Need help with Kemper Kabinet EQ

  • I hope you guys can help me out:


    Every time I dial in a profile in my DAW to sound great it just doesn’t sound the same way via my Kabinet. There’s a lot of difference, the Kabinet sounds less defined, is more muffled while at the same time the treble is a bit unpleasant.

    I’m sure there’s a physical concept behind it that I don’t understand. But to get the same sound out of the Kabinet I need to change the EQ on the profile.


    Is it because I don’t play the Kabinet loud? If yes, what is the Kabinet Volume that gives me the clear representation of the profile.


    What comes out of FOH?: Is it what I hear in the DAW or what I hear in the Kabinet?


    To be a good monitor, shouldn’t the Kabinet sound very close to the profile that I’ll amplify to the audience?


    It’s just disappointing that I can never use the same profile for both recording and playing through the Kabinet.


    what am I missing?

  • Kaschko

    Changed the title of the thread from “Don’t get Kemper Kabinet EQ” to “Need help with Kemper Kabinet EQ”.
  • Short answer - everything will sound “different “ its a physics thing.


    Longer answer :


    The Kabinet is designed to sound like a real guitar cabinet in the room. It is not a full range PA/studio monitor type device. Yes it has a full range mode but this isn’t the same as a typical full range speaker since the Kabinet has no separate tweeter or crossover.


    The larger speaker in the Kabinet (compared to studio monitors or headphones) will sound different.


    The position of the Kabinet in the room will make it sound different.


    The actual room you are in will make the Kabinet sound different.


    The position of the cabinet relative to your ears will also sound different. Your headphones are firing sound straight into your ears so you are always on axis for high frequencies. Try lying on floor with the Kabinet pointing straight at your ear. Place your head on a pillow or something so that your ear is directly in line with the center of the Kone. I’ll bet that sounds brighter and less “muffled”.


    Any speaker in the room (monitor, PA, Kabinet, Guitar Cab etc) will give you the sound of the speaker PLUS the effect of the room (which can be massive) whereas headphones cut out the effect of the room.


    As has been said in other threads relating to this issue, stop trying to get the sound to be identical and stop worrying about it sounding exactly the same at home as it will through a PA on a gig. It never will. Get a good basic sound that translates well to as many different systems as possible then let the engineer tweak it to fit the band mix appropriate for the particular venue. Your personal holy grail recorded tone from your favourite artist (whether its Metallica, Van Halen, Pink Floyd, SRV etc etc) sound different on every system you listen on. Multi Platinum selling mixes are great because they translate well not because they sound the same on everything.

  • I agree with everything you say but feel my specific questions haven't been answered.


    Yes, the Kabinet simulates a real guitar amp. But guitar amps have volume settings at which they sound the way they are supposed to. No amp sounds like the designers intended when you turn the volume down to 1. There's certainly a dynamic, but it's not unlimited.

    With the Kemper Kabinet I have the experience that the sound changes quite drastically between -30db and - 20db. And not just in volume but in overall EQ. Yes, it is surely a physical process but that again raises the question at which volume do I produce the physical sound situation in which the profile sounds as intended - and is therefore maybe closer the DAW sound.

    Is there a sweet spot for the Kabinet or is there a different sweet spot in each profile? Do I have to play the profile of a Twin Reverb louder than the profile of a Princeton?


    I am not trying to make the Kabinet sound EXACTLY like the DAW via headphones. I know that's impossible. But when the Kabinet produces a result that sounds like a different profile, different bass, treble, reverb (which changes a lot with volume) then I think it's a bit of a user error on my side that I can't just blame good old physics for.

  • Yes, the Kabinet simulates a real guitar amp. But guitar amps have volume settings at which they sound the way they are supposed to. No amp sounds like the designers intended when you turn the volume down to 1. There's certainly a dynamic, but it's not unlimited.

    That is related to the amp rather than the speaker particularly with valve amps. It isn’t a function of physical volume but rather harmonics created by the valves. You can test this by running a valve amp into an attenuator between the power output and the speaker. The sound and feel will usually change as the amp is turned up even when volume is kept the same.


    With the Kemper Kabinet I have the experience that the sound changes quite drastically between -30db and - 20db. And not just in volume but in overall EQ. Yes, it is surely a physical process but that again raises the question at which volume do I produce the physical sound situation in which the profile sounds as intended - and is therefore maybe closer the DAW sound.

