Why I chose Kemper over Fractal (and all others)

  • Just want to say I’m very grateful to the Kemper community and HW/ Tone Junkie.


    It’s been an interesting and very challenging journey the past year since upgrading from my trusty old Line 6 X3 Live.


    I’ve purchased and returned or sold the following: Marshall Code 100H, HeadRush Pedalboard and Gigboard, Fractal AX8, and Strymon Iridium.


    I have done endless hours of reading, videos on the above plus Positive Grid, Boss GT-1000, Mooer and other research because buyers remorse is, you know, a horrible thing.


    Fractal was my 2nd choice after Kemper, but the FM3 delays, plus I am not a deep tweaker, so the Kemper is really a dream.


    Sadly, the attitude from Cliff and the Fractal moderators and some users really rubbed me wrong. When I posted I was looking to simplify from Option Overload and Rabbit Holes looking at the Strymon Iridium, Cliff responded: “I think he means he was overwhelmed with too many options. (Fractal) Is like going from Garage Band to a real professional studio.”


    I replied I don’t assume he meant to, but I found that a bit offensive. Lots of us want to simplify in some ways. I was then banned from posting on FB Fractal FM3 group. I made an attempt to discuss and resolve differences, but no responses.


    Disagree with the king and you are outcast I guess.


    Anyways, I am thrilled with my Kemper and I’m not looking back.


    Massive Thanks to Kemper users, Tone Junkie and other amazing profile pack companies. HW’s videos are really great too. ^^

  • if you post in the Fractal forum, you have to figure the average tone of the replies...

    ...or did you expect to read that Fractal is very complex, requires a lot of time to manage it, and even after a lot of tweaking sometimes it sounds a little bit artificial, especially in the low to mid gain tones, or when you hit 2-3 strings at the same time?

    When you spend 2600€ in a new hardware, you try to convince yourself in every way that you have taken the best gear on the planet and that has no flaws. Would you do differently?


    I'm in a similar situation, but with an advantage: I cut off immediately Headrush, Helix, Boss GT-1000, Mooer GE300 and so on...Under Kemper/Fractal, we're talking about 70s transistor radios.

    I'm in a similar situation for another reason also: I like to build my tone, but I'm not a deep tweaker. Kemper, with its idea of profiling, keeps things simple. Cap bright, speaker resonance, speaker compression, power amp section, tube bias and another zilion of parameters you have to tweak on Fractal, are all captured by the profile. It's like a snapshot that incorporates all this stuff. Add a little bit of modulation and reverb/delay, and you're ready to play.


    A few days ago I was very confused, but now I almost made my choice.


    Did you buy other profile packs, apart Tone Junkie? Have you tried the Rigbusters profiles, or, MBritt and TAF?

    Thanks

  • I came to the Kemper stage over from the Helix. Don't get me wrong the Helix is great unit but only if you enjoy endless tweaking. I spent 3 years with mine and even found the need to tweak the paid profiles. I even went as far as to buy a power amp and a cab to run the Helix through just to get a good tone with a little less tweaking, the positive on that is that I love the Kemper through that too.

    I also had a similar experience in the Helix forums, no one wants to hear that the Helix has faults and even if they do admit that there is always an excuse to justify it like "you'll never notice in a mix" or "You didn't set it up correctly" or just simply whining an bickering. I left that group but on the other hand I also left the Kemper group on Face Book too since the most common responses to everything is "Read the manual" or "You don't need an editor"

  • I own both units. I just got my Kemper a few weeks ago. I owned one for quite a while 6 or 7 years ago when they first came out and was an early adopter. I had repair issues with both of the units I had. It was a new product and I think I just had a string of bad luck.


    I have had nothing but a great experience with the Axe III. I have found the folks on that forum very helpful, like they are here as well. It was my first Fractal product.


    If you are complaining about the FM3 being delayed, then find something else as you did. The big problem is people are just not patient these days. I waited quite a while for my FC6 but it was completely worth it. This wasn't the case with the Axe III which was announced as it was released on time and the waiting list was done properly. I'd rather have a solid and reliable product and if it means waiting a bit longer, then so be it.


    Every company has its issues. Remember the Kemper remote fiasco from a few years back or the poweramp upgrade? No one is perfect out there and if you are expecting that, good luck to you.


    By the way, you don't need to deep tweak anything on the Fractal if you don't want to. There is amazing tone setup easily right in the box.

