New KPA prospect

  • So I’ve been salivating to buy a kemper powered toaster and Kabinet for months now, but have lots of questions. I’ve watch endless videos on youtube, im totally in love with this thing, but I want to interact with the KPA faithful! I know i have so many more questions but for starters:


    Is there really still no white powered toaster??? (Bummed!)


    I really have zero experience with integrating my laptop into my guitar playing but I’d LOVE to. Any recommendations on daws and software and such to do so with the Kemper and windows?? Or is this something not worth throwing more money into


    I understand the ‘profile’ concept.. but does this really leave us simply choosing profiles and therefor rarely tinkering with EQ?? Theres a lot of cool lit up knobs and buttons on this thing my inner child will be begging to interact with!


    My musical interests cover really anything and everything, but my wheel house is old school tube amp rock/blues and mixing in Jazz for theory practice and such. Gigging/live play is Not at all a big deal to me, most of my playing is simple cave dweller sonic exploration.. I’ll be scouring the forums here so sorry to be redundant but any advice or conversation on this thing im more than interested in!

  • I run Cubase in Windows, both on a PC in the control room and on a laptop at a keyboard workstation. No matter which DAW you go with, you'll need an audio interface, which can be as cheap as a few hundred bucks, or more if you want more inputs. Pro Tools has the "industry standard" image but that's not really relevant these days like it used to be unless you're doing pro work and need to interface with audio or post facilities. There's also Reaper, FL Studio, Cakewalk, Studio One, Logic (Mac only) and I'm probably forgetting a few. None are perfect, all have their benefits. Cubase is just what works for me.


    Honestly, most DAWs do pretty much the same basic things, especially for old school tracking and mixing (I'm a classic rock / blues guy myself). As to whether or not it's worth throwing money into, the real question is do you want to do recording or not? If you do, definitely worth it and the Kemper is awesome in a recording context, both tone and workflow.


    There are lots of things you can tweak on the Kemper including EQ, compression, gain, stomp boxes, etc. and a lot of guys here tweak most of their profiles to taste. There's a lot of flexibility and room to play with a profile, and the new Rig Manager has an editor to make it easy to do from your PC (Windows 10 only).


    There's an alternate workflow others use (and I fall into this camp) of just having a good collection of profiles appropriate to their taste and simply using them right out of the box. If profile A doesn't do it for me, I just move on to profile B. Rig Manager lets you sort by gain among other things, which makes that kind of browsing easy. If you get good profiles, whether free from Rig Exchange or from commercial profilers, you can certainly use them as is.


    Which path you prefer is more about personal preference than "better." I hate tweaking and I've never been very good at dialing in tones even on tube amps, so for me using ready to go profiles from people who are good at dialing in tones is perfect. For others, the tone hunt and the tweaking is part of the fun, and as you noted there's plenty to play with.


    Either way, it's first class fun, man.

  • Chris has pretty much nailed it, but just to add...


    The KPA has a lot of other parameters you can change along with eq etc ( defintion, power amp sag, pure cab etc), not to mention IR's, so if you are a tweaker, there is plenty to go at. Like Chris, I'm not much of a tweaker so it depends upon your personal needs. What I personally like is that those settings are like the next layer, the main settings are there on the front panel, giving it more of a "amp" feel/layout so seems to suit both types of people.


    I was ( and still am) a novice in the home studio side. I went Focusrite for an interface which came bundled with Ableton lite. As mentioned most DAW's are much of a muchness but also take a bit of time to get used to. I also struggled a bit with set up, particularly on the focusrite not playing nicely with windows/ASIO to be able to play music on my PC and playing along with it ( not a complex use case!). Its sorted now and I really like Ableton but I would really think about what you want it to do. Plus they can pull a lot of processing/RAM, so make sure its a reasonable spec laptop.


    So is it worth integrating? Totally. Anything from pulling down backing tracks and adding your guitar, through to developing harmony lines through multi track, to writing songs and laying down your ideas...DAW's make this so easy once set up and you have the basics.


    Note I don;t use the KPA for recording purely from a hassle perspective ( its in a rack ready for live stuff) BUT what I've found fab is that I've done a live gig, recorded it ( Multitrack) and then fixed my parts afterwards....because my KPA has the settings in place, playing over the mistakes is seamless! Its fab and worth having the DAW for that alone!

