Kemper Profiling Amp Successor

  • Dual Amps might be good.


    As of late I have been playing with my POD HD and creating dual amp setups. This lets you do all kinds of crazy things but sounds like it may run into phase issues? I wonder if that is what they found when they made the first Kemper so they did not include it. Because it feels like they thought of everything else. Or maybe marketing felt dual amps was too much for non tech people to deal with?


    Anyone do this on other units? Phase issues? Sound wonky?

  • I personally think that dual amping is a bit old now. A good option to have though. I feel that a choice to be able to mic up an amp like you would do in the studio, would be a lot more realistic. And I mean internally with Kemper possessing 2 or 3 mic inputs that can do a profile each and then you can mix between the different mics or cabs if needed. And each profile should be able to recall all three of these profiles within one profile, so you can adjust on the go if one mic number is too dominant.


    USB instead of s/pdif is of course a must. Backward compatibility would be very cool. There might be a slight change in sound. Who knows. The display and UI could use an upgrade. I agree. I only use the RM though.

  • I’ve seen the idea of backward compatibility a couple times here.


    Christoph Kemper has stated that the Profiling process and its results have been taken as far as they can go. The code is as optimized as he can make it.

    The Motorola processor the profiling process uses is a requirement. I read where CK said he’s as intimate with that processor and the code it runs as anyone can be. It sounds as if one without the other means no more Profiling.


    In his own terms he’s said there will be no ‘rework’ of the code making old profiles incompatible. If a KPA 2 ever sees production, the profiling process and presentation of those profiles will function and behave identically to what we have now. The Stage uses the same processor for the profiles.


    I believe that processor has been out of production for several years now. But it’s in the Stage.


    Unless CK decides to get up close and personal with a new processor/code combo it seems what we have is what we have. Considering developing the profiling process on something else is very much ‘a been there done that’ thing, I don’t see that ever happening.


    Hanging new hardware bells and whistles on the KPA of is (probably) of little interest to Kemper. He’s an inventor. Not an executive looking to compete. Virus synths, the Profiler…heck the Kone and it’s technology are all unique approaches.


    Without backwards compatibility - Who here would want to start over completely with creating a new library of amps?


    The entire cottage industry of profile makers would be destroyed and new owners would be at an enormous disadvantage.


    The unit might be faster, more touchy-feely and more ‘hip’…..but the technology at its center will fundamentally be the same as it was in 2011.


    Which is to say….not really a ‘new’ thing at all.

    “Without music, life would be a mistake.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

  • Ruefus>>> And I have seen it being mentioned many times, that CK has stated, that the code has gone as far as it can go.


    I’m sorry….but I view this as a typical politician answer. They close the book….but not entirely. They talk their way around the stuff, that needs to be answered.


    Yes….it might be true, that THIS code with THIS cpu under THESE circumstances cannot be better. I don’t know. But what I do know though is that technology does not stand still. A lot more is possible today than 10 years ago. So by saying THIS code cannot go any further is not saying, that the code can be re-written or tweaked for newer technology. Of course it can. The question is, if he wants to do that. You say yourself. He’s an inventor. I don’t know much about his inventions besides the Kemper and the Virus. That’s only two things. Two great things though. But still only two things.


    Anyway….I cannot imagine something like this not being able to be tweaked to reach just a little closer to the real sound. Just the tiniest little adjustment to maybe get the bottom end a bit better or something like that.


    Anyway….happy New Years everyone ?

  • Politician isn’t a word I’d ever associate with Kemper. Stubborn German? Sure.


    But redoing what he’s already done? From the ground up? To *maybe* eke out something more?


    For an inventor?


    B O R I N G

    “Without music, life would be a mistake.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

  • The ideas I have about dual amping that would be useful for the Kemper are based on work I am doing on my POD HD.


    With the POD I can run 2 parallel amps. This means I can run two completely different amps like a Fender and a Marshall. Since each amp has its own EQ and adjustments you can dial things in and create a whole new amp that does not exist. This is the MAGIC part of the Kemper to me. It is such an open platform that it is limitless. Having dual amps would push this further. The key would be to keep it simple but useful.


    Stuff I have made:

    1) Fender+Marshall. Fender clean with a little Marshall crunch. Mix to desired value.

    2) Rect+Rect. Setup one amp with lower gain and one with higher gain. Adjust the freqs of those amps so you can select where the gain is. Normally the mids. You have complete control of the gain. So many amps/profiles you wish it had a little more push somewhere but you cant do it.

    3) Use the same amps but different mic+cab combos. Lets you dial in the frequency response better, etc. This usually has major phase issues since the different IRs are usually not in phase. This is where Kemper could shine by letting you adjust things a little better then the rest do. This is what Kemper is really good at. Coming up with novel ideas and solutions to hard engineering problems.