    I do like my new Kemper unit far more this time then I did previously so I'll happily use both units and enjoy them. Because quite a few years have passed since I had my previous rack, I was very cautious this time with any profile purchases. I found the right ones that work perfectly for me for what I need live. It is a great unit and once that editor arrives (again, much patience) it will be even better.


    What I like about the Kemper is the sheer longevity of the unit in the industry. It is unique in what it does and it does it very well.


    No disrespect intended. I am very glad that you found exactly what works for you and that is great!

    Fractal Axe III/FC-6, Kemper Rack/Remote, Friedman ASM-10 & ASC-10, Fender CS x4

  • Welcome to Kemperland. Like other digital gear, you can still dive deeper if you want to. But, you don’t need to for great tones. Enjoy the ride.


    FWIW, I’ve owned a FX8 and AX8. I’ve had a few interactions with Cliff. He’s always been professional. He’s a busy and brilliant guy. FAS products are a reflection of that. Cut him some slack. The FAS Fanboys aren’t always welcoming to newbies at first on the forum. But, they warm up to you after awhile.

  • I've only ever owned a Kemper but there is no doubt that the Axe is a great unit and respect to the Fractal team.


    If what you have said is accurate, that does seem a little over zealous.


    This forum is generally very helpful with some great people although some strong opinions and views are often expressed as well...so we are not perfect.


    More importantly, you are happy so that is a great outcome! Remember, its just a guitar amp, enjoy the music making...

  • Re: Cliff and Fractal. I am not trying to bash, but share about negative experiences. I tried to go directly to Cliff and the Moderators to address things, but they ignored me, so this is my expression of events so others may be aware if they have similar situations. After these posts I will forgive and move on...


    The more I researched, the more I find Cliff and Fractal can be quite rude to any opinion that does not flatter Fractal.


    Here is an example from Tony McKenzie: " I don't buy Fractal Audio products because of the extremely negative support offered by that company and its cronies on their forum... read about it here: http://www.tonymckenzie.com/axe-fx-II.htm and I'm not alone in the way they treated other customers - I have heard from many directly from my website with similar stories that they told."


    This confirmed what I felt, and as I said, made my Kemper decision 1000% clear. Obviously, there are some great people on the Fractal forum, and I loved my AX8 when I had it, but what I realized I loved about Fractal were the Rigs that other users created, not me. I'm not so good at that, which makes Kemper ideal for me. I found some solid Rigs I liked a lot, but with Kemper I am finding an enormous amount of Profiles I love. No contest at all for me, Kemper hands down.

  • Organized! I decided to clear out all my Profiles, and load the 10 new Tone Junkies I just bought for $50 (plus their free packs). Then I added some Bass amps and a few other favorite Profiles I've discovered. That loaded up over 800 profiles. That is quite a lot, but they are amazing.


    I'm going to enjoy my Tone Junkie Profiles to the max while gradually adding other profiles. Really hoping to find some excellent Wall era Pink Floyd profiles...


    Yes, I like some of the M Britt and Top Jimi profiles that come to mind.


    Blessings!

  • Wetnosedog I read your experience at the Fractal forum...I don't know if you choose Kemper for the rude treatment you received, or because it fits better to your needs. I hope the second....You have to play with the AXE FX, not with the forum owner or other users...


    FWIW, I'm also registered in the Fractal forum, I asked some serious questions about the limits of AXE FX and if suits better to metal players, rather than blues and rock players. The answer from the moderator was:

    Quote
    There are tons of pros and amateurs alike using the Axe-Fx for non-metal. You have a biased world view that you're painting with when you say stuff like this.

    I didn't reply, because I'm experienced enough to understand the mood. When you start shifting the focus from reality to interlocutor, from facts and numbers to the person who's speaking....well, you can figure that arguments and flames are just around the corner.

    I left the discussion and the Fractal forum on tiptoe.

  • Hey PinkFlesh


    My decision was because I feel Kemper is significantly better for my purposes.


    Now I have Tone Junkie and other profiles, which gives me almost 1,000 amps I love.


    When I had an AX8, I had around 15 I Rigs I found from other users. The Pink Floyd Rig was great...


    But that says it for me, 1000 compared to 15. I like the layout, usability and most everything else better about Kemper.


    The Cliff and forum stuff was just sad and an annoyance.


    Are you a huge Floyd fan? I am!!

  • I came to the Kemper stage over from the Helix. Don't get me wrong the Helix is great unit but only if you enjoy endless tweaking. I spent 3 years with mine and even found the need to tweak the paid profiles. I even went as far as to buy a power amp and a cab to run the Helix through just to get a good tone with a little less tweaking, the positive on that is that I love the Kemper through that too.

