Kemper - latency - home PC setup

  • Hi everyone :)


    I decided this year not to buy a new amp but to give a chance and try Kemper, purely for the sake of making my life easier. By the way, I use an amplifier at home for practice, at rehearsals with the band and at gigs like most of you.

    I opted for the Kemper Toaster and Remote Controller.


    I've been reading about Kemper's latency and irregular setup for a couple of days now. Since I'm old school I don't really understand connecting Kemper to a PC and I don't know what I need.

    I would not like to spend 2100 € and have problems with latency and I ask you if someone can write me which sound card or what else I need to buy for my Kemper to work best for home conditions on monitors or what I need to connect Kemper to PC for minimum latency and I do not wanna spent a lot of money.

    If I understood correctly for rehearsals and gigs I don’t need anything, just Kemper in the mixer.


    Cheers

  • You cannot connect to a computer without an interface. Some devices have this built in, the Kemper doesn;t ( in the same way you'd need an interface to connect a mike).


    You connect either using an XLR or SPDIF.


    There is no major latency with the KPA, its with any interface and how its set up.


    A simple interface will cost you £100 max, there are loads to choose from. The Presonus Audiobox is pretty good. The Focusrite stuff for me was a bit fiddly...


    Connecting to a PA - yes direct into the PA, you don't need anything else.

  • BTW - why do you need to connect to a PC? The answer should be for recording. If you don;t need to record then you can just use headphones. If you play along to MP3's, you can connect an audio device into the KPA for playback. Worse case you could get a very simple mixer and use headphones etc.


    Just a thought, as it might save you the hassle of connecting into a PC as you usually need a DAW etc...


    BTW Im also old school :)

  • Latency isn't an issue if ...

    1. your audio interface has direct monitoring (aka zero latency monitoring)
    2. you don't plan to use audio plugins in your DAW while recording/monitoring

    Latency only is an issue if ...

    1. you plan to play/monitor/record virtual instruments via MIDI (e.g. drum sample libraries via MIDI eDrums, guitars via software guitar amp modelers, etc.)
    2. you plan to monitor/record microphones and use DAW plugins to add e.g. reverb, compression, EQ while performing (a common use case would be vocals)

    Bottomline:

    Your audio interface should feature direct monitoring and an onboard DSP mixer, either controlled by hardware knobs or via a control software.

  • Thank you very much!


    I would love to use Kemper to record ideas for the band, so i'm interested in the sound card. Up to £ 100 is the best Presonus Audiobox? Is there anything else if I don't find it in my music shop.


    I’m not exactly the type for headphones and I avoid them as much as I can. I would prefer a Kemper in PC and in monitors.


    if i understood correctly, if i don't use plugins from daw then shouldn't there be a problem with latency?

  • if i don't use plugins from daw then shouldn't there be a problem with latency?

    Exactly ... as long as your audio interface has direct monitoring (zero latency monitoring) ... which is true for most audio interfaces these days.

    Just be aware of small yet important differences. Especially cheap audio interfaces with just very few inputs can sometimes have serious downsides that aren't obvious to an unexperienced customer.


    Examples:

    • I've seen cheap audio interfaces that can either direct monitor the inputs OR monitor the playback audio from the computer ... but not both at the same time. You should take care that your choice has at least a mix knob to balance input monitoring and computer playback.
    • I've seen audio interfaces where not all inputs are available for direct monitoring (or not all inputs at the same time).
  • You may need to do some research but the Presonus is pretty good in my opinion. Monitors will cost more unless you have those already. For example I have some Yamaha HS7's which are about £350 ish a pair....


    Any noticable latency will not be from the Kemper but how its monitored, buffering etc.


    On the subject of recording, one big advanatge I found is that when I recorded our band live (multitrack) if I made a mistake I can fix it at home becuase the sound from my Kemper is exactly the same through my DAW as through the PA :)

    • I've seen cheap audio interfaces that can either direct monitor the inputs OR monitor the playback audio from the computer ... but not both at the same time. You should take care that your choice has at least a mix knob to balance input monitoring and computer playback.
    • I've seen audio interfaces where not all inputs are available for direct monitoring (or not all inputs at the same time).

    Are Focusrite Solo or Presonus mentioned above good options in your oppinion?

  • So it's better in my case to take something like Presonus mentioned above or Focusrite Solo 3rd gen or small USB mixer? Something like Allen&Heath ZEDi-10? And can you please tell me which DAW do you use and is most beginner friendly for recording?

