I just thought i would pass on my personal experience of the Kemper PowerRack and welcome any questions and/or comments.
I have been playing guitar in semi professional bands for about 25 years now and have been through a hell of a lot of different types of gear. For the past 10 years i have been using valve amps, both for live use and recording. I was using Mesa/Boogie 295 power amp with a Mesa Studio, which is as good as it is heavy in weight. I later switched to a Soldano head and my knackered spine forgave me.
I was using a lot of pedals and felt that i needed something more simple, something that would meet the needs of the studio and road use and that was reliable and consistent, so after reading countless reviews and doing a lot of research i purchased the PoweRack.
I found there was a lot to get my head around but with the help of the online tutorials i soon got to grips with the unit and the many, many features. My band was due to record soon after my KPA arrived, so after settling on a sound i was happy with i went ahead and recorded our single with it. I have recorded my past 3 bands albums, regular setup in our studio with mics in front of cabs etc. To be able to record at home in a comfortable environment without the blaring speaker cabinets but with much better results was an absolute treat!
My band have booked a lot of shows in including several tours for the later part of the year (thanks Covid). So, rehearsals have started up again for that as well as writing for our next release. This is where i started to feel a bit uneasy. I realised that although the sound i used for our single sounded good through the DAW, the profile wasn't so good through my cab. I searched the RigExchange and soon found something that i was happy with that sounded great through my cab. My band play at very loud volumes, huge valve bass rigs that benefit from being pushed and a drummer, well, hard to describe...he's loud.
I turned my PowerRack up, and up again, then up again and then went into the Output settings and turned the poweramp up, and up again. I got to a level where i could be heard, but i noticed a change with the feel and sound at that level. With my previous setup i was used to the sound coming alive the more i pushed it and i always had huge amounts of headroom, the Kemper sounds good still i feel it loses something when pumped a bit, maybe a little thinner and compressed. I thought 'ah well, it still sounds good and it'll be going straight out to front of house anyway', and that's when i thought on, 'how am i going to know how this sounds through a PA at a festival/gig venue when i haven't had the opportunity to test it?' To test this at soundcheck could be disastrous as the profile may be awful when taken out the back. So, i tried it through some flat response speakers, using the recommended settings -db output etc, and i found that i didn't like the sound i was hearing. EQ wouldn't fix the sound, it was the profile. I went about looking through many other profiles and tested in the same way and i could not settle on a sound i was happy with. For me, i need something that sounds good on stage through the cab, regardless of whether i can get a good sound out front and then fed into stage monitors.
I have started to question whether i will use the PowerRack for live use or return to the tried and tested setup but purchase a new valve amp. The KPA is an amazing piece of gear which i will definitely continue to use in the studio and i think it would be really good for players that don't need it to be pumped so much at rehearsals or on stage. It's something i would use for different styles of music that i might play and the ease of carrying it around, plugging and playing makes it a keeper.
The feeling of being uncertain about my setup is not a good one and i worry that it may just be a bit to much of a gamble for me for live use.
Cheers for reading.