    Is there a sweet spot for the Kabinet or is there a different sweet spot in each profile? Do I have to play the profile of a Twin Reverb louder than the profile of a Princeton?

    this confuses two separate issues.


    The Twin V Princeton example is back to how the amp itself responds due to power amp distortion and compression. A Twin has masses more clean headroom so in the case of the real amp will be significantly louder than the Princeton. However, as long as the profile is made with the amp in its sweet spot then the level you play it back at with the profiler has no effect on that amp sound feel.


    The Kemper is a Class D solid state amp and doesn’t change sound in the way that a valve amp does when driven harder. These amps are specifically designed to reproduce a signal cleanly at any volume something that a valve amp simply can’t do.


    The issue about volume of the Kemper/Kabinet in the room is a different thing entirely. This is related to how our ears perceive sound. It affects all sources of sound in a broadly similar manner. This is true of organic sounds (a car engine or someone speaking etc) as much as it is for musical reproduction. At low volumes our EARS perceive mids as being louder than bass and treble. Often at low volume this results in people cutting mids or boosting bass and treble to scoop out that muddy mid range. However, as you turn the volume up our ears become less sensitive to mids relative to bass and treble. To put it another way, we start to hear bass and treble more. Therefore, the same settings that sounded great at low volume will tend to sound very scooped with too much bass and treble. These settings also tend to get lost in a live band mix as the guitar is too prominent in the frequency range that the Bass and Kick occupy and also the range that cymbals occupy. At the same time there is a big hole in the guitar sound where there isn’t any bass or drums to compete with. That is why so many people complain that their amp isn’t loud enough to compete with their drummer. Typically it isn’t that the amp isn’t loud enough but simply that it is trying to compete in the wrong range. You won’t beat a drummer or bass player in a volume battle!


    You can see from this that the listening volume aspect isn’t dependent on the type of amp profiled or how hard i was running etc, it doesn’t change much from rig to rig (except n so much as some rigs may contain excessive or deficient amount of a certain frequency range). As our ears remain constant no matter what rig we use the problem of volume will always be there.


    People often refer to Fletcher Munson which is one set of research into this phenomenon. Basically google Equal Loudness curves for more information. You will see that the curve for our ears is flattest around 85db. Therefore, the “sweet spot” for listening is somewhere around 80 - 90db. Don’t get hung up on an exact number but something in that range will give your ears a reasonable impression of what it really sounds like. However, remember that gig volumes can easily exceed 110db.

    But when the Kabinet produces a result that sounds like a different profile, different bass, treble, reverb (which changes a lot with volume) then I think it's a bit of a user error on my side that I can't just blame good old physics for.

    Hopefully, this will reassure you that it isn’t user error but is indeed something that you can just blame good old physics for ?

  • Just another element to be aware of....


    No solution sounds the same through different signal chains. Apply your logic to a regular amp.


    You sound on stage sounds nothing like for FOH sound - you just have never worried about it, but focused on getting the best sound so its then amplified via a mike and PA.


    The KPA allows you to get much closer but you are stuck with this regardless of what solution you use.


    You will always have to tweak the sound between solutions, but the KPA makes this easier. You should not need to ditch profiles though, just tweak.

  • I find best tone achieved at a minimum of 85db. If I am using studio monitors to achieve desired tone then I set the Kabinet in FRFR mode (no imprints).

    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.

  • I don't know guys. I understand your answers but my Kabinet just sounds off. It's extremely boomy. I have to turn the bass and mids way down and then it just looses everything that made the profile nice. I was even wondering if something was wrong with it.

    That's why I was wondering if the Kabinet is supposed to be played loud and then when I stand in a few meters distance of it it sounds good. But playing at around 90db sounds miles and miles away from what I hear through headphones in the DAW. It's a bit the famous blanket on top effect that one knows from bad amps.


    I feel it is especially true with Celestion 12" profiles. The brighter Jensens, especially the 10" sound way better through the cab. Everything that has the M Britt cab attached is muffled.

  • I suggest you reach out to support and see if you can capture the problem.


    I use the Celestion V30 imprints and I've run Mbritt profiles and they sound really good. I can understand tweaks etc but defo do not need to turn down bass and mids drastically...defiantly something sounds off.

