Kemper with headphones sounds terrible.

  • I'm kind of bummed out because I've been searching for a late night silent apartment solution that would get me satisfying tones. I've had an axe fx that presented similar issues, and now the kemper (again. This is my second go around with it).


    I can only play through headphones with my current situation. I play late at night in an apartment. No exceptions. I've been on a headphone trying spree the last couple of weeks, going through a Beyer DT770, Senhiesser HD280, Audio Technica ATH m50x, and m40x. All of them are the same result. Fizzy distorted tones and lifeless cleans.


    Honestly not much better than just plugging straight into my interface and using Guitar Rig 5.


    I can't hear a difference between any of the more distorted profiles. They all sound the same through headphones. Same with cleans. Everything is very "Hi Fi"


    I'm still within the 45 day return window with guitar center and am thinking about returning the unit. I feel like if this is the best I can do in terms of headphones tone then there is no point in having a $1800 device.


    My needs are simple. I just want to play along to backing tracks late at night, and have some inspiring tone along with it. Doesn't seem all that simple apparently.


    I see people on forums all the time talking about how Kemper or Axe Fx is the ultimate late night practice solution but I now know through personal experience that is BS if you are using headphones.

  • I can say that my Kemper sounds awesome with my DT770's. There must be something affecting your sound via the setup? In over 40 years of playing guitar, I have not had a better sound via headphones. I suspect it is not the Kemper but the way you have it set up. I wouldn't give up yet, go thru the video tutorials. You may find something there that corrects your problem. check your input section. good luck.

  • I live in an apartment, I play through FRFR and studio monitors, but I use an Audio-Technica ATH M50X, practicing at night with backing tracks, too. My wife is the only one that complains when I use headphones, since I can't stop playing.


    Don't worry, Kemper anticipated what you may be listening. In fact, part of what you perceive is described in the user manual: "..guitar players who don’t play regularly in studios or live venues often tend to struggle when listening to the Studio PROFILEs of the PROFILER through monitor speakers or headphones. Some say the original sound from the guitar cabinet is the “real” amp sound, while mic'ing the cabinet gives it an artificial flavor"


    The KPA has some options to address that perception while preventing ear fatigue. Perhaps the following parameters could give you the solution you are looking for.


    I would suggest:

    1. Pick the headphones that you like most by playing your backing tracks or an external audio source (high quality music) through the Kemper stereo Aux In jacks. Everything should sound right for you at this point, now you can plug your guitar and test the Studio Profile you like most.


    2. Try setting some parameters that could make your headphone experience sound good to your ears, like:

    a) Space (from the manual: "The “Space” parameter adds a small room simulation to the master signal. This makes listening through headphones far more enjoyable.").

    b) Pure Cab (from the manual: "All applications that use the mic'ed sound (virtual guitar cabinet) of the PROFILER can benefit from Pure Cabinet: recordings, live venues, full-range monitors, in-ear monitors, or just noodling with headphones on")

    c) You can try changing the Cab in the output section, if you dont like the one used in the studio profile. That makes a lot of difference sometimes.


    Please review user manual section:

    Working with Amplifier PROFILEs, Cabinet PROFILEs, Power Amps and Guitar Cabinets

    pages 65, 66 and 78, and check if that helps.

  • I can honestly say I have had excellent results just plugging ATH-M50x straight into the KPA headphone out. It is significantly better than my other alternatives including the headphone out on my Mesa Mark V:25 or my Two Notes Torpedo loadbox into Wall of Sound IR and out via the interface headphone output.

  • you should be able to run your backing tacks thru the Kemper and monitor it with space in stereo from the kPA headphone jack. I've never done it but some guys run their monitor mix into the KPA and mix it with the guitar. the backing tracks may not be may not be stereo though, not sure? I run my main LR out to my audio interface and monitor thru that and it sounds pretty good to me?

  • you should be able to run your backing tacks thru the Kemper and monitor it with space in stereo from the kPA headphone jack. I've never done it but some guys run their monitor mix into the KPA and mix it with the guitar. the backing tracks may not be may not be stereo though, not sure? I run my main LR out to my audio interface and monitor thru that and it sounds pretty good to me?


    Feed your backing track through the alternate input and have both come out the headphone. See if that is better.

    Yup, did this just for a test. Works great.

  • The headphone amp of the Kemper is awesome. I have a Universal Audio Arrow and when using it to track my Kemper the headphone sound is ok, but I much prefer tracking through the Kemper. So as bshaw92 and hartgtrz mentioned, feeding the interface output to the Kemper works really well.


    Enjoy tonal bliss!!! ;)

  • Try using a mixer.

    Don’t plug the Kemper into Interface.

    Go from Kemper main out into the mixer.

    Run your PC into the interface and go from the interface to your mixer.

    Plug headphones into the mixer.

    I use AKG studio phones..

    Would you’d mind telling us what style music you play, what guitar and pups, and

    list some of the profiles you use.

  • This is how I run mine.... I have been running my sound this way for 30 years, previous using Rockman gear, and using a Sony receiver as an amp and using a set of Bose bookshelf speakers as monitors. Sounds great! And the best part is I can record whenever I want with the touch of a couple of buttons.


    As for you, you could be over driving your signal chain along the way making it sound like crap. I got a cheap bluetooth transmitter for my mixing board and a cheap bluetooth receiver for my Bose headphones so I can go wireless and at first it sounded like crap because I was over driving the transmitter. Once I backed the level to it down it sounds great with no latency at all. Now I don't have to blast everyone in the house out and I don't have to deal with the damn chord running to my headphones getting in my way while I'm playing.

  • Another +1 to trying Kemper headphone out vs interface to see if they are different. Mine sounds better out of the Kemper because the interface panning doesn't scale evenly at different volumes. Just sounds cleaner through the Kemper. I want to get a better interface with more inputs though.