Did I just forget what an amp in a room sounds like?

  • For the last 2 years, I've been doing a ton of recording and producing, and have recorded several songs with my Kemper Stage. It sounds fantastic for everything I use it for. Well today for the first time in about a year, I played my Kemper Stage through my Powerstage 170 and Avatar 2x12 cab at stage volume in my new house's garage. It sounded like 💩. I used this exact same setup for a couple practices with my band before Covid hit in 2020, but I remember being happy with it at the time.


    Of course all the prerequisites, yes I had monitor cab off, yes I tried several rigs including the ones I record with, yes, I adjusted definition and clarity, yes, I know about Fletcher Munson curve, yes I was creating the tones at the volume I was playing at, yes I play a mix of clean, pushed, and high gain chugga chug.


    Is it possible I just forgot what the sound of an amp in the room sounds like? The sound was just kinda honky and flat, and not beefy yet articulate, like I'm used to hearing on recording. Has anyone else experienced something like this after only playing in the studio for a long time?

  • Shoulda bought a Kemper Kabinet 🤣🤣🤣


    only pulling your leg.


    Yes, I have experienced similar. To be honest, I’ve never really liked the Amp In Room sound as much as a recorded tone. For 25+ years I always struggled to get a sound I was happy with on stage in a band situation. I was typically playing in bands with 4 or 5 horns and a Hammond so it was always a loud full stage sound and get the guitar to cut through without drowning everyone else out was a constant struggle. Moving to Kemper was breath of fresh air for me. I still sometimes use my Power Head through a guitar cab in rehearsal rooms (usually the 4x12 they have available) and I’m always disappointed.

  • It sounded like 💩.

    I do this all day long every day. I tweak a profile to where I think it sounds amazing. Play a different profile for 2 minutes and come back to it like "Oh man, this sounds like garbage." And after about an hour of high gain stuff I think they all sound like garbage. I need to stop and come back later.


    And when it comes to guitar pickups just forget it. Every guitar I have sounds completely different on the Kemper. I cant use a single profile for more than one guitar. I have 4-5 guitars with humbuckers and none of them sounds remotely the same on the Kemper.

  • Amp in the room sound is raw. Amp in the mix sound is polished and smooth. Maybe this is what your ears have become accustomed to.

    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.

  • Amp in the room sound is raw. Amp in the mix sound is polished and smooth. Maybe this is what your ears have become accustomed to.

    Yeah, that's what I'm thinking. I did spend some more time tweaking later last night and got some better tones. Or maybe my ears just got used to it.


    I think it's similar to when people get their first modeler / profiler and it sounds bad to them ("digital and shrill" 😂) because they're not used to a recorded sound. Except in reverse for me.


    It's just been so long since I played a tube amp cranked in a big room (my last one was a Mesa Rectoverb 50 head, with the same cab I have now), so I don't have a good baseline to compare it to. About a year ago I bought a 5150 III 50w head but never got to use it with a band because Delta. I did a bunch of comparison tests between it and my Kemper with a 5150 III profile, both through my cab at loud bedroom levels, and they sounded nearly identical. So I really do think it's my ears readjusting.

  • It’s probably as much the environmental factors as anything else. If you are playing in a garage, you may have more reflective surfaces bouncing the sound around. If you have a large flat metal garage door in the room, that won’t help much. It would be like playing in a metal box. Is there any carpet on the floor? I guess you have your speaker cab placed directly on the ground, not isolated like studio monitors. So all in all it’s never going to sound the same as a recording.
    Trying to tweak a profile to suit that kind of environment would be a challenge for anyone.
    Hope you sort it out.

    Pre-Amp

  • Or is it just a myth with this famous "Amp in a room"? After all - it is not the amp, which the profiler can replicate very well, and most of you agree with. It is the sound coming out of a box - whatever the box type is. And then: it is the "room", which can be a very different thing. Further: the surrounding sounds: at home alone or with an (extremely?) loud band (which instruments take part?) So many factors, and of course your ears or subjective factor.

    Or is it the problem that guitarrists are never really satisfied with their sound (instrument, effects, amp, cabs, etc).

  • Or is it just a myth with this famous "Amp in a room"? After all - it is not the amp, which the profiler can replicate very well, and most of you agree with. It is the sound coming out of a box - whatever the box type is. And then: it is the "room", which can be a very different thing. Further: the surrounding sounds: at home alone or with an (extremely?) loud band (which instruments take part?) So many factors, and of course your ears or subjective factor.

    Or is it the problem that guitarrists are never really satisfied with their sound (instrument, effects, amp, cabs, etc).

    Good point. That's not really what I was describing, and I'm generally pretty happy with my tone though.

  • I generally have two separate experiences.


    1) I run my powered toaster through guitar cabs at home - no cab. Many times at home I'm playing along with a record to match tones. Often it sounds really good. Come back later and I don't like it one bit. In addition, anything I tweak that way sounds poor by itself, but this is common for a lot of us.


    2) I use it with a guitar cab for live gigs. I tweak the live rigs like I would a tube amp and then set the hi and lo cuts for the room during sound check. This is reliable and I am always satisfied with the sound.

  • I also realized over the years that I don't like the sound of a cab. The only which satisfied my was a vht 4x12, but very heavy.


    The produced sound of a kemper is so much nicer. It's also much more practical to work with headphones or monitors at home than with an pushed amp.


    The price of a kemper isn't much compared to everything I've bought and sold for over 20 years.

  • I think its a combination of a few things:

    1) you have spent a long time tuning your sounds to studio set up

    2) Are you playing without a band? That is also a big factor so perhaps you have also eq'ed for a band mix.


    There is definitely a "rose tinted spectacles" effect when recounting how our perfect set up used to sound.


    We get used to the sounds we have as well, so I think its a bit of everything...

  • psycho acoustics..


    We are evolving as human beings with our experiences and tastes. Our ears get "old",our way we perceive our stand alone guitar sound within the band changes a lot and so on..I can tell you another 1000x things.


    The most interesting thing for me is how I perceived highly distorted,"trebly" sounds I loved for decades doing recordings. Today I hate them. Cant use them anymore. I don't play my beloved rev f anymore for that reason and so on.


    In the end I realized that doing only recordings over a long period of time while doing no live work changes EVERYTHING. And I mean EVERYTHING. The "balance" get lost and we as guitar player in the recording studio or alone at home doing our parts on the DAW evolve right away from the casual rock guitar player into a different sort of musicians more in the direction of being also our own "producers" (working on the drum sound,bass,keys etc).


    First the kemper for the biggest part did that. And in a way covid/lock downs did the rest.


    This happened to a lot of guitar players. Believe me.