for people who have axe fx aswell as kemper

  • Kemper IS the amp (or at least a 99% snapshot of the amp at the settings it was profiled at). Axe and Helix are NOT the amp and use models to try to replicate an amp's sound.

    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.

  • I just got the Fractal FM9.
    I very quickly decided that I am very glad to have a Kemper.
    I’m selling the Fractal and now I am no longer haunted by the thoughts that possibly a Fractal might be better. The GAS/FoMO demons have been exorcised.

  • I just got the Fractal FM9.
    I very quickly decided that I am very glad to have a Kemper.
    I’m selling the Fractal and now I am no longer haunted by the thoughts that possibly a Fractal might be better. The GAS/FoMO demons have been exorcised.

    Why did you not like it?

    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.

  • I just got the Fractal FM9.
    I very quickly decided that I am very glad to have a Kemper.
    I’m selling the Fractal and now I am no longer haunted by the thoughts that possibly a Fractal might be better. The GAS/FoMO demons have been exorcised.

    I am on the waitlist for the fm9, so I am curious. I like the amps in my Kempers much better than in my Helix (and the fractal units I tested myself) but "even" it is great and ampwise indistinguishable on stage. So I am curious of what made you want to sell it. The Kemper is not even close to the fx routing possibilities of a fractal. Was it too overwhelming to get to a good result, was it the "feel" or what was it?

    Better have it and not need it, than need it and not have it! - Michael Angelo Batio

  • Why did you not like it?


    I am on the waitlist for the fm9, so I am curious. I like the amps in my Kempers much better than in my Helix (and the fractal units I tested myself) but "even" it is great and ampwise indistinguishable on stage. So I am curious of what made you want to sell it. The Kemper is not even close to the fx routing possibilities of a fractal. Was it too overwhelming to get to a good result, was it the "feel" or what was it?

    Take this for what it's worth—i was predisposed to not want to keep the Fractal, and i really only used it enough to get a 'hot take' on it.


    1) I've long read about how tube amps "feel" different than sims and modelers. Having been an apartment dweller for the past 30+ years and not having played through tube amps more than in guitar stores for handsfuls of minutes, i was not really familiar with what that meant—feel. They talk about it in terms like "lag" and "sponginess." Okay. I didn't know what that really meant, and sometimes it sounded specious. But, that was one of the first things i noticed about the Fractal. It is very, very immediate. That was the word that sprang to mind. It reacts immediately. Which, if you're talking about latency in software modeling, would be a good thing. If you're talking about a modeler vs a tube amp—i guess it may be a matter of opinion... but i don't think i liked it. I mean, it's hard to suggest that immediate response is a bad thing. But, i had only recently reached a point in my Kemper ownership (~6 months) where i am very happy with my tones. I worked out some issues with my interface and the volumes balance, and then i started doing the hi-/low-cut thing, and my tones are fantastic. So, when i plugged in the Fractal, i had that in mind, and as i scrolled through some similar presets/familiar amps, i just didn't get any sense that the Fractal was doing things better. Or even 'as good.' And i know that's unfair, as it took me 5 months to get 'happy' with the Kemper, but that was about some setup and technical issues that i wasn't having with the Fractal, and even the experience with the Kemper allowed me to set up the Fractal so as to avoid those issues. Plus, i had an AX8 a few years ago and am familiar with the editing software, so it wasn't a newbie experience.


    2) I thought the Fractal editor—from my memory—was going to be a far superior experience to using Rig Manager, which i don't love. But, it wasn't so significantly better that it made a difference for me.


    3) Difference of Usage Intent. With the Kemper, i use a pretty good-sized pedalboard. That was always my plan—to treat the Kemper as an amp farm, not as a multi-effect unit with amps. I'm not sure why i thought of it that way. Actually, no, i remember.... When i had the AX8 and NO outside effects, i used to be envious of pedal users. I used to go to music stores and see those cases of shiny, bright-colored metal boxes and i was jealous. I don't like the idea of selecting effects by cursoring and selecting an ambiguitized name from a menu. I like hardware knobs to see where they're set, and to be able to just reach over/down and tweak. Plus, i just like the design and the stories. Just yesterday, i was watching a video with Robert Keeley and the That Pedal Show guys, and they were talking about his career and how the Super Phat Mod originated. A pedal that i have and love. And i was just interested in that story. I find it to be a far more compelling experience with guitar to get a bit invested in the nuances between pedals of the same variation, for instance. So, over the past two+ years, i have a pedalboard that i'm pretty happy with. I ordered a custom board for it just last month, and the penultimate pedal just last night. But, when i ordered the FM9, it was with the intent of having it serve as pretty much the only device. For a few reasons: A) i think the Fractal effects are just better than the Kemper's, in general, but especially in the reverbs and delays. And i have some expensive reverb and delay pedals i thought i'd be able to sell. And if i got rid of those, then many of the other drive pedals could go, too. Not sure that makes complete logical sense, but that was the plan. And it was a plan i didn't really want to execute. I have a beautiful board being custom built, and i was excited to finally wire my stuff up in a neat way, so i didn't want to feel compelled to try to sell that, and then sell my 15 pedals that i've spent two years amassing. But, when the FM9 was about to arrive, i did manage to convince myself to be 'honest and open' about it and to give it a real chance. Because, selling the pedals would have netted me nearly two grand, which i would have put into a killer guitar. That was how i motivated myself toward objectivity.


