Posts by mbuteux

    So, I got a quad cortex for the studio. If you're interested in getting one here are my thoughts, if you're happy with Kemper then I don't think you'll find anything of value below.

    I'll start by saying all the things I really appreciate about my powered rack mount Kemper. It's light, it has a great noise gate, I can get close enough to my various fx that I can leave my pedal board at home, fuzz, tube screamer, supa trem, mojo vibe, ce2, ph1, dm2, even vox wah. It takes a midi controller well, but for lightness 4 diy latching switches is enough and they fit in the back of the case. I like that I record my di signal, a full stereo profile and run a 4x12 without cab sim whenever I play. I love that I can buy profiles from Michael Britt. I love the three light tuner and clipping, so useful on stage for quick tweaks.

    However I have never quite been 100% happy with the sound, mainly because I like fuzz and in spite of 1000s of hours faffing around and playing through every single profile it comes with and a few hundred dollars worth of bought ones I just can't get that last 5% I want. The other niggle is that my older unit has to be master and I just can't get a 100% reliable stable zero artefact live band recording through spdif, not that that matters, I use lynx aurora converters and they are perfect.

    I love that it's captured my 2204, bassman and dual terror, almost perfectly.


    But that last 5%!


    I've chased it and chased it. I've reamped and ab'd for hundreds of hours, mixing signals and blending profiles, nearly getting what I want, but not quite.


    Quad Cortex, so many things I don't like, a floor unit that lives on my desk, I miss my kemper tuner, rig manager, endless available profiles, noise gate, fx and power amp. But, on day one I created a rig that has a clean sunn model t capture, 4x12 British greenback ir with sm57 and ribbon. I reamped a di signal recorded with my kemper of a 45 min performance and then ab'd to my five best kemper reamped tracks (out of about 30), complete with about eight years experience of working with it. Quad is better, it seems more fluid and zingy, that 5% I've searched for, it feels like playing a loud tube amp that's reacting to me. It also took the di with fuzz really well.


    The last time I had a scenario like this was when I moved from an akai digital multitrack to motu 896, I had a niggle with the 896, it sounded woolly and a bit naff vs the akai, I replaced the preamps with external channels and things improved massively, then improved again when I eventually moved to a lynx aurora, this is like that.


    So, I know what it's like on forums, am I comparing apples with apples, are my irs the same, etc, are the amp profiles the same amp, endless on and on. I'll simplify my summary to be, in spite of putting in the hours I didn't dial in what I want sonically from the kemper, but immediately achieved it with quad, but the kemper is better in every other way.

    I really hope they have a look at the quad and how it's capturing amps, the reduced latency etc and find a way to get there. I'm considering running the quad in the fx loop of the kemper and switching the amp and cab off, but for live I think I'll just stick with the kemper as is but I can't see myself recoding it ever again while the quad is on my desk, and no, a profile of the quad doesn't sound quite the same!

    I've recently come to the conclusion that digital audio quality is a moving target. This week I had to provide a remix of a song originally recorded back in 2006.

    The song was recorded on a motu 896 with spl preamps. I used a handful of waves plugins at that time and minimal eq, L2, ren vox, ren comp, ren verb plate.

    I was a cubase user then and I still am now.

    I loaded the project up, swapped in a few plugins that were no longer supported and mixed down to see how it compared.

    The original premaster sounded like it was playing inside a cardboard box vs this one.

    I then worked through it track by track using all the new tools I have and remixed, again a massive step up in quality.


    I was always aware of the woolly sound back then, that's why I invested in a lynx aurora and all new pre amps and mics. These improvements were all noticeable. The motu had definitely sounded like a step backwards from the akai I used before it and the tape before that.

    But now I listen and think it must be the recording engine that has taken significant steps forward, the source was fine, even the mix, no eq changes, like for like limiters, compressors and verb, it's all digital, but sounds infinitely better now. We have already established that the original digital stereo file couldn't have gone off like tape, but the export process and handling of the audio files must have improved massively over the last 15 years.


    Is there a point to this observation, I suppose its the consideration about recording things and archiving them in the best quality we can, maybe it's not sample rate but bit depth, maybe both, because we don't know what technology will be available to us in 15 years time.

