Open toughts about using the Kemper in an apartment

  • Hi all,


    first message in the Kemper forum.


    I play only in apartment and I'm considering to buy a Toaster Power Head + Kabinet but I'm afraid this setup is way too loud to be enjoyed at its full potenial in my scenario.


    I've never tried the Kemper before but I've planned to perform a test at a music shop and if I will be happy with the device and the tone, but perhaps not happy with the too high volume, I may then downgade my choice to a non-powered Toaster + headphones: well, not what I had in mind but some times life requires compromises :-)


    To avoid misuderstanding about the word "loud", I would consider ideal if I could play more or less at the same volume we all listen TV.


    I may consider to add a "light" external amp (like the Camplifier Studio) + the Kabinet at a later stage for the "amp-in-the-room" experience: is anyone running a similar config - also with a monitor different than the Kab - open to share his thoughts?


    Besides, I've heard/read that an active version of the Kabinet is in development: in this case, I would suggest to include a bedroom usable version in the range as I think that to get enjoyable bedroom volumes is a very common issue and I'm sure lots of people would gladly pay the extra money for a full original Kemper solution rather than going for third-party fixes like the Camplifier et simila.

  • Not quite sure how to answer but hopefully some of these comments help:


    • The Kemper ( and other digital devices) do not rely on power amp colouration so high quality sounds are there are low volume....
    • ....but volume does affect sound significantly. This is nothing to do with the Kemper or how you power it etc....its physics.
    • therefore doesn't really matter what amp you use...
    • You also have the option of headphones...

    Hope that kinda helps..

  • What V8guitar said is spot on. Volume affects the sound by way of physics and there is no way around that.

    At TV level - I see zero point in buying a Kone and power amp or powerhead. You'll just be frustrated and when you turn up enough to not be - your neighbors will become frustrated. That, and the investment for what amounts to a (most likely) sub-par experience is considerable.

    Personally, I'd skip the power amp/Kone. Save the money and get a good set of headphones. You do NOT have to spend a lot to get studio-grade quality. Sony's MDR-7506's are an example. For around $100, you get what is basically the headphone equivalent to the Shure SM57/58 microphones.

    This is what I primarily use at home. When my family is around, there is NO WHERE in the house you could hide from a 'reasonable' volume. Especially if you include a backing track, drum machine etc.

    To me - the right headphones are a great option.

    “Without music, life would be a mistake.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

  • Just be aware that headphones will add some color to your sound that will be different from what your monitors put out - in case you start mixing and all that stuff.

    That's why it's important to use very good headphones with flat response and not cheaper ones. It's better to use good headphones and a headphone plugin than monitors in a untreated room.

  • I have a Kemper Powerhead and live in an apartment. I play through a real 2x12 cabinet. I have no issues playing at low volumes and getting great tone. No need for headphones. I also use the head at rehearsals where volume is obviously increased. I tend to take down the highs a bit at rehearsal and will save that setting as a new Rig. That way I have an Apt setting and Rehearsal setting of the same profile.

  • Hi guys, thanks everybody for the feedback!


    It seems all the answers converge towards the same solution: headphones.

    Yes it's a compromise but hey, if it works for you it will work for me as well!


    I own a pair of Sennheiser HD500 which are relatively good quality: I'll bring them at the test and see how they works; eventually, I'll buy a new pair, it won't affect the budget.


    I've read several threads in this forum and this is really a great community. Thanks again.

  • I have a Kemper Powerhead and live in an apartment. I play through a real 2x12 cabinet. I have no issues playing at low volumes and getting great tone. No need for headphones. I also use the head at rehearsals where volume is obviously increased. I tend to take down the highs a bit at rehearsal and will save that setting as a new Rig. That way I have an Apt setting and Rehearsal setting of the same profile.

    Hi dacop1313, thanks for sharing your opinion. So far you're the first who is in favour of the real cab for bedroom playing. Could you give an idea of the volume you're playing - again, let's consider TV level as 100, what would be yours? And how far do you push the volume of the Kemper to reach your level in the apartment?

  • I bought a powered toaster as I was running it into my Marshall 4x12 cab. Eventually I got a powered Yamaha DXR-10. Also, I do mostly studio these days, which means a lot of my listening is just through studio monitors or headphones.


    So, technically, I don't need the powered version anymore because a) the DXR is powered and b) I mostly do recording. Even so, I'm glad I have the powered version and wouldn't trade it in because I like options. I can now listen through headphones, studio monitors, a powered FRFR (the DXR) or a traditional passive guitar cab, all with the same head. I like having as much flexibility and semi-future-proofing as possible, so for me this is a great setup.


    It sounds like right now you really don't need anything but an unpowered toaster and some headphones. Anything beyond that comes down to what you think your future scenarios might be.


    By the way, if you're good at predicting the future I'm buying lottery tickets this evening, happy to cut you in on the profits. :)

  • Hi dacop1313, thanks for sharing your opinion. So far you're the first who is in favour of the real cab for bedroom playing. Could you give an idea of the volume you're playing - again, let's consider TV level as 100, what would be yours? And how far do you push the volume of the Kemper to reach your level in the apartment?

    Not to speak for dacop1313 but I will anyway :).....the point here is you can get a great sound at low volume. No one is saying you won't. Think of like a great rock album on your stereo. Sounds great at low volume but fantastic as you turn it up.