    4) The Fractal arrived and i 'unboxed' (i so totally hate that word) it, and plugged it in and got the software running and switched it on. Wow. Nice impression. The screen is beautiful. The scribble strips are lovely. It's a clean, robust design. I don't care for the hardware UI, but just as with the AX8, i wasn't going to use the hardware to do anything. The editor software is pretty much the same as it was with the AX8, and it's responsive and better-designed than Rig Manager, IMO. But, it's not great, either. I'm sure i'm hyperpicky, because i'm a designer, but whatever. It serves its purpose. After that, though, i just wasn't wowed by anything sonically. It is very easy to get a working sound very quickly. I mean, you just choose an amp. You don't have to choose it with a predetermined thought about which gain range you want to use, etc. Just pick an amp. And a cab. And, the gains and volumes are pretty much right there for you—i didn't have to figure out stuff like the Kemper's output stage settings for Cleans and whatever the other thing is for Single Coils vs Humbuckers. So, that's cool. It just seems to work right out of the box as you would expect it, more so than the Kemper did for me.


    5) Not sure what else to say. I just wasn't wowed. Again, the day before i tried the Fractal, i had been loving my Kemper tones. Clean stuff, edge of breakup stuff, with or without my pedals adding to the gain. And the Fractal tones were just 'good.' The other thing was that they reminded me of the AX8 tones i used to get. When i had the AX8, i thought it sounded great, because i was coming from an Atomic Amplifire. The AX8 was better than the Atomic by a step. By a lot of steps if you include the effects. But, my quick experience with the FM9 gave me the sense that the Kemper is better still. More nuanced tones, with better, more organic feel. I still envy the Fractal's effects, but with my board, that's neutralized. Now, re: the "feel" thing—i'm sure Cliff has engineered some parameters to control sag and sponginess somewhere. And i didn't even look for that. I just didn't feel like playing the Fractal anymore after getting that initial sense of it. And that, in and of itself, is another factor i pay attention to. Over the last six years or so, i've learned that there are some devices or softwares that make me want to play and some that don't. And i don't know what it is specifically about them (maybe it's the 'feel' thing?), but that's important to me. For example, the Amplifire made me want to play, more than Overloud TH-U, for instance. The Kemper, more than the FM9. I used to like iOS Bias FX on my ipad more than some other iOs modeler. I have no explanation for it, but it's palpable. Some devices/softwares just have me wanting to turn them off and stop playing after a half hour, while others have me going and not paying attention to time. It's not an overt thing about one being grating or harsh in the actual sound—not that i'm aware of. There's some sort of 'magical' engagement thing happening or not happening. That's about all i can say about it, but again, take that with a grain of salt, because i'm sure it's completely 'personal' and not based on anything empirical. Your experience may vary.


    If you have any specific questions, please ask. I've already rambled about matters that may or may not exist, and from a perspective of some ignorance, but it was enough of an experience to solidify my confidence in my Kemper Stage, which was valuable, considering that i can pretty easily and quickly become infatuated with the idea, promise, and romance of a new piece of gear.

