Is this the right amp for me?

  • It's a pretty big investment for me but I'm down to take the jump. I just want to make sure its the best choice for me.


    I'm exploring the Kemper because I don't know what I want to play through. There are so many different amps.... it never ends. My initial thoughts are that this amp would be able to be a chameleon and I would not have any FOMO.


    I also want to do some recording in the future.


    However, for the price of a Kemper I could get something like an actual Two Rock. I've heard a lot of people say, "you get out what you put in", and that the stock profiles suck and you have to either buy profiles or do them yourself, or really start tweaking.


    My thing is that I don't own any amps, so I will solely be buying profiles. I've heard the Britt profiles are awesome, among some others. If I'm buying professional profiles, is there still a possibility I'll be disappointed? How much more tweaking is there to do on top of a professional profile? Do I still need to tweak a Britt profile if I buy it?


    I see a lot of posts saying they will never own another amp, and then I see some other posts saying they are so disappointed. Just want to get some more clarity. Who are these people who say that the amp sounds terrible? are they doing something wrong or is there indeed something about a kemper that doesnt sound right?


    On the other side, I don't like to play loud. I live in an apartment and although, I could buy a Two Rock 22 for the price of a Kemper, I think a 22 watt tube Two Rock would still be way too loud. Whereas the Kemper would be able to handle the low noise sounds much better also.


    Also, I don't know what the alternative is. I have serious indecision problems and there are so many different amps.


    Im considering a Power Head + Kabinet set up.

  • I'm in the "can't see myself ever needing a different amp" category. I play a really wide range of styles, so I'd need a collection of amps to get my current sounds.


    There's still a bit of something extra with a real tube amp to my ears, but I have to be right next to both to hear it and even then it's too subtle for me to care about given the benefits of having everything I need in the same unit.


    It seems like a lot of the people that don't like the Kemper play metal as far as I can tell, so maybe it doesn't do Mesa brutal as well as the types of amps I love. If I was a gigging metal player I'd just get the tube amp that has the right high gain sound for me.

  • It seems like a lot of the people that don't like the Kemper play metal as far as I can tell, so maybe it doesn't do Mesa brutal as well as the types of amps I love. If I was a gigging metal player I'd just get the tube amp that has the right high gain sound for me.

    That's reassuring to hear because I'm not into metal at all! More into the John mayer, Leon bridge, Michael Kiwanuka vibe

  • Kemper has very gracious return policy (at least in the USA) - 45 days - should be enough to check it out and see if it is your thing.


    You are right about commercial profiles - they are hit and miss. I have some packs from MBritt which I love (D-Pack for example) and some which are total disappointment to me (like Driftwood) - but it is really matter of individual taste. Fortunately there is also Rig Exchange and this forum where people are sharing their profiles and many of them are on par with commercial ones, IMHO. And don't forget about Factory Presets, which cover all the usual suspects very well.


    Yes, there will be tweaking to your liking, but typically EQ / Definition / Presence solve all issues for me (you'd do this on real amp as well).


    I also don't have any real amp and I am using just Kemper for over 4 years, and every single day is a joy. It is amazing piece of gear, gets the job done very well. I even told my wife 4 years ago that this is the last piece of gear I bought in my life. It was apparently a lie... I bought Kemper Stage as well recently. ;-)


    I'd encourage you to check Kemper out for yourself - you'll either fall in love with it or you will return it - not much risk.

  • I see a lot of posts saying they will never own another amp, and then I see some other posts saying they are so disappointed. Just want to get some more clarity.

    For clarity, look at the ratio of unhappy : happy, and then consider also that peeps are more-likely to post here if they're unhappy or feel that they have issues that need solving.

    I'd encourage you to check Kemper out for yourself - you'll either fall in love with it or you will return it - not much risk.

    Second that.

    Also, I don't know what the alternative is. I have serious indecision problems and there are so many different amps.

    This IMHO makes you a prime candidate.


    I got the feeling from what you were saying earlier that you have the impression that you may not have enough Profiles at the outset. Believe you me, you'll be overwhelmed by the sheer number and variety of Profiles in the unit, on the Rig Exchange and in the free Rig Packs within the Rig Manager app.


    Chances are that you'll be happy before having spent one cent on 3rd-party offerings.


    Welcome to the forum, 'chiq. ;)

  • Its true that some people don;t get on with the Kemper but that is the same with any product, that's always a risk, but the reasons aren't always that obvious. Some pointers from me


    1) You don;t need an amp to profile. Its one of the big advantages that you can profile your own amp and then get rid of it. In your case, you will still have access to 15,000 profiles free from the Rig exchange and countless commercial profiles.


