I just had to share this.
I had a Kemper in 2012, sold it, was VERY unhappy bought one again last year. But the Helix has drawn my eyes ever since it came out. And the reason is that for me it is probably an "AxeFX light" so to speak. Many routing options, more than the Kemper allows. But my heart was with Kemper and at the time I could only afford one of them so the choice was easy. But my mind never let go of the Helix.
I don't have any tube amps, so I rely on profile packs from the internet. I even bought some. But I never found myself to be AMAZED. I liked the sound, it was ok. But I always wondered. Every time I hear profiles on youtube they sound amazing and I just couldn't recreate that sound at home. Maybe it was my speaker. Maybe my guitar.
And the second thing I found myself doing all the time was to use up pretty much all the effect slots just to get the sound to where I want it. With one or two distortion pedals in front an equalizer behind the amp. A light ambience hall. A noise gate.
And since I lock in a Solo boost that I can activate from any sound. That leaves me with little space for other things like delay or chorus.
So then I thought about Helix. There I have more than enough effect slots for anything I would ever need. Up to 4 amps in parallel and all kinds of shenanigans. So what if, I would use the Helix to create a sound and then profile it with the Kemper? And that is what I did. Last week I bought an Helix lt. And I fiddled around with it a bit. And started doing the exact same thing. Pedals in front, effects after until I reached a point where I was satisfied. And then I profiled it.
So in the Helix my signal chain almost always is:
slight Compressor - distortion pedal - Amp + Cab - Mesa Equalizer
And that combined gives a pretty rad Amp sound. And the Profiler captured it perfect. Even more so. I think I've tricked my Kemper into thinking it is profiling something it actually isn't. There's no compression going on in the profile and yet I get full and rich sounds. I think (although that maybe mojo) it even enriches what comes out of the Helix a bit.
And boy oh boy I couldn't be happier. I had to force myself to stop playing the other night when it started to see daylight again. A clean signal chain, no effect, not even the usual ambience hall. And it just sounds amazing.
If I find the time on the weekend I will put online what I've profiled so far. Hiwatt, AC30, 5150 and Fender Deluxe.
Now it really feels like I have a collection of vintage amps at hand to profile the way I want.
Now you might ask: Why not just use the Helix?
As I said to my ears it actually sounds better after profiling.
And the profiler has some features that I just don't want to miss. Such as the detuner is way better than Helix'. It's not even comparable. On the Kemper I can detune my guitar a half step or a step and play comfortably. The Helix just doesn't get there.
And the second feature is the locking effects. Being able to have a soloboost locked let's me adjust that in rehearsals or live without having to change every profile I use. Just like having one boost pedal on your pedalboard. I haven't yet found a way in the Helix to achieve the same.
So the end of the story for me is: The combination is so much greater than the sum of it parts. To me it is ridiculous. I have the feeling I hear my Kemper for the first time.
So thank you Kemper and thank you Line6 for making me a very happy guitarist.