Is the physical Kemper necessary?

  • Hey there.


    I don’t know if this has been discussed before. Quite possibly. Just didn’t find it by searching.


    Does the Kemper really NEED the Kemper in physical form for handling the sound? I mean....a computer almost has unlimited amounts of processing power compared to the Kemper. How vital is the circuitry in the Kemper to the sound?


    Is it far fetched to think that Helix and Axe FX III has its sound created in a similar way as Kemper? The whole IR thing....isn’t that the same as what the Kemper does? Sending signals through the cabinet to analyze the returning signal?

    Wouldn’t it be possible to just do run it based on a computer?

  • Does it need it? Technically probably not but there are some reasons why:


    1) For live - not going to run a sounds out of a laptop. even the interfaces for sound add so many variables and not necessarily reliable. Im glad its a dedicated unit.


    2) Kemper offer a powered unit. a laptop can't run a cab. Yes there are separate amps but that's one use case gone.


    3) Guaranteed platform - otherwise it would be minimum specs, no consistency ( imaging diagnosing issues with just the plug in - yes it can be done but its a complex beast). In other words it reduced variables


    4) Kemper profiling is more than IR's. In the profiling process I suspect you want to avoid additional items such as computer interfaces.


    5) I prefer a physical unit to adjust than a computer screen.


    For me the benefit is its a studio and live tool. Yes you could add a plug in and some people have requested it and make sense for Studio but not for live.

  • I would imagine there would be a Kemper Rig plugin in the future for homebound DAW people. Sort of a Kemper Lite system without the profiling options. Maybe a street price of $499 ?? [drool]

    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.

  • Okay....perhaps I should have clarified some stuff.


    I’m not a live performer. So the question is only about if Kemper could get the “tube sound” without the Kemper itself. And here I mean by using an already made profile. Using it like a plug-in. The profiles can be made by others or Kemper themselves. But to use it at home to record. The profile itself....it’s just data, I guess. And couldn’t that be handled by a plug-in?


    And how exactly does it differ in the profile making/modeling compared to the Helix and Axe FX III? I suspect that Kemper has some exclusive patented solution in the Kemper and stuff, so no one can make the exact same thing. But if the data of a profile can be handled by a computer, who is to keep other companies from stealing the profiling part and use that to create the sounds for their devices or plug-ins?


    And if there isn’t anything that makes the use of already made profiles only accessible through a physical device, isn’t the Kemper partly obsolete? Isn’t the Kemper sound just us holding on to something not real, when everyone else are doing the same thing? Ain’t we then fooling ourselves?


    I love my Kemper and have had it since they released the green/black toaster.

  • I'd be surprised if there wasn't something different/magic in the input circuit that would be different to just an audio interface/computer that wouldn't be easy to replicate without specific hardware. We often forget that the pickups drive a very weak signal and are sensitive to impedance.

  • I’m with you Bryon. I’m now an at home player. Had my Kemper for about 9 yrs and love it

    but I’ve never profiled , never will and only use about 20 profiles.

    I’d love a small Kemper stomp or mini with a few profiles and fx.

    I don’t want to do this on a puter tho. I prefer a simple little box, like the tech 21 Blonde,

  • To be fair audio interfaces have high-z inputs as well more often than not. But it's all zeros and ones so it can be replicated in theory.

    Kemper PowerRack |Kemper Stage| Rivera 4x12 V30 cab | Yamaha DXR10 pair | UA Apollo Twin Duo | Adam A7X | Cubase DAW
    Fender Telecaster 62 re-issue chambered mahogany | Kramer! (1988 or so...) | Gibson Les Paul R7 | Fender Stratocaster HBS-1 Classic Relic Custom Shop | LTD EC-1000 Evertune | 1988 Desert Yellow JEM

  • I’m not a live performer. So the question is only about if Kemper could get the “tube sound” without the Kemper itself. And here I mean by using an already made profile. Using it like a plug-in. The profiles can be made by others or Kemper themselves. But to use it at home to record. The profile itself....it’s just data, I guess. And couldn’t that be handled by a plug-in?

