To be continued...
Welcome to the New Kemper User Tone Guide.
This guide is meant for new and experienced guitar players alike. The purpose of this guide is NOT to discuss operational or functional issues but rather to provide a framework for understanding the way the Kemper Profiler “sounds” as well as provide insight regarding profile selection and an understanding of how selected profiles “sound”.
Part 1: Perception of Sound Tone is subjective.
Each individual has a particular ear shape, hearing range and EQ curve to their ears that may respond different tonally to each example given and may alter the results for some at the extreme end of the hearing spectrum. Tone is relative to the user. For the purposes of discussion we will refer to it as your “Tone Ear”. What may be pleasing to many may be unpleasant for some. Your Tone Ear may perceive sounds differently than most people and the person may not be aware of their own modified EQ in their Tone Ear. Age, exposure to high SPL and other factors may adjust your Tone Ear over time. The purpose of this guide is discuss and provide examples of sounds that are generally regarding as pleasing to most or respected in circles as “good guitar tone”.
Part 2: The Error of Your Ways
As a guitar player, you spend countless hours sitting in front of all sorts of amplifiers, playing all sorts of guitars and listening to, and playing, all sorts of music. As time goes on, a sound that was once appealing may fall out of favor with your Tone Ear and you move on to something new. Other times, you hear a sound of an artist you like and that alters your Tone Ear in that direction and the chase continues. You eventually end up like a lot of us in that you have never really settled in on a particular sound for an extended period. You have constantly been chasing your “tone”. The mistake here is that by constantly shifting from amp to amp or guitar to guitar you haven’t allowed enough time for a sound to “settle in” and you Tone Ear to adjust fully to the sound you started with. The reverse of this is just as bad because you’ve used the same amp for 20 years and your Tone Ear is so adjusted to its sound that nothing, short of an exact replication, will suffice.
Part 3: Introducing the Kemper Profiler - uh oh
Having read the above, you can probably discern there is a lot of gray area as to what constitutes good tone. The Kemper Profiler offers a vast array of options. In fact, maybe too many options. You may find yourself sitting for hours scrolling through profiles and downloading and auditioning them. As a new user this is great fun but, also as a new user, this often daunting or even off-putting to some. They immediately struggle just to get an acceptable tone out of this wonderful box they just purchased. What’s wrong? Why do all the patches sound fizzy? Why do they all sound too dark? Why can’t I find anything I like? The questions of the boards and social media are numerous. New purchasers struggling to get something that sounds appealing to their Tone Ear.
Part 4: Relax and Pick a Number
Start simple. Scroll through the factory profiles and find something, anything, that is “close” to a sound you like. Now start tweaking. Resist the urge to just scroll to the next profile. Stay with it. Adjust the gain, tweak the eq, add some effects. Stay with it. Adjust the definition, sag, add a parametric. Anything. But stay with it. Now, and this is the hardest part..... Stop. Turn off the Kemper. Walk away for a couple hours and come back. Reevaluate. Is the tone still pleasing? If so, why? If not, why? Adjust again. Rinse and repeat. Stay with it. Your Tone Ear will thank you and you’ll learn how to take most any profile and get something usable out of it.
Part 5: If She says its Her, Its probably You.
What if nothing goes right? What if EVERYTHING sounds like total garbage? Well, there may be some bad news coming..... your Tone Ear could be bad. Consider, even if for a second, that for all these years, your guitar tone sucked. That is a hard pill to swallow but, if you’re still with me, it IS possible. Possible that for all these years you trained your ears poorly, introducing bad habits and abuse and your Tone Ear has been altered to the point that it might not recognize a great guitar tone when its coming out of the speakers right in front of it. Now, to be fair, I’m not claiming any one sound is best or any Profile is “the profile” all I’m asking is for you to consider the possibility that the reason everything you pull up on your Kemper sounds so “bad” is because you may have forgotten what “good” sounds like. Possible? I think so.
