A real tube amp on top of Kemper?

  • Hey there,

    It's almost Christmas and it has been a long time I offered myself something nice (the last thing was the Kemper).

    I really love my Kemper, which I use mainly through headphones and studio monitors. I only play at home, so it fits this purpose really well. I use the aux in for backing tracks and online courses.

    I find myself longing though for a real tube amp and the sensations of a moving 12" speaker. I was (and am) looking forward to the Kabinet, but who knows when that's gonna hit the shelves?

    I have been surfing the big wide web and am really tempted by a Bogner Atma, a Brunetti Singleman 16, a VSA Vintage 5 or even the Bluguitar Amp1. The first 3 (so the real tube amps) are quite expensive. These amps are particularly interesting to me as they have power downscaling possibilities, making them more or less home friendly.

    Even though I have the luxury of being able to spend the cash, I wonder if it's really worth it... It would be a shame to buy such a nice amp if in the end I'm only going to use the Kemper.

    So my question to the guys and gals who do own both, what's your opinion on this? Do you like going back to a real tube amp?

    This is more to do with having fun and enjoyment, but I thought I might as well ask people who might have the same need than I do 8o

  • I have the Bluguitar Amp1 that I use regularly with one of the bands I play with, and I must say, it's handy. Sounds great direct, too. I also have an AC30 that I haven't touched in years (it's waaaaay too heavy, so sits in storage) and an original Marshall JMP 2x12 combo from '78, which sounds great, but is also too heavy to take anywhere. I plug that in once in a blue moon, if I'm ever home during the day and I can hear someone testing amps in the guitar shop opposite, to mask the volume from my neighbours, haha! I can only tell you that the options I have apart from the KPA get limited playing time at home. The Amp1 resides on a pedal board that I take out to rehearsals and gigs with that one specific band, otherwise the Kemper gets 80% of my playing time. There is something deliciously immediate with plugging in something as small yet powerful as the Amp1, and just twiddling a few knobs a few notches and having glorious tone, but I can do that with the KPA, too. More often than not, not having to touch a thing.

  • I've had the powered Kemper, 50/50 tube power amps, Matrix amps and I've ran the KPA through guitar amp heads. What ended my search was the Fryette Power Station. I expect it will work great for the Kone too.

  • As awesome and useful as Kemper/Fractal etc can be, I think you are missing some of the most fundamental aspects of electric guitar playing if you only play through digital devices. I am kind of limited in terms of space and try to keep gear to a minimum but I have at least a small tube amp I still vastly prefer going through for most smaller gig or with some particular artists where I use more effects. Some folks these days are forgetting that in some situations, some amps get you there quicker and feel right straight away without being dependent on a PA, good speakers or sound man etc.

  • I run mine thru a Blue Jr sometimes,, set clean, its fantastic,also thru a Morgan Abby, set clean,,sometimes internal Power amp to Monitor, why not???

    whatever it takes, for tone at the moment,,most times, spdif to the board,

  • Thanks for your input ! I also feel that not having a tube amp at home is like missing out on one of the greatest feelings in the world. I love the Kemper, but it is hearing an amp and a cab through a microphone. It's great, but having a 12" speaker swinging next to you is not the same...

    Still hesitating between the Bluguitar Amp1 and a real tube amp. I think I'll order the Amp1 with Thomann and if I don't like it, I can always send it back.

  • I still have my Mesa Mark iv ;)

    The Amp1 seems to be great at the Marshall stuff though... I already played the Amp1 of a friend, and it sure did drive a 4*12 without any problem. This thing is loud and sounds great. I still get your point though in saying that it's not a real tube amp.

    But my mind is constantly changing on an almost hourly basis. I found some nice profiles of the Atma and the Singleman 16 is also very nice. I'll have a week of holiday in December. I'm going to try all the different amps and decide afterwards.

  • Have you tried the Kemper Profiler through a (Class D) power amp to a 4x12 cab? Thinking of either a QSC GXD 4 or a Matrix GT1000FX.

    The Profiler is a great piece of gear for live use, the fact that you seem to have bought it without power amp doesn't mean you can't make it work live through a cab. ;)

  • I still have at least a dozen tube amps. Kemper is an excellent tool and a great addition to my collection. I use my Kemper live all the time, but I use tube amps for recording and jamming at home. The Kemper works in those scenarios too; but “smoke em if ya got em” I suppose.

  • I had some time to play this weekend and found some very nice profiles (again...). It also made me realise how convenient the Kemper is for my use. My kid is less than 2 years old and I generally only get to play when he's asleep. When that's the case, it wouldn't exactly be responsible parenting of mine to play a pushed tube amp. Also, using the Aux In for backing tracks and for online courses is so easy.

    Basically, reality caught up with me and my GAS for tubes has to take the backseat. Before buying a tube amp, I think I'd rather upgrade my monitors. Something fancy like Genelec 8030, which I can also use for my living room (I play in front of my mac).

    At some point, I guess that Kabinet will be available. That surely will be a nice solution...

    It's very likely though that I'll change my mind again in 1-2 hours. I might hit the buy button on that Brunetti Singleman ;)

  • I was trading gear and swapped a guitar I couldn't sell for someone's Mesa Boogie Express 5:25. Versatile little bugger. While I had it (about 6 months) I loved toying with it. Not b/c it was better than the Kemper, or more "in the room" bullshit, but essentially b/c it turned on immediately and I didn't have to wait a minute like I do with the KPA. Lazy, but there it is. My biggest gripe. I know, some say "you gotta let the tubes warm up" but I've never heard that difference unless it was a compressor. That is, I typically don't overdrive the tubes that much.

    But it was damned fun and I'm kinda missing the Mesa Boogie. IF I had the room, I'd have a few amps for shits-n-giggles.

  • I have a temptation for a tube amp every once and awhile but each time I play one now, I tend to wish it sounded like my Kemper. I did a back to back with a few recently that squashed by temptation for a bit.

    I run my powered Kemper most of the time into a 412 cab. Even at home. I have FRFR's but still love playing a cab more. To each it's own. Great time to be a guitarist with so much being offered to us.

  • I tried a couple of tube amps and I really liked the tones I was getting. However, I also immediately missed the flexibility of my Kemper. And the tones I’m getting from the green box are amazing too... I thought that I was fiddling a lot with the Kemper, but I totally forgot how much I fiddled with my tube amps. I have a mark iv and getting a good balance on all 3 channels is quite tough. And when you got it just right, you want to play a les Paul instead of a strat...

    And then there’s the effects... I’m a big Floyd fan and I’d have to invest a lot in pedals. And when you have a lot of pedals, you start thinking about a looper Switcher like the gig rig (Dan from that pedal show). The total investment would be a lot more expensive than a Kemper + remote. Plus, you don’t even have a recording solution at that point. So I decided not to go down that road.
    I bought a keeley dark side for fun and it really sounds great in front of the Kemper.