Greetings from Serbia!
So for some time I was debating on what to buy (Kemper, Helix LT or wait for the new Fractal FM3 to arrive in Europe). I was using various plugins, but never really bonded with them. I've research all the units thoroughly. Couple of facts that everyone pointed out were:
- Feel while playing.
- Option paralysis.
I bought Kemper Stage around a month ago. Kemper wins on both points (comparing it only to Helix Native and TH-U). Anyway, the feel while playing is there, based on my limited experience with tube amps. There are plenty of options to tweak, but most of the profiles I use for now need minor EQ and gain adjustments (and perhaps a noise gate) and they're good to go (almost plug-n-play, which is perfect for me). For now I'm just playing with mid-high gain profiles. When I have the time, I'll try to make some ambient tones, I've only scratched the surface with this unit.
Some other things that swayed me towards Kemper:
- Acoustic sim (I haven't tried it yet, but I was really impressed with Youtube clips).
- Friedman profiles, specifically tones from Clayman by In Flames, one of my favourite bands. It was a surreal feeling when I tried that profile.
- There's an official local seller for Kemper here in Serbia, but that's just for the practicality reasons.
Another thing that kinda pushed me into buying a Kemper was Nightwish, my favourite band. Their guitarist uses a Kemper and I was hoping to verify that the profile is available to others, but there was no info. That was before my purchase. After I received my unit, I was pleasantly surprised when I actually found the profile on rig exchange. It's free and made by Mikko Karmila, if anyone's interested.
Strangely enough, most of the time I spent playing was with a profile of a Bogner Ecstasy amp.
Some other things I feel I need to point out:
- I've never owned a tube amp, and I wasn't too keen on getting one at this point (I live in an apartment, tubes are fragile, amp maintenance, extra pedals and so on).
- Currently I'm using my computer speakers with Kemper (going through Focusrite 2i2). Even with this setup I'm impressed with the sound. I'm looking into buying a pair of studio monitors.
- I'm a bedroom guitar player. Some people would call me insane on buying a Kemper just to play at home, but honestly, I wish I bought it earlier.
- I feel like at one point I'll probably buy a small tube amp and some must-have pedals. I kinda feel I'm missing out on something as they are a huge part of guitar history. Not anytime soon, but definitely at some point.
Other (relatively) relevant info: I've been playing on and off for a bit over 15 years. I'm a software engineer (working in game development) and currently on gear acquisition escapade.
Tl;dr: I've bought a Kemper Stage little over a month ago. Mind = blown.
Have a nice evening!