  • 1) I've long read about how tube amps "feel" different than sims and modelers. Having been an apartment dweller for the past 30+ years and not having played through tube amps more than in guitar stores for handsfuls of minutes, i was not really familiar with what that meant—feel. They talk about it in terms like "lag" and "sponginess." Okay. I didn't know what that really meant, and sometimes it sounded specious. But, that was one of the first things i noticed about the Fractal. It is very, very immediate. That was the word that sprang to mind. It reacts immediately. Which, if you're talking about latency in software modeling, would be a good thing. If you're talking about a modeler vs a tube amp—i guess it may be a matter of opinion... but i don't think i liked it. I mean, it's hard to suggest that immediate response is a bad thing. But, i had only recently reached a point in my Kemper ownership (~6 months) where i am very happy with my tones. I worked out some issues with my interface and the volumes balance, and then i started doing the hi-/low-cut thing, and my tones are fantastic. So, when i plugged in the Fractal, i had that in mind, and as i scrolled through some similar presets/familiar amps, i just didn't get any sense that the Fractal was doing things better. Or even 'as good.' And i know that's unfair, as it took me 5 months to get 'happy' with the Kemper, but that was about some setup and technical issues that i wasn't having with the Fractal, and even the experience with the Kemper allowed me to set up the Fractal so as to avoid those issues. Plus, i had an AX8 a few years ago and am familiar with the editing software, so it wasn't a newbie experience.


    5) Not sure what else to say. I just wasn't wowed. Again, the day before i tried the Fractal, i had been loving my Kemper tones. Clean stuff, edge of breakup stuff, with or without my pedals adding to the gain. And the Fractal tones were just 'good.' The other thing was that they reminded me of the AX8 tones i used to get. When i had the AX8, i thought it sounded great, because i was coming from an Atomic Amplifire. The AX8 was better than the Atomic by a step. By a lot of steps if you include the effects. But, my quick experience with the FM9 gave me the sense that the Kemper is better still. More nuanced tones, with better, more organic feel. I still envy the Fractal's effects, but with my board, that's neutralized. Now, re: the "feel" thing—i'm sure Cliff has engineered some parameters to control sag and sponginess somewhere. And i didn't even look for that. I just didn't feel like playing the Fractal anymore after getting that initial sense of it. And that, in and of itself, is another factor i pay attention to.

    I also agree that the tone and feel of the amps are better in the Kemper. I think the reason for that is that the profile is just more of an accurate representation of the amp than what a model is. The profiler gets information from the actual amp to create the profile. The model is purely software written to simulate what the amp does. I think that is where a lot of the feel difference comes from. I found that I have to roll my guitar volume back much farther to get the same reduction in gain that I get with the Kemper and my real amp. I also think that higher gain players like the Fractal amps better. To me the factory presets all had way too much gain and effects on them.


    I am going to be keeping my FM9 as well as my Kemper stage. I am able to do something with the FM9 that I can't do with my Kemper and that is run two completely different signal chains to run my electric and acoustic (from a piezo pickup in the same guitar) through one unit. That is a valuable feature for me. I am still working on the amp settings to try to get it as close to what I get from the Kemper as I can.

  • I also agree that the tone and feel of the amps are better in the Kemper. I think the reason for that is that the profile is just more of an accurate representation of the amp than what a model is. The profiler gets information from the actual amp to create the profile. The model is purely software written to simulate what the amp does. I think that is where a lot of the feel difference comes from. I found that I have to roll my guitar volume back much farther to get the same reduction in gain that I get with the Kemper and my real amp. I also think that higher gain players like the Fractal amps better. To me the factory presets all had way too much gain and effects on them.


    I am going to be keeping my FM9 as well as my Kemper stage. I am able to do something with the FM9 that I can't do with my Kemper and that is run two completely different signal chains to run my electric and acoustic (from a piezo pickup in the same guitar) through one unit. That is a valuable feature for me. I am still working on the amp settings to try to get it as close to what I get from the Kemper as I can.

    That is something i forgot to comment on. I think guys like Leon Todd make the Fractal sound killer, and they are really fantastic with the very high-gain tones. He's probably one of the reasons i was most interested in going back to Fractal. Him, and Brett Kingman and Robert Baker perhaps. For the contemporary 'metal' rock, the Fractal is probably a great option. I tend to think of the Fractal as sounding more 'produced' and the Kemper more raw/organic/original—if that makes sense. It probably doesn't, as when you compare them head to head/A-B, you don't really get that sense. It's probably more of my feeling about how the Fractal effects may be more polished? I dunno. You know how people say Strymon effects have a certain polish and 'pedigree?' Maybe it's that same thing with Fractal—a 'sheen' that Kemper doesn't have?


    Ironically, though, my most important high-gain tone is the EVH Brown Sound, and i still think the Kemper does that far and away better than any other system. I pretty much bought the Kemper on the basis of the TopJimi profiles. The thing about the Brown Sound, though, is that it is not very polished. It's a raw, brash tone that isn't 'precise.' Which is why maybe i think the Kemper delivers it better. It's organic, not technical.


