo setup. The 90s and early 2000s the gear squashed your tone. I'd keep things 6 months to a year, and never be happy. And move on to the next big thing.

    I was a Fx junkie and tweaker until I got the kemper, then I realised i didn't need the Fx at all.

    I just use a bit of reverb and delay here and there and the stomp compressor for added sustain.

    Couldn't be happier. I started taking lessons again and practise at least 5hrs a week and my playing getting where I want it.

    Hours wasted tweaking should have been hours practising.

    I've got 500+ profiles, but I only use about 5 or 6

    For my sort sounds I use a JVM, JP boogie, mk 50 cornford, and a THR funnily enough. I change my clean profile to suit.

    You could buy a the, profile it then send it back.

    Get some decent headphones and it will be worth every penny. You'll find yourself enjoying guitar more than tweaking.

    I wouldn't worry about the money. I think I spent 2 grand ish. The gear will last year's. And will always have a resale value if and when you want to update.

  • you don't say what style you play, or what sort of sound your after.

    I'm using the same setup in the same situation as you,

    Except into reaper in my desktop.

    And I'm loving it. I'm an ex FX junkie, now I just use a bit of compression & reverb/delay with some space.

    I don't even bother with chorus anymore.

    I don't need it to fill my tone out because it's already great. Decent headphones and the kemper is superb.

    I've always proffered a stereo setup and the convenience of saving presets.

    The kemper has given me the tone and the convenience.

    If a kemper 2 comes out tommorow I will buy it tommorow. And just cut back on beer and takeaways.

    Best money I've ever spent. I'm concentrating on my playing and enjoying it rather than buying stuff and tweaking more than playing. Worth it's wait in gold.

  • Such great advice from so many experienced Kemper users.

    I have only had mine for about 5 weeks. Unpowered Toaster.

    My take away is: I bought it used (like new condition) with about 930 profiles on it. It was somewhat overwhelming. I invested a lot of time going through most of the profiles. So many great sounds. But at the end of the day I am more of a clean-tone kind of player. Fender Deluxe Reverb etc.. I made a backup of all of those profiles and then deleted most of the high-gain profiles. I now still have over 100 profiles on my Kemper, but I will be pairing that back even more.

    Honestly, I could probably get by with about 10 profiles and even that might be overkill.

    If you are only using it to play and record for yourself, find a sound you like and play play play. Isn't that why we bought out guitars and amps for in the first place?

    Most of us have "wasted" thousands on equipment we should not have purchased and sold for a loss or ended up giving away. We live and (hopefully) learn. Kemper has made that learning process easier for me.

    My Kemper can give me any Amplifier I want/need for little or no additional cost, now and into the foreseeable future. It is probably the single best music investment I have made.

  • I have had my Kemper for two months. Traded a like new Boogie JP-2C that I never played for a like new powered toaster, foot controller and Kemper bag. I picked it up on a Friday evening. It had a bunch of profiles in it but they looked mostly like the pre-loaded Kemper profiles. I dove right in to profiling. Profiled many of my amps that weekend. Nothing high tech. Just an SM57 and an XLR cable. I know the basics about mic placement. I went with the first take on all of them.

    I'll echo the sentiments of the others in this thread. One of the things the Kemper has taught me is that there is not a huge world of difference from one clean tone to another or one crunch tone to another or one heavy distorted tone to another... when I'm the one playing them. I sound like me no matter what I am playing through. There was no real reason to own that rack of amps that I own. Get one good amp and play.

    I bought a couple profile packs each from MBritt, Top Jimi and Amp Factory. They all sound great. Which profiles do i play the most often? The ones I made that first weekend of my own amps. I could easily gig with one performance slot with five profiles in it. If you are a record producer working with many different guitarists and bands I can see how a library of great profiles might be useful but day to day I don't really need that.

    As far as the "age of the unit" discussion goes, the only people that seem to worry about that are Fractal owners who have been conditioned (by Fractal) to have to shell out a lotta long green paper stuff for a new model every so often. They keep trying to sell that paranoia to Kemper owners on a regular basis.