Part 6: Fixing the Problems
So, what do we do? What if it’s me and not the Kemper? Well, luckily, there is help. Here’s where to start:
Studio Monitors - Get a good set of studio monitors. No, your $200 pair isn’t gonna cut it. There are options. Ask around. There are a tone of options when you get above the $500 mark (See Focal Alpha Series).
Guitar Cabinets - NOTE: If you can play through the cabinet you’re most familiar with to start, START THERE! That will likely get you to Tone Nirvana faster than any other option.
Headphones - Unless you are using in-ears on stage, this is the least favorable option. If you must, the Sony MDR range has been well reviewed.
FRFR Speakers - Full Range - Flat Response. Another option, but I caution, if you’ve only ever played through an amp, avoid these at first. Most available FRFR (PA) speakers have compression drivers that are designed to be masked by the woofer sound waves at distances much farther than your bedroom or at your feet. They can also further damage your Tone Ear due to their response and output characteristics.
Part 7: Wrapping Up
So, you’ve made it this far and you’re either much happier or mad at me. What do we do? Well, for starters, talk to your fellow Kemper Profiler users. There is a wealth of resources and community to assist from all over the world to answer the most technical to the most newbie questions you may have. Still not happy? Take a break. Go back to your old gear if you can for a bit. Then come back. Better? No? Try profiling your amp. It’s a pretty straight forward process and may yield results that satisfy. Lastly, take some time and listen to some of your favorite recordings again and really tune in to the guitar sounds. Do some research and find out what gear was used and how. This may lead you to a path of tonal bliss.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and hopefully it will help some of the people with frustrations using one of the most revolutionary products ever introduced for guitar players.
Well people tend to belive they are hearing something. This is called placebo and it is measurable in tests.
Agreed. I had a friend that swore he could tell the difference between having his audiophile stereos speaker cables elevated above the ground in little tracks vs laying on it. Lol
If people are dumb enough to buy it, someone will make it.
FYI, there’s more RF emitted by your phone than any household current could possibly introduce.
Once the capacitance of a respective cable reaches a certain point, resistance no longer becomes an issue. If the required operating voltage and frequency is provided to the device in question the audio would be unaffected unless the power supply is of such a low quality as to introduce the deviation in voltage or frequency into the signal path which is virtually impossible with switch mode power supplies. Not to mention the isolation to prevent such issues designed into the circuit. Spend all you want. It all ends up at 12V or so anyway as soon as it passes the input transformer. So then what? Upgrade the transformer? AD/DA converters? Jacks? Internal wiring?
If it makes you feel better, great. I’ll save the cash for a guitar.
This debate has raged for years in the high end audio world. No amount of proof or evidence has ever been shown to support the claims by any cable manufacturers except under their own tests and conditions. That said, supposedly, Eric Johnson can blind test cables and 9V batteries and discern the differences. So, essentially, if you have super human hearing..... maybe.... but highly unlikely.
As exhibit one I offer you this: A $16,000 IEC Cable
Cables are good, I've checked with two. Both strats and LP are producing the same results. Strats sound better, but not great. I'll check on Cubase also, in case th efault is with Reaper but I'm guessing Reaper is fine. Strats and LP definitely sound fine with the amp, even checked them with my old POD HD.
I've recorded main outs as well as SPDIF, sounds pretty much the same. Interface working as normal, seems to be linked u to Reaper no probs. The RME interface and Reaper have been the most stable out of all the interfaces and DAW's that I have used. PC is a few years old, works very well.
Main output is set to Master Stereo in SPDIF. All monitor EQ's at 0.
The tweaks in the clips were relatively minor, just a bit of treble and less bass.
I'll try the Kemper to Marshall in the morning.
Try hooking your monitors directly to stereo output of the Kemper. Bypass everything and see if things improve. If so, your signal chain is at fault.
Thanks for posting the clips and your willingness to troubleshoot.
I’ve seen these threads pop up repeatedly since purchasing my KPA and they always seems to follow the same pattern...
