Do You Get Stifled by Option Paralysis

  • As a new owner of a Kemper I find myself doing more tweaking than playing lately. I really love my Kemper and find something new every day. A profile that sounded good yesterday doesn't sound anywhere near as good as something I find today or the stuff I'm going to go through tomorrow. Sometimes, I find myself going back and forth between two profiles and or different settings and having a hard time deciding. It can be a bit much (in a good way most of the time) as the point is for it to be a tool to make music. The only reason I dreaded getting this thing is because I knew this would happen (OCD LOL). I have a ton to learn and it's been fun. I'm just wondering if the Option Paralysis is something that died down over time for many of you.

  • Yes, it has died down for me. But initially, I felt like I had every option in the world. I did some gigs where I was thinking "is this as good as it could be or would that be better ". I think after a few months of experimenting, and most importantly, doing some gigs with it, you will narrow things down to what you like. Having said that, I still tweak and am always listening to new profiles, but the tweaking is, figuratively, within a smaller set of parameters.

    I know the most important thing is to make a living and play music, but I recommend enjoying the "honeymoon" period of getting to know the options.

  • The paralysis had died down a lot for me recently. I’ve tried to approach things like I would if I still bought amps. I am now more disciplined and have a few favourites and I’ve also added a few analog drive pedals old school style. If you think the Kemper is bad try an AxeFX. I disappeared into a black hole with that thing for months and months.:)

  • The way I operate is I have a main rig folder that I use 90% of the time. This folder contains only 4 profiles for every one of the 10 gain increments (so 40 "favorites"). Once in a blue moon I sit down just to try other profiles and they better be real good to replace one of its respective 4 in that main folder. Eventually, you get to know quite well what to go for and what is at your disposal so that there is no time wasted messing around.


    Concerning recording, I recommend recording your DI no matter what so you can re-amp later when you find a dozen profiles that you think would have sounded better.

  • Yes, it has died down for me. But initially, I felt like I had every option in the world. I did some gigs where I was thinking "is this as good as it could be or would that be better ". I think after a few months of experimenting, and most importantly, doing some gigs with it, you will narrow things down to what you like. Having said that, I still tweak and am always listening to new profiles, but the tweaking is, figuratively, within a smaller set of parameters.

    I know the most important thing is to make a living and play music, but I recommend enjoying the "honeymoon" period of getting to know the options.

    I'm definitely enjoying the "honeymoon" period. Not only am I discovering new sounds constantly but learning the functionality has been fun. There's a bit of a learning curve there and I like that challenge. It's a big world in that little box and there's so much more to go.

    The way I operate is I have a main rig folder that I use 90% of the time. This folder contains only 4 profiles for every one of the 10 gain increments (so 40 "favorites"). Once in a blue moon I sit down just to try other profiles and they better be real good to replace one of its respective 4 in that main folder. Eventually, you get to know quite well what to go for and what is at your disposal so that there is no time wasted messing around.


    Concerning recording, I recommend recording your DI no matter what so you can re-amp later when you find a dozen profiles that you think would have sounded better.

    I set up a few folders this way myself. I also have a "Main Rig" performance set up. I keep the stuff I'm likely to use most in those 5 slots. That's worked out really well for me, but I have changed it out a few times. :)

  • Yeah, I have a "Basic Rig" performance that I can always fall back, and indeed, use most of the time (okay, I confess, I have 3 "Basic Rig" performances: still working that option anxiety out!). I have a couple of other performances that have song specific rigs, that is, they have settings not included in my Basic Rig performance.


    And then I have several Amp specific performances: Favorite Deluxes, Favorite Voxs, Favorite Marshalls, Favorite Champs, etc.

  • I am still in the middle of that honeymoon period as well. And I have not even tried a lot of the built in effects. Still digging great profiles which form my basic sound. Comparing free ones from the RM and some commercial ones which I recently bought. But more and more I go back to a few which I really love and all the new ones coming up will be compared to this small set. Getting quicker with this over time.


    For recording the re-amping capabilities are really great. But I found myself re-amping the same guitar track 5 to 10 times with different profiles. Even with ones which don't sound similar and bring the whole track a bit into a different style. It is a great learning curve to find out what works in my mixes. And what not. Next time I will decide quicker as well. Creative tool though.

  • Option paralysis has never been an issue for me-I know what I'm after, I know how to get it, and I'm not distracted by the things that aren't part of achieving my goal. This is true of my life as well as my gear.

    Cool. After a few more energy drinks and testosterone shots, plus tons more time spent learning how to use my Kemper, I’ll be in the same boat as you, alpha Kemper, dude. LOL

  • I'm just wondering if the Option Paralysis is something that died down over time for many of you.

    I'm only a couple of weeks in too but I'm not expereincing this at all. I came from another modeller that I always spent far too much time tweaking and auditioning IR's etc.


    So far with the Kemper I've just picked my song, selected a rig pack, set up my performance slots (with minimal tweaks to the profile), add effects (outside of my core locked set) and job done. I'm spending way more time playing and I'm really liking what I'm hearing too.

  • Indeed. Since I own the KPA I spent a lot more time playing... that's because it is such fun and joy to explore sounds and (for me) to record in other quality dimensions. And although I spend a lot of time in trying things out I still highly appreciate what the KPA does to the professional workflow as dave5150 just described it. If you want to get things done quickly in a production process (and you have sufficient knowledge) then that's absolutely possible.

  • I"m new to the Kemper (Stage) and the first few days are like (yes option paralysis), seeing something like 16000 rigs available. Turns out, what I like is pretty much what I've been using on my old pedals, and I actually profiled them and am comparing to real amp profiles, they sound pretty dang good. I like the edge of break up (e.g. Tim Pierce), and to push into overdrive with pedals which the Kemper has lots of options. So far, very happy with this purchase, but still amazed by the options in profiles.

