Can a Kemper replicate owning a collection of "base" amps?

  • By the title I mean... I know you can get profiles that include pedals, cabs and so on.


    But can you get profiles that are just amps?


    I just want to "own" any amps I want (for example a 5150iii, a dual rec etc etc), and have them act as a "Base" on the Kemper, just like owning the real thing, and I can switch through them at will... and then I can tweak the settings, just like the real thing, and add my own pedals/cab/etc on top of that?


    tldr: I want to recreate the experience of owning any 'real' amp I want, via the Kemper. I hope that make sense. Will Kemper allow me to do this? Or should I stick with plugins?


    edit: oh also, curently my guitar goes into an audio interface and outputs through 2 studio monitors. should I get a physical kemper cab as well, if I want to recreate the true feeling of playing electric guitar? or will my monitors do?


    Thanks so much for any help! Got some cash at the moment and this is a once in a lifetime purchase, at the moment :D

  • PROFILER and Rig Manager allow to store and reuse presets of components like amplifier, cabinet and stack. However, most people maintain their PROFILEs in the form factor of Rigs, which represent the whole signal chain including amp, cabinet and effect modules. If you don't want effects in your Rigs, you can leave those modules empty. Rigs are also the form factor, how PROFILEs are typically shared in Rig Exchange, Rig Packs,... But you are free to take any Rig and just store the amp PROFILE included as an amplifier preset.

  • Studio Monitors will be sufficient for playback and best for mixing, plus you get stereo out if you want. The Kab will make it feel more like a tradition tube amp. I have the powerrack going into an interface with monitors and a Kabinet, My favorite way to practice is to go out in stereo thru my monitors and have the Kab behind me. It kind of mimics the sound and feel of being on stage - even if you have to play at low levels at home.


    Once you start fooling around with Kemper then you will ditch those plugins forever.


    Welcome to the forums!

    The more you find what Kemper can do then the harder you try to find what it cannot do -- like make a good cup of Frappuccino.

  • You can build a library of amp profiles of amps you want. One thing to keep in mind though is that a profile is a capture of an amp at a specific given time with how it is setup to sound at that moment. That means that to have a good accurate representation of this amp you will need a stack of profiles of it adjusted different ways to get the complete capabilities of that particular amp.


    I purchased a pack of profiles of one particular amp that I wanted to own from a popular seller of profiles. It came with direct profiles as well as many other profiles of the amp at various gain stages and tones. There are a few with a pedal in front if it as well as others with a different pedal in front of it to give a different flavor of the tones that it can produce with those pedals. There are many producers of profile packs like this.


    I have also profiled one of my own amps that I really like and done it with different pedals that I have been using over the past 6 years at gigs. It has faithfully recreated those tones that I am used to using. Between the ones I have created and the one pack I have purchased, I don't feel the need to keep digging.

  • In short, no the KPA will not perform the way you described. Personally I think that is a good thing but not everyone agrees.


    The KPA captures a snapshot of the amp (usually including a speaker and microphone and sometimes with pedals though much less frequently) at a specific set of settings. You can tweak this snapshot but it is more like editing in photoshop than actually changing the physical object photographed.

    On the other hand, modellers like AxeFX and Helix (plus plugins) aim to recreate the actual signal path of the base amp. In this instance you can control all of the individual parameters of the base amp and they should respond exactly like the real amp would. However, the reality is only as good as the programmer’s ability/technology/ear/etc. I previously used GR5 and have tried the Neural Plugins and don’t feel any of them get nearly as close to the real amp sound and feel as the KPA does.


    The Kemper method of taking a snapshot tends to provide the most natural sound and feel to my ears. As most amps tend to have a very limited sweetspot of useable settings I prefer the Kemper approach and don’t miss the ability to pretend I actually have the real amp in front of me when tweaking virtual knobs.

  • Thank you everyone! I really appreciate the clarification there, that is exactly what I was unsure about - whether or not the amps were captured 'as a whole' or 'as is at the time'. Now I understand!


    But even understanding that it doesn't do exactly what I was curious about, each of you made me want to get one regardless. So thank you very much for your responses, I sincerely appreciate you all taking the time.


    "My favorite way to practice is to go out in stereo thru my monitors and have the Kab behind me. It kind of mimics the sound and feel of being on stage - even if you have to play at low levels at home."


    Yes please! :D

  • ...

    But even understanding that it doesn't do exactly what I was curious about, each of you made me want to get one regardless. So thank you very much for your responses, I sincerely appreciate you all taking the time.

    Even though a profile is a "snapshot" of the sound of the mic'd amp with it's specific EQ, Gain, and Volume settings at the time of it's recording, you basically get the profile inside Kemper with a flat EQ, so you can further enhance those EQ settings to make the profile sound more they way you want. You also have control of the Gain setting that was set during the profiling. These things will let you manipulate the profile of the amp in all kinds of ways where it sounds drastically different from the original amp. In a way, this sort of feels like you own the actual amp to mess around with.


    Another example is that I use one of my favorite profiles and create 9 mores copies of it inside Kemper with varying degrees of Gain, EQ, and Effects. Those 10 profiles cover Clean, Crunch, and Distorted sounds, and you can make each one sound uniquely different from each other - all from a single profile. It's better than owning the amp itself IMO. And I'm not even talking about the vast amount of sounds you get adding stomps and effects!


    I hope that helps.

    The more you find what Kemper can do then the harder you try to find what it cannot do -- like make a good cup of Frappuccino.

  • To follow up on Alan's comments, there are a couple of aspects of the snapshot approach that appealed to me personally, but they also highlight the differences in how people approach amps.


    Some people love the sound design aspect of creating and tweaking tones and can spend hours on end happily turning the knobs on amplifiers. That process makes me crazy. I've never enjoyed it, and would rather just find the tone I want quickly and spend those hours playing guitar. Also, I've never been very good a dialing in tones (maybe because I don't enjoy it), so I really benefit from using profiles that others create because, frankly, they're much better at getting a good tone than I am. The Kemper then captures their tone-creating expertise in the form of a profile, and I just select it and play guitar.


    This brings to mind another very important thing when you start looking for profiles - genre is everything. If you like 5150s and see a profile made with one, it could be an outstanding and high quality profile. However, I play classic rock, so the sound I'd want from a 5150 is closer to Eddie. That's not going to sound as good to someone who wants it for modern metal, and a metal profile won't sound good to me. So, the trick to finding killer profiles is a) understanding that the amp you're looking for is just a starting point, then b) finding profiles of that amp from people who like the same kind of music as you.


    I also liked Alan's comment about most amps having a limited sweet spot. It's true that I can't get every position of every knob on a Marshall like I did when I owned them. But then, I really only used a few different knob settings on the real amps when I had them in front of me. I now have those sounds as individual profiles. And as you mentioned, I have a large collection of "amps." Not the full range of the knobs on them, just the settings that I actually care about.


    For what it's worth, I had a collection of Fenders, Marshalls, Voxes, etc. from decades of playing. I owned the Kemper for a week, then sold every one of them. That was a couple of years ago, and I still don't miss them at all (or the maintenance, or the lugging them around, or the inconsistencies of miking them up). This is the single most gratifying piece of gear I've bought since 1973.

  • For what it's worth, I had a collection of Fenders, Marshalls, Voxes, etc. from decades of playing. I owned the Kemper for a week, then sold every one of them. That was a couple of years ago, and I still don't miss them at all (or the maintenance, or the lugging them around, or the inconsistencies of miking them up). This is the single most gratifying piece of gear I've bought since 1973.

    That is quite an endorsement. I was very much attracted to that aspect of the Kemper, too. I would never be able to afford more than one amp in my life anyway, but if I could, I really probably wouldn't want to deal with all of that vs the beautiful simplicity of the Kemper.

    Another example is that I use one of my favorite profiles and create 9 mores copies of it inside Kemper with varying degrees of Gain, EQ, and Effects. Those 10 profiles cover Clean, Crunch, and Distorted sounds, and you can make each one sound uniquely different from each other - all from a single profile. It's better than owning the amp itself IMO. And I'm not even talking about the vast amount of sounds you get adding stomps and effects!


    I hope that helps.

    This actually sounds close enough to what I was initially wanting to do. Honestly it sounds more than enough.


    I'm simply getting excited now, I'm all in.


    Thank you again.

  • For what it's worth, I had a collection of Fenders, Marshalls, Voxes, etc. from decades of playing. I owned the Kemper for a week, then sold every one of them. That was a couple of years ago, and I still don't miss them at all (or the maintenance, or the lugging them around, or the inconsistencies of miking them up). This is the single most gratifying piece of gear I've bought since 1973.

    Sooooooo tickled to hear that!

    In 2021 I started a YouTube channel featuring acts playing live from my studio. Would love for you to check us out at https://bit.ly/livefrompfd. The Kemper's won't make an appearance on the show until Sept 2021, when we resume.

  • Sooooooo tickled to hear that!

    I did a quick once around the block on your YouTube show. Fun stuff, man.


    If you've been miking guitars in the past, you're going to love the simplicity of coming straight out of the Kemper into the board. The exact same tone every time you pull up a profile, no more amp knobs off by just a little each time or mics that are never quite the same from gig to gig. I love the consistency and not having to worry about dialing the guitar in each time. There's an old joke in the computer biz that reliable stuff is like a toaster - plug it in and it just works. In my case, well, I guess it really is a toaster. :)

  • I did a quick once around the block on your YouTube show. Fun stuff, man.


    If you've been miking guitars in the past, you're going to love the simplicity of coming straight out of the Kemper into the board. The exact same tone every time you pull up a profile, no more amp knobs off by just a little each time or mics that are never quite the same from gig to gig. I love the consistency and not having to worry about dialing the guitar in each time. There's an old joke in the computer biz that reliable stuff is like a toaster - plug it in and it just works. In my case, well, I guess it really is a toaster. :)

    Thanks for checking the show out Chris! I love the toaster analogy.


    I've only previously mic'ed guitars during final tracking sessions. The Katana's I've used for a few years now have been good enough for practices, writing, and now the live YouTube show. But just like in the computer biz, sadly the prototypes go into production more often than not :D The Katanas were always meant to be placeholders but their ease of workflow makes it harder to go back to mic'ing. I'm sure the purists are horrified I would say that, but there are only so many hours in the day.


    As I bring new acts in for the live show who, rightfully so, are upset I won't let them bring their favorite combo/head/cab to mic up, I had to have a better solution.


    With the Kemper's my hope is to keep the ease of workflow while having actual stellar reliable guitar tones for everyone, for live and studio use :)

    In 2021 I started a YouTube channel featuring acts playing live from my studio. Would love for you to check us out at https://bit.ly/livefrompfd. The Kemper's won't make an appearance on the show until Sept 2021, when we resume.

  • As I bring new acts in for the live show who, rightfully so, are upset I won't let them bring their favorite combo/head/cab to mic up, I had to have a better solution.

    I don't know if the acts you bring in are a single meeting thing or people you know in the area, but if it's the latter you could always have them come out on a day before the show and profile their amp. They show up and get the exact tone they're used to, you get the consistency and ease of use the Kemper brings, and you get some additional profiles, too.


    There are plenty of folks who are tube purists, and I was one for a long time. I kept trying digital solutions and there were good things about them but it was never quite right. I would imagine some folks will be resistant to anything but their amps just out of reflex. However, I also wouldn't be surprised if you start auditioning different profiles for them and they find sounds they love as much as their own amp. There's just a staggering amount of good profiles out there, both free and paid.

  • A way to "own" the amp(s) you want is decide what settings/tones you want out of each amp. Then, out of a set of profiles of a particular amp, choose the clean sounds you want, choose the gritty sounds you want, choose the full out distortion sounds you want, etc., etc. and keep those in your Kemper and/or in a folder in rig manager. In lieu of going to the amp and, for instance, turning up the mids, just go the profile with more mids.

  • I don't know if the acts you bring in are a single meeting thing or people you know in the area, but if it's the latter you could always have them come out on a day before the show and profile their amp. They show up and get the exact tone they're used to, you get the consistency and ease of use the Kemper brings, and you get some additional profiles, too.

    I have the musicians show up the day before to dial in their drums, bass, vocals and guitar tones. I hope to offer the ability to profile their amps in the future, but I believe I need to get a few hours in the Kemper before I dive into profiling. Just evaluating the free/paid profiles available is overwhelming!

    In 2021 I started a YouTube channel featuring acts playing live from my studio. Would love for you to check us out at https://bit.ly/livefrompfd. The Kemper's won't make an appearance on the show until Sept 2021, when we resume.

  • For what it's worth, I had a collection of Fenders, Marshalls, Voxes, etc. from decades of playing. I owned the Kemper for a week, then sold every one of them. That was a couple of years ago, and I still don't miss them at all (or the maintenance, or the lugging them around, or the inconsistencies of miking them up). This is the single most gratifying piece of gear I've bought since 1973.

    Now curious of what you bought in 73?

  • Lets say you set all controls on an amp about to be profiled at 5 (neutral), don't expect that profile to take on the same characteristics of the amp as you start tweaking.

    But that can be a good thing not necessarily a bad thing. It's all about tone. The audience doesn't care what amp you are using or trying to sound like. They just want you to sound good. Heck, I don't even care what amp or profile you are using. Just make it sound good. Then, I might want to know to be able to copy you. ;)

    The more you find what Kemper can do then the harder you try to find what it cannot do -- like make a good cup of Frappuccino.

  • In short, no the KPA will not perform the way you described. Personally I think that is a good thing but not everyone agrees.


    The KPA captures a snapshot of the amp (usually including a speaker and microphone and sometimes with pedals though much less frequently) at a specific set of settings. You can tweak this snapshot but it is more like editing in photoshop than actually changing the physical object photographed.

    On the other hand, modellers like AxeFX and Helix (plus plugins) aim to recreate the actual signal path of the base amp. In this instance you can control all of the individual parameters of the base amp and they should respond exactly like the real amp would. However, the reality is only as good as the programmer’s ability/technology/ear/etc. I previously used GR5 and have tried the Neural Plugins and don’t feel any of them get nearly as close to the real amp sound and feel as the KPA does.


    The Kemper method of taking a snapshot tends to provide the most natural sound and feel to my ears. As most amps tend to have a very limited sweetspot of useable settings I prefer the Kemper approach and don’t miss the ability to pretend I actually have the real amp in front of me when tweaking virtual knobs.

    Whoa! Best answer ever! Thnaks a lot for thaking the time to wright exactly what I m gonna say.



    ...

    Anyway sometimes it's cool to edit with photoshop to get 'the best' out of the "Flat" Reality. Isn't it?