    I traded for the powered unit because that's what the other guy had but I do not use the power amp. I did use it at first through a variety of guitar cabs and it sounds good but after about a week I pulled the trigger on a Yamaha DXR10 based on the reviews it gets here in the forum. Good choice. I really like it. Bought a second DXR10. I don't gig anymore or record much. My regular playing routine consists of cueing up a song on my stereo and playing along. I have my music connected to the DXR10's patched in stereo. I set them up as floor monitors. My Kemper and my tunes come both coming from the same source sounds great. Granted, I live in a farmhouse with no neighbors real close by so volume is not an issue.

    if you want my honest opinion, a Kemper / Fractal / Helix / Whatever is way overkill for the situation you are describing. I have a Yamaha THR5. It's a great little device. Based on the information you have given I think a THR10 would be a great choice. It sounds like it would suit your needs (great basic clean, crunch and lead tones at a manageable volume) and save you a boat load of money.

    I think you should get the THR10 and call it a day.

  • I think you should get the THR10 and call it a day.

    I don't. What if your circumstances and/or playing time change upwards?

    I play perhaps 3-4 hours a week tops, but the fact of the matter is I know I could play more. I just love the Kemper for its versatility and speed of getting the tone you want.

    I´ll soon be retired and I want to make a recording studio in the Pyrenees - so I´ll have all those sounds and more for all my friends.

    You bought the Kemper for the second time now - that should tell you you are following your heart. :)

    Now you've got a good rig go out and play man!!! :thumbup:8)

    Go for it!


  • I have a THR10 and it's a great little amp. It's perfect for bedroom playing and you could even use it in a small cafe/room live performance. I actually used my THR10 as a monitor for my unpowered Kemper (using the aux input so it acts like a FRFR speaker) for a while until I needed something that could handle louder volumes. I found that using a MBritt Dumble profile through my THR10 was so incredible and warm-feeling. But without the Kemper, the THR10 is still a solid, cost-efficient buy. That being said, you are stuck with the tones in the THR10.

    If you want the ability to get any amp sound along with amazing delays and reverbs, then I'd say get the Kemper.

    I'm going to get up on my high horse and talk a little about Kemper Version 2: Like you, I was also worried about when a new updated model would come out... but this was back in 2014. The guy I bought it from (I bought it used and it came with some profiles from the guy) told me that if you look at the Virus synth that Kemper made prior to the Profiler, they only made 2 versions of it with many many years in between and just kept on releasing new firmware updates. That has held true for the past 5 years. See, I came from buying Line 6 products that came out with a slightly tweaked multi-effects board every year or 2, so I was stuck in this old way of thinking.

    Kemper is not about literally capitalizing on every opportunity to make money - which is a weird concept to me as an American! They really want to put out quality products and when they reach the limits of their hardware, then they will make an updated version. But really, what is the next level for Kemper? They've been able to squeeze in incredible FX updates and it's still the same unit. They don't need more processing power, really, as the magic is in the profiling process and what it does to steal the soul of any amp.

    Finally, cost. I could be fine with the tones in the THR10 - they are pretty nice. Doesn't have the full effect of a Kemper, but it's perfectly passable for a bedroom player. But I thought, how can I make the most out of what was just over $1600 (used but was in mint condition)... why, get a profile of the most expensive amp out there... so, instead of shelling out $20,000 to $50,000 on a Dumble, I got a $30 profile of an amazing Dumble instead. So, there you go, the math adds up.

    Here's another thing about cost: I got my Kemper for $1600 in 2014 and it still sells for around that price used today. It's retained its value. If I wanted to get rid of my Line 6 HD500, I would maybe be able to recoup $100 for it if I'm really lucky. Honestly, the Kemper is the one piece of equipment I've owned that has had the most return in value and has held that value.

    Finally, if you really are about playing and convenience, you could check out the Boss Katana Air. I hated the tone out of that speaker, but the wireless module is super convenient. It's actually perfect for noodling around on, especially if you're a bedroom shredder (you'll probably like the shrill tones of the Katana Air). Otherwise, you just can't beat the versatility of the Kemper and you have to think of it as an investment that is going to have great returns. Good luck to you!