    TH-U by Overloud is trying to do that - in addition to their classic emulations / simulations, they also offer the use of "captures" - which is a thinly disguised copy of Kemper profiles. They don't offer users to do the actual "capturing", instead they sell captures from third-party providers like Choptones (who also sell Kemper profiles) - you can buy their captured rigs and play them in TH-U.

    So yes, it's possible - I can't speak to the difference in quality between the Kemper profiling process and TH-U "capturing", though.

  • ...., who is to keep other companies from stealing the profiling part and use that to create the sounds for their devices or plug-ins

    If a company released a product that copies the Kemper profiling process, it would be very obvious that that they were stealing intellectual property as soon as the "ufo sounds" start up.


    It might be possible to create something that plays existing profiles and wrap it in a plugin. Maybe some plugin makers are doing this already? Or maybe there are too many technical pitfalls with reverse-engineering, or latency. Pure conjecture here.

    And if there isn’t anything that makes the use of already made profiles only accessible through a physical device, isn’t the Kemper partly obsolete? Isn’t the Kemper sound just us holding on to something not real, when everyone else are doing the same thing? Ain’t we then fooling ourselves?


    I love my Kemper and have had it since they released the green/black toaster.

    It's inevitable that technology will advance, that the budget units will continue to improve and software plugins will become more realistic. I don't believe that that makes the Kemper obsolete. The fidelity of the Kemper is at a level where, for me, tube amp emulation is a solved problem.


    I'm like you in that I don't gig either. However, I appreciate the physical device because I find the front panel interface very intuitive and convenient. I like being able to plug into an amp sometimes, using headphones other times, and not having to turn on a laptop to play guitar.


    So I'm not suggesting that it would be impossible to build a piece of software that gets the same level of tones as a Kemper, but if such a piece of software were available, I'd still prefer the physical unit.

  • It's much harder to pirate five pounds of Kemper hardware than it is a piece of software.


    Copy protection schemes are hated by many and cracks are all over the Internet. The moment you make something a purely downloadable digital product, you're setting yourself up to get screwed. Just ask all the guys around here who used to make a living selling physical albums (vinyl, tape, CD) back when people couldn't just steal them with the click of a mouse and no consequences. At least in the old days if you wanted to shoplift from a record store you had to risk getting caught and thrown in jail. Today, not so much. So, it's not really in their best interest to create a software only version of the Kemper.


    But why should I care if Kemper is put out of business from mass piracy? Because if they do, then support (and all these glorious, free OS updates) cease to exist. I want CK and company to be profitable so they live as long as I do.


    Also, as V8guitar said, the Kemper was really built for musicians, many of whom aren't computer geeks. It looks like an amp, has knobs like an amp, and if you don't want to fool with computers you can just plug in and treat it as an amp. His point about a dedicated platform is also important. Like many others here, I'm a programmer, so I'm reminded daily just how flaky computers can be. That's the last thing I want to depend on when I'm on stage dodging stray tequila bottles from an unruly crowd.


    Would it be technically possible to create a Kemper plugin and / or profiling app? Probably. Is that something they should do? Only if they've had way too much tequila. I know I wouldn't.

  • I dunno, the plugins never have sounded good to me. I dont know about physical circuitry but computers are ones and zeros. Also, the physical aspect of the kemper is nice. not having to deal with a computer screen, mouse, keyboard, etc is nice.

  • There are so many good guitar amp plugins, I am sure you can get a good sound that way. If not, Kemper is still way easier than setting up a tube amp to reamp the signal.


    Eventually every plugin version is hacked and why would Kemper expose their hard work and secrets to thieves?

  • There are so many good guitar amp plugins, I am sure you can get a good sound that way. If not, Kemper is still way easier than setting up a tube amp to reamp the signal.


    Eventually every plugin version is hacked and why would Kemper expose their hard work and secrets to thieves?

    They would do that if the benefit to paying users outweighs the potential financial loss. I doubt many Kemper paying users would use a hacked plugin instead if it was available. But that's speculation.

    Kemper PowerRack |Kemper Stage| Rivera 4x12 V30 cab | Yamaha DXR10 pair | UA Apollo Twin Duo | Adam A7X | Cubase DAW
    Fender Telecaster 62 re-issue chambered mahogany | Kramer! (1988 or so...) | Gibson Les Paul R7 | Fender Stratocaster HBS-1 Classic Relic Custom Shop | LTD EC-1000 Evertune | 1988 Desert Yellow JEM

  • People speak of 0’s and 1’s regarding plug-ins. The Kemper must be exactly that as well 0’s and 1’s. It’s a digital file.


    I never use the Kemper physical anymore. The RM made my recording life way easier. I love the software and will never go back to just using the unit with a small screen and folders -> subfolders and many of them. It’s a brilliant overview in the software.


    I’m just in a quandary about how “special” the Kemper is anymore compared to Axe FX III and so on. As I stated.....Kemper might have some sort of patent on their unit, but that does not exclude people from using this exact method to gain their sounds for their solutions on an already overpopulated modeling market. Yes....people don’t get to profile themselves. Products rarely get that possibility anyway. Isn’t it really only Kemper, Axe FX and a few others that offer some sort of tone matching/profiling?


    I just think that if it’s all 0’s and 1’s then the Kemper has a lot of competition coming up. I recently heard the Gojira plugin on YouTube. That sounds really close to the sounds of Gojira.

  • I do understand it from a live perspective. You don’t want to put your faith in a computer for this task albeit a Mac probably would do the task to A+. But a solution you trust is of course better.


    But what I cannot seem to wrap my head around is the fact, that it’s 0’s and 1’s and that it somehow is required to be handled by a physical unit. Aren’t we, the Kemper followers, fooling ourselves? In the regards to the tube tonalities. “We” always considered the Kemper the only real option regarding catching the tube tone of an amp. But if others are doing it this way, what makes the Kemper the go-to machine? Beside the fact if you need to profile your own amps of course.

  • It’s my understanding that the KPA uses a process similar to convolution reverb whereby a known signal is played into an amp and the output from the amp is then measured against the signal. Any differences are the amp sound and this is what forms the basis of the profile. A modeller uses a different mechanism whereby a variety of processors are used to ( very accurately) approximate what effect an amp has on an input signal. I’ve always thought of it like the difference between sampling and additive synthesis. I also understand that KPA coding is specific to a processor contained in the actual unit. Also as Chris Duncan mentions, hardware is much more difficult to pirate than software and I share his opinion that it is desirable for the Kemper company to continue to profit from their innovations and support their users.
    I stand to be corrected on any of my assertions here.

  • I do understand it from a live perspective. You don’t want to put your faith in a computer for this task albeit a Mac probably would do the task to A+. But a solution you trust is of course better.


    But what I cannot seem to wrap my head around is the fact, that it’s 0’s and 1’s and that it somehow is required to be handled by a physical unit. Aren’t we, the Kemper followers, fooling ourselves? In the regards to the tube tonalities. “We” always considered the Kemper the only real option regarding catching the tube tone of an amp. But if others are doing it this way, what makes the Kemper the go-to machine? Beside the fact if you need to profile your own amps of course.

    I still like my 0's and 1's in a black and green and understand that tone is mostly to do with eq. That is why the IR is well over half of the tone in traditional modellers like Axe and Helix.


    The only way I could see a plugin version of Kemper is if you had to connect the hardware to make it work. I guess the USB lead is not able to do this though. For me a piece of software being hacked would devalue the special nature of the product and divert development time from what we have come to appreciate.