Looking to migrate from Helix FX oriented pedalboard to Kemper Rack + Remote - Need to know if my FX setup is transferable

  • Hi everyone,


    I'm new to this forum so go easy on me if this has been answered a thousand times before. I searched, but couldn't find a specific answer so I figured I'd take my chances at a thread. Also, sorry for the wall of text.


    I'm going on tour with a band after spending some years off, and by off I mean I basically sold everything I owned save for some basic home studio recording basics and a guitar.


    The band's music is quite complex and requires a lot of FX to sound right, with delays that have to match the BPM of the song, octavers coming in and out etc. Long story short, I ended up with a pedalboard consisting of a Whammy 5, a DL4, and a Helix FX. My initial plan was to complete this right with a Vox AC30CC2 as a pedal platform/pushed clean rig and use the Helix for drives. I currently have the Helix FX running in snapshot mode, where each song is a preset containing 4 "snapshots" for various sections of the song using different FX and so on. To test the patches I've been using a couple of amp sims in Pro Tools and on my UAD Duo to check levels etc. You know the drill.


    Here's where I'm getting second thoughts. The engineer touring with us prefers to use Kempers live, so obviously I would just need to bring my pedalboard and plug that into one of the Kempers. In preparation I recently borrowed a Kemper head from a buddy to find a few factory patches that might work and just have the engineer set that up for me before each show. To my surprise it sounded like shit. And not because of the Kemper. The Helix distortion patches usually sounded muddy on the Kemper, even with profiles that had the proper gain structure to support a high gain pedal as well as a decent clean signal. There was also some noticeable tone loss from using the Helix. Not to my surprise, however, was that the distorted Kemper profiles sounded awesome.


    So, I'm seriously considering just getting a Kemper and a Remote and try my best to duplicate my current setup into that. My understanding is that the basic performance mode allows me to do this, but I have some questions both regarding FX and general functionality. I'm assuming each patch (i.e the five foot switches) in a performance can be totally different in terms of amps, cabs, fx, etc.


    1. Does the Kemper have an octaver that supports both single octave up/down, but also both at the same time (1 up, one 1, like the EHX Pitch Fork)? If so, do these octaver/whammy effects support wet/dry blending? We're using a lot of pitched sounds and this is absolutely crucial.

    2. Does the Kemper support BPM-based delay times internally, without relying on an external MIDI signal?

    3. While using performance mode with one rig/patch per part, can I have the different parts in a performance have different BPMs? We have songs that change BPM during various sections.

    4. Is there anything akin to a synth or ring modulator in the Kemper? Not a dealbreaker, but would be very helpful.

    5. If I can get all this working, is it really as easy as bringing a few USB sticks with me on tour to get my sound? Assuming there's a Kemper and a Remote present, obviously.

    6. If not, any tips on getting the Kemper to perform as a decent pedal platform with the Helix as my main unit? I'm using the main front input in order to keep it simple, if that helps.


    TL;DR - Can the Kemper do all the stuff I listed above?


    Looking forward to hearing your answers!


  • Spectral

    Changed the title of the thread from “Looking to migrate from Helix FX oriented pedalboard to Kemper Rack + Remote - Need to if my FX setup is transferable” to “Looking to migrate from Helix FX oriented pedalboard to Kemper Rack + Remote - Need to know if my FX setup is transferable”.
  • The most of your list is the simple answer yes,yes,yes and depends on.

    But I think you should first read the manual and look into some video lessons.
    please read page 143 ff of the manual

    https://www.kemper-amps.com/downloads/5/User-Manuals


    By the way alway think about the Morph function see page 132.


    Some examples only rever and delay


    you will find also a lot of tips and tricks at Tone Junkie's YT channel.



    1. Does the Kemper have an octaver that supports both single octave up/down, but also both at the same time (1 up, one 1, like the EHX Pitch Fork)? If so, do these octaver/whammy effects support wet/dry blending? We're using a lot of pitched sounds and this is absolutely crucial.

    YES


    2. Does the Kemper support BPM-based delay times internally, without relying on an external MIDI signal?

    YES


    3. While using performance mode with one rig/patch per part, can I have the different parts in a performance have different BPMs? We have songs that change BPM during various sections.

    YES


    4. Is there anything akin to a synth or ring modulator in the Kemper? Not a dealbreaker, but would be very helpful.
    What kind you mean chorus / rotary speaker / wha or phaser what you want .. yep.


    5. If I can get all this working, is it really as easy as bringing a few USB sticks with me on tour to get my sound? Assuming there's a Kemper and a Remote present, obviously.

    Yep but please take care that you have not only the backup of your kemper on the USB, but also have the right OS Version on USB that you work with.


    6. If not, any tips on getting the Kemper to perform as a decent pedal platform with the Helix as my main unit? I'm using the main front input in order to keep it simple, if that helps.

    Kemper should always be the Main, but you can use the Helix as FX.

    For that use the Helix in an FX Loop.
    See page 224


  • To summarise what others have said, you should be able to do all of what you want within the KPA although it is set up very differently from the Helix so you'll need to spend time getting it right. In other words the solutions to your problems might be slightly different in terms of how you set up performances and effects chains, so allow plenty of set time and testing before the tour.


    Definitely look into Morph, especially for your changing BPM's...this will save you using up separate effects slots..


    Your fallback position ( as mentioned) is to use the KPA as the main unit and Helix for effects, not the other way round. The KPa is very flexible but arguably the Helix has more flex. Personally I've found the harmony and pitch effects comparable to the Whammy stuff but I believe the helix isn;t quite as good ( don't shoot me if I'm wrong, only going by our other guitarist who adds a drop pedal to his helix).


    Let us know how you get on!