I am a new Kemper owner (powered) and at the same time have bought a replaced the stock humbuckers in my budget guitar with an EMG Het Set active pickups.
This is my first experience with actives and I have made the mistake of not checking the Kemper tones with stock passives, thus have no reference to compare to. I, also have no other guitar to try it with at the moment.
So here is the issue, all and I mean all profiles whether stock, rig exchange or commercial sound really dull with no dynamics. They all sound the same and are pretty muffled on the higher gain spectrum. It even gets worse when I play using the neck pickup. My setup is guitar > Kemper front input > Kemper main outputs > balanced (L & R) inputs into Mackie Cr4 monitors. As far as the guitar and monitors go, I am aware that they are not quality and might be contributing to the issue.
I have no clipping issues on input or output. Cabs are enabled and there are no global EQ's acting anywhere. I have tried many parameters and especially the distortion sense with no benefit. I have changed the batteries and even bought a new quality cable. The Kemper just sounded bad and after reading many threads came to the conclusion that the signal from the EMGs might be too hot.
Yesterday I took it to the extreme (maybe) and decided to lower the pickups height as far as possible; given that I have initially set them up pretty close to the strings. Now they are sitting as far as 1/4 in. (6.3 mm) away from the strings when pressed at the last fret. They are sunk way below the pickup frames and I can actually see a gap into the cavity.
But guess what, now I am getting killer tones with much better dynamics and all.
I guess my issue is practically solved (maybe) but I thought I'd start this thread to see what more experienced players would say. I am still in doubt if lowering the pickups that low is the right solution or am I overlooking something. I would appreciate if anyone could share their experience with active pickups; whether it be their pickup height, any special parameters in the Kemper, etc.