Kones - 6 months later trip report

  • So I have a powered toaster and was playing it through an Orange 4x12 with V30s (stock). It sounded awesome. Unbelievable great tone. I decided to swap the V30s for four Kones…thinking it will be just as awesome just more variety.

    After 6mos of tweaking, for the stuff I play, mid and heavy rock, regular speakers are just better. The Kones are full range speakers - so the imprints kind of narrow the range to copy a particular speaker, but in doing so they kind of throw a blanket over the whole sound. You can EQ a lot of it out - but it takes a lot of tweaking and still sounds slightly worse all around in my view.

    I absolutely love my Kemper, but for me the Kones add a ton of diversity but they do it at the expense of tone, and in the end it’s not a worthwhile trade off.


    I do understand the use of the rig cab sim or having it globally off to skip cab sim but use just the imprint, and tried both. I also tried putting it in full range mode and using the high and low pass filters to get rid of the harshness - but while this gets rid of the blanket sound, it is still fizzy and frankly would mean the output section would need to change for every profile.


    I'm a big Kemper fan - the profiler technology is absolutely incredible, and I was tube religious prior to Kemper....however, I think they missed the mark on the Kones for the type of music I play. I’m selling the Kones and going back to V30s, although 8ohms this time...


    Obviously, this is very opinion related - if you love the Kones, awesome, but I wanted to pass it along.


  • That is quite a long time, with a blanket over the sound.

    Something must have gone wrong.

    Thousands of users use the Kone as a replacement for their guitar speakers or their fullrange system, or both.

    You will not find a similar report elsewhere.

    You will, however find comparison tests, that replacing guitar speakers with the Kones and chosing the respective Imprint (e.g. V30) will bring you back the same sound. Hard to tell it apart. No blanket!


    Are you sure that you have made all settings for the Kone in the right way?


    If you like, post a phone picture of the Kone screen of your Profiler.

  • Sounds odd to me ( no pun intended).


    I run a kabinet and find the opposite....


    Clear, defined sound, I moved away from my 4 x12 ( which I have for sale btw if anyone is interested) due to the massive coluration making everything sound the same. It covered up crap profiles so I had to start again but ended up with superior sound.


    How did I find this out? When I hooked my KPA up direct. So just remember that the sound through the Kones will be closer to your FOH sound especially run via FRFR....therefore if you don;t like that sound, then more likely a problem with your profiles, covered by the speakers...


    I play heavy rock....I had a rehearsal Wednesday night, and definitely no blanket - face ripping sound, especially when I used a new profile I'd been itching to try....

  • ckemper - It was a long time - because I think the profiler is an incredible feat of humanity - could not be a bigger fan of your work. Profiling is truly an incredible feat of audio engineering.


    So I kept tweaking, different profiles, EQs, I learned the entire output stack to master low and high cut, and to understand how exactly the Kone switch, cabinet off toggle and cabinet in the rig worked with the Kones so I could try everything. I've seen the videos....and can't really explain why I had this experience. The tone was never terrible, it was just never as good as it was with the original stock V30 cabinet. It's almost like the simulations in the speaker and CAB layer almost added too much digitization to the process. Each profile took 20mins of tweaking to get to sound almost as good...and I found myself using 2-3 imprints at most. I suspect people are much more satisfied who play largely clean profiles. I play alt rock - so mid to heavy gain stuff.


    Feel free to delete this review - I didn't mean it disparagingly as I know many people have great experiences with the Kone, and tone is subjective.

  • There is no bad thing about your review.

    I believe it is not just an impression that you had, but maybe a wrong setting that caused an unpleasant sound.


    To mention the setting on the Kone Page in the display:


    Kone Mode highlighted.

    MonitorCabOff highlighted.

    Imprints set to your liking, eg. Vintage 30

    Directivity typically in noon setting.

    When Directivity set to max, the Kone is as bright as the V30 on axis (which is very bright).

    Off axis the Kone is even a bit brighter than the original, when Directivity is set to the right half. Opposite of blanket.

  • I suspect people are much more satisfied who play largely clean profiles. I play alt rock - so mid to heavy gain stuff.

    to be honest, I would expect most people who play mainly clean profiles to prefer an open backed cab. Kones in a closed back cabinet would seem much more suited to heavy rock.


