Can't quite decide...

  • Hi - first post here. My name is Marco and I'm in the UK. The forum has a great vibe to it


    The KPA seems an amazing technical leap forward and has really whetted my appetite - I've been lurking around the forum for a while and although there are problems reported it seems they are steadily being ironed out


    My issue is I'm not quite sure if it's the best route for someone like me who uses primarily clean or gritty sounds (like the stones for instance)
    So think Fender, Vox, older Marshall tones. I have a Pro Reverb and an Egnater Tweaker and also a 70's Traynor combo that I'm restoring, plus access to an AC30 I'm currently only do recording work, although I'm being tempted back into gigging again


    I sense a bias toward high gain amps, of which there seem to be thousands, and any complaints I've read of lack of realism seem to be aimed at the clean amp profiling - can the Kemper really capture the shimmer, jangle, punch and bell-like tones of the classic amps we all love. I have a sense that it is a lot more difficult to successfully profile the complexity and detail of these classic clean tones


    Then when I think of cost, I could add an ac 30 and marshall combo and still be under the cost of a KPA and a good FRFR setup
    Of course all the sounds would be in one small box, but is the convenience worth the compromise?


    I see some people are selling all their old amps once getting the KPA, but I wonder how many of those are lovers of clean(ish) rather than high gain officianados?


    I'm still waiting to be convinced...and would appreciate some balanced views


    Thanks

  • I understand your thoughts.
    That only thing that i can tell you is that many of us are not high gain lovers.
    I think that the KPA is the best digital sounding machine for clean and crunchy sounds.
    But i'd suggest you not to use a FRFR setup if you love the amp in the sound vibe.

  • can the Kemper really capture the shimmer, jangle, punch and bell-like tones of the classic amps we all love. I have a sense that it is a lot more difficult to successfully profile the complexity and detail of these classic clean tones


    Hi Marco(-:
    The Kemper is profiling an amp that is mic'd.
    So if you are happy that you will have a profile that sounds like your favorite amp on a good recording, you will be happy with the KPA.
    But if you want all the "shimmer,jangle,punch and bell like tones", that you get sitting right in front of your amp, then it may fall a little short for you.
    Some people forget to take this into consideration.
    You can also do DI profiles, without the cab, and mic; but then you might want to use these profiles with a power amp, and cab, and now you are back to using an amp, but it's an amp with 1,000 other amps in it.
    Best thing to do is just buy one from a place with a 30day,or so, return policy, and see (hear) for yourself.
    Odds are you won't be sending it back ;)

    "I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him." ---Galileo Galilei.

    Edited once, last by imall41 ().


  • I sense a bias toward high gain amps, of which there seem to be thousands, and any complaints I've read of lack of realism seem to be aimed at the clean amp profiling - can the Kemper really capture the shimmer, jangle, punch and bell-like tones of the classic amps we all love. I have a sense that it is a lot more difficult to successfully profile the complexity and detail of these classic clean tones

    Interesting.


    When the first Kemper discussions started taking place about 12 months ago the internet talk was the Kemper cant do high gain tones.
    Then the first high gain Kemper tones hit the internet and everyone was blown away, then the internet talk changed to the Kemper can't do clean tones.
    Then the clean tones starting surfacing, and they were amazing as well, then the internet talk changed to the Kemper is just "Vaporware", it will never be released. :)


    Here are some clean/gritty bell like KPA tones with shimmer, jangle & punch...I've never heard a modeller do these tones before.
    These were done the first day I got my Kemper, some friends of mine messing around with only stock Profiles...not making music, just testing the Kemper.


    http://soundcloud.com/temper59/ac30-2
    http://soundcloud.com/temper59/bad-cat-1
    http://soundcloud.com/temper59/ac30-1
    http://soundcloud.com/temper59/the-chief-dirty-4

  • I think that the KPA does a great job at reproducing clean and light crunch tones. There is a rig called Morgan AC20 (I think) it sounds great for clean and on the edge of breakup. I honestly believe that the only way to know for sure if it will work for you is to try one. I'm in Birmingham if you can get here then I'm happy for you to have a play.


    You mentioned that you could buy an AC30 and Marshall combo for the money, this is perfectly true and if that would do the job and you're happy taking both with you to gigs and not having effects built in etc.. then why not go down that route? Also to get the best out of the KPA you will also probably need a decent powered monitor or Power Amp and Guitar Cab setup, you may also need a midi controller, the price will start adding up so bare that in mind.


    I use modelers as I play a wide range of tracks with my various bands, I love the flexibility and portability that they bring to the party, if you don't need that then go with what works for you 8)


    Spence

  • i have to tell you, the kemper does the tones you mentioned better than any other solution i've played.
    mark my words, the kemper is going to be all over the country & roots recordings & tours.

  • I am mostly for crunch sounds and I am still not really definitively decided about my KPA. But what I can tell you is: for a nice power amp overdrive you either need some power attenuator or (like I did) a small amp (my Fender EC Vibrochamp) in combination with another, bigger amp. And both of this definitively takes away much of that natural high end shiny chimes of a nice amp on its own. Also: I want that power amp overdrive sound so that I can control the volume after the poweramp distortion with a footpedal. There is no powersoak in the world that can do this - the KPA can.


