Kemper rises, Axe FXIII falls...

  • Talking about pricing here.


    The pricing of the Axe FX III has dropped from $2249 to $1999.


    The device is about a year or so old, so that is going to come as quite a shock to someone who paid the old price. I don't buy the argument that it's like computer parts, this is guitar gear.


    Compare that to the Kemper, which has actually risen in price since its introduction.


    It's obvious which one is the better "investment". Double down on that satisfying feeling when you talk about tone. Underline that satisfaction if you're not selling anyway.


    I guess the Kemper and especially the introduction of the Stage has really hurt Fractal sales enough that they needed to bring their prices closer to the Kemper.


    In fact, the powered Profiler costs more than the Axe FX now! :)

  • Not long ago in North America, Kemper dropped their price on everything. I wouldn't read too much into it quite honestly.


    Working in manufacturing, there are a lot of considerations that go into price. Sometimes it's just a matter of competing (though you're hurting your own margins), other times it's about your costs being reduced for any variety of reasons, be it change of factory, larger bulk orders, etc. There was little doubt in my mind that the introductory price for the Axe III would fall as they added inventory and cleared preorders. In other markets, behaviors are much the same. Early adopters more-often-than-not pay more out of pocket than those down the road.


    It's worth noting that several people in the past have used the fact that the KPA was less expensive than the full-fledged Fractal unit as a point of pride. Now it's better because it's more expensive? It's not as if higher cost = better quality, inherently. Prices fluctuate and markets change, even with the same hardware as it becomes dated.


    Again, I wouldn't reach too much into it.


  • It's actually worth noting. You're pointing at early adopters taking a hit with Fractal, that hasn't been my experience with my Zoom 505II, my Boss GT-8 or the Kemper.


    Granted, the Kemper is the only one I know of that has increased in price, but the others didn't drop in value during their entire product lifecycle.


    If you know of any processors that fell in value after a year or so, I'd be extremely interested to know which ones.


    I don't think I've seen anyone noting that because the Kemper is cheaper than the Axe FX, it's therefore better either.


    Nor did I make the argument that because it's more expensive, it's better. Don't know where you're getting any of that from.


    I don't own an Axe FX, I'd really like to. So a price drop is good news for me.


    But if I paid the old price and it fell so quickly, I'd be pissed because if I did sell later, I would have to lower my expectations.

  • You're pointing at early adopters taking a hit with Fractal, that hasn't been my experience with my Zoom 505II, my Boss GT-8 or the Kemper.

    The other 2 devices are purposefully budget solutions meant to be built down to a price rather than up to a standard. They're also aided by large distribution chains not available to Kemper or Fractal which are smaller and niche, thus more prone to changes affecting their immediate bottom line.

    If you know of any processors that fell in value after a year or so, I'd be extremely interested to know which ones.

    In their FB post on the price drop, Fractal claim to have negotiated a better deal with their manufacturing partner, but that only extends to US & Canada. In Europe and elsewhere, they still face greater competition where a price reduction would probably suit them better but I don't know all the logistics they have to deal with.

    But if I paid the old price and it fell so quickly, I'd be pissed because if I did sell later, I would have to lower my expectations.

    For a $2k product, we are talking about a price reduction of $250. That's not nothing, but it's not going to really piss many people off. I've seen more people happy about it, including people who paid full price and don't seem to mind. Of course, YMMV. I just don't think this is worth a big fuss or has far-reaching implications.

  • I think they dropped the price because of the delay in their new product- FM3, which looks like the Helix Stomp. It’s supposed to sound like the AXElll in a smaller package. People are going crazy over there demanding an update every 15 mins. Could be why they dropped the price.

  • The other 2 devices are purposefully budget solutions meant to be built down to a price rather than up to a standard. They're also aided by large distribution chains not available to Kemper or Fractal which are smaller and niche, thus more prone to changes affecting their immediate bottom line.

    In their FB post on the price drop, Fractal claim to have negotiated a better deal with their manufacturing partner, but that only extends to US & Canada. In Europe and elsewhere, they still face greater competition where a price reduction would probably suit them better but I don't know all the logistics they have to deal with.