    I use solid state hard drives, just back up to spinning discs, as a result of this thread I have a mountain of analysis and a/b listening to do, without having to a/b my disc drives! =O

    The scariest part of this discussion is the fact that I've spent all evening on .gearapace and youtube watching videos, reading discussions and now have probably two days of recording and a-b ing projects ahead of me. On the video from Fabfilter, who's mastering suite and delay I love, I thought there was a very obvious difference between the 44, 48, 96 with and without oversampling. Rightly or wrongly I felt there was some air or something I found pleasing at 96, but the music I do would work well with the 48 and plugins oversampling, I like that sort of mix.

    Considering my hearing is completely shot and I can barely hear anything above 7khz I can't get my head around the roundness and space I perceive above 48khz. Obviously youtube isn't the best place to listen so a weekend of discovery awaits.

    This is an interesting read. Rightly or wrongly I record at higher rates because years ago I settled on them in blind tests.

    But, not wishing to upset anyone, just as an analogy or think piece...

    4:3 looked great on crt interlaced tvs 20 years ago with 520lines or whatever. 4k now looks infinitely superior. But 35mm film before video captured things brilliantly, there was a cross over where only in recent decades digital video has raced ahead.


    The beatles retained their 4 track pre bounced tapes which allowed them to remix and preserve their work 40 years later on multitrack, what foresight. Yet many would say the final 4 track or stereo (or mono) was the definitive article for many years. Point being that while those tapes may have seemed to be without purpose at the time the potential in them was released later on.

    Many bands have gone back and remastered those early CDs to unlock the improvements of the current gen, even in the early days aad seemed better to my ears than add.


    Who's to say there won't be some incredible leap in Dolby atmos type sound design that finally releases this, and yes I've been listening, I know our hearing range etc has limits. It could be that speaker cones will react more favourably to higher rates, resonant frequencies might be used to create movement imperceptible to ears but make your hairs on your arms sway to the music.

    As someone who now suffers with permanent tinnitus it's ridiculous for me to say, but maybe we will even evolve to hear higher frequencies in the next millennia. Haha

    My own background is maths and physics and while I've read various papers and looked at the numbers I just can't ignore my ears. Seriously, if you haven't already, record a project at a higher sample rate and bit depth, close your eyes and listen to it vs a 44khz 16bit project.

    Now it could be multiple other things, like the quality of my hardware converters, signal chain etc, maybe they don't work as well at lower sample rates. Or maybe they accentuate the difference at higher rates. Either way, like dialing in tone I've landed on what to my ears sounds best, admittedly I've not gone higher to 192, but that's simply down to the cost of it. Although maybe its time to try!

    It could be that these margins become more apparent in more complex mix situations with drums, bass, strings, vocals, choirs etc.

    It is only my personal preference, I landed on higher rates because I wasn't happy with my results, i'd at least recommend recording some projects at different rates to see.

    I have been recording at higher sampling rates, usually 88khz 24bit, 64bit float now in cubase, for about 15 years. It uses tons of storage and processing power which I'd love to have back. But the audio quality is really incredible, I use lynx aurora converters that still sound fantastic and uad dsp.

    When I'm mixing everything sounds much more detailed, bigger, rounder, fatter. I tend to record kemper via xlr, but if recording live use spdif 88khz to maintain quality lost when not using the aurora.


    So, when everything goes to mp3, why bother?

    It sounds fantastic in my room and for that alone it's worth it.

    But recently I've been going back to 15 odd year old projects and remixing, remastering, and even releasing in higher sample rates.

    I can see a point coming where there will be a market for rereleasing material in higher fidelity at higher sample rates.


    Having raw 10gb big projects playing back at high sample rates really is joyus sonically. Its worth trying, you might like it.

    I think his early kyuss stuff was marshall jcm 800 and 8x10 ampeg cab.

    I merged one of the free mbritt profiles with the only 8x10 that I could find. I think both are in the ones that come with the stock os rigs. I then adjusted treble mid and bass while a b with blues for the red sun. Got close. Don't think I needed any fx.


    Personally I've gone for a dumble clean, marshall 4x12 vintage with a russian big muff and a marshall shredmaster for recent drop tuned tones.