    On editing rigs I found out that the chimey brilliance is best to be controlled with a studio EQ in the stomp section, that means BEFORE the amp module. To boost the highest frequences before the amp module is way much better than dialling up the presence control which is placed after the amp. With a modestly narrow boost as high as 6K or even 8K you can handle this whithout sounding harsh on the louder attacks. This is quite realstically brilliant on soft, clean notes and more "woody", muffled on stronger notes that go into overdrive, because the overdrive kind of ducks down the high end.

    www.audiosemantics.de
    I have been away for quite a while. A few years ago I sold my KPA and since then played my own small tube amp with a Bad Cat Unleash. Now I am back because the DI-profile that I made from my amp sounds very much convincing to me.

    Edited 4 times, last by fretboardminer ().

  • Have to say thanks very much for all the very helpful replies. Much food for thought now


    @ Guitartone - I wasn't aware of these various waves of reaction, I only came across the KPA in the last month or so and have got 99% of my info from browsing here. The samples you linked were very interesting (allowing for the speakers I'm playing them on) Funnily enough I liked the Bad Cat 1 much more than those particular AC30 profiles - wonderful tone and gives me great hope about the KPA delivering the goods


    @ fretboardminer - that's great info and a good reminder that not all magic happens straight 'out of the box' Thanks for making the effort to give a helpful reply (edited 4 times) or perhaps you're just a terrible speller :D


    @ XpennoKPA - that's a very generous offer, which I'd definitely take up if I was a little nearer. I think imall41 is right - i need to find a place with 30-day return and download lots of profiles from here to put it through it's paces


    I'm definitely much more attracted to the amp/cab vibe that Jimmyno mentions. The FRFR thing is a little off-putting for me. I don't like HiFi when it comes to guitar tone and can't really see the point of reproducing freqs that shouldn't really be there in the first place (if you get my drift) I understand what people are saying about colouration though - money is far from 'no object' so perhaps for me a Tech 21 PE 60 (1x12 or 2x12?) might be a good place to start and maybe try it with a Beyma 12GA50 that someone else here suggested.


    There are a whole set of other questions to be answered, as for a lot of other people here, as to what combo or amp/cab solution would do it justice live, without breaking the bank. I'd be really interested to hear best bang for buck solutions from you dudes who've already been there - it might be a good idea to order something at the same time on a 30 day trial so I can check out studio and live performance at the same time


    Cheers and thanks again


    Marco

  • @ fretboardminer - perhaps you're just a terrible speller :D

    Yäs, spilling is allso not rally my fävouritt sobject. :D
    Especially not now, sitting in the Swiss alps typing on a small netbook keyboard.


    By now I decided to stay with the KPA because I think it is a really innovative tool worth to give it a more thorough try. But it also might take a while until I dare to play a solo gig with it ...

    www.audiosemantics.de
    I have been away for quite a while. A few years ago I sold my KPA and since then played my own small tube amp with a Bad Cat Unleash. Now I am back because the DI-profile that I made from my amp sounds very much convincing to me.

  • The FRFR thing is a little off-putting for me. I don't like HiFi when it comes to guitar tone and can't really see the point of reproducing freqs that shouldn't really be there in the first place

    Hey Marco,
    welcome here :)


    connecting a guitar straight into a mixer on a hi-fi stereo is something very different from amplifying a modeller with a linear system.
    What you hear from a modeller/profiler is not a guitar tone, is more like a synth tone, completed in itself: it already contains in itself all the characteristic frequencies and the non-linearities we have learned to love in the last 60 years.
    IOH, while a guitar amplified in the traditional way needs a non-linear amp and - above all - a non linear cab in order to generate the tones we like, in a well-conceived modeller/profiler all is already present (by definition) in the original signal.


    A linear system will make the profiled/modelled tones sound as they were conceived/profiled. Another very important aspect of a linear system is, that with a real cab all your tones will sound like different amps through that one cab only. If you just swept through all the cabs available in a KPA you'll realize how important the cab is for a guitar sound. Now, a linear cab (or headphones) is the only device able to reproduce all the (very) different cabs' characteristics.


    I perfectly understand those who want a real cab in their room with a modeller/profiler, but you have to be aware that your sound will be limited to that cab, or to those you own. And, at any rate, it will never be equal to the various, original, profiled tones, because the cab brings a very strong personality (amplitude/phase response) to the overall sound.


    In the end, it's a matter of choices, but you have to be aware of what you're choosing :)


    HTH

  • Hi viabcroce - thanks for chipping in (and the welcome) :)
    I get what you're saying - it makes sense. One thing though - I can understand needing a flat response, but not so much the full range bit, since why would you want frequencies outside of the original (and therefore profiled) range? I guess the answer is you can't buy FR without buying FRFR


    So people going the power amp + cab route are not getting the full benefit of the KPA?
    Anyway, could you recommend a nice active monitor/cab for live work around the £600-700 mark? Quite a few people are saying to go for co-ax if possible


    Thanks


    Marco

  • Hi viabcroce - thanks for chipping in (and the welcome) :)

    :thumbsup:

    Actually, those are not technical terms: there's no standard so they basically don't mean much, except maybe "not a telephone" + "not a PC speaker"+"not a hand-radio"+"not a guitar speaker"... ... you got it :D


    So we should start from agreeing on what a full range is! What I know for sure is that there's nothing on the market capable of 20-20,000 Hz +/- 0 dB no phase cancellation etc. So all the solutions here around are a more or less good compromises between price, dimension, look and response quality.


