New to Kemper. Confused about Volume and profiles sounding both too quiet and dull

  • I've had a Stage for only a couple of weeks. With every profile i load, i have to crank the "Amplifier" volume to 3:00/8.5db or further, just to get a reasonable volume. And high-gain profiles just sound anemic and i usually have to turn up the GAIN to get it to sound close to what i would expect the Default to sound like. Is this common/expected/normal?


    I'm confused about the difference between RIG VOLUME, AMP VOLUME, Input>CLEAN SENS/DIST SENS.... Too many different ways to affect volume for my simple brain.


    I'm using SPDIF, into a Gen 3 Focusrite Scarlett, with five different guitars and a pedalboard, but the same concerns exist for all guitars, and whether or not i go straight into the Kemper. Monitors are Mackie MR624.


    That all said, if i do turn up the Amplifier Volume, the sound can be quite good, but it seems silly that i would have to do that with Every new profile i try, when people demoing the Kemper seem to be able to just scroll through presets at random and everything sounds 'perfect.' Plus, i'm paranoid that maybe cranking this Amp Volume is compromising me somewhere, with either noise or S/N or dynamic range or somesuch—i dunno.


    Anyone want to counsel me and maybe also run down the 'global' settings i should be using?

  • The behaviour you describe is definitely not normal. The output from the KPA is very hot and often needs to be turned down or padded to play nicely with other gear so you shouldn’t need o boost anything to get a useable level.


    There is almost no difference between boosting the Amp Volume and the Rig Volume (except where there is an effect with is volume sensitive such as a Compressor after the Stack section). In general I would boost Rig Volume instead of Amp volume unless you are going to be using a compressor or OD after the Stack and want a specific effect.


    Clean Sense is a very important and useful feature which is used to balance the global perceived level between clean and dirty sounds. With it set low clean sounds will be quieter relative to dirty sounds. With it set high clean sounds will be louder relative to dirty sounds. The perceived balance between these is affected by various things including guitar pickup output. However, it is unlikely that Clean Sense would cause the issues you describe.


    Distortion Sense adjusts the level of gain at a global level for dirty sounds only. It is a way of adjusting for very weak or very powerful pickups. It affects the perception of gain but doesn’t change volume so, again, this is unlikely to be causing your problems.


    I would forget SPDIF and your interface just now in order to help troubleshoot with as few variables as possible. Plug your Main Out L+R directly into the Mackies and start following the signal chain. Also check on headphones directly from the KPA HP output.



    1 - with guitar plugged straight into interface and using a DAW amp plugin is everything normal? If so the we can rule out the guitar, cables, monitors and cables between interface and monitors.


    2 - with monitors plugged straight into the KPA is it still really quiet? If yes then suggests KPA setting. If everything works OK with KPA directly to Monitors then start looking at interface settings.


    3 - with headphones plugged plugged into the KPA is it still really quiet?



    I sounds like you have a setting messed up in the output menu. What are the output controls set to? Are the all showing 0db or -Xdb? Which ones change when you turn the master volume knob? You can decide which outputs are controlled by the Master Volume knob so you may have a level low and the volume knob unlinked.


    What output signal is being sent to each output. At this stage (for troubleshooting) I would set everything to Master Stereo.


    Do you have any FX engaged? If so do you have the Volume of the FX turned down?


    Follow the signal path through methodically.

  • Just to add what Alan said, check the output level before you adjust any rig volumes, clean sense etc. Rig volumes and the sense setting are more about balancing between profiles rather than overall volume ( which seems to be the issue).


    The KPA runs its output so hot that you need to turn it down to stop clipping for most desks and so through your Scarlett although I don;t know much about SPDIF. Try the main outs to your Scarlett to check it but I bet you'll find the signal thumping out.


    Hope that helps...

  • Okay, so i have it plugged directly into my powered monitors.

    It does seem to run very 'hot,' but only for the higher-gain presets. If i just randomly flick around between unknown profiles, the high gain stuff is loud>too loud, and the clean stuff is borderline inaudible. That's with each profile's AMPLIFIER Volume at 0.0db, and OUTPUT (Main Output/Master Stereo) at -21.7db.


    So, if i switch from a profile with gain level 7 (bars), it's too loud, and then i go to the same profile, but a clean (zero bar) version, it's way too soft.

  • Humans perceive clean tones to be lower in volume than high-gain tones. Clean tone profiles always sound too low to my ears, but when looking at my db meters in my DAW, you can see they are the same signal strength as a high-gain profile. So, be careful with clean profiles so you do not begin to clip. I keep my Sens at Zero, and I use cold/hot passive and active pups on different guitars.

  • Humans perceive clean tones to be lower in volume than high-gain tones. Clean tone profiles always sound too low to my ears, but when looking at my db meters in my DAW, you can see they are the same signal strength as a high-gain profile. So, be careful with clean profiles so you do not begin to clip. I keep my Sens at Zero, and I use cold/hot passive and active pups on different guitars.

    This is also why compressors are so handy when dealing with clean tones :)

  • Humans perceive clean tones to be lower in volume than high-gain tones. Clean tone profiles always sound too low to my ears, but when looking at my db meters in my DAW, you can see they are the same signal strength as a high-gain profile. So, be careful with clean profiles so you do not begin to clip. I keep my Sens at Zero, and I use cold/hot passive and active pups on different guitars.

