Sleepless nights / Axe-FX II owner thinking to move to Kemper

  • What should I do? 17

    1. Sell the Axe-FX II and upgrade to an Axe-FX III (1) 6%
    2. Keep the Axe-FX II, but also buy a Kemper (6) 35%
    3. 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...

    Didier

  • Hi Didier, and welcome to the forum. I've never owned an AXE of any flavor, so can't compare the two for you. However, there are countless threads of others who do make such comparisons. If you can afford it, I suggest buying the Kemper and coming to your own conclusion. Why would you require the powered Kemper?

    Go for it now. The future is promised to no one. - Wayne Dyer

  • Hi Didier, and welcome to the forum. I've never owned an AXE of any flavor, so can't compare the two for you. However, there are countless threads of others who do make such comparisons. If you can afford it, I suggest buying the Kemper and coming to your own conclusion. Why would you require the powered Kemper?

    Thank you for the quick reply Zappledan! I have indeed read many threads on both the Fractal and Kemper forum, but I am one of those people that has a really hard time making these kinds of decisions.

    I would not require the powered Kemper to record at home, but it would be nice to have the option to also test the Kemper during rehearsals and compare it to my current rig. For touring I think it would be far more convenient to carry the Kemper around instead of my tube amp and pedalboard. So, I think it would make sense to go for the powered option.

  • I would not require the powered Kemper to record at home, but it would be nice to have the option to also test the Kemper during rehearsals and compare it to my current rig. For touring I think it would be far more convenient to carry the Kemper around instead of my tube amp and pedalboard. So, I think it would make sense to go for the powered option.

    I get it, but using a guitar cab will limit your tonal possibilities considerably, as the cab will significantly color your sound. I would recommend either using a (so-called) FRFR cab, such as the DXR10, for which you wouldn't require the powered Kemper, or picking up the Kemper Kone.

    Go for it now. The future is promised to no one. - Wayne Dyer

  • Welcome! I think the only way to know, is to get a Kemper. I bought mine through a Back Friday sale. Hint...hint...

    Haha, so I have one more sleepless night to make a decision. Where did you find a deal on the Kemper? I always thought those prices were quite fixed.

  • I have had Axe Fx Standard, Ultra, II, II+ and AX8. I now have Kemper because it just sounds and feels better to me. And yes, the effects May be "better" in Axe Fx but I found out that live it doesnt matter because no one will notice and for home recording its much better to use post effects from the DAW. I Just didnt need all the bells and whistles in Axe Fx. I dont spend countless hours tweaking anymore. Just practising and playing as I should be doing in the first place.

  • I have both axe fxII and a kemper toaster...the axe sits in my studio and the toaster i easily carry from my home to my rehearsial place and to gigs. If i had to sell one of them i would sell my axe. Its so easy to go from places to places with my toaster and soundwise i cant say anyone is better. Im a lazy person and i dont have power to sit several hours to find the best sound for my axe. Maybe i could find a slightly better sound with the axe if i had that power. But anyway i would just see difference if i sit with my self, with no band or not recording any song. i dont know about the axe fxIII, but the mobilewise option is still much better with a toaster...this is only my opinion

    Hope you find your own sollution so you can sleep again :)


    I dont need to sell my axe fxII anyway so ill keep it. Its a fantastic piece of gear too

  • I am in the middleground here, I believe I do most of my sounds with the kemper alone, but axe platform is amazingly flexible, after the reverb update I feel less and less the need to have the axe, but it has high quality effects and routing that are irreplaceable, while the kemper has the better sounding amps and a more intuitive and effective tweaking workflow.


    I say keep both, kemper and axe 2, eventually you will find if the FXs on the kemper are your cup of tea or not. I see no reason to upgrade to FX3, I always wondered if really axe 2 needed an upgrade, I still wonder about it.