Gain and new Kemper distortion / overdrive

  • I am still wondering to get an understanding of what is Gain in the Kemper and how this is related to distortion or overdrive stomps. The question just came back with the new OS 8.0 distortions. I know: when you profile an amp which is set up to crunch or gain tones, this is reflected in the profile with some Kemper gain level set. Clean amp profiles have no or little gain.

    So: is Gain level on a Kemper just another kind of distortion? And when setting up a good tone for a profile, should I consider not to use a distortion effect, but turn the Gain knob up? On the other hand, should I better use a distortion/overdrive effect and keep the Gain level where it was?

    Now, is it a good thing using a low gain profile and pushing it to distortion with Kemper Drive oder Full OC? As far as I understood the discussion, these new "devices" are best when using clean or crunchy profiles. And on the other hand, is it a good thing using a higher gain profile further distorting it with Kemper Drive / Full OC? To my ears as a blues/(hard) rock player, this combination is more an ugly sound instead of a hard pushed amp.

  • I'm from the high gain corner, and for me, a good high gain comes from the camper with the original profiled high gain RIG (with a good high gain amp/channel and no crappy distortion stomp infront (good pedals may are welcome)). And hopefully not changed the gain after profiling and before releasing. On some good high gain profiles you have to reduce the gain a little for a much better, not so noisy, fuzzy tone.

    And the virtual drive/distortion/fuzz stomps in the RIG chain will do not better, in my opinion. But as always, I guess it's a question of taste.

    Maybe give it a try and make up your own opinion :)

  • CarloLf

    Changed the title of the thread from “Gain And Distortion / Overdrive” to “Gain and new Kemper distortion / overdrive”.
  • Turning up the Gain on the Profile itself will be less “authentic “ as the Kemper needs to estimate how the amp would react to more gain. However, in reality it does a pretty good job of guessing. Regardless of “authenticity “ the bottom line is - whatever sounds good to you is good so go with whatever gives you the most pleasing results. Remember that what Clapton did on the Beano album and almost everything Hendrix did was considered “wrong” by studio engineers at the time. They practically refused to record Clapton’s amp because it was too loud and was distorting. If he hadn’t insisted that was the sound he actually wanted modern guitar tones might sound very different.

  • The gain knob is nothing more then a clean boost...resulting in a more gainy sound when you dial it up... because you hit the input of the amp harder.

    exactly. And we know that putting a clean boost pedal in front of an amp doesn’t necessarily sound the same as increasing the gain on the amp itself. This is why increasing gain on profiles is often said to sound unnatural or less authentic in some way. Doesn’t mean its a bad sound or wrong just different sometimes.