What power amps are you using for your unpowered Kemper?

  • I bought the unpowered rack version, thinking that I would use my Fryette PS100 for the power section. I thought there might be a way to use the "two channels" on the PS100 and run one for the Kemper and the other as the load box/re-amp. I discovered that it doesn't work that way and these supposed two channels in the PS100 are just variations on the same channel with different EQ'ing. IMHO, using the PS100 exclusively to power the Kemper is a waste of what it's capable of doing, so i started looking for a decent (not too expensive) dedicated tube power amp. I settled on a Carvin T100, and got it added to the rack yesterday.


    All I can say is.. WOW! What a difference. So much more "alive" sounding with the power amp vs. the PS100. Not knocking the PS100, mind you, as I don't think that the designers had powering a Kemper in mind when they made it. I don't know if there was some kind of path through the PS100 that affected the overall sound of the Kemper, or if the difference in power tubes made that much of a difference (6550's vs. 5881's) but I'm glad I made the switch.


    Honestly, I was about to get rid of the Kemper because it was "cool" and all but it just didn't move me like a real amp did. I don't record, or play out where I could use it direct to FOH, etc.. So, it just seemed like overkill for my needs. I had pretty much made up my mind to move it along but then this whole mess with the tubes came up and I decided to hang on to it thinking it might be handy to have around... You know, just in case. I'm glad I didn't sell it now.

    "Never judge a man, until you've walked a mile in his shoes... Because, by then you'll be a mile away!" - Unknown

  • I have a Seymour Duncan Powerstage 170, and it does the job. A little mid heavy, but I can easily dial it back with the onboard EQ.


    My personal opinion is that a tube power amp isn't necessary. The Kemper is already profiling a tube amp's power section, so that's like putting tubes on tubes. But if it works for you, that's all that matters!

  • My personal opinion is that a tube power amp isn't necessary. The Kemper is already profiling a tube amp's power section, so that's like putting tubes on tubes. But if it works for you, that's all that matters!

    Yeah, I get that. Especially running something like the Kemper. I'm just an old tube diehard, I guess. Plus I keep some rack gear around in case I ever want to revisit the past. LOL

    "Never judge a man, until you've walked a mile in his shoes... Because, by then you'll be a mile away!" - Unknown

  • I’m using a Fryette PS-2 with an unpowered Rack and it sounds great to my ears. I run to a celestion f12-x200 in a thiele cab for monitor and also direct to FOH. The PS-2 uses 6L6s, but I’m never at a monitor volume to push those hard at all. I don’t notice them coloring the Kemper’s sound at the level I’m running, but of course everyone’s ears are different. I already had the Fryette from using it with my tube amps - if I hadn’t I would have likely found a good solid state amp that was lighter (or maybe would have bought a powered Rack). :)

  • I have a Seymour Duncan Powerstage 170, and it does the job. A little mid heavy, but I can easily dial it back with the onboard EQ.


    My personal opinion is that a tube power amp isn't necessary. The Kemper is already profiling a tube amp's power section, so that's like putting tubes on tubes. But if it works for you, that's all that matters!

    have to agree, same here, it does the job, can understand that some situations may require more power but it suits me.

    New talent management advice to Laura Cox -


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  • I’m using a Fryette PS-2 with an unpowered Rack and it sounds great to my ears. I run to a celestion f12-x200 in a thiele cab for monitor and also direct to FOH. The PS-2 uses 6L6s, but I’m never at a monitor volume to push those hard at all. I don’t notice them coloring the Kemper’s sound at the level I’m running, but of course everyone’s ears are different. I already had the Fryette from using it with my tube amps - if I hadn’t I would have likely found a good solid state amp that was lighter (or maybe would have bought a powered Rack). :)


    Agreed, I tried to buy a powered rack mount Kemper here locally but the seller wouldn't budge on the price and I found a good deal on the unpowered rack, foot swtich and expression pedal combo so I jumped on it figuring to use the PS100 for power. I wouldn't say that the Kemper sounded bad with the PS100, but it's just not the same. I don't have the eloquent vocabulary that many others have when it comes to describing what I'm hearing.. So, "alive" is the best I could come up with. LOL


    I did notice that the Carvin power amp had "presence" controls on the back for each channel. I adjusted them "in the blind" before putting the amp in the rack (basically setting them strait up the middle) so I'm sure that probably has some impact on how it sounds. The PS power side is supposed to be supplying a "clean" power source for the amplifier being attenuated so I really didn't figure it would be coloring the overall tone that much but also moving from 6550's to 5881's may be some of the difference too.


    Interesting to see how many different options people are using though!

    "Never judge a man, until you've walked a mile in his shoes... Because, by then you'll be a mile away!" - Unknown

  • Agreed, I tried to buy a powered rack mount Kemper here locally but the seller wouldn't budge on the price and I found a good deal on the unpowered rack, foot swtich and expression pedal combo so I jumped on it figuring to use the PS100 for power. I wouldn't say that the Kemper sounded bad with the PS100, but it's just not the same. I don't have the eloquent vocabulary that many others have when it comes to describing what I'm hearing.. So, "alive" is the best I could come up with. LOL


    I did notice that the Carvin power amp had "presence" controls on the back for each channel. I adjusted them "in the blind" before putting the amp in the rack (basically setting them strait up the middle) so I'm sure that probably has some impact on how it sounds. The PS power side is supposed to be supplying a "clean" power source for the amplifier being attenuated so I really didn't figure it would be coloring the overall tone that much but also moving from 6550's to 5881's may be some of the difference too.


    Interesting to see how many different options people are using though!

    Yeah, when amplifying you have 2 distinct choices - colour the sound ( usually valve) or don't ( usually SS) - Note: yes I know all amps add some colour, sweeping statement.


    I specifically wanted the Kemper powered rack with SS because I want all of my sound to come from the profile. adding a valve amp to add warmth for me defeats the object of having something so sophisticated to replicate the signal chain, to then add another variable.


    Totally agree though that its interesting to see other people's approaches...

  • Fryette PS2a into a 4x12 Traynor custom special with v30s, sounds absolutely amazing to me. Way better than the other options I’ve tried. Frfr speaker, firehawk 1500, loop of multiple amps and bam200. I am enjoying my powered Kemper kab though.