    4) Low Gain+High Gain. Adjust the SAG on the high gain amp so you get the articulation of the cleaner amp with the singing overtones of the distorted amp gradually coming in after the note attack.


    Since the Kemper really grew their customer base around modeling real world amps, this may not be a great marketing fit for them.

  • Just give us tone matching software and we won't ask for another thing again -- ever!

    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.

  • Dual amps requires two Profilers. Literally.

    “Without music, life would be a mistake.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

  • Ok, as my name implies, I am an electrical engineer .... and more importantly, a hardware engineer .... and have been for a number of decades now ;).


    I must admit that until this thread, I have never delved into the KPA design, but now that I have, let me tell you what I found:


    1) The processor being used for running the screen, taking input from buttons and knobs, etc, etc, is indeed end of life and not being sold BUT ...

    2) CK has smartly put the main processor, RAM and ROM on an expansion board .... which means he can easily update the processor, RAM and ROM without ANY other changes to the remaining processing (and most importantly the DSP)

    3) The DSP chip (where all the magic happens) is NOT end of life; however, it is no longer recommended for new designs. What this means is that the OEM plans to EOL it in a year or two (usually). At that time, a notice to their customers will go out to let them know that they will EOL the part and give them an opportunity for a lifetime buy of parts. THAT hasn't happened yet, or the part would be listed as "obsolete" and you couldn't buy an more.


    So .... where does that leave the successor?


    Well, I suspect that Kemper can keep making the units he has now for another 3 years minimum. Beyond that .... things may get dicey.


    The main processor is not a big deal. I would be shocked beyond shock if CK hasn't got the code in C which will port fairly easily onto many different processors.


    It's the DSP portion that is the problem. It is possible that the DSP will port if they stay in the same family, the question I have is .... has the entire family become obsolete, or just the version the KPA is using.


    While I am a genuine expert in C, assembly, and microprocessors, I am not an expert in DSP programming. Perhaps someone else here with more experience in that area could chime in?

  • Awesome work. Thanks!

    It was my pleasure. I geek out about hardware design ;).


    It is interesting (concerning) that ALL the DSP56Fxx family of freescale DSP processors are listed as "not recommended for new designs" and the ONLY other DSP chips they make (MSC8xx family) are all listed as obsolete.


    The tool chain and code libraries used for the KPA would not work IMO with any other OEM's chips (I could be wrong though).


    I know that Analog devices makes a SHARC line of DSP's and they have a lengthy list of old and new DSP processors. That would be a PITA to move the KPA from NXP to Analog Devices SHARC, but in the long run, it might be a better idea if NXP has decided it isn't supporting DSP chips any longer.


    As I stated earlier though, the current DSP chips can still be purchased and Kemper has years to get out a new design.

  • I’d like to point out that Mr. Kemper decided to stop development and driver maintenance of the Access Virus, his first really successful product. He might do the same at some point with the Profiler considering his statement that the profiling process has been developed as far as possible.


  • I’d like to point out that Mr. Kemper decided to stop development and driver maintenance of the Access Virus, his first really successful product. He might do the same at some point with the Profiler considering his statement that the profiling process has been developed as far as possible.

    Sure. But to me it’s just a synth. Many have created great synths. The Kemper is a totally different story. That’s a product that really were innovative compared to a synth. I don’t think that these two can be placed side by side, when talking innovations.


    I don’t think that one can say, that just because he did this to one product earlier, then it’s the company norm. And yes….people seem to continue referring to him saying, that the profiling code has gone as far, as it can. I challenge you, though. What does that really mean?

  • There will be a Kemper 2 and I am quite sure it will come much sooner than we think.


    But for sure the world does not need another "more real" and "more fx and fancy UI" kind of thing.


    What we need in 2022 (and beyond) is gear that can deliver new ways of wrecking down all the limits young musicians will not accept anymore in the future. And this is certainly true for the electric guitar.

  • What we need in 2022 (and beyond) is gear that can deliver new ways of wrecking down all the limits young musicians will not accept anymore in the future. And this is certainly true for the electric guitar.

    Sorry….I’ve tried to read this at least 20 times and made a google translation as well. I don’t understand this sentence ?. Can you elaborate? Do you mean some kinda limits that young guitar players today does not accept, should be torn down? Or? I can’t get it to make sense.


    But I also believe that a second version will appear one day. But, I, on the other hand, believe that striving for perfection should be what drives this ship forward. I’ve been onboard this digital ship for over 20 years now. Had my first digital pedalboard, Boss GT-6 in 2001. If they’d stopped there by saying, that there’s no need to go forward from here, we’d be left with that old stuff. In 20 years from now we’ll be in the same spot as today looking back. So imho this cannot stop and we need to keep pushing the boundaries to strive for just a little better solution every time. And in the end that will take us a long way. Of course….if people have romantic thoughts about olden times, then you’ll disagree. So yes….the gear world need the next more realistic thing.