1. Post begins: I hate/not liking/disappointed with my Kemper
2. Kemperites arrive and offer possible solutions
3. Poster offers additional info as to why they aren’t happy
4. Sound clips requested by Kemperites
5. Additional solutions offered
6. Poster offers additional info and possibly posts links to sounds they like
7. Sound clips requested by Kemperites
8. Poster disappears or gracefully bows out of thread
This seems to happen repeatedly and I don’t recall ever seeing a positive outcome.
I’m not attacking the poster here, but, attempting to solve a problem without hearing what you’re hearing is a futile endeavor. You HAVE to post clips. Even a phone audio clip of what you’re hearing in the room would be helpful as without a source of reference, the experts are flying blind.
The other issue is, unfortunately, good tone is VERY subjective. Having worked live sound production and played in bands for years I can tell you with absolute authority that there are great guitar players with horrible ears for tone and mediocre guitar players with some of the best sounding rigs I’ve ever heard.
The ear is a funny thing. No two people hear the same sound in the same way. SRV, Iommi, Rhoads, Lynch, Mayer, Johnson, Bonamassa. They all sound different to each set of ears. Most of the time, a consensus or agreement can be reached on who has a great tone but there is NO universal holy grail tone.
Until we have that, in order for people to find a sound that is pleasing to their ears, we will have to figure out some sort of baseline to refer people to. This will allow people with problems to troubleshoot and inevitably find a solution and a baseline tone helps to establish a point of reference.
That said, in my opinion, if you pull up the Manrock 800 profile(a stock profile), plug in a Les Paul and you’re NOT getting tone nirvana, something is wrong with your setup. That profile has a great gain structure, balanced tone and offers me a great baseline with a LP, Strat, Tele through my Mesa cab and HR824 monitors.
Sorry for the long winded post but I felt the need to chime in.
Had to do it. Another strat in the family. Shocking right?
Not sure how I feel about the new V-Mod pickups yet. We shall see. I wanted a very traditional strat and this does that very well, plus the neck is awesome!
Do yourself a favor and grab a 4x12 cabinet and, using the monitor out, give it a try.
If that brings you joy, it’s just a matter of sorting your monitoring situation.
I use a Strat with a Duncan Screamin Demon, a stock LP Studio with Burstbuckers, an Iceman with Duncan Nazgul/Sentient and an Ibanez RGIB6 Baritone among others and I am getting great results and similar tone thru a OS Rectifier 4x12 and my Mackie HR824’s.
Multiple profiles used from Mr B to the stock ManRock JCM profile and beyond. No issues. Joy.
from the page:
- t.c. electronic A/S VSS3, PowerCore 4.x, TC Audio Interface Software 3.x
- Solid State Logic MadiXtreme 1.4, Alpha Link MX 2.0
- Kemper GmbH Profiling Amp USB streaming kernel driver, Access Music GmbH Virus
- Ploytec GmbH AC3 PortClass, CoreAudio
- Alva Audio Nanoface Control Panel
- Universal Audio upcoming Plugins
I did a thing....
Have to say, NOT being a 7 string guy, this gives all the thrills and none of the learning curve!
Ibanez RGIB6 Baritone. .68 Low B!!
Even splurged for the hard case.
Try installing Rig Manager again as Administrator (Google is your friend).
Also, make sure your Profiler OS is compatible with the Rig Manger version you're running (download page should have that info).
When in doubt, try a different USB cable. Also, silly question but you ARE plugged in in the back correct?
I should add, as far as what I can tell, and based on info from VooDoo, the Kemper WILL NOT run the GCX alone. You HAVE to have the GCP.
This is important info.
This thread will get you all the info for setting things up. Check Nytowls post. Ignore step one, the SysEx dump.
Also, make sure you have all 5 pins in your MIDI cable wired (my ProCo cable had the wires but only 4 were connected by default) you need all 5 for power.
FYI, I am currently using the Kemper Remote and testing totally in the box. No pedals. Trying to simplify.
"You can easily use a USB keyboard to make editing the profiler easier, learn ALL the tips and tricks of the profiler FIRST..."
What is this