    2) Tweaking - Im not a tweaker....if it doesn't sound good off the bat I move on. Could you be disappointed with Mbritt profiles? Possibly, but you can try so free profiles AND the cost of profiles is so low that mistakes are not costly. No one here can tell you though if you will like them or the Kemper. What I can tell you is that I'd be very suprised if you can't find a sound you like.


    3) I have genuinely never looked at another amp since. It took some getting used to at the start but I now see no point in looking at others. I prefer it over a Helix ( I like the built in amp, useful for festivals and easier to get a good sound quickly) and the AXe stuff. These are all good though and are options for you! Amps are very subjective...I suspect I wouldn't like a Two Rock. My main word of advice is try to look past the digital aspect. I took me 6 months to believe a digital amp could sound like a valve amp. Trust your ears not your eyes. For flexibility, sound options, convenience, digital is way past vavle amps. Add that they get you at least 95% of the sound ( in my opinion is 99.99%) its a no brainer.


    4) It is expensive but compared to a really good quality amp, its comparable. As mentioned the returns policy is great and second hand market is strong, so your risk is relatively low.


    5) Volume - Kempers don;t rely on valve distortion in the pre amp or power amp stage. Therefore you get great sound at very low volumes. You will never get a "marshall on full tilt" sound at a whisper volume, but that is due to physics, not the equipment. The Kemper will get you as close as possible.

    • Yes, get the powered head and Kabinet.
    • Yes, you may be disappointed by all profiles you get for free or paid. It is the nature of the beast. It's someone else's profile, not your amp that you got to sound just the way you want and then profiled. Treat each profile like an amp, you have to figure out how it works for you. Here is video on how to make any profile sound better -
    • Figure out what kinds of amps you prefer and start with profiles of those amps.

    I have 14 tube amps and I am selling them off now. Keeping my favorites, but not gigging with them anymore. I have a rack and remote and when the Stage came out I got that and gig with the Stage.

  • Hey guitarchiq! I ... here my (short version) story and some impressions I got out of the facebook group. Via headphone I was happy from day one. It took some weeks until I figured out the perfect rehearsal room setup. I was very unhappy at the start. Now I have a setup that sounds nearly the same with headphone, for recording and in the rehearsal room. After some learning I now can identify very fast which profile will work in both situations. So I can produce a song at home and will have the same sound live. For me this is a dream come true. Taking to account, that tube amps react sensible on power supply issues, temperatur ....... you know what I mean.


    What I read a lot is that some players bought the KPA as a tool that will sound in every situation great, even if their playing is not that great. (why do I know this? Some players post videos in which you can agree: The tone is crap but the playing too!) They buy tons of commercial profiles and their frustration is huge cause their tone is not as expected. So they sell slighlty used KPAs with masses of profiles totally unhappy. To be more specific: I you are playing high gane through a Line6 Spider 1 (sorry Line 6, no offense ) and switch to a good amp like the KPA you might run into troubles cause the amp reflects your playing honestly (depending on the profile). If you can handle a sensible amp (like Two Rock) you will be able to handle a two rock profile within the KPA and I am pretty sure you will be happy.

  • ...and that the stock profiles suck....

    This is a terrible misnomer.

    There are some *really* good profiles on Rig Exchange. There are also some horrible ones. There is a thread on here discussing hidden gems on Rig Exchange. Lots of exceptional choices. Technically, Kemper doesn't even make their own profiles. They have factory content, but the profiles are from others.

    You do not, and in my opinion should NOT initially throw money at profiles. People rave about Michael Britt's profiles. For whatever reason, I don't care for them. Same goes for Tone Junkie. You might love them - and plenty of people do. But there are free trial packs available and buying a bunch of commercial profiles before you're comfortable with the Kemper generally means wasted time and money.

    Even a half-way decent profile can be made very good with a modest number of tweaks. Doesn't take a lot - but you need to learn the unit. Same as any tube amp when dialing it in.

    I've got a number of profiles from various sources. As it turns out - my current goto clean and crunch profiles are from Rig Exchange. On RE, author HAYS has this killer '67 Champ profile that is so clean an punchy it's criminal. I swap the cab out for a Marshall 412 and it gets even better for me.


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

  • Totally!

  • I bought the powered kemper and use it with the same cab i played my peavey jsx through. Profiled my peavey jsx with my speaker cab and its the only profile I ever use. Literally sounds just like my jsx side by side.

  • I bought the powered kemper and use it with the same cab i played my peavey jsx through. Profiled my peavey jsx with my speaker cab and its the only profile I ever use. Literally sounds just like my jsx side by side.

