Advice on amps for modern hard rock/metal

  • Afternoon Kemper peeps


    I am predominatly an old hard rock/grunge guy and I am looking to add a more modern sound to my pallete but have no real idea where to start.


    Looking for something tight, good definition for single note rhythm work. I quite like the Mark Tremonti sound, its very defined and sounds like a great sound. Before I start looking at purchasing the PRS MT15 can you guys recommend any good amps that give a more modern sound for lead and rhythm and any commercial profilers to check out.


    I have tried out the PRS Archon and really liked the variety of sounds.


    Any guidance would be great.

  • Audiopilot

    Changed the title of the thread from “Advice on amps for modern metal” to “Advice on amps for modern hard rock/metal”.
  • I love the Mesa profiles for hard rock - heavy metal. EVH 5150 is good but I find a little to bright and less warm than the Mesa. Then there are the Marshall Plexis and 800's. Heck, with the Kemper, you can take a Fender Twin, load 2 distortion modules in stomps and sound like a hard rocker.

    The more you find what Kemper can do then the harder you try to find what it cannot do -- like make a good cup of Frappuccino.

  • EVH and Engl profiles are pretty awesome. Tom Jimi, M Britt and Cililab profiles are all top notch-pro level and affordable. $50-70 can get you a TON of great profiles with any of these guys. The MBritt profiles are meant to be turned up loud (..i.e. you might have to compensate with brightening up the EQ at low volume..)

  • I love the Mesa profiles for hard rock - heavy metal. EVH 5150 is good but I find a little to bright and less warm than the Mesa. Then there are the Marshall Plexis and 800's. Heck, with the Kemper, you can take a Fender Twin, load 2 distortion modules in stomps and sound like a hard rocker.

    that’s strange, because the real amps are the other way around. 5150 has a lot warmer sound in the lower mids and the Mesa is somewhat scooped and bright for me.

  • that’s strange, because the real amps are the other way around. 5150 has a lot warmer sound in the lower mids and the Mesa is somewhat scooped and bright for me.

    LOL. That's what you gotta love about tone chasing. I like the way the Mesa sounds with my JB pups (which are brighter than the SD Distortion pups). But Mesa gives me a low end that I just can't seem to bond to with the 5150. Go figure. ;)

    The more you find what Kemper can do then the harder you try to find what it cannot do -- like make a good cup of Frappuccino.

  • LOL. That's what you gotta love about tone chasing. I like the way the Mesa sounds with my JB pups (which are brighter than the SD Distortion pups). But Mesa gives me a low end that I just can't seem to bond to with the 5150. Go figure. ;)

    I have to say I don;t like 5150's either, I find them harsh...yet they are so favoured by many people. I think its also what you're used to....I played ENGL's for many years and I always graviate to ENGL profiles, ENGL models in Amplitube etc.


    Just recently ( like 2 days ago) pushing myself to use Freidman and Soldano profiles....I will like them!

  • I have to say I don;t like 5150's either, I find them harsh...yet they are so favoured by many people. I think its also what you're used to....I played ENGL's for many years and I always graviate to ENGL profiles, ENGL models in Amplitube etc.


    Just recently ( like 2 days ago) pushing myself to use Freidman and Soldano profiles....I will like them!

    I have had a ENGL Powerball II and a 656 Morse (awesome), and a 5150III 6L6 50 w. To make the 5153 in the warm ENGL territory one needs to turn that presence control down! I can actually get some very Satriani type sounds from it. I wouldn't call it harsh but crisp for sure. Play it through warm greenback type speakers helps too. Presence knob is the biggie. Mine is simply amazing sounding and I would put it up against a SLO anyday.

  • I have had a ENGL Powerball II and a 656 Morse (awesome), and a 5150III 6L6 50 w. To make the 5153 in the warm ENGL territory one needs to turn that presence control down! I can actually get some very Satriani type sounds from it. I wouldn't call it harsh but crisp for sure. Play it through warm greenback type speakers helps too. Presence knob is the biggie. Mine is simply amazing sounding and I would put it up against a SLO anyday.

    Yes. The presence control is very sensitive to tone. Way more sensitive than I find on my tube amps. You go from flat to shrill pretty quickly.


    I am also finding that I need to boost up all the cab EQ settings (Bass, Mid, Treble) to bring the tone forward. Otherwise, most dirty rigs sound like they're behind a closed door.

    The more you find what Kemper can do then the harder you try to find what it cannot do -- like make a good cup of Frappuccino.

    Edited once, last by BayouTexan ().

  • The presence control on my 6505 doesn't do anything until about 8 and then it goes too far, so you have to be careful with this.


    The original Powerball can sound almost identical to a 6505 through the same cab on some sessions I have done. The Engl SE is an amp that sounds really big and warm to me.

  • For those who have had "harsh or bright" experience with 5150 profiles, check out Cililabs...LIFECHANGING....big rocking natural organic feeling, yet pleanty of snarl and presence for any hard rock style. (MBritts 5150 profiles are also don't have that "ice picky" thng going on.


  • The ice pick thing is usually bad positioning of the mic; sometimes just move to another speaker in the cab.


    For fizzy sounds it might be the SM57 with its 5k bump. Look for a profile with Heil Sound PR20 or Royer 121.

  • The ice pick thing is usually bad positioning of the mic; sometimes just move to another speaker in the cab.


    For fizzy sounds it might be the SM57 with its 5k bump. Look for a profile with Heil Sound PR20 or Royer 121.

    I've come to believe now that the fizz and grit I always heard on Kemper profiles is actually the limitations of mics reproducing the sound and not the Kemper. When I listened to some iso tracks of my favorite rockers, I heard some of that fizz. Gotta be the mics.

    The more you find what Kemper can do then the harder you try to find what it cannot do -- like make a good cup of Frappuccino.

  • My comments were based on the real 5150 BUT I had very limited time using one and didn;t play with the presence control.


    They are no doubt great amps and "go to" for many people but I also find you need to live with an amp for sometime to really get used to its sound.


    I bought a powerball mainly becuase it had loads of gain and 2 main volumes to switch between for solo boost. I had never played one before I bought it and did so purely on recommendations. I didn't like it much at first but then became an amp I loved as it was so full sounding.


    so to go back to the original OP's question, for me its mesa, ENGL, 5150, soldano and Marshall ( but modded) a la Freidman.

  • I am loving my rhythm profile I took from my CAE 3+SE through a Mesa 295 into a Suhr Reactive Load IR.
    The 3+SE is probably my favorite amp of all time (through my Mesa 295). I have used one on and off for 20 years now.

    I didn’t mind letting my Soldano SLO100 go and I had that amp for 15 years. SLO is great but you can never get rid of that mid range aggressive bark and grind. Great amp though at what it does.
    The CAE is so touch responsive. Even after profiling. It feels the same. You can lightly play something with your fingers and it’s almost clean. Then hit with a pick and it’s full on distorted rhythm.

    It’s a bit of a nightmare to profile. It’s just got such a wide dynamic and audio range. There is a top end sheen and big low end that when you first get one you think something is not right. But, once sat in a track or band context, it’s great. It’s the only amp besides the SLO where the top E sounds as big as the bottom E without thinning out.
    The refining process takes a long time to capture the amps range and dynamics though.

    Did my rhythm channel a couple of months ago now and I play it that much still that I still haven’t done the lead or clean channel.
    Works well with Strat, Tele and the Les Paul I originally profiled it with.
    Very happy. 😊