  • I suggest you reach out to support and see if you can capture the problem.


    I use the Celestion V30 imprints and I've run Mbritt profiles and they sound really good. I can understand tweaks etc but defo do not need to turn down bass and mids drastically...defiantly something sounds off.

    Pretty sure it‘s a user error.

    Note that I only have that problem with lots of gain. Clean profiles sound good.


    I love the sound of M Britts Marshall 69 with 25w Greenbacks. If it sits in the DAW and I play some Led Zep over it my Gibson sits perfectly in the mix. But played through the Kabinet it just sucks.

    Why is that?

    American style amps in general sound better. It‘s as if the boomyness I‘m describing must have to do with mids.


    That‘s why I was wondering if a loud plexi has to be played loud through the cab in order to work. As if it needs the volume to unfold or something.

  • It stands on top of another amp so I usually have the bass boost on. But I keep playing around with it constantly. Bass boost feels boomy but without it it feels too trebly. So I usually have the boost and and turn down the bass eq.

  • Starting think Guy (V8) is right and you need to speak to support in case there is something wrong with your speaker.

    The problem is that I have never played a Marshall 1987 or other amps that size in person so I don‘t know if they just behave like this. Maybe some amps just sound very different recorded vs. live.

  • The problem is that I have never played a Marshall 1987 or other amps that size in person so I don‘t know if they just behave like this. Maybe some amps just sound very different recorded vs. live.

    This is also very possible. We have views on how amps sound from the recorded versions but can get disappointed hearing them directly...

  • Ok guys, it seems like I found the solution.

    It was all because of my amateurishness, I suppose...


    Seems like I just always used too much gain on my profiles. I used to pick 4 or 5 bar gain profiles and rolled the volume on the guitar back. But the sound is so much better with 2 or 3 bar gain profiles. It didn't seem to make that radical of a difference in the DAW but with the Kabinet the profiles are so much better at low gain with the guitar volume knob on 10.

    I also took down distortion sens by -2db.

    I do feel that Jensen speakers sound better and clearer than the Celestions M Britt uses but that is probably just a matter of taste.


    I suppose the higher gain settings are mainly good for solos, but crunch and slight distortion sounds best at 3 bars of gain with my guitar. Maybe adding a boost instead of going up the gain level. I will experiment a bit more but at least the Kabinet doesn't sound boomy anymore.

  • the general rule is that the louder you play, the less gain you need. It might surprise you how little gain some classic guitar sounds really have. Angus and Malcom Youngs sounds are virtually clean ?

    Yeah, I know that. But many of the rock gods would just turn down the volume on the guitar for more overtones in the clean tones. That doesn't seem to work so well with the Kemper. The low gain profiles just sound better.


    I also saw that many profiles lose a lot of their quality in higher gain settings. M Britt keeps it usually consistant but with other vendors the 4 bar gain profile doens't match the tonalities of the 2 bar gain profile anymore. That's where most of my confusion comes from and what sometimes still makes me miss a real amp...

  • Yeah, I know that. But many of the rock gods would just turn down the volume on the guitar for more overtones in the clean tones. That doesn't seem to work so well with the Kemper. The low gain profiles just sound better.

    I suppose a lot depends on the guitar. Most of mine have a treble bleed capacitor on the volume knob so they clean up great with the Kemper. I typically run 3 - 4 gain range and roll it back to clean up.


    One thing you can do is use a mid to higher gain rig and morph the gain down for the same effect as turning down the guitar volume. I made about 10 test profiles of my THD BiValve non master volume amp with the volume ar every hour on the clock face and compared the original rig to a higher gain rig with the gain reduced to match the original rig and they didn’t sound the same. However, reducing the gain did actually sound pretty much identical to turning down the guitar volume. The test profiles are in RigExchange of you want to test it yourself.


    make a performance


    In slot 1 use a rig with gain at say 3.


    In slot 2 use a rig with gain around 5.


    In slot 3 use the same rig as slot 2 but reduce the gain to the same number as slot 1 shows.


    In slot 4 use the same rig as slot 1 but increase the gain to match the rig in slot 2.


    Now compare the pairs and compare higher gain with guitar volume reduced.


    I think they were direct profiles if I remember correctly so you will need to load a cabinet as well or use them with imprints.