  • I"m new to the Kemper (Stage) and the first few days are like (yes option paralysis), seeing something like 16000 rigs available. Turns out, what I like is pretty much what I've been using on my old pedals, and I actually profiled them and am comparing to real amp profiles, they sound pretty dang good. I like the edge of break up (e.g. Tim Pierce), and to push into overdrive with pedals which the Kemper has lots of options. So far, very happy with this purchase, but still amazed by the options in profiles.

    Just think of it as being similar to walking down the beer aisle at the grocery store. If you have an idea of what you're after, it's pretty easy to pare down your available options fairly quickly.

  • I havent read all replies, but heres my input.


    I got my Powered Rack in February. I use my Kemper for practicing at home (through a 2x12 Zilla cab) and playing live (through a JCM800 4x12 cab).


    At first i struggled to find a tone/profiles i was happy with - due to having too much choice and always thinking there was something better. Or just adjusting the profiles too much from the factory setting, trying to turn them into something else.


    I bought my Kemper 2nd hand and the lad before me had hundreds of profiles on it. What i did was take all profiles off the Kemper except the factory one, and keep them in Rig Manager.


    I then downloaded some free packs from Michael Britt, Tone Junkie,Top Jimi, Thre Amp Factory etc. From this i decided i like the sound of Michael Britt and Tone Junkie profiles. I bought a couple of packs and set about picking my favourites - the ones most useful to me.


    From there i tried and tested a few profiles at home, rehearsals and live, and finally settled on a handful of maybe 6 or 7 that i really like and i can use properly (for gigging). I'll use 2 or 3 at a time in my performance and then sometimes swap some out for the other favorites just for a nice change.


    I still like to try out other profiles when practicing at home, but its more a case of pick one and play rather than pick one and faff around all night. Every now-and-then ill favorite a new one and add it into the cycle for gig profiles above.


    One thing i did find out is its better, in my opinion, to not alter the profiles too much (e.g. mid, bass, gain, treble, clarity, definition etc. etc.). I pick the ones that sound about right out of the box, and if needs be (depending on room or stage) ill just adjust the overall Monitor or Main output EQs to suit each gig.

  • Oddly, I've found that the Kemper actually relieves me of option paralysis.


    Dialing in tones has never been an enjoyable experience for me. In the tube amp days, no matter which knob I twisted or pedal I pushed, it never seemed quite right (often because it wasn't). Lots of "but this could be better" that most here have mentioned.


    Similar to JKplaysGuitar, I tried some of the highly regarded third party offerings, and found some that really did it for me. I spent some time auditioning them and then, like JedMckenna and some others, I put folders together with my go-to sounds. And periodically, I'll have a day where I'm in the mood for browsing the catalog and will maybe add another one to the heavy rotation list.


    Because the nature of profiling is to take the end result of amp / fx / speaker cab / mic / recording signal chain / etc. and spit out a single tone that's essentially one completely thought, the profiles I have are ready to rock. Very rarely do I engage in any tweaking at all. If profile A isn't doing it for me, I just switch to profile B.


    And that's very much what I love about the Kemper for my own workflow. I have a box full of good sounds, and I don't have to worry about screwing them up by tweaking them (which I don't enjoy in the first place). I spend less time playing with my guitar rig, and more time just playing my guitar rig.


    Another great thing about this beast is that someone else who enjoys tweaking can play with all params to dial it in just the way they like it. They don't have to take my simplistic approach, they have complete control. And yet, that functionality doesn't get in the way of a guy like me who just wants to dial up a profile and play guitar.

  • Yeah it's getting better. I had a chance to profile my AC15 over the weekend and used a homemade cheap 1x12 cabinet with an old VOX speaker that I bought off ebay, and it turns out that the profile is really close to one of Tone Junkies free Match Club profile that I had picked as one of my favorites. I'll be removing a lot of stuff I don't like and just focusing on these for a while. There is also one in the Rig Exchange of a Blackstar A15 that really seems to sound like a tube amp for whatever reason. Some clean profiles like Fender just sound lifeless to me. The journey continues...

  • When I first got my toaster (just last November) I was overwhelmed by the number of free rigs. As I explored them I discovered something that might be a useful perspective for you as well.


    There are a lot of profiles with high ratings, and yet to me they didn't sound good at all. Eventually I realized that, because a profile is a snapshot of an amp dialed in to a specific tone, that context was everything. I'm a classic rock guy, so if I'm listening to something that was dialed in for some super edgy shade of metal, it's going to be awesome for the metal guy and not so much for me. It doesn't matter if it's an amp I like and a great job of profiling, if it's not an appropriate tone for my style of music then it's not going to be a great profile for me.


    That's also when I decided to look at some of the third party guys who sell profiles. I figured some of them would represent the best that you can get out of a Kemper and that would be a good benchmark. In particular, the Michael Britt stuff resonated with me because the tones he goes for are in the same ballpark as what I like. I found Tone Junkie to be strong in the area of clean and chimey stuff that I enjoyed. It didn't hurt (or help, depending on your perspective) that it was around Black Friday, so I ended up getting a lot of stuff. But now the Kemper is loaded with profiles specifically for the style that I play, so I don't have to tweak. I just pick the right one for the song and play guitar.


    I think to get the most out of Rig Exchange, it helps to know the style of music that these profilers are playing, and thus dialing their amps in for. I didn't find that easy to do in RE, but with a lot of the third party guys it's pretty easy to see the styles that they're focusing on. I dropped $2400 on a powered toaster and remote, so another $30 here and there for profiles doesn't seem worth stressing over.


    Either way, when you're looking through a ton of profiles, context is king.