    Yes, i recognize that, but still.... Too much of a disparity. Seems like there should be a built-in provision for normalizing profiles.

    If i install a new pack of profiles, and there's a Friedman Dirty tone, shouldn't i be able to switch to the same amp's clean tone and be able to hear it? Not saying it would be completely inaudible, but it's like if my volume on a high gain patch is 8, the clean will be 2.


    Clean Sense only goes so far to get it closer, but i feel like i'm doing something wrong when i use it—as if i'm 'cheating' and adding some sort of technical, digital 'crutch' that doesn't give me the full audio quality. Like when you use the Digital Zoom feature on a camera—you do increase your 'reach,' but the pixels aren't the same quality as when you use an Optical Zoom. Knowhatimean?


    I'm not completely new to modeling. I've had an Atomic (2x), a Fractal AX8, and a few software modeler apps. This issue is not entirely unique to the Kemper for me, but because it's not modeling—it's a capture—it seems like 'bad practice' to goose volume like this.


    So, back to practicals—do you guys have to do the same thing with every preset you load? If you get a pack, you scroll through them, and for each one, you have to adjust levels? Which 'level/volume' control do you work with FIRST? Which is the LAST resort?

  • Yes, i recognize that, but still.... Too much of a disparity. Seems like there should be a built-in provision for normalizing profiles.

    yes, that’s exactly what clean sense is.


    Clean Sense only goes so far to get it closer, but i feel like i'm doing something wrong when i use it—as if i'm 'cheating' and adding some sort of technical, digital 'crutch' that doesn't give me the full audio quality. Like when you use the Digital Zoom feature on a camera—you do increase your 'reach,' but the pixels aren't the same quality as when you use an Optical Zoom. Knowhatimean?


    You’re not cheating. That’s what it’s for.


    So, back to practicals—do you guys have to do the same thing with every preset you load? If you get a pack, you scroll through them, and for each one, you have to adjust levels? Which 'level/volume' control do you work with FIRST? Which is the LAST resort?

    No, I need to run Clean Sense at -5db or less to stop my clean profiles being too loud relative to distorted profiles. I typically have clean sense at between-5 to -6db (it’s not that picky so anywhere in that range works for me) then lock the input menu to have the setting applied to everything without the nedd to tweak individual rigs much at all.

  • Okay, cool.

    I feel like i might just export the set of profiles i edited for each of my guitars, then Factory reset the entire Kemper and clear out the Rig Manager, and start over. And i'll lock the Clean Sens from the beginning.


    Thanks much. Hope i can come back to report happiness and joy!

  • Okay, cool.

    I feel like i might just export the set of profiles i edited for each of my guitars, then Factory reset the entire Kemper and clear out the Rig Manager, and start over. And i'll lock the Clean Sens from the beginning.


    Thanks much. Hope i can come back to report happiness and joy!

    Defo try this because it seems odd to me. I don;t touch clean sense at all and I don;t do that much balancing. All rigs have a slight variation but I have not noticed what you are describing here myself.


    Let us know how you get on.

  • I did a factory reset, reinitialized Globals, and rebooted. But, then i got zero sound. Weirdness. The tuner was recognizing signal, but no output. I checked all the Output section settings, but couldn't find a culprit.


    Reset the System again, and rebooted, and boom—instant tone. I set Clean Sense pretty high: 9.3db, and now everything seems to be working as i would expect. I can randomly go through all the presets and they're far closer in volume, regardless of gain level. Not 'the same,' but close enough that i can browse without having to constantly stop and tweak levels and whatnot.


    So, consider me a happy kemper for the night, and now i have a ton of profiles to test this weekend.


    Thank you, all, for your assistance. I'm sure i'll be back with some other questions, but it's so nice to know there's a responsive and friendly community here.


    *By the way– does anyone know of a Divided by Thirteen BTR 23 profile? I'm always coveting Papa Stache's tone, but have not yet seen a commercial profile of that amazing amp.

  • Reset the System again, and rebooted, and boom—instant tone. I set Clean Sense pretty high: 9.3db, and now everything seems to be working as i would expect. I can randomly go through all the presets and they're far closer in volume, regardless of gain level. Not 'the same,' but close enough that i can browse without having to constantly stop and tweak levels and whatnot.


    So, consider me a happy kemper for the night, and now i have a ton of profiles to test this weekend.


    By setting the Clean Sense you have solved your problem the correct way.


    But 9.3 dB is an unusual high value, that shows the true symtom of the problem: your guitar is either very soft or it enters the Profiler at a very soft volume. Never seen that.

    Do you have other devices between your guitar and the Profiler?

  • By setting the Clean Sense you have solved your problem the correct way.


    But 9.3 dB is an unusual high value, that shows the true symtom of the problem: your guitar is either very soft or it enters the Profiler at a very soft volume. Never seen that.

    Do you have other devices between your guitar and the Profiler?

    Hello, sir. I'm honored by your reply.


    I am running a pedalboard into the Kemper.

    And i really had only been working with one of my guitars for clean tones when i was following the steps (above) to figure this out, a Strat with Lollar pickups. I'll try a tele and Jazzmaster later tonight with cleans.