  • All programs (including the program that creates and implements profiles) rely on a translation of an algorithm into machine code. Most often the machine code is translated from a high level language by another program called a compiler.


    If the author of the algorithm cannot refine it to improve the device’s function, the product cannot be improved.

    Physical assets such as more memory and DSP might provide the algorithm a greater functional level. But only the author knows the requirements for those needs to be met. You can bet that Mr. Kemper knows the limits of his algorithm and what assets it needs to function optimally. In fact if I remember correctly I seem to remember hearing him say that adding memory and more DSP wouldn’t improve the profiling process.

    Of course more memory and DSP could potentially allow for more and better effects processing. Based on Mr. Kemper’s statements however, a hardware revision simply will not improve the profiling process. That doesn’t mean a Profiler V 2 won’t be built. Just don’t expect it to make ‘better’ profiles.

  • All programs (including the program that creates and implements profiles) rely on a translation of an algorithm into machine code. Most often the machine code is translated from a high level language by another program called a compiler.


    If the author of the algorithm cannot refine it to improve the device’s function, the product cannot be improved.

    Physical assets such as more memory and DSP might provide the algorithm a greater functional level. But only the author knows the requirements for those needs to be met. You can bet that Mr. Kemper knows the limits of his algorithm and what assets it needs to function optimally. In fact if I remember correctly I seem to remember hearing him say that adding memory and more DSP wouldn’t improve the profiling process.

    Of course more memory and DSP could potentially allow for more and better effects processing. Based on Mr. Kemper’s statements however, a hardware revision simply will not improve the profiling process. That doesn’t mean a Profiler V 2 won’t be built. Just don’t expect it to make ‘better’ profiles.

    I’m no computer expert (in fact I’m close o being a Luddite) but if I recall correctly CK actually said that the current DSP chip is required to make the KPA work. More modern chips aren’t as flexible or efficient for audio purposes even though they are much more powerful in other ways.

  • If the author of the algorithm cannot refine it to improve the device’s function, the product cannot be improved.

    In fact if I remember correctly I seem to remember hearing him say that adding memory and more DSP wouldn’t improve the profiling process.

    I’m no expert either, but this cannot come as a surprise to most people with just a bit of understanding of IT. That’s not what I personality refer to. I refer to a brand new scripted code or a code which is being rewritten and adjusted to meet requirements of newer chips. Or of course the old code ported to a new device and in this case, nothing can be changed according to CK. But is this a complete truth? Or is it just a way to close down speculations, because they are happy with where they are now and therefor believe, that they cannot make it sound better? If everyone in the world stated, that all the profiles seem to lack in the low mids, so the code cannot be adjusted to correct this lack? That seems pretty weird.

  • First off, I don't believe for a second that a 10 year more advanced DSP chip isn't more powerful than the one in use in the KPA today. What MAY be possible is that the KPA DSP architecture is tightly linked to the features of a 10 year old chip. In programming this is called "close to metal" programming. It has the advantage of giving you the most performance from the given hardware resources; however, the big disadvantage is that your code is hard to port to a different hardware or DSP family.


    Second, regardless of how easy or hard it is to port the KPA DSP, it has to be done if CK wants to continue to ship profiler products in the future.


    Third, the current profiling process which requires refinement isn't perfect. An "Auto-refine" step would be nice. Now having said that, I don't believe that profiling is the weakest part of the current product (not by a long shot). I would say that the lack of flexibility in routing and the confusing physical UI are the biggest problems with the product.


    I do understand CK's reluctance to have a touch screen on a product. I too resisted this urge for years and years. The problem is that it has become the standard of the industry for any "smart" device of any kind to have a capacitive-touch touch screen (color). IMO this is the single biggest change that the product line needs.


    Undoing the limitation on routing (and also the single amp limit) is likely the next thing that needs to be addressed. The problem with this one is that the support applications may well cost more to develop than the hardware and firmware ;).


    There will absolutely be a KPA2 IMO. Maybe not this year or next year, but certainly in the next 5 years. Either that, or Kemper will simply quit shipping this product line when they run out of parts.


    I think it highly unlikely that they would turn a design and NOT update the architecture.

  • I have hard time to believe that any 10 year old chip could be irreplaceable by newer ones. Latest DSP chips, like the ones in AXE FX III or Quad Cortex are orders of magnitude faster, so even if they lack some instructions implemented in this particular chip they could probably be emulated equally fast, or they have their own dedicated instruction sets for solving similar DSP tasks. Chips used by competitors are perfectly capable of emulating / profiling any amp. Great advantage of KPA's "old" CPU/DSP chips is that they don't require external cooling (which is very annoying in AXE FX), but even this point will not matter in near future, as we're entering era of really low-power, high performance chips (look what Apple's M1 CPU is capable of doing pretty much without even becoming warm).