    There is an ampeg svt in the download section on kemper downloads page. Nice with fuzz.


    Also, there are some nice wem profiles with fuzz baked in.


    I did get the matamp profiles from ampfactory but moved away from them.

    Based on the original expectations for the life cycle of the KPA I wouldn't be surprised if a new one is only a couple of years away. I'd be very surprised if it didn't have more processing power, capture higher fidelity with no detriment to latency, run more effects and allow dual amp choices. If it doesn't exist already maybe those of us who are ready for V2 should make a thread of our wishes.

    I've not recorded at 44khz for about 15 years. I really think its time with todays technology that it could work at near zero latency while at 192khz, 64 bit float, slaving to pro audio interfaces with dual amps and fx.

    I really like so much about my KPA its a fantastic piece of kit, it was an incredible investment for me. However I don't think its timeless like a decent valve marshall because like phones and playstations or other digital devices the processing improves and I see this as a wholly digital device. Yeah some old boss pedals sound better than modern counterparts, but they don't exactly run software.

    Originally I invested in it because it sounded more organic than all the other available modelers and digital alternatives. When playing live its not quite the same, especially palm mutes, recording with post processing I can get great sounds and love its flexibility, but its 96%, I want that extra, I want it to go to 11.

    I've owned a kemper for quite a few years now and think its a great tool for recording and live.

    I'm not sold on floor units, I think the cabling is impractical, I like head and rack units with simple floor switching.

    In my ideal world the kemper would have enough processing power to run two amps and four cab simulations, with a couple of powered stereo speaker outs too. I'd also like to have about 10 slots before the amp for fx, aes digital out slaving happily at 192khz. Oh and less plastic for the controls, maybe brushed aluminium.

    I can live without all of that because most of all, after all these years I'd like it to sound as open and harmonically rich as the new quad.

    I've gone through well ove 1000 profiles and found five I like, only one of them sounds perfect to my ears for clean. The video demos of the quad sound amazing and just highlight that thing that's never been quite there in the kemper. Although the high gain tones didn't sound right on the cortex.

    The unit itself doesn't float my boat, but that tone seems to be killer.


    In short, yes, I think kemper do need a v2, I'm ready and have been for about five years.

    I've ended up leaning towards my own profiles and di profiles. I found Tilis cablab pack on here for the cab section. One of the cabs sounds exactly like my own favourite marshall 4x12.

    The cab makes a huge difference.

    I've locked that cab and out of 1000s of profiles have 20 I use, maybe 6 different amps with varying degrees of gain. Some work well with all guitars some with others. I find the kemper very fickle. But after years I've managed to get the tones of my cranked amps at low volumes and via a power amp and my 4x12.

    I found it really hard to get tones I like. I've been spoilt by playing marshall jmp 50watt, fender blackface and orange for years in good settings at decent volumes. Took me an age to get tones I liked.

    My advice if you can is to:

    If you have a good amp you like, profile it.

    Work out who has your guitar and sound that you like, find out what their rig is and go on rig exchange and find the corresponding rig.

    Realise that within one amp there are hundreds of tones, so when trying rig packs step through them all to find the gain and tone you like using rig manager.

    Some packs, like the full petrucci pack mentioned above has loads, I went through all of them and found only2 di profiles I liked which worked well with my own cab, but ended up using profiles of dumble, jmp and orange.

    Michael britt packs are wonderful

    I've found using a treble boost pedal, wampler tunmus (no drive) and les paul gets a bit closer to the tones of real aamps.im not metal though.

    I bought his dumble pack but of all of them my favourite is the ceritone that is actually free with the kemper.

    I've tried all sorts of fuzz pedals, all much better than the stomp presets. Not a fan of the kemper fuzz.

    For kyuss tones the jcm 900 is it, it's what josh used, into an 8 x 10 ampeg cab. Load a profile with an 8x10 cab, then hold the cab button for a second, then press lock. Now change to a jcm 900 profile, store it, it will save with the new cab, then unlock the cab by hitting cab again for a second and unocking.


    I wasnt a huge fan of the 8x10., I think its attached to an ampeg bass rig originally.


    I played these side by side with blues for the red sun and they sound very close if you tweak it a bit.


