I own my Kemper since less than half a year now but I'm wondering if a good attenuator would be better for what I want to do. I need your advice here, since owning both solutions at the same time is too expensive and I want to make sure not to sell the Kemper and then be disappointed with my other solution.
Maybe in the end you'll just help me regain my Kemper love and dismiss this idea again, who knows.
What I want to do:
- be able to play amps as authentically as possible at home
- be able to have good sound at bedroom volume
- be able to use headphones
- be able to record guitar
- be able to add reverb to non-reverb amps
What I like about the Kemper:
- easy recording
- good headphone use
- some good sounds in there
What I don't like about the Kemper:
- doesn't sound good via Kemper Kabinet at low volumes
- too many options / distracting
- amp profiles only come in a few snapshots and don't replace the real amps which they profiled
- I find myself more often tweaking than actually making music. That's not the Kemper's fault, it's mine, of course. I think having less experience with the real amps than the average Kemper owner just makes me doubt how good the sounds are much more. I'm probably too much of a gear noob for this machine.
- Not a dislike but I have no need to create my own profiles, which means I don't use a big part of this machine.
I found out (thanks to the Kemper!!!) that I get almost all sounds I have inside my head from a JTM45. If I'd add a Tweed Deluxe I would probably be covered.
I am really bothered that the Kemper doesn't give me the full control over said amps. For example, I cannot play around with an amp's circuit and explore it the way it was intended. I would love to plug into a JTM and play with high and low treble inputs, with crazy EQ settings and with channel jumping. I have great JTM profiles on my Kemper but they are limited in what they can do.
I miss having a real amp. I miss the sound of a real amp that doesn't keep me questioning if there couldn't be another Kemper profile that sounds better than the one I have. Owning the real amp would only leave me with possible wishes of speaker and valve changes, but I would always know it sounds the way it is supposed to. Yes, for many Kemper owners authenticity doesn't matter, to me it does since being a hobby guitarist for me is also about appreciating these vintage designs.
The best live sound is less important to me than a good home/rehearsal sound + good recording options.
Now I am wondering: Should I get rid of my Kemper and instead get the real amp I love + a great attenuator? The price should be around the same.
But which attenuator to get in that case?
Freyette PS2: I read that it sounds great with Marshalls at any volume. The FX loop allows me to add a reverb pedal. BUT: no headphone out, no SPDIF or USB connection for direct recording.
But couldn't I just connect the direct out to my USB interface and listen to headphones via my DAW? In that case I assume I need an external cab simulation. My feeling is the PS2 isn't exactly right for my case - or at least not the simples solution.
Ox Box: Great recording possibilities. Headphone output. BUT: attenuator not as good as with the reamping technology of the other devices. Also, if I understand correctly, the Ox doesn't allow to add reverb to the real guitar cab, only to the speaker simulations.
Boss TAE: Seems to be the best of both worlds being also the most expensive option. No SPDIF out but USB out. If I understand correctly, I can add reverb to the real guitar cabinet. Comes with speaker simulations any many effects (I wouldn't have to buy a reverb pedal). BUT: Apparently loud fan noises, so not sure if it works for bedroom volume playing. Did I miss any other downsides?
What are your thoughts? Will I in the end just end up with something that is less reliable and sounds worse than my favorite Kemper profiles? It would of course be horrible if what I'll get satisfies me less than my profiles, despite them being limited in what they do.
Or is the attenuator route the right way to go if I don't need the sounds of several different amps and easy FOH workflow that the Kemper offers?
Thanks for hanging in, I know this was a long read.