    I also had a similar experience in the Helix forums, no one wants to hear that the Helix has faults and even if they do admit that there is always an excuse to justify it like "you'll never notice in a mix" or "You didn't set it up correctly" or just simply whining an bickering. I left that group but on the other hand I also left the Kemper group on Face Book too since the most common responses to everything is "Read the manual" or "You don't need an editor"

    I'd love to hear about your playing the Kemper through a power amp and cab.


    Cheers...


    Todd

  • I'd love to hear about your playing the Kemper through a power amp and cab.


    Cheers...


    Todd

    For a power amp I am using the Orange Pedal baby 100 into a Mesa Lonestar can with Mesa Black Shadow (Celestion C-90). Dont have anything that I have recorded with it since I normally go direct to the interface from the Kemper. I love this set up

  • For a power amp I am using the Orange Pedal baby 100 into a Mesa Lonestar can with Mesa Black Shadow (Celestion C-90). Dont have anything that I have recorded with it since I normally go direct to the interface from the Kemper. I love this set up

    So....why did you choose a separate power supply and cab, vs. an FRFR with a built-in power supply? Curious as to the decision-making process.


    Thx!


    Todd in Chicago

  • He is using it as a traditional amp and cab. There aren’t many (if any) powered guitar speakers. Some people prefer the sound of a traditional guitar speaker with the Kemper’s cab section turned off to the more hifi sound of an FRFR cab. It’s often referred to as Amp On The Room Compared to Recorded Amp tone.

  • So....why did you choose a separate power supply and cab, vs. an FRFR with a built-in power supply? Curious as to the decision-making process.


    Thx!


    Todd in Chicago

    Taking a wild guess here, he already had the cab because he's a guitar player?

    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.

  • So....why did you choose a separate power supply and cab, vs. an FRFR with a built-in power supply? Curious as to the decision-making process.


    Thx!


    Todd in Chicago

    I went this route because I wanted to have the sound and feel of a real cab instead of a simulated one. To do this you need a power amp and one that is as clean as possible. Now the reason I went with Orange pedal baby is a few reasons, first of the class AB instead of class D, second is that it is a pretty clean amp the reproduces modeler patches or profiles very well, the last reason being the cost at only $399 USD.

    Taking a wild guess here, he already had the cab because he's a guitar player?

    Actually, when I decided to go this route I no longer had a standard cab any longer. At the time I was using a Helix to a Line 6 power cab + to FOH (at least when front of house was there). It was actually one of my adjustments to make the Helix have a more amp in the room feel. Now that I have switched over to the Kemper stage I like the set up even more. I do have a Headrush 108 as well but that is just for small and compact setup need, like for a practice.

  • I wonder how many ppl on this forum are going to start bashing the Kemper1 when the Kemper2 comes out and all of a sudden they now have magical hearing where they can actually hear a difference b/w the Kemper1 profiles vs the real amps.

    Ppl are always going to be biased towards the gear they just dropped enough money to buy a car with on.

  • I've purchased profile packs from about ten different commercial profile makers. The only profiles I play are Michael Britt profiles. I haven't found anyone else's that I like as much. The day I received my Kemper I purchased his Jim Kelley pack and I still love it. The '69 Marshall pack is amazing, too. I play mostly overdriven tones. Then I bought his Crank N Go pack. I had been looking for a good Soldano profile pack. I've bought some from a few others but haven't been wowed by them.


    He doesn't have a separate Soldano pack but there are some included in the Crank N Go pack so I pulled the trigger. They are really good but once I tried his Friedman BE profiles in that same pack I was hooked. They've become my daily driver. I purchased a bunch of his one weekend when he was running a 50% off sale (who can pass up profile packs at $5 a pop?) and also a bunch from Tone Junkie during a 50% sale on his site (and the profiles were marked down, too). They are all good profile packs but I always end up back on the Friedman BE profiles. I've pretty much quit buying profile packs. I don't even tweak them. Plug and play or in my case, plug in and hang on.


    One thing that surprises me is all of the people who do YouTube videos on Kemper, Fractal, Helix, et cetera and they still seem to have a room full of amps. I've sold five amps since I got my Kemper in April. I kept my Soldano more for sentimental purposes and a few that I built but the rest are gone. I haven't played through a real tube amp for more than five minutes since I got my Kemper. I can't see ever going back. I have a powered head but don't really care for the sound of the powered Kemper into guitar speakers. I have two Yamaha DXR10's on the floor as wedges. Sounds huge. I love this rig.