  • Hi Tom Sawyer, I think Chris Duncan and V8guitar had some great answers and great insight.


    Regarding your question about profiles and their flexibility, you can approach working with profiles a few different ways. Some users cycle through profiles until they find one they don't need to tweak at all and prefer to not mess with the EQ. And that method works well for a lot of users. Others tweak the EQ and Amp section. The Kemper has a really powerful and musical EQ and you can honestly tweak profiles to sound completely different, the EQ is really versatile. Others (like myself) approach profiles as being capable of being used as building blocks just like an Amp Model and IR in a Modeler, and you can mix and match Amp sections with IRs and Cab sections from other Profiles. You can truly create your own tone and build your own rig using profiles others have created by tweaking profiles and experimenting with different Cab sections and IRs.


    The Kemper has limitless opportunities. And the beauty of it is that there are a bunch of different approaches, so you can find the one that works best for you:)


    I'm sure you'll love your Kemper ^^ and any help you might need along the way, is always just a post away on the Kemper Forum ;)


    Hope this helps, and welcome to the Kemper Community!

  • Hi Tom Sawyer,

    Welcome to the forum.

    All I’d add to the excellent posts above is the following:-

    If you are using Windows 10 with a DAW look into how to optimise you PC for music production. I’ve only been recording since the start of the pandemic, and have found that researching how to optimise my PC made a huge difference to the capability of both the processor and the RAM.
    Incidentally, in a matter of a few weeks I’ve gone from learning how to record a simple guitar track to producing 120 track covers (as I am learning to create choral style BV’s)playing all the guitars, faking bass by using neck pickup on a JTV59 with the pitch shifter (1octave down) and a nice Ampeg profile, singing multiple backing vocals, lead vocals and programming drum patterns manually.
    I’ve also dropped in tracks from my keyboard player, edited, eq’d, added Fx, learned to de-ess vocals with spectral edits, mixing and basic mastering. All with just my Kemper, guitars, an SM57, a very old Shure Prologue mic, a pair of Shure SE535 earphones and an MR 18 mixing desk acting as an interface. Not an ideal mixing method as I don’t own studio monitors or have a treated room, but I have some helpful friends who do and who have a listen and feed back. I check on my phone, in the car, through the tV etc. to get some idea of how the recordings translate into real world situations. Best I can do at the mo.

    I can’t believe how quickly this technology enables one to progress.

    Good luck, enjoy the Kemper, follow all the good advice above from all the forum crowd and optimise your PC.

    Happy recording.

    Cheers

    Pre-Amp

  • If you are using Windows 10 with a DAW look into how to optimise you PC for music production. I’ve only been recording since the start of the pandemic, and have found that researching how to optimise my PC made a huge difference to the capability of both the processor and the RAM.

    Could you elaborate on what optimizations you've done? Always something new to learn.

    Note I don;t use the KPA for recording purely from a hassle perspective ( its in a rack ready for live stuff)

    Clearly it's time for you to buy a second Kemper. :)

  • Thanks for all the responses! Read them all and so appreciated (im sure im one of a thousand that come in here asking the same damn things).


    I’ll definitely be researching some more Daw/interface products.. seems like itll be a little pricy upfront since ill need monitors and stuff.. so maybe a down the road project


    The Kemper Kabinet, do these things stay out of stock on the Kemper site long?? I don’t really have any cabs to run the Kemper yet, which is my largest cause for pause atm.


    I’m thinking maybe I’ll start just with a pair of headphones since the Kab is looking hard to get... any suggestions on a budget starter set up?!


    Oh and another question, the on board effects and all.. is there a way to create Loops (like a standard looper pedal) or is that something I’d have to have a Daw setup to work with.


    Again thanks so much for the info fellas, its so appreciated!

    Incidentally, in a matter of a few weeks I’ve gone from learning how to record a simple guitar track to producing 120 track covers (as I am learning to create choral style BV’s)playing all the guitars, faking bass by using neck pickup on a JTV59 with the pitch shifter (1octave down) and a nice Ampeg profile, singing multiple backing vocals, lead vocals and programming drum patterns manually.
    I’ve also dropped in tracks from my keyboard player, edited, eq’d, added Fx, learned to de-ess vocals with spectral edits, mixing and basic mastering.