    To be fair it's a unique sound, on it's own it sounds quite underwhelming, I end up preferring a more traditional 70s rock sound.

    I've messed around with stoner tones for ages and found it quite hard to get a sound that's good live and in the studio.

    I've tried various approaches, have a look at m britt free dumble profiles. The clean ones.

    I've tried clean amps with pedals, russian big muff, tumnus and or pdf 2.

    Pdf2 gets you really close, especially to qotsa with a big clean amp.


    For kyuss I used a high ish gain mbritt marshall jcm 900 with just the tumnus in front. Messed around with swapping for an ampeg 8x10 but prefer 4x 12.


    I ended up with the treble and bass up, add 1 db on bass and 2 on treble.


    Obviously neck double humbucker, fairly low output tuned to c standard with 12s.


    Live I use an orange dual terror, I've profiled it, but still trying to find stoner heaven in the studio via kemper. After 1000 profiles I'm as close as I'll ever get.

    I have reverb assigned to pedal 5, I recently noticed that the led status light has stopped working. I have assumed faulty bulb.

    Maybe I should check, I cant remember if it coincided with a software upgrade.

    After a few years out of 1000s of profiles I like a dumble profile that m britt gave away in a free pack, so I got his dumble pack, love the ceriatone... Then I purchased the choptones jp mesa pack for my brother in law to try. The clean on there is outstanding, as are the drive tones. I've used the direct profiles most with my 4 x 12, they are stunning.

    I'll never go back to my Orange dual terror, Marshall jmp or fender bassman 100, this Kemper is now my go to for live and studio.

    In my previous post I mentioned working my way through a lot of profiles. I've always loved the way valve amps push sound, my old jmp master volume was hard to beat but varied wildly from week to week, I have a Fender Bassman 100 too and always found it a bit too linear but good with pedals.

    My Orange Dual Terror was a lightweight compromise that covered all my rehearsal room and recording requirements, admittedly I'd had it revalved to get it where I wanted. It was only when I profiled my gig settings that I realised the Kemper negated the need for all my amps, it is a totally faithful reproduction.

    That essentially was what won me over and finally got my buy in.

    In finding profiles that bettered my own I noticed that tone in the Kemper is very sensitive to guitars, and 99pc of profiles I tried sounded dire for my taste.

    Now that I'm using a non valve power stage I'm favouring di profiles, I've recently found the Till's cablab which have really impressed and cover off the studio and pa side of the sound.

    I can't express enough just how far the Kemper has batted all my other rigs out of the park.

    I've had my Kemper a few years now, I never managed to get tones I liked enough to ditch my tube amps, until recently.

    I used a two channel orange dual terror for ease when rehearsing and the kemper in the studio. Eventually I profiled my own orange through both channels and found it was faithful live through a 4x12 and in the studio.

    But that was just my starting point.

    Once I was happy it was at least as good I then went through the various profiles i'd bought and found. Matamp, wem, sunn, ampeg, fender, Marshall, etc. Looking for my holy grail. A/B ing to my own amp profile.

    I had nearly 1000 rigs installed.

    I then did a blind test, stepping through them, ignoring the names, looking for a clean and a dirty fuzzy sound. I used my strat first and picked about 10 amps from the whole list.

    I then did the same with my les paul and picked another 10.

    5 or 6 of them were the same profiles.

    I then A/B those to my own profiles and preferred them.

    I tried my pedals with the clean profiles and found one I love for Fender, Gibson, clean, and with a fuzz pedal.

    Its one of m Britts dumble pack.

    It records well, suits my playing, works with all my guitars and loves pedals.

    My brother in law is a fan of dream theatre so we downloaded the choptones boogie jp pack. It's di clean is amazing, as are the overdrive tones. Blew us both away.

    One hugely important factor in this is that the kemper is going through a flat response non tube power stage.


    Anyway, it's taken me 3 years, but I now have the best tones I've ever played, every day, consistent and reliable.


    One last thing I've noticed is that I don't have to play at mind melting volume to get the tone, I can actually hear the singler and drummer (if I want) or crank it, the tone stays the same.


    Persevere, I went from 1000 profiles down to 6, and back up to about 20, still loving my dumble pack tho.