Posts by JohnNT

    I know several guitar players who've practically dedicated their lives to getting a soft, smooth pick attack. It's hair-tearing work, from what I can tell, but when you listen to someone like Gambale nailing it I do get it, it's pretty damn sweet.

    I don't think the answer is really in Kemper parameters though, but in technique, pick choice (and pick angle, pick position along the string, picking velocity etc.) and perhaps guitar setup too. Sorry if this seems basic to you, but in my experience, light picking close to the neck with a thick pick made out of a soft-ish material are all things I'd try when I want a smooth sound. Angling the pick (like most virtuosos do) does result in a sharper attack too, so if you're REALLY dedicated to this, I'd say try playing with the pick more perpendicular to the string. It's not "proper" technique but you do what you gotta do for tone. Sadly, this goes for pick tip too. Round tip picks are harder to play with for me but they do produce less attack. I think pick material is a big thing too, I've tried a lot of Jazz III's for example and it's remarkable how different they all sound (Jazz Red 'till I'm Dead, btw! ^^). Picking closer to the neck is a super powerful thing but it does introduce a lot of harmonic activity so you need to be a little more precise if you just want the "pure" note when picking up there.

    Kemper-wise, I do find that an EQ is a powerful tool to decrease pick attack. Especially when placed after the cab. Placing an EQ before the amp to boost in the 900-1k area quite strongly into the amp is also a good way to shift the vibe of an amp into more of a saxophony, legato-friendly vibe. It can be a little overkill through really nasal profiles, but 9 times out of 10 it's just killer. I keep an EQ like that locked in my KPA just so I can try it on any profile anytime. It's also worth repeating that lowering the Definition parameter in the Kemper helps here too, because it introduces more bass into the gain which causes the highs to clip earlier too, smoothing out the transients.

    Again, sorry if this is all old news to you, just throwing everything I know out there in case it helps! :thumbup:

    - Edit - Oh right, Fuzzes are great too. Growing up being a Petrucci fanboy I always hated them because I DID want that percussive, sharp pick attack and Fuzzes kill that right off. But if you want smooth, they do it. I was surprised to learn just how many fusion guys use fuzzes, thinking they were just for Stoners and Doom-heads, but nope.

    Really sad to not see Formant controls on Cirrus, though.

    Yeah, I'm really bummed about that too :( The new reverbs are stellar so I shouldn't complain, but those formant reverbs were the big stars of that demo video to me and had me looking forward to this update so much.

    Unless those presets were actually using a formant shifter in the DLY slot, and they messed around with the DLY>Rev balance to create that effect.

    Can't see that this has anything to do with quantisation or aliasing. Sounds somewhat like crossover distortion. You may find that in real amps too.

    Interesting theory! That would explain why some profiles seem to have more of it than others, even between profiles made by the same person. If it is indeed analog crossover distortion being profiled, am I right in thinking that compensating by turning up the tube bias control should help? Learning about this as I type ^^ I haven't noticed it to do so before, but then again I have a hard time identifying what that parameter actually does to the tone. Maybe it's worth a closer look.

    I suspect that what you are hearing in the tube shape parameters is a different distribution of higher order harmonics.

    My thinking is that quantisation noise is something that comes from AD/DA conversion, and I wouldn't expect internal parameters to affect this.

    But I'm no expert.

    If QN was produced at the AD conversion, that would mean that Bit Crushers couldn't exist, right? It should also mean that digitally distorting a synth generated within a DAW (i.e. no AD conversion) wouldn't produce QN. Yet it's been my experience that it does, as shown in the SoundCloud clips I posted. And the amount of artifacts you get basically depends on how "good" the distortion plugin is at emulating analog clipping as opposed to bit crushing.

    But yeah, I'm certainly no expert either so I'm speculating far and wide with all these posts.

    If you can alleviate the issue by using tube shape, presence and other parameters on the Kemper, I don't see how it could be quantisation noise or aliasing.