    Music and tone are subjective and extremely personal. At he end of the day all that matters is what works for you. If you feel a regular guitar cab sounds better for your needs, then you are right. If it sounds good to you and you have fun making music then it is the right solution. Rock on 🤘

  • For what it is worth, I think the issue is not really with the Kones - because with a lot of configuration I can get good sounds (ckemper - those output settings are what I was using - so monitor cab off (ticked on), kones on, and then would use the imprint I wanted vs. the cab IR).


    I think the bigger issue is there are so many selectable settings, which I appreciate we are appealing to audio engineers, it takes quite a bit of work to both understand everything and then to dial in settings for profile/tone. My main job is tech investing...I actually think the Kemper team could use some great UI experts to simplify the interface, improve the software, and lose settings that are largely inconsequential or add AI or automatic settings to tweak those based on the settings available to be changed. My point is you've engineered a product that has so many settings, it's easy to hurt yourself with them, and difficult to dial in well. You have world class, innovating engineering, why not have world class / apple like UI engineers on the front end?


    Maybe you are already there with new products en route given you are hampered by old hardware / OS builds. Either way, I am a HUGE Kemper fan.

  • My point is you've engineered a product that has so many settings, it's easy to hurt yourself with them

    I think it's a double-edged sword. On the one hand it's great that you can adjust things that you could never adjust on a real amp. Things like definition and clarity, for example. On the other hand I find myself constantly questioning whether I have all the settings right or if I might be missing something. So I tweak and tweak. With a real amp you kinda have to either live with what you got or spend thousands of $$$ to buy even more amps, hoping one of them will feel perfect. (I got the Kemper since I didn't want to do that).


    For professionals I'm sure all these settings are awesome because they have a perfect sound inside their head and can dial it in. For noobs like me who have no real reference it's hard to know what I'm even looking for. I actually stopped tweaking around too much and instead try to hunt for profiles that work well as they are (still need to lower bass and mids with my P90 LP though).


    In a perfect world there'd be some kind of AI like you're talking about to simplify things in addition to an advanced mode for professionals.


    Personally, I find I can dial in sounds perfectly using headphones and monitors. But as soon as I use my Kabinet I often doubt if the settings are correct. I blame the fact that most of the profiles I use are from amps that I've never played or even heard in person. That means if something sounds "wrong" to me it might actually be perfectly identical to the real thing.

  • I think the bigger issue is there are so many selectable settings, which I appreciate we are appealing to audio engineers, it takes quite a bit of work to both understand everything and then to dial in settings for profile/tone. My main job is tech investing...I actually think the Kemper team could use some great UI experts to simplify the interface, improve the software, and lose settings that are largely inconsequential or add AI or automatic settings to tweak those based on the settings available to be changed. My point is you've engineered a product that has so many settings, it's easy to hurt yourself with them, and difficult to dial in well. You have world class, innovating engineering, why not have world class / apple like UI engineers on the front end?


    Maybe you are already there with new products en route given you are hampered by old hardware / OS builds. Either way, I am a HUGE Kemper fan.

    Im also in IT....


    The UI isn;t great but you are highlighting the age old problem. Most people want more flex but how do you incorporate that without making it overly complex?


    I think the KPA does this quite well by:

    1) Using presets

    2) Most settings are part of the profile. I virtually never change pure cab, definition etc. You don't have to....Its one advantage of profiling over modelling, you are not starting from scratch.

    3) Most of the lower level changes are in pages outside the main parameters


    AI is fab buzz word, what do you expect the AI functionality to do in this case? Learn what sounds you like? Given most guitarist like a wide range of sounds, how do you see that working?


    I agree that some set wizard/quick start type things might be useful - "this is how I use my Kemper, set up the outputs etc." but beyond that not sure what else.


    Come up with some ideas and post in new features...

  • I’m so old school that I actually prefer the Kemper UI over modern touchscreen devices like Helix and QC. A limited number of physical knobs for quick immediate on the fly tweaks is a real advantage to me. I’m all for progress but I would need to see demonstrable improvements in workflow to want to adopt a new UI. Too many UI these days are flash looking and full of useless gimmicks that actually make working more difficult. I would use Apple as an example. Each update they roll out now seems to make my like more difficult as multi gesture screens etc end up opening unwanted pages.


    As someone once said “be careful what you wish for, you just might get it” 🤣

  • I get the AI is a trendy word. I’m more thinking correlation engines. If anonymous data was reported back to Kemper, maybe it could set the lower level deeper settings based on hours weighted use of the same profile by other users.