    Yeah, the two different signal chains thing—if that sort of thing is important to you, Fractal is the tool. I used to think Dual Amps was going to be a big thing for me. Watching all those That Pedal Shows where they run two amps... plus, just my general supposition that two amps must certainly create a bigger, more nuanced tone—surely that's better than one amp, right? But, when i used to try it with Overloud TH-U, i just got bogged down in balancing and mixing them, or whatever—it just never gave me results that made it worthwhile to continue. I honestly didn't even try it on the FM9, except for a preset or two(?) that was already set up that way. I think i'm just fine with a single amp, but i do love my stereo effects....

  • I recently got an FXIII and it seems pretty amp-like in my opinion. I just did a short video, first a mix and then an isolated recording of the patch I created with two guitars (OD Guitars Venus and PRS 1957/2008).


    The isolated guitar tracks with the two guitars used (OD Guitars Venus and PRS 1957/2008) are towards the end of the clip in that order. The short mix at the start is cause I keep trying :P


  • Right on man, I’m looking at getting the FM9 to replace the kemper. Kemper has been great but I’m ready to branch out. I’ll keep the stage I’m until I can achieve better results with the fm9

    Same here. Also waiting for the fm9 to arrive to see... what I will see. Right now I wouldn't go as far as to say right away I will give away both my Kempers but I am pretty sure one of them plus my Helix will definitely have to leave if all those YT videos and recencions are only near to reality. Only "problem" is that fractal will not start delivering those in Europe before ~March-May. Who knows if Kemper won't announce something magical until then, which I hope. I am really running easily into limitations with my stages as standalone units. The main argument "Amp sound" loses more and more its weight the more amp simulation progresses.

    Better have it and not need it, than need it and not have it! - Michael Angelo Batio

  • Right on man, I’m looking at getting the FM9 to replace the kemper. Kemper has been great but I’m ready to branch out. I’ll keep the stage I’m until I can achieve better results with the fm9


    I am doing the same thing. I have had some success with the Kemper, but in the end there are tones I couldn't quite nail. Petrucci's JP2C in particular has driven me crazy trying to reproduce. Fractal has a ton of Mesa models that from clips sound more up my alley.

  • The UI reminds me of the Helix which I found to be a totally awful modeler. After doing research on Fractal, the Kemper was a way easier choice. I figured I would have to buy an FXiii and then spend tons of money on other people's profiles and even spend money on advice and info on how to use it. And then buy a new version every time a major update came along and sell the old one at a substantial loss. I would still like to test drive one though -- I entered a Fractal giveaway. ;)

    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.

  • ...And then buy a new version ...

    I looked on the G66.eu homepage and thought it was a joke. But the latest unit is: Axe-FX III Mk II Turbo :D:D:D:D:D

    Will be followed soon by:

    - Axe-FX III Mk II Turbo+

    - Axe-FX III Mk II Ultra Turbo

    - Axe-FX III Mk II Extreme

    - Axe-FX III Mk II Extreme+

    - Axe-FX IV

    - Axe-FX IV plus

    - Axe-FX IV Mk II

    - Axe-FX IV Mk II Mega



  • It may seem like a lot but essentially any 1 unit from a generation should meet the needs of the user as long as they are happy with the effects at the time of release (and really, may meet your needs for multiple generations). The higher dsp power just lets people add more/better effects. If a user wants that, they can get it. But the base unit's amps will sound the same.


    Check out the FullRes IR's. They are pretty cool imo.

  • I think part of whether someone likes the FM9 better than the Kemper is how high gain of tones you are going for. The FM9 has a lot more gain than the profiles I have for my Kemper. I don't really play super high gain tones though. Thankfully I am in a position where I can keep both of them and will. To me they are just different units that do things from different angles.


    It took quite a bit of adjusting time to get the FM9 in the ballpark of the Kemper with the Dirty Shirly amp model. I have the Tone Junkie profiles of this amp and I also have a Twin Sister amp that has two of this same circuit in it. That gives me something that a lot of people don't get and that is the ability to compare the kemper and FM9 to the real amp. The Kemper is way closer to the real amp than the FM9. I have the gain down to 1.5 on the FM9 just to get in the same ballpark. The models of this amp in the FM9 have more gain than the real amp has. I bought three York Audio IR packs on black Friday. My next step will be to add a creamback IR to both units to see if that gets them closer.