    Interesting! I'm too uneducated about this to know, myself. I wouldn't say tube shape alleviates the issue, but rather it shortens the envelope of the problem, leaving the decay sounding smoother. More tube shape = longer "bitcrushing swoop". There was a post by ckemper here where he said "Did you know you can create QN on purpose in the KPA?". I'm assuming he was referring to the Bit Shaper stomp, so I'm playing around with that stomp now and it does seem to produce an exaggerated version of what I'm already hearing in the plain profiles. It's like I'm hearing a Bit Shaper but embedded in the far back of the sound, and Tube Shape really controls the envelope of it more so than reduces it. So I'm not sure I'm entirely off-base, but maybe you know more than I do about the science behind all this.

    The simplest way I can think of to look at it:

    If you pluck any stringed instrument, the harmonic content peaks shortly after or during the attack phase and dies down over time, the highest-frequency / lowest-energy ones being the first to disappear, right on down to the point that only the fundamental (essentially) is sounding.

    This applies to tine instruments as well, 'cause metal rods behave the same way harmonically, which would explain your hearing it with the EP you used as an example.

    Yeah, I thought about that too, which is why I tried it with a sine wave later on. In this example, I used a sine wave: SoundCloud. There I also introduced white noise into the plugin, as a form of dithering, and it did indeed solve the issue but at the expense of getting really noisy instead.

    Could it simply be the distortion of harmonics present in the source?

    Is it more-apparent when you put new strings on a guitar?

    If I'm right, this'd make sense. When you strike a string the harmonic-level envelope dies down more-quickly than the amplitude one, and I suspect you're hearing the former in distorted form.

    That's interesting! I have fairly old strings on all my guitars now embarrassingly enough, but I do have EMGs in some which retain a lot more high frequency content than the passives, and I can't say I hear a difference in regards to this particular issue.

    It does sound like you're onto something with the separate envelopes though, that's definitely how I'd describe it, it sounds like there's a layer of "something" tucked into the distortion that has a different envelope than the main signal. I hear this even on the noise of the guitar when I'm not playing, kind of like a modulation sweep going on.

    This obviously made me question my cables/electricity/interface etc., so to eliminate all of those variables I did a completely ITB test with my MacBook disconnected from its power supply, so entirely wireless. Running a DAW-generated sine wave into various distortion plugins, I noticed these artefacts all the same. So that made me come to the conclusion that it's not a problem with my setup, but rather a problem with digital distortions in general. I'd really prefer to be proven wrong though :)

    I want to chime in and say the artifacts I hear occasionally in the Kemper and in your clip, JohnNT , upon reflection, I would closer describe as aliasing. I may have spoken out of turn. I hope I have not misled you with my advice or confirmed in your mind something which may not be true.

    Ah, that's interesting! Yes, it's definitely possible that I'm mislabeling this problem, calling it QN when it's actually aliasing that I'm hearing. I've heard of aliasing before but never understood what it is or what it sounds like.

    I hear you mate.

    Have no means of hearing the QN on your clip (ZeroBass CrapMac™ speaker only ATM), but am super-familiar with the phenomenon, having worked with samplers since the '80s when it was par-for-the-course.

    Let's hope CK chimes in; I'm ultra-keen to hear what he has to say.

    Cool :) I'm happy that my question is met with genuine interest, I was prepared for the worst :)

    I don't know much about this subject so it's fully possible that what I'm talking about isn't actually called Quantization Noise, in which case I apologize. Hence the clip I posted, if that is not actually QN, maybe someone who knows more can educate me so I get the terminology straight.

    Yeah I read those posts too, it's comforting to know that ckemper knows a lot about it, and also dislikes it when he hears it :D

    As far as high frequencies go, did you take a listen to the clip I posted? Like I said, that's not the Kemper, it's a sampled Electric Piano into the JST Toneforge plugin. That plugin produces a LOT of QN, so it demonstrates what I'm hearing in the KPA more clearly. I'm finding this in most digital distortion plugins, such as the highly regarded FabFilter Saturn too. I've kind of come to terms with it as one of those "This is where analog still beats digital" kinda things.