    I appreciate defending the UI for its depth but there’s a reason even successful complex systems have simple UIs - it is better design when it’s possible.

  • I get the AI is a trendy word. I’m more thinking correlation engines. If anonymous data was reported back to Kemper, maybe it could set the lower level deeper settings based on hours weighted use of the same profile by other users.


    I appreciate defending the UI for its depth but there’s a reason even successful complex systems have simple UIs - it is better design when it’s possible

    Yeah, getting the "footfall" or "click through" type info I think would be useful, although perhaps just getting some feedback might help. The challenge is actually the variation of users as there are many people are studio users vs a "dumb" user like me who just cranks and goes :).


    This is becoming more applicable as more complex solutions like Kemper Drive and Fuzz add more parameters to change.


    I do actually agree there is room for improvement, so i wasn't trying to overly defend it but genuinely get your views on what you'd suggest.


    Most people equate UI with pretty screens...the KPA is LCD so is "old" but I have a BMW and the interface is a very pretty colour large touch screen...and I can't find anything or has some very irritating idiosyncrasies.


    It did take me, however, 3 months to notice that the front panel was laid out in a "pre amp" and "post amp"layout ha!

  • I get the AI is a trendy word. I’m more thinking correlation engines. If anonymous data was reported back to Kemper, maybe it could set the lower level deeper settings based on hours weighted use of the same profile by other users.

    I’m not sure if I fully understand what you are saying but I think you are proposing something along the lines of;


    Profile XYZ has been used by 5000 users recently. In many cases users reduced amp definition and pure cab but increased hi pass filter to 95hz. Therefore, when I load that profile the Kemper will automatically make those adjustment for me simply because they are popular with other users.


    If that is the sort of thing you are suggesting I would be strongly against it. I want the profiles to be set up how I want them not how others use them. Also, what happens if ai have a profile set the way I want it then a little while later the KPA changes all the settings based on user ratings?


    I hope I have misinterpreted your suggestion and if I have I apologise for coming across like a grumpy old fart 😂

  • AI is fab buzz word, what do you expect the AI functionality to do in this case? Learn what sounds you like?


    I’m not sure if I fully understand what you are saying but I think you are proposing something along the lines of;


    Profile XYZ has been used by 5000 users recently. In many cases users reduced amp definition and pure cab but increased hi pass filter to 95hz.

    What I could imagine AI to do would be the following: There are plugins from Izoptope that use clever algorithms. Especially Tonal Balance Control 2. It's a very smart program that has was fed with the information of thousands of songs from different music styles so that it can tell you if your sound settings are within that normal EQ setting for these styles. Even more you can upload your own choice of songs and see if your EQ curve fits that sound and would sit well in the mix. In short, it just helps you hear better and isn't bound to whatever monitors you use.


    AI in modelling or profiling could for example listen to you play some chords with your guitar and then adjust the settings for the profile so that your guitar sounds a desired way. Whether you plug in your Les Paul or your Tele it will make adjustments to mids, definition, treble etc. There'd be no more need for clean sens and distortion sens. And it could produce a number of EQ presets for you (Rock, Blues, Metal etc.) tailored to your specific gear, pickups, strings, etc. Any profile you'd choose would always be set up perfectly, no matter what guitar the person used who set it up originally before profiling.


    No worries, I know not everybody would want that and I'm sure Kemper has no interest in that technology but it's definitely an area where AI can help. I use TB Control 2 all the time on my DAW and wouldn't mind if the Kemper would have that built in so that it could be used without the laptop as well as in a live setting etc.

  • That's exactly my suggestion with a correlation engine - learn from all of the other tweaking that has been done to set defaults on the more complex/nuanced settings. I'm not suggesting the settings are taken away, I'm just suggesting they are buried deeper in the menus and set automatically as a starting point - if the Kemper knows your set up and can anonymously capture useage data, it can likely get those settings right a bulk of the time - leveraging thousands of hours of trial and error from its users.


    I'm not at all suggesting this not be adjustable changeable, I'm just suggesting it would be an effective way to streamline the UI while likely improving user experience and immediate satisfaction with profiles.

  • OK, I understand what you are saying but in all honesty that is something I would really want to be able to totally disable and I wouldn't want the settings buried deeper making it more difficult to find the stuff I want to tweak manually. As long as it had a total bypass option to opt out I wouldn't be against others having it if they want it but I would definitely want to turn it off.