Just got the KPA - random thoughts

  • KPA arrived on wednesday. I've been reading the forum for a week
    so the expectations were pretty high. :D


    Here's my random observations from the first day with the KPA:


    Browsing through the factory sounds ...
    ... mmkay ... not bad ...
    ... well ... pretty good ...
    OK, this is different from the other "devices that think they're guitar amps".
    But is it better?


    The touch sensitivity is there, excellent!


    I guess clean really means clean and that ain't working for me. Somebody on the forum said to drop the gain on distortion profiles to get clean sounds and yes, that does it. Got a nice clean tone from "Goldie e906" with less gain and air chorus on it. Hey, that Air Chorus sounds really nice. :thumbsup:


    I like the reverb. Haven't A/B:d it against anything yet but I have a feeling that it might kill some TC boxes. ;)


    Noise gate: I hate gates and don't use them. Usually adding a noise gate just makes the noise more obvious because it cuts in and out. And I like being able to have notes fade out naturally without a gate cutting them short. But the Kemper noise gate is a different animal! It works even when I drop the guitar volume and play softly. Fading notes don't get gated too early. I might actually use this!


    Patch changes are fast and there is no dropout, excellent!


    All in all I found half a dozen rigs that were promising but no "holy crap, this is it" yet. Of course at the end my ears were shot from browsing too many profiles in one session and I didn't get to try any user rigs.

  • Hi Bruno, your thoughts on the Kemper were a big influence on my decision to get one!
    I'm at Hugeracks with the same nick...


    Yes, the first day I only got to test what was in the box already.
    More random thoughts coming....


    Once you'll have D/L some user profiles and tweaked them you'll like it 10 times better ;-)

  • Day 2, let's try profiling...


    I already had a Mesa Thiele cabinet miked with a 414 and a Metaltronix M1000 head in the control room ready to go. Connected the speaker cable and set up the mic pre (no Kemper yet) - sounds usable, let's go with this.


    Connected the Kemper for profiling. I did not find the usual connectivity info in the manual: input/output impedances, nominal levels, which ones are balanced and how (servo, etc.). I've seen some of this stuff in the forum but it really should be in the manual.
    Big thumbs up for the ground lifts! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:


    I multed the mic pre output to the Kemper and the A/D-converter so that I could monitor the mic with or without the Kemper. First try listening to the reference amp through the KPA: WTF? The Kemper output sounds nothing like the mic pre output??? Found it, the levels set for my A/D were way too high for the KPA but it did not sound obviously wrong - just way different than the source. Sorted, got it sounding like the source. Note to self: remember to A/B with the direct source when setting up for profiling.


    First profiling attempt:
    Playing high notes the sound was spot on but on the low strings the bass got too flabby. Tried to get it under control with pre&post EQ but could not get it anywhere near to what the amp sounds like.


    Store profile - ouch, I get it. We definitely need a librarian to be able to do the tagging on a computer.


    2nd try: during refining I avoided the lowest notes. I played only the low notes that are naturally really tight, like only going down to D and C and not playing the low E-string at all.


    Result: ..... here it comes ...


    ... "holy crap, this is it!"... :D


    Yes! Much tighter. This thing works! 8o


    There's still a difference between the profile and the real amp but I kind of expected that given the caveat about multiple distorting stages in the manual. This amp is a bit unusual because it is based on the Marshall circuit but the extra gain stage is AFTER the tone stack.


    What's awesome is that though the profile sounds different, it does not sound worse. I could easily be fooled into thinking the difference is because I'm listening to two real amps.

  • "What's awesome is that though the profile sounds different, it does not
    sound worse. I could easily be fooled into thinking the difference is
    because I'm listening to two real amps."


    +1


    I like to call it the Twin SiSter approach.
    Basically the same, but with a different character!


    Even if you get 2 amps the same in a room, chances are they wont sound the same either!. :)

  • Remember to refine for a good long while and make a couple of profiles. In my experience sometimes a profile just isn't right from the bat and can't be refined to be correct, so you should just start over in that case and do the "make a new profile" option.


    Then with the new profile just refine for at least ten minutes of noodling around, don't forget to hit those strings pretty hard (and let them ring out), but do a variaty of styles, low notes, high notes, chugging, arpeggios, power chords, riffs.


    You'll find that after that the result is much much closer to the source, to the point of being nearly impossible to spot the difference, especially with a little judicious reverb on the profile to match the sound of your room.


    Oh and remember it'll be much better at profiling with the mic close and the amp loud than with the mic further away and the volume low (and the signal from the mic being pushed by a pre), basically the less room noise you get the closer the KPA can get.

  • Then with the new profile just refine for at least ten minutes of noodling around, don't forget to hit those strings pretty hard (and let them ring out), but do a variaty of styles, low notes, high notes, chugging, arpeggios, power chords, riffs.


    This is exactly what I did except I didn't look at the clock so I don't know how long I was refining. Probably 5-10 minutes.
    I'll go to the studio now and experiment with longer refining times and doing the whole process several times.


    Did you guys ever wonder if Christoph could have done also the refining with some kind of a test signal but decided that it's more fun to involve the user in the profiling process? ;)

  • OK, learned something new...
    The clarity setting affects the tightness of the lows but it also changes the frequency balance when it is adjusted. I found that if I set the clarity where I want it (to match the reference) before refining, the KPA readjusts the frequency balance during refining and I can get closer to the reference.


    Here's the profiles I've done so far:
    http://www.brutalupload.com/file/index.php?f=d7kQRWy7


    I'll put the profiles on rig exchange when I've done a more complete set with all the modes of the amp and maybe with different speakers.


    rdnzl M1000 - 2012-07-08 13-37-12.kipr


    amp: Metaltronix M1000 (dirty + stage II on, mid shift at 3)
    cab: Mesa Thiele 1x12 EVM12L
    mic: AKG C414ULS
    micpre: Avedis MA5


    rdMetaltrx808 - 2012-07-08 13-36-41.kipr
    rdMetaltrx809 - 2012-07-08 13-36-58.kipr
    - These two have the RetroSonic 808 before the amp cleaning up the bass.