    Not all the guitar cabs (cones actually) have got the same frequency range, some are much wider than others. This is a good starting reason for having a good range in your monitor, to be able to represent all of them. Not to mention that the KPA can make basses and acoustic guitars play as well.
    OTOH, if you start adding special fx to your sound (ring modulation etc) you could generate higher freqs. In the records they may add them in post-production or after the recorded track, for example, so they don't have to pass through the guitar amp's cone


    Another point is, that the guitarists' interest towards the FRFR world has probably started with the Axe-Fx (and continued with the KPA). AFAIK there aren't cabs specifically conceived for guitar modellers. I'm not even sure it would be a real bargain, you (user) would probably not save much, and the producer wouldn't be able to sell them to bass players, keyboard players, electronic music players... and so on.
    OTOH; I can't see how a flat-response, not full-range cab could better suit a guitarist's needs... :rolleyes:


    Also consider that a keyboard cab, while not hi-fi, could be a good choice as an "FRFR".


    Quote

    So people going the power amp + cab route are not getting the full benefit of the KPA?

    Sure, because they're limited to the one cab they're using. Have you ever listened to a modeller's recording were they just switch cabs? If not, it's a must! Someone here has posted something IIRC. MAybe someone else will chime in and give the right hint
    OTOH, if that's your to-die-for sound and you're happy with it... go for it!


    Quote

    Anyway, could you recommend a nice active monitor/cab for live work
    around the £600-700 mark?

    Have you considered the Matrix? They're located in UK, price range should be around there IIRC (I'm assuming British pounds here ;))
    There's also great expectation for Jay Mitchell's new design (for Atomic).
    They both will be available as passive or active cabs.


    This would be a good place for investigating the subject :)


    Quote

    Quite a few people are saying to go for co-ax
    if possible

    Partly true, IMO. A well-designed coax system will sound better than a simple 2-way system for a number of reasons. But a coax design is not enough per se for granting a better sound, because there could be several other weak points in the project.


    Should you feel inclined to try a FRFR cab, you should remember that a sound tweaked for a guitar amp/cab is not likely to sound as good w/o tweaking it back. And also remember that (specially below a certain money threshold) all the FRFR systems sound different from each other! LOL

  • Wow, this whole FRFR/Cab thing is a goldminefield in itself. Exciting and fascinating as it is, I'm probably getting a little ahead of myself here. I haven't even tested the KPA for myself yet, although chances are I'll be joining the club. I may go with it even for recording only. Thanks for all your advice - you've given me a good steer :)


    Cheers


    Marco

  • I just wrote about this at length:


    Extending the KPA via effects/modelers



    I think we're at a point in time where guitarists really don't have to do much compromising in terms of sound, but as someone mentioned, the KPA replicates (Why didn't they name it the "Kemper Replicant" or "Kemper Shape Shifter?") a recording environment so that's your amp, cab, mic and then your board and monitors get added in to the mix. So, when you think of that the KPA... or any other device for that matter, is never going to sound and feel like sitting in front of a real amp. IMO, it's stupid to even think about such comparisons. But ask yourself this: can you get as good a tone as the KPA can effortlessly give mic'ing a real amp in your studio? Maybe. Maybe better. But that means a good sounding room, good mics and patience. I live in a condo next to a major Amtrak train artery which effectively means that "good sounding room" is out of my reach. I have limited time so patience is in short supply and I guess I could guy some good mics, but the two other strikes make that a bit silly. (nothing works better than an SM57 to me though! 8| )


    While I'm at it, there's more to guitar sounds than an amp. There are the effects and the Kemper's effects are worth the price of the unit alone.


    Anyway, I can personally say that in all my time working in studios (worked for almost a year with Adrian Belew in a Laurie Anderson project) and on the road I've never had an easier time getting better results with the KPA. Clean... high gain and everything in between. It's a game changer.

  • My perspective on the Kemper is that it actually beats real amps for me because the recording chain matters, such as the preamp, mics, mixing console.. etc. A good producer can create amp sounds that you simply can't or won't be able to achieve without spending tons of time and money.. and you can just download that same tone with the Kemper. For me it literally solved every problem I had with amps... even my volume problems. I haven't turned on my real amp since I bought the Kemper.

  • Hey man, I know you are not really in the area but Matrix amps will be in Birmingham on July 12th at a rehearsal studio And will have a number of Matrix frfr solutions as well as a couple of the most widely used competitors. There will also be standard guitar cabs to compare. You can also try the full range of solid state power amps along with AxeFX2 and I'll be throughing my KPA in the car too. Should be a great evening.


    Its on their Facebook and I'll post a link tomorrow.


    Spence