    This reminds me of my own "tipping point". I had mine for a few weeks and had been comparing it with my Bogner Shiva and thinking there was a lot missing. So I plugged the Kemper straight into the speakers of the Bogner and it sounded virtually identical. The next day I was playing through it and forgot which one I was playing until I looked over and the Bogner power light was off. 🙂

  • This reminds me of my own "tipping point". I had mine for a few weeks and had been comparing it with my Bogner Shiva and thinking there was a lot missing. So I plugged the Kemper straight into the speakers of the Bogner and it sounded virtually identical. The next day I was playing through it and forgot which one I was playing until I looked over and the Bogner power light was off. 🙂

    I had my old rig setup to where I could A/B them and I could not tell the difference. I think for hard rock and metal its best to use a good guitar cab. Wouldn't change a thing.

  • Right on. I've got the Kemper Power Head coming on Thursday and I'm picking up the Kemper Kabinet on Saturday. I'm super excited.

    I'll add a couple of things that I learned on my journey that might help you find satisfaction as quickly as possible.


    For context, I come from a classic / blues rock background, and context is one of the key things you should always keep in mind when listening to profiles, free or otherwise. I understand the "stock profiles suck" statement, which is both harsh and, as it turns out, untrue.


    When I got mine, I listened to lots of highly rated Marshalls on Rig Exchange and was shocked by how bad they sounded to me. And not in a subtle way. What I finally realized is that when you see the name of an amp, you have expectations based on the style you play. I think it's going to sound the way I'd dial in a Marshall, but a metal guy would dial in something completely different. And yet, they're both great profiles of what a Marshall can do. One I love. The other I don't. That's a musical preference thing, not a Kemper thing. Guys with highly rated Marshall profiles dialed in for post-apocalyptic zombie death metal probably have killer tones for that genre. If I profiled a killer Marshall to do a Bad Company cover, it might sound great for that but the metal guys would be less than impressed. And yet, it's still a Marshall. Context.


    And that lead me to my second important realization. When you see that you can get Mesas, Two Rocks, etc. from a Kemper, you again default to thinking, "Oh, everything I can do with a Two Rock." But a profile is not an amp. It's a snapshot of a single tone that someone's dialed in, including the amp knobs, speaker cab, mic placement, perhaps a Tube Screamer or Klon in front, etc. Just like if you were in the studio. The engineer gets everything set, presses record, and you start playing. That's the one and only tone you're going to get out of that Two Rock until you get up off the control room couch and go twist some knobs. That would then be a second profile.


    This brings me to the last thing to keep in mind. Line 6 products and the Fractal Axe Fx are both amp modeling systems. The idea is that they try to digitally recreate an amp head to respond the exact same way the amp does (that's the goal, at least). You then start from scratch and build up your tone by picking an amp, twisting all the knobs, choosing a speaker cab, a mic, positioning the mic, adding effects, etc. That's all to get a single tone. If you're into tweaking, that could be fun. I hate tweaking and just want to play guitar. So, instead of a modeling system, I prefer the profile / snapshot approach of the Kemper. As V8guitar mentioned, I don't tweak my profiles. If profile A doesn't grab me, then I'm on to profile B.


    There are tons of great profiles on Rig Manager for free, but be sure to take the style of music into account. There's also a lot of great sample packs that will already be installed. Keep genre in mind when you look at commercial profiles as well. Using M. Britt as an example, he plays country / classic rock stuff and is very good at dialing in those kinds of tones. I have a lot of his stuff because that's what I'm looking for. And while he has great sounding high gain stuff for my personal taste, he's not a metal guy and thus wouldn't be where I looked if I wanted that style.


    As you get acquainted with the forum and ask people what they'd recommend for different types of sounds you're looking for, be sure to give examples of the style of music. That will help them point you to the appropriate free / commercial profiles based on their experience with that kind of stuff. They've helped me a ton in that regard.


    By the way, regarding loud volume, that's another great thing about profiling. You can borrow Eddie Van Halen's rig, turn it up until it melts glass, profile it, and then use it on your Kemper at a volume that you could talk over. You'll have the sound of melting glass without all that waking the neighbors stuff. Sure, there's something to be said for moving air, but I think you'll be surprised at what you can get at low volume.


    Have fun! :)

  • That's actually a pretty critical insight. So, the profile is not a profile of an entire amp and all the sounds it makes.


    It's only a profile of that amp at whatever time settings it had at the time. Any "tweaking" done on the Kemper, such as adjusting the mid, treble, high ,gain, is done digitally, using a software implementation by the Kemper. Is this correct?

  • yes, profile is a snapshot of particular settings of an amp and particular cab and particular mic. That's why typically profile vendors offer packs containing many different settings (typically they vary in gain settings, cab and mic used). You can also swap some parts of profiles for another (like cab portion can be replaced with any IR).