    You can get closer to that "fantastic" sound through headphones and save yourself some money, but its all subjective.


    I don't think you can make a wrong decision here, its going to totally be a preference thing.

  • interesting to see the different tastes. i think that if you only get a non powered kemper and headphones you miss out on a lot that in my opinion makes the Kemper great.


    For me the Kemper has 6 distinct sound spheres:


    1. headphones -> introspective Hi-Fi sound
    2. monitors -> sounds like on all the records
    3. traditional guitar cab -> amp in the room feel
    4. FR cab -> sounds like all the records through a PA
    5. Kabinet -> 3&4 plus a bit of 2, and also the full Kemper experience as intended so worth checkin out
    6. with a bass cab -> amazing real bass amp feel


    Personally i really enjoy 1, 2 and more recently 5. I've been through 3. for a while with my cheapish combo cab and tried out 4. in shops and at friends. After trying 6. a couple of times in shops it's definitely on my shopping list. 6. is also the main reason why i bought the powered Kemper. But i still haven't tried the Kabinet with bass and that might change the shopping list.


    With the exception of 3. all sound really good at low neighbour friendly volumes (even 6.), and i mean not just good but inspiringly so :) 3. didn't sound super good to me at low volumes but pretty good at high volumes (but not inspiringly so) .. but it's not a great speaker i have so i can't really judge that.


    i started of with just headphones and pretty tiny active monitors (Dynaudio Lyd 5"), that had me sorted for months with a huge smile on my face. I tried out my guitar cab a couple times but mostly was playing on monitors during the day and headphones in the evening. After a bit i did buy a sub for my monitors, mainly because i was missing lower frequencies on the Kemper but also in general because with 5" you don't get a lot of bass no matter what the specs say, with the sub now i'm super happy with this system and glad i didn't cave for bigger monitors which i was considering at the time. If you go down the monitor route i'd really suggest you get a sub with them, it does make a big difference to the guitar sound, at least to me.


    Now the Kabinet definitely sounds loads better with the volume pulled up a bit more and it quickly gets really loud (maybe i'm just easily carried away with it :) but it still does sound really good at low and medium volumes. I also wouldn't say that the monitors sound loads better at low volumes, it's a different feel and i find myself switching between both at low volumes when i like one or the other better one day.


    might be worth mentioning that i don't play high gain stuff so the above only applies to sounds from clean-ish to hard rock




    -------------------------------------------------------

    free you mind and your ass will follow …

    Edited 5 times, last by stickman ().

  • Hi dacop1313, thanks for sharing your opinion. So far you're the first who is in favour of the real cab for bedroom playing. Could you give an idea of the volume you're playing - again, let's consider TV level as 100, what would be yours? And how far do you push the volume of the Kemper to reach your level in the apartment?

    TV level is fair, but sometimes its even lower then that when I am watching something while messing around on the Kemper. I keep the real cabinet close to me for easy access to the Kemper head. And...obviously sometimes I am higher then TV level depending on the time of day. I personally do not like headphones, I have a decent pair and still prefer the sound from the real cabinet, not a Kemper model cabinet. The Kemper main volume control is very manageable, unlike some tube amps that will jump hard in volume with a simple touch. So I am suggesting the power head through a real cabinet even at low volume, no headphones needed.

  • Not to speak for dacop1313 but I will anyway :).....the point here is you can get a great sound at low volume. No one is saying you won't. Think of like a great rock album on your stereo. Sounds great at low volume but fantastic as you turn it up.


    You can get closer to that "fantastic" sound through headphones and save yourself some money, but its all subjective.


    I don't think you can make a wrong decision here, its going to totally be a preference thing.

    I agree, you can indeed get great sound at low volume with a Kemper. IMO...headphones are not needed. I rather hear the open sound from a real cab even at a low volume. I prefer that over the closed sound of headphones with a Kemper modeled cab.

  • [...]

    Now the Kabinet definitely sounds loads better with the volume pulled up a bit more and it quickly gets really loud (maybe i'm just easily carried away with it :) but it still does sound really good at low and medium volumes. I also wouldn't say that the monitors sound loads better at low volumes, it's a different feel and i find myself switching between both at low volumes when i like one or the other better one day.

    [...]

    Hi Stickman, thanks for sharing your experience so thoroughly.


    You also live in an apartment?

    As for your comments on the Kabinet - and similarly to what I've asked to dacop1313 ( dacop1313: thanks for the feedback:) ) - would you be able to give an idea of what you consider low and medium volumes. Again, for simplicity, let’s consider TV volume =100 as a reference

  • A 100 dbs? Monitors are a good option. I use headhones a lot, but you get tired after a while if you play too loud. With monitors and cabs no problem, unless your neighbours ... On the other hand, monitors at low volume may be not ideal because you may hear your strings and pick too much, something that you avoid with headhones. So you should try both ways and see what works for you.

  • CJGOMEZ: with TV volume = 100 I meant to consider the volume at which we normally listen the television equal to 100, and use this value as a reference to compare to the volume we play the Kemper in an apartament (being this the topic) through a guitar cab, monitors, or even the Kabinet. So, if someone is statisfied of the sound playing at 100, it means approx the same volume of normal TV; at 200 is twice the volume of a TV.


    This is to try to to give an "absolute" value to the words "low", "medium" and "high" volumes we all use, as these could mean differnet things to differnent persons.