  • Ok, let's have a look at the Presonus options. All of them have direct monitoring but still there's some major differences to be aware of.


    1. Presonus AudioBox iOne

    Just 1 microphone input and one instrument (Hi-Z) input. No line input. No way to record the Kemper in stereo, no extra outputs to reamp.

    Verdict: Waste of money


    2. Presonus AudioBox USB 96

    Just microphone/instrument inputs. No line inputs. No extra outputs to reamp

    Verdict: Waste of money


    3. Presonus AudioBox iTwo

    2 mic/line/instrument inputs. Enables you to record the kemper in stereo but still no way to record a DI track or anything else at the same time. No extra outputs to reamp.

    Verdict: The most basic version that works but still very limited and a little outdated. Not recommended


    4. Presonus Studio 26c

    2 mic/line/instrument inputs. Enables you to record the kemper in stereo but still no way to record a DI track or anything else at the same time. 2 extra outputs, so you could reamp if you had enough inputs to actually redord a DI track.

    Verdict: Things are getting better but still not recommended


    5. Presonus Studio 68c

    Finally things are getting good. A total of 4 mic/line inputs, 2 of them can also be used for instruments (Hi-Z). On top of that you get S/PDIF input and output. Great. And you get 2 extra line outputs.

    Verdict: This is the first audio interface in the Presonus line I would recommend. It has enough input and output options to even record the Kemper in stereo, plus DI track, plus a microphone ... for example.

    Two downsides:

    1. It has only a direct monitoring switch (MON), that mixes computer playback and input signals at a fixed 50:50 ratio. It doesn't come with a software controlled DSP mixer to create custom monitor/cue mixes.
    2. It isn't USB bus-powered, so you need to use the power supply (which is normal for interfaces with this feature set or bigger).

    On the positive side:

    1. The input / output channel count leaves you enough room to do things you might not yet think about. So I'm sure it will serve you much longer than the entry level interfaces.
    2. It features Loopback functionality. While you might not yet know why this can be a great thing to have ... it IS great to have, if you're using a Windows PC. ;)
  • It features Loopback functionality. While you might not yet know why this can be a great thing to have ... it IS great to have, if you're using a Windows PC. ;)

    Could you elaborate on loopback?


    I'm not really sure what it is that you're talking about in this context, and the product page doesn't mention that particular phrase so I'm not sure if it's MIDI or audio functionality.


    Always something to learn...

  • Thank you very much for this. In your opinion, which soundcard will be the best around 150€?

    SSL 2? Focusrite 2i2?

  • Could you elaborate on loopback?

    ok, since the OP doesn't mind discussing this here ...


    Generally speaking, you can only record audio inputs of an audio interface. What if you want to record an audio output, for example the sound from a Youtube video or a Spotify track you're playing back? You can't unless you create an audio loopback ... either by connecting the output of your audio interface to free inputs ... or by using a "virtual loopback" some audio interfaces offer.


    Why would you want to do this?

    1. Maybe you want to learn a song / riff and it helps you to have this as an audio file so you can make it loop while you play along.

    2. Maybe at some point you want to make a livestream with a backing track playing from your PC, plus your guitar/Kemper sound (e.g. through OBS). A loopback allows you to stream the PC's audio output ... if the driver provides the loopback channels as WDM inputs. Focusrite are known to NOT allow this even if they have loopback functionality.

  • I wouldn't recommend any of the interfaces you mentioned. In the Focusrite lineup I would recommend the 4i4 3rd Gen as the minimum ... and the 8i6 3rd Gen as the even better choice with the Kemper Profiler (due to the added S/PDIF I/O option for a minimal extra charge).

    Thank you very much, can you please explane to me why is S/PDIFI/O option important for Kemper?
    And from other companies in that price range (like 4i4, 8i6) can you please give me some other recommendations?

  • That makes sense, thanks. I'm accustomed to working with a larger mixer as my audio interface, and my PC outputs to inputs on the mixer giving me the ability to do all that sort of thing. Interesting that Focusrite intentionally disallows this.

  • No idea if they do it intentionally but their WDM driver model has always been flawed in this regard. But on the other hand, we can't expect low priced devices to come with the same level of engineering quality and detail like e.g. RME devices that cost 4 times as much or more. :-)


    Key is to get the best bang for the buck ... and typically it's cheaper to spend a bit more and be covered for things you didn't consider before you bought. Just my experience :-)