Kemper / Helix. If you can, don't do "OR", do "AND". Dream combo!

  • Hey guys,


    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. :)

  • Steeldom

    Changed the title of the thread from “Kemper / Helix. If you can don't do "OR" do "AND". Dream combo!” to “Kemper / Helix. If you can, don't do "OR", do "AND". Dream combo!”.
  • You've used the Kemper in the manner for which it's intended, mate.


    Whilst most tube heads would prefer the authentic sounds of mic'd amps, for you the Helix tones get you easily to where you want to be. Nothing wrong with that; some peeps prefer to use their favourite modellers over the real thing - each to his own.


    Thankfully the Kemper isn't an amp snob and will Profile your favourite setup without prejudice. ;)

  • I recently added a Kemper to my rack to get the/my 'dream rig' of a Helix and Kemper.


    So far its pretty great - any amp, any effect - the two device co-exist very well together.

    I'm of the opinion that you don't have to be in one camp or the other - you're allowed to have whatever gear you like and enjoy it. Definitely have both if you can :)

  • Disclaimer: When I post demo clips for profiles, there will be some minimal post-processing, unless stated otherwise. I normally double-track hard L/R, and add to the main buss a small amount of EQ and a limiter/comp set pretty light as well. Sometimes I get test profiles in advance of release, though 90% of my clips will be from packs I have purchased.

  • Really happy you've got the sound you want but....


    I do struggle a bit with the combination in the same way I still don't understand why people still need OD or boost pedals.


    There are 15,000 profiles out there on RE alone and countless commercial profiles and yet you are not alone in not finding your sound without adding other stuff.


    The Helix is also a great device with loads of great sounds but the thought of trying to use both gives me a headache. I'm sure there is someone out there using Helix, KPA and Axe in an even more complex set up..


    In my mind if you are having to add more gain or eq. etc. and hence presumably why you run out of effects slots then its probably the wrong profile. It just seems overly complex and expensive to add more external gear. One of the big things to me about the KPA is its a one stop shop.


    I have always looked for the right base sound and then just added time based effects on top. More gain needed? Get an amp with enough gain ( hence why I used ENGL's and not Marshall - btw I know they sound different but there are other options)..hence I'm not even close to running out of effects slots.


    I know this isn't how others use it and no criticism intended, just wanted to share my approach. Keeping it simple has so many advantages, not least matching devices ( gain levels etc), additional gear and connections blah blah - it just shows what a diverse bunch we are..


    Maybe I'm just too easily pleased :)

  • I'm with you on this one.

    Go for it now. The future is promised to no one. - Wayne Dyer

  • I do get where you come from. And believe me I've tried A LOT of profiles and I don't deny that maybe the profiles I made out of Helix sound "better" to my ears because I made them and there's some Mojo involved :-D


    The pedals in front of the amp are not purely for gain reasons. Also for shaping the sound. I highly recommend Rhett Shulls Youtube channel he has a video on stacking pedals in front of a clean or slightly distorted amp. And many many heavy sounds have a tubescreamer with the gain set to 0 in front just to sharpen the sound or channel it into a certain direction.


    I have not yet had the time to put the profiles online. But I will and I'm also experimenting with the Revv amp in the Helix. To me this is like owing a room full of amps to profile. And yes I could just use Helix. But since I also love my Kemper, where's the fun in that? :-D

  • I recently added a Kemper to my rack to get the/my 'dream rig' of a Helix and Kemper.


    So far its pretty great - any amp, any effect - the two device co-exist very well together.

    I'm of the opinion that you don't have to be in one camp or the other - you're allowed to have whatever gear you like and enjoy it. Definitely have both if you can :)

    I feel the same way about that combination. The more I use them together, the more I'm glad with my decision of keeping the Helix

    after i got the KPA. The signal chain options are crazy. Never thought I would see the Kemper as a 'small white block' on the screen ;)

  • The pedals in front of the amp are not purely for gain reasons. Also for shaping the sound. I highly recommend Rhett Shulls Youtube channel he has a video on stacking pedals in front of a clean or slightly distorted amp. And many many heavy sounds have a tubescreamer with the gain set to 0 in front just to sharpen the sound or channel it into a certain direction.

    I have to declare I'm not a pedal guy. I never got the tube screemer adding eg etc...use an eq pedal :).


    I know I'm over simplifying it here, I just struggle with the sound shaping concept. The KPA has comprehensive eq's etc so maybe I'm missing what this additional magic is.


    The Helix is a top device, my mate has one and it sounds great. I guess my point is why do you need two amazing devices to combine in an almost limitless number of variations - sounds like a sonic nightmare.


    Might you, I'm a " minor tweaks and go" type of player.. I think guitarists fit into 2 camps, those searching for sonic nirvana and can quote the frequency range that needs changing to get their sound or those who don;t really know what to use mid for ( me!).


    I'll check the youtube channel as I might learn something :)

  • I’m totally with you V8guitar. I see the biggest advantage of things like Kemper, Helix and Axe as their ability to be a one stop shop, plug’n’play solution which simplifies rigs.


    Steeldom , Although I’ve never felt the need to fo it I understand the concept of using a TS in front. However, the point that V8guitar and others are making is that you can use a profile that already has the TS (or any other Od pedal you like) already baked in. If you are making you own profiles then you can have anything you want including the same profile with and without the OD so it functions just like having the OD available to switch as required.

  • Might you, I'm a " minor tweaks and go" type of player.. I think guitarists fit into 2 camps, those searching for sonic nirvana and can quote the frequency range that needs changing to get their sound or those who don;t really know what to use mid for ( me!).

    This, despite that I am quite a gear junk, I don't play with different settings a lot, I am mostly trying to get better in playing the actual guitar...

    Now, Kemper was my first amp (after a Roland Cube), because I knew that gave the best FOH sound (having done FOH duties a lot), but after that I tried a helix, tried a JVM410, tried pedals in front of combos, and really, I still like my Kemper the best, I can't get pedals to sound better than "a Fender with a pedal", and the JVM and helix sound quite ice-picky, which I don't know how to dial out. The makers of some great Kemper profiles did know, so I just use those, problem solved :D

  • I feel the same way about that combination. The more I use them together, the more I'm glad with my decision of keeping the Helix

    after i got the KPA. The signal chain options are crazy. Never thought I would see the Kemper as a 'small white block' on the screen ;)

    Yep - its great.

    I have my Kemper in a digital loop using the SPDIF i/o of both units....and I have the Kemper FX loop connected to a Helix FX send/return (on its own isolated DSP path) so I can place Helix blocks into a Kemper stomp / FX block. Which is handy - it lets me put the pedals on my physical pedalboard, or Helix FX blocks or Kemper FX blocks anywhere in the Helix or Kemper. Sounds mad - but its really cool.