What should I do? 17
Sell the Axe-FX II and upgrade to an Axe-FX III (1) 6%
Keep the Axe-FX II, but also buy a Kemper (6) 35%
Buy the Kemper and you will end up selling the Axe-FX II (10) 59%
For the last 8 years, I have been using an Axe-FX II. After a while, mostly because I found it too cumbersome to constantly move my rack between my home, our rehearsal place and shows, I went back to playing live with tube amps (VHT Ultra Lead and pedalboard). As a guitar player, I am mostly focussed on genres as post-metal, black metal and other kinds of heavy music.
Since the whole covid-19 crisis made it impossible to tour and rehearse, I have started to school myself on recording, mixing and mastering. The past few months have been really fun in that regard. Currently, I am working on pre-productions for my band and this sparked my interest in upgrading to the Axe-FX III to easily re-amp in the mix over USB and hopefully use these tools to record the guitars for our future releases ourselves. This is where the sleepless nights started.
Given that I am often tired off hauling around my heavy live setup (starting to see a pattern in my laziness) and can see the advantages of downsizing, I started to contemplate whether adding a powered Kemper to my toolbox would make more sense than upgrading to an Axe-Fx III. Combining the Kemper and my Axe-FX II would enable me to use the amp sounds of the Kemper and - if necessary - use the Fractal in the effects loop for more possibilities.
What I currently love about the Axe-FX II are the editor and the stellar effects. The amp sounds are definitely great, but I sometimes struggle with differentiating between the models and creating the sounds that I hear in my head or on other albums. The endless tweaking possibilities - although nice to have - are often overwhelming and I do not have the knowledge to deep-dive into all of the advanced settings. Upgrading to the Axe-FX III would drastically increase the I/O possibilities and effects, but should also be a step up in terms of amp sounds.
What I think I would love about the Kemper are the countless commercial profiles which I expect to provide me with mix-ready guitar tones that require little to no tweaking. This could help me focus on songwriting and mixing in my DAW, instead of going back and back again to the amp settings and effects. Furthermore, I think having something lightweight as a Powered Kemper would be handy to go jam/record with friends, take to the studio with my band or even use live if we are unable to transport our full backline. What I think I might not enjoy about the Kemper is the lack of an editor and maybe the more limited possibilities in terms of effects.
So, I am really curious about your perspective on this? Would it be more beneficial in my situation to have both the Axe-Fx II and Kemper, instead of staying in one camp and upgrading?
Thanks and sorry for writing half a novel here...