    Id love to hear if u drop any audio around!

  • I’ll definitely be researching some more Daw/interface products.. seems like itll be a little pricy upfront since ill need monitors and stuff.. so maybe a down the road project

    In the Cubase world, the Steinberg UR-22 two channel interface is around $200 and comes with a free lite version of Cubase that's very feature complete (as does the four channel UR-44). It's probably all you really need for traditional tracking and mixing. Other brands of interfaces come bundled with starter DAWs as well, so that's something to keep in mind, so no need to spend extra money on a DAW at first. Once you get going if there are features you want that the lite version doesn't have, you can upgrade then, or just stay lite if that does everything you need.


    Something to keep in mind for the Kabinet is that it exists primarily for the "amp in the room" feel. When recording, you'd still come straight out of the Kemper to the interface / DAW.


    Also, just my personal perspective, but I would recommend getting comfortable with the Kemper first so you have a point of reference. A powered one will work with any guitar cabs you already have, and the speakers are just for listening and guitar interaction. And / or you can use headphones. Once you know what the Kemper experience feels like, then you can try a Kabinet and see what kind of value it brings to the party above and beyond what you already have.


    I often find that an incremental approach to these things is both easier on the wallet and also gives me a better sense of the value that the upgrades bring.

  • Something to keep in mind for the Kabinet is that it exists primarily for the "amp in the room" feel. When recording, you'd still come straight out of the Kemper to the interface / DAW.


    Also, just my personal perspective, but I would recommend getting comfortable with the Kemper first so you have a point of reference. A powered one will work with any guitar cabs you already have, and the speakers are just for listening and guitar interaction. And / or you can use headphones. Once you know what the Kemper experience feels like, then you can try a Kabinet and see what kind of value it brings to the party above and beyond what you already have.


    I often find that an incremental approach to these things is both easier on the wallet and also gives me a better sense of the value that the upgrades bring.

    Totally!


    I personally went for the powered version because I could drive any cab. This meant I could pick up an unpowered PA wedge ( after some research and testing ) for only £180 which sounded really good. But as said, take your time as some people prefer Cabs to FRFR...


    The great news is, you have this level of choice.

  • Hi Tom!

    I'm just a tad ahead of you and received my Kemper head and set it up last week. I also bought the Kemper Remote and will integrate that this week. After four decades of tube amps and a half dozen pedals I will tell you I could not be happier so far. It took me a good 45 days pre-purchase to wrap my head around the move. I'm still just using one clean and one dirty profile and am trying to focus on playing and not falling further down the rabbit hole of all the profiles. It seems like most people here in the forum settle on a few to maybe a 100 favorites.

    I'll try to post a photo later but my setup is:
    Guitars > Kemper & iMac backing tracks & vocal mic > Mackie ProFx6v3 Compact Mixer > Genelec 8020 Monitors

    For me, being able to mix my guitar and vocals perfectly into the backing track is over the top amazing...way over the top as in the best practice setup I've ever had.

    As for EQ; there's tons of EQ work to do with your setup, the raw profile gets you into the ballpark but for me, my 74' LP Deluxe with mini-humbuckers is very bright and I just dial that back a bit and resave the profile.


    At this point I'm not into recording or a DAW yet as that's yet another rabbit hole to fall down.

    I don't know if you're here in the USA or not (it may not matter) but I purchased my Kemper and Remote from British Audio in Nashville. They have a great deal where if you buy a Kemper from them you get your choice of full MBritt or full ToneJunkie profile packs added at no additional cost. That's a major savings IMHO. After some inquiries here I went with the MBritt option but I think either way, you'll have more to play with than you'll have time.

  • Great to hear!! Keep me updated on how you like it as time goes on, there’s always the proverbial ‘honeymoon’ era. Definitely post those pics too!


    And what do you think of the Clean Tones you’ve been playing with?? I’ve heard tons of great things about the dirty EVH tones and such but what about the warm Jazzier tones and things down those roads?!


    Also did you try it with headphones? That looks like the path I’ll be starting off with since i dont have any cabs or monitors to run thru atm..