    For a $2k product, we are talking about a price reduction of $250. That's not nothing, but it's not going to really piss many people off. I've seen more people happy about it, including people who paid full price and don't seem to mind. Of course, YMMV. I just don't think this is worth a big fuss or has far-reaching implications.


    Well, not the Zoom by any stretch of the imagination, but the Boss GT-8 was at the cutting edge of modellers at one point of time. Sure, it didn't sound as good as the current modellers, but it was good for its time.


    The price never went down.


    I also suggested you provide me of valid examples of modellers that have gone down in price after introduction. I've been following all the latest and greatest for a long time now and can't think of any.


    This thing about the manufacturer cutting Fractal a better deal. I don't really buy that, a more logical explanation as others suggested was that sales have not been as good as expected. I see no reason for a company like Fractal to pass on a cost saving like that to their users.


    Also, how many manufacturers does Fractal have? I wouldn't imagine they have one in the US and one in Europe, they don't sell at those kinds of volumes.


    So if your manufacturer is cutting the cost by $250, why on earth would that not apply to units sold elsewhere? And why the huge markup in Europe if at all you're actually manufacturing them there?


    It doesn't have far-reaching implications and I'm sorry you see this as some kind of dig at the Axe. I'm merely comparing how prices of the units have changed, with the Kemper prices rising and Axe prices falling. It's good news for consumers, that's for sure.

  • I also suggested you provide me of valid examples of modellers that have gone down in price after introduction. I've been following all the latest and greatest for a long time now and can't think of any.

    What I said was, "In other markets, behaviors are much the same. Early adopters more-often-than-not pay more out of pocket than those down the road." Technology comes out and a year or so after its released, you very often see price drops.

    This thing about the manufacturer cutting Fractal a better deal. I don't really buy that, a more logical explanation as others suggested was that sales have not been as good as expected. I see no reason for a company like Fractal to pass on a cost saving like that to their users.

    You could be right, but you could just as easily be wrong. There are a lot of assumptions made to make it that far. Of course, price decreases are universally made to boost sales, but that doesn't mean sales are bad or have tanked. Items that my company sells will sometimes go on promotion for dealers even though it's one of our best sellers.

    So if your manufacturer is cutting the cost by $250, why on earth would that not apply to units sold elsewhere? And why the huge markup in Europe if at all you're actually manufacturing them there?

    Only Fractal can answer that. Kemper did the same thing only in North America before. There are also different logistical and regulatory considerations that make the North American & European markets quite different. Fractal doesn't sell much in Europe and is far more expensive due to it. Chances are, prices could be dropped slightly in the US to incentivize new customers, but perhaps the margins just weren't there in Europe.

    To me, it makes more sense for older technologies (Axe III being out for 1 year now) to drop in price, if at all. Older technologies don't often make sense to raise prices considering older technologies become cheaper as the rate of growth speeds up. Sometimes it does happen, like in the case of tariffs on existing goods sourced from a particular country.

  • Buying a Kemper is like buying Z-Brush. You buy it once, then every once in a while an announcement is made that something insanely cool is coming in november or something. November comes and goes, people get all angsty, then start jokes about "they didn't say which year" and eventually they forget about it altogether and get back on with making cool stuff and entrenching it into pipelines throughout the industry. Four years later the update comes out, everyone is "Yay this is awesome!" and forgets about their angst because the update is free and really they don't care that much because it's always free and at this point they're pretty much "well they can take as long as they want, it's all good (free) stuff". Surreptitiously while no-one is looking the price goes up just a smidge which everyone agrees is fair as "it's got more stuff, and exchange rates and inflation etcetera" and most importantly they're not paying. And of course all the old hands who've died in the interim waiting for the new must have feature get replaced by new shiny faced cadets fresh from college who need to buy it at the new price because it's now industry de-facto standard, so it allows them to keep on making new free features and everyone is happy and surprisingly chilled out and despite all business logic it seems to work great...


    ...do Pixolator and CKemper know each other? :D

  • What I said was, "In other markets, behaviors are much the same. Early adopters more-often-than-not pay more out of pocket than those down the road." Technology comes out and a year or so after its released, you very often see price drops.

    You could be right, but you could just as easily be wrong. There are a lot of assumptions made to make it that far. Of course, price decreases are universally made to boost sales, but that doesn't mean sales are bad or have tanked. Items that my company sells will sometimes go on promotion for dealers even though it's one of our best sellers.

    Only Fractal can answer that. Kemper did the same thing only in North America before. There are also different logistical and regulatory considerations that make the North American & European markets quite different. Fractal doesn't sell much in Europe and is far more expensive due to it. Chances are, prices could be dropped slightly in the US to incentivize new customers, but perhaps the margins just weren't there in Europe.

    To me, it makes more sense for older technologies (Axe III being out for 1 year now) to drop in price, if at all. Older technologies don't often make sense to raise prices considering older technologies become cheaper as the rate of growth speeds up. Sometimes it does happen, like in the case of tariffs on existing goods sourced from a particular country.


    Again, the guitar market is unlike other markets. Prices aren't usually dropped by companies like Mesa Boogie, Friedman, Engl, Fender, etc, except during sales. So you can't compare it to computer hardware or anything like that which witnesses price drops all the time.


    In the case of North America, I think Kemper did it because once they got a distribution network up, it was easier for them to sell there through online stores.


    The Axe FX isn't older technology, pretty much industry standard/cutting edge. That's why this is interesting.

  • Again, the guitar market is unlike other markets. Prices aren't usually dropped by companies like Mesa Boogie, Friedman, Engl, Fender, etc, except during sales. So you can't compare it to computer hardware or anything like that which witnesses price drops all the time.

    I don't think it's as different as you're making it out to be. Changes occur, but I don't keep a catalog of them. Business and tech is business and tech with nuanced differences.

    In the case of North America, I think Kemper did it because once they got a distribution network up, it was easier for them to sell there through online stores.

    It's possible, but a price drop is a price drop. If the argument is that this doesn't happen in the guitar market, it obviously does, and did with Fractal's key competitor. It wasn't a major development but when it happened I saw more people welcome it. One Fractal fanboy I talked to online around that time tried to use that as evidence the Kemper was fading, and I made essentially the same argument as I am here, that it's reading too much into it. If you can preserve your margins while increasing volume, that's a winning principal.

    The Axe FX isn't older technology, pretty much industry standard/cutting edge.

    It's cutting edge for its market currently, but every year processors and components improve, meaning almost 2 years after the Axe III came out, there is likely more advanced processors available and little doubt their costs are exactly the same.

  • Another smart marketing move by Fractal....!

    I don't like being overly presumptuous because I don't know what their circumstances are for Europe. Lots of things can affect pricing, and perhaps since they deal direct in the 'States and not through a handful of distributors overseas, they have no wiggle room. Without working there, couldn't say for sure. I work for a US-based company in this industry and Europe is always a pricing issue for us. We can offer things to US dealers that we simply can't to European distributors.


    I will say that I think Fractal's marketing is very poor. I happen to think Kemper's is also pretty poor in comparison to what I would do running marketing and social media for either. They have very exciting products, but you'd never guess by the muted and placid tone they have online. There are plenty of things you could do that wouldn't cost money, or not very much, but would set a tone for the brand in public. It's what I do for a living, so I notice lots of little things that makes me feel there's so many opportunities wasted.

  • When It comes to raw guitar amp tone the Kemper is the gold standard. I have tried the fractal/Headrush units and the Helix. I think that the Helix is the worst for amp tones but has some great effects and IO options. The Fractal units are good but I feel like the only area that they beat the Kemper is in the FX department and not the amp tone. I feel like the Fractal and the Kemper are the top dogs and the Helix and Headrush are a lower tier sound wise. I did really like the Headrush floorboard a lot better than the Helix. For the right price the Headrush is a great backup for a Kemper or Fractal.