    I've narrowed down my profile collection to about 20 profiles now that after a bit of tweaking the gain, tube shape and clarity knobs have really, really negligible QN at least with the way I play. I find that on low gain sounds the clarity knob is useful, then you can compensate with the compression and sag parameters to get some "oomph" back.

    Hi John. Welcome. You've identified one of the KPA's biggest tonal weaknesses, IMO. I've found that reducing the presence, definition, and gain by a few clicks can sometimes accomplish what you're after. Sometimes. If you're creating your own profiles, refining can sometimes help. Sometimes. Avoiding open-string, pedal tone-type riffs can also sometimes help. But only sometimes.

    Probably the best way to combat this is to find an appropriately-gained amp profile + IR combo that doesn't exhibit these type of artifacts based on the parts you're playing.

    I hope this helps. Please keep us posted if you come up with any solutions. I'll try your Tube Shape tip next time I encounter this.

    Thanks! I agree, this aspect of the Kemper is really the only thing that bothers me about it, but to it's credit it took me a few years to even notice it's there. When using the search function here I found some posts from ckemper himself where he seems to have a huge understanding about the subject, so I don't doubt the team has done/is doing everything they can to minimize the issue. But I couldn't find a thread specifically about reducing it on the KPA, so maybe this thread could help me find some answers on what you can do as a user :)

    My question is pretty much what it says on the tin. I think the KPA is the best piece of gear I've heard in regards to minimizing quantization noise/distortion and I've demoed most amp VSTs up to the new NeuralDSP and the Howard Benson Plugin, as well as my old Axe-Fx standard. So I'm actually applauding Kemper for having so little of it. But if it CAN be better, I wanna know how :)

    If you don't know what I mean by quantization noise, I mean a kind of bitcrushy sound in the high end of distorted profiles, kind of a "swoosh" that happens during the decay of a note, longer or shorter depending on how hard you play. Basically what the "Bit shaper" stomp does, but far more subtly. I recorded a little clip using an inferior VST amp sim (not the KPA) to demonstrate more clearly what it is if you don't know. Put on headphones and listen for the kind of sucking/swooping sound in the decay on these notes: SoundCloud

    In the Kemper, I've noticed the QN is made more apparent by turning the Tube Shape up, so I've started turning that down from 3.3 to 0 on all my patches. I think that makes some difference, at least it can't hurt. I just wish that knob went further down than 0 ^^ This makes me think: What other little parameters could be hidden in the Kemper that helps this?

    The only way I know of to combat quantization noise is dithering, but I can't really do that in realtime. But dithering is only used to mask existing QN, if one could keep it from appearing in the first place that would eliminate the need for dithering.

    So yeah, if you have any tricks similar to my Tube Shape discovery, please let me know!

    +1, so much! I barely ever use the browse knob anymore after the 50-something delay presets got added in there, there's just too much to scroll through. Simply dedicating the type knob to selecting an effect and then narrowing the browse knob to only select from the presets of that effect would make me happy.

    Hi! :)

    My name is John, I've owned a Kemper for just about a month now. I was an early adopter of the Axe-Fx back in 2009 (when their biggest endorsee was probably Larry Mitchell :p) but it's been a bumpy few years with that thing. Turns out what I really wanted was something way less complicated and more natural sounding, and the Kemper is everything I could ask for in that regard :)

    Now I have what was dubbed the "Rigception" over at, with the Kemper in the Axe's loop, and a PodHD500 in the Kemper's loop, while the Pod also switches the midi for all three units :) I'm using the Kemper for all the amp tone, and the Axe for some additional whack FX and for the (in my opinion) more intuitive parametric EQ. But I will probably sell the Axe regardless.

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    Here's my one and only recording so far with the Kemper, re-amped and picked one of the Merrow patches that fit the best in the finished mix. Looking forward to recording with the Kemper from scratch and also creating my own profiles :) Until then I'm loving the Lasse Lammert profiles, the Krank and Überschall in particular.

    Cheers! :thumbup: