Kemper in live situation

  • I'm offering my experience but have a question at the end that might help us both. I started playing with Boogies, then went to Marshalls, H&K TriAmp and then back to Boogie. I also play smaller clubs and an occasional large outside gig. I went with the Kemper Stage and a Mission Engineering Gemini 2 FRFR. The Gemini is a true stereo FRFR - dual amps and dual speakers with stereo input. It also has an EQ control that will make it sound more like a real guitar cabinet. It pushes a lot of sound on it's own with 220 total watts and I have even used it at smaller gigs without going to FOH I have been putting a 57 mic in front of one of the speakers, that works OK but I am going to either try stereo XLRs out to FOH or try micing both speakers next gig. I Loved my Mesa but I find I am using a variety of Marshalls, Fenders and boutique amps instead of the Mesa profiles. My biggest fear of sending XLRs out is that the tones I am getting out of my FRFR won't sound as good going to FOH through the direct outputs. Maybe someone can enlighten me whether the sound coming from the FRFR is going to be the better or worse then XLR to the house?

    “I used to jog but the ice cubes kept falling out of my glass.”

    Dave Lee Roth of Van Halen - 1979

  • Generally speaking the sound from XLR straight to PA will be far superior to sticking a mic in front of an FRFR cab. This is largely due to the FRFR cabs having a main woofer and a hi frequency tweeter. On regular FRFR cabs the mic will only get the woofer or tweeter. The Gemini and Kemper Kone have coaxial speakers (also called dual concentric) where the high frequency driver is mounter inside the low frequency driver so the mic may get both but it won’t get either at its best. Go straight to FOH from the XLR and let the audience hear your tone in all its glory.

  • Generally speaking the sound from XLR straight to PA will be far superior to sticking a mic in front of an FRFR cab. This is largely due to the FRFR cabs having a main woofer and a hi frequency tweeter. On regular FRFR cabs the mic will only get the woofer or tweeter. The Gemini and Kemper Kone have coaxial speakers (also called dual concentric) where the high frequency driver is mounter inside the low frequency driver so the mic may get both but it won’t get either at its best. Go straight to FOH from the XLR and let the audience hear your tone in all its glory.

    Thanks @Wheresthedug, I just don't get a chance to experiment with the PA until we are playing a gig (hopefully our state will open back up soon) and usually our sound check is our first song. Do you advise using the low and or high cut in the output filter and is it necessary or advisable to use the main output EQ or just let the house adjust that?

    “I used to jog but the ice cubes kept falling out of my glass.”

    Dave Lee Roth of Van Halen - 1979

  • I realize you asked @Wheresthedug, but I thought I would offer my two pennies worth.


    I have used the Kemper direct to FOH with many different PAs and engineers. I check the main out-12dB box on page one of the output menu. And every time, have gotten either a literal two thumbs up, or the equivalent, from the engineers.


    I haven't played a live gig since the advent of the high cut / low cut output filter, but would suggest (if you are only playing standard tuned electric guitar through your Kemper), set the low cut 80-100 Hz and high cut 3k - 8k. I realize that is a wide range but if possible you can fine tune during the show. Most likely, the engineer will compensate at FOH and you won't have to. I have mine set to 100Hz and 3.5k, but have yet to test it though a full blown PA. If you also play acoustic guitar, steel guitar, mandolin, baritone, etc. through your Kemper, you may have to widen out that output filter.


    Regarding the main output eq, I leave that flat so that if the engineer tells me I need to adjust, I can use that eq. Remember that it is global but only for the main outs.


    I would definitely use the monitor eq to get what you need onstage. One thing I do fairly often if using wedges is cut lows and boost treble or presence in the monitor mix to be able to hear myself without being loud or muddying up the sound on stage.

  • I'm offering my experience but have a question at the end that might help us both. I started playing with Boogies, then went to Marshalls, H&K TriAmp and then back to Boogie. I also play smaller clubs and an occasional large outside gig. I went with the Kemper Stage and a Mission Engineering Gemini 2 FRFR. The Gemini is a true stereo FRFR - dual amps and dual speakers with stereo input. It also has an EQ control that will make it sound more like a real guitar cabinet. It pushes a lot of sound on it's own with 220 total watts and I have even used it at smaller gigs without going to FOH I have been putting a 57 mic in front of one of the speakers, that works OK but I am going to either try stereo XLRs out to FOH or try micing both speakers next gig. I Loved my Mesa but I find I am using a variety of Marshalls, Fenders and boutique amps instead of the Mesa profiles. My biggest fear of sending XLRs out is that the tones I am getting out of my FRFR won't sound as good going to FOH through the direct outputs. Maybe someone can enlighten me whether the sound coming from the FRFR is going to be the better or worse then XLR to the house?

    Just add...


    FRFR will get you closer to FRFR sound BUT amny people don;t like FRFR sound because they are used to their guitars cabs at full tilt.


    Miking FRFR is the wrong route because the profiled signal chain includes the mike....so you will have a miked sound then re-miked going FOH.


    I would suggest:

    1) Don't mike FRFR cabs full stop. The beauty of FRFR is it should be pretty close to FOH sound anyway. Its will always be different but FRFR is the closest representation. Just remember in the old days ( pre Kemper :) ) the on stage sound was nothing like the that through the PA, but we never realised it/worried about it.


    2) Your focus first is FOH. Get that sound sorted and happy and then worry about on stage monitoring and what suits. Don;t obsess about getting them the same. If they are different that's OK as long as the on stage is acceptable.


    3) I don't touch any E.Q. or filters, especially not for the benefit of FOH. I leave that to the sound engineer.

  • Spot on Alan. Don't keep trying to second guess front of house once you have your sound.


    Speak to the foh engineer and if it is way off, think about whether you have the right profiles. If you have crazy eq settings, they are probably not the right sounds. Darker profiles with more of a mid bump usually work, as higher volumes will give you the classic "loudness" curve (Fletcher-Munson).


    One of the things that sent me to the in ears route was that I often found on stage wedges to be overly bright and made me panic about my tone. I guess if you are low passing at 3.5k Kevin, that would account for you boosting treble. My cuts are usually about 6k if anything.

  • Yeah, I am monitoring with my Xitone MBritt at fairly close range at home. So that may be why I liked the low pass at ~ 3k. For me, playing in bands with other gtrs, keys, etc., probably much more important to tame the lows.

  • Thank you @kevinduren, @Wheresthedug, @karlic, @V8guitar - This is why I love this forum, so much knowledge available and people willing to share it! Another problem I have is testing profiles, at home I am limited to headphones, I have only been using the FRFR at practice (I will start using the outputs to the practice PA per suggestions and I don't have access to the main PA until we are playing gigs. Are there characteristics I can look for with the profiles in the headphones straight out of the Kemper that will carry over to the practice and main PA? By using the main XLR outs to the PA instead of micing my FRFR will that get me closer to the sounds coming out of the headphones? If I could get the sound from the headphones to FOH I would be in heaven!!

    “I used to jog but the ice cubes kept falling out of my glass.”

    Dave Lee Roth of Van Halen - 1979

  • I've only just started using headphones myself so never really done a comparison.


    The simple answer is yes, the more complex answer is no :).


    If the headphones are relatively flat i.e. studio monitor type then should get you in the right ball park. The variables are speakers ( PA speakers very different to headphones and volume/space.


    If I were you I would:


    1) get your sounds as good as you can at home with your FRFR and whatever volume you can get away with ( otherwise headphones).

    2) When you do get to rehearsal test through the PA and tweak where necessary (as you also have the band mix in there).

    3) At sound check at a gig, listen to your sound and talk to the sound engineer and get his opinion....but there will always be a variation at this point. Don't get too hung up on it being the same but just sounding good.


    I went from 4x12 miked to FOH and I had to re-engineer all my profiles. so when I decided to go direct, I also had my 4x12 there just in case...so if possible have a backup. You don't wan to be swapping profiles or making major changes just before a gig :).


    Its a refinement process :)

  • I use headphones, FRFR and a full PA.


    Here are my observations:


    1) Headphones have a fantastic stereo image that does NOT translate to a live situation even if you send stereo out to the PA.

    2) The efx you hear using headphones is ALWAYS lighter sounding than it is through FRFR or PA

    3) The FOH with its ability to REALLY amplify the sub frequencies will make any tone that sounded "perfect" through headphones or FRFR sound bass heavy.

    4) Even the FRFR eq is not the same as the headphone eq which is not the same as the FOH eq.


    Use presets.


    Have a preset output setup for FOH and one for Headphones. Get your FOH right first. You really need to get this down when you have the entire band. I am fortunate in that I can playback multi-track recordings from the entire band and then work on the guitar EQ until the band sounds best together.


    After you get the FOH right, make an output preset that makes the tone sound the best in your headphones.


    From there on out, you should be able to get an OK tone by using your headphones... but I would still check it on the real PA in the context of the entire band playing ;)

  • Trying FRFR is what drove me to in ears in the end. It was just too inconsistent for me. Every stage and rehearsal sounded different depending on acoustics and where it sat.


    I go for the best possible FOH sound and then taylor the in ears eq to match that as best I can. One thing for sure is that you will always continue to tinker as a guitarist for the perfect tone.

  • I check the main out-12dB box on page one of the output menu.

    I was wondering why you do that? -14 to -16 on the output (without box checked) seems to be perfect for me going line in. If I had some bigger boosts it may need to be adjusted slightly. I guess I don't understand the need for the -12 box. Can't someone just turn the output down more?

  • Hi, Dynochrome.


    I was wondering why you do that? -14 to -16 on the output (without box checked) seems to be perfect for me going line in. If I had some bigger boosts it may need to be adjusted slightly. I guess I don't understand the need for the -12 box. Can't someone just turn the output down more?



    There's a good explanation in the Kemper Main manual.


  • Thanks ST. All that stuff is above my pay grade. I did it because I read it in the manual and saw some discussions about it here. I've used it in various situations and all has worked out well. So at this point, my thinking is, "If it ain't broke...". 8)

  • So I see that if I'm running -16 to -14 I should be using this, thanks. I saw this in the manual and at first It didn't make sense to me (at least not right away) to drop the output in the check box just so you can turn it back up on the dial. But I understand about the noise floor thing.

  • This is brilliant if I understand you correctly, you get your profiles to sound good with the FOH and then listen to those profiles through the headphones and adjust the output EQ until they sound similar. Save both presets then you can tweak your profiles with the headphones and it should sound similar with the FOH preset?

    “I used to jog but the ice cubes kept falling out of my glass.”

    Dave Lee Roth of Van Halen - 1979

  • This is brilliant if I understand you correctly, you get your profiles to sound good with the FOH and then listen to those profiles through the headphones and adjust the output EQ until they sound similar. Save both presets then you can tweak your profiles with the headphones and it should sound similar with the FOH preset?

    Yep. Exactly this.


    Years ago, I had all my band gear in my own basement (before I finished it and the kids took over my cave!). It is always better to tweak your tone within the context of the PA you use AND with the all the other instruments together.


    Since I can't use the PA all the time (and don't want to drive to where it is all the time either), I figured out a way to get headphones to give me good sound.


    I use a multi-track playback to listen to the guitar in a full band context.


    What I haven't done yet is to record the raw guitar track going into the KPA, then use re-amping to send the signal back into my mixer along with the multi-track of the band (minus the guitar track). Then I can tweak everything in full context.


    We sure have come a long way from the good ole day's when the only option to hear how things sound was to get a long guitar cable and walk out front to listen ;).


    I have found that if you don't use the full band in context, you tend to get guitar sounds that are too warm and don't cut into the mix .... or muddy up the mix. Sometimes the best live sounds don't sound so great by themselves.

  • This is brilliant if I understand you correctly, you get your profiles to sound good with the FOH and then listen to those profiles through the headphones and adjust the output EQ until they sound similar. Save both presets then you can tweak your profiles with the headphones and it should sound similar with the FOH preset?

    This is not quite my experience. Even with the custom moulded in ears, you will still hear a real and pleasant power of the bass end from the FOH.


    In rehearsal it sounds a little sterile and lacking power, but as soon as you enter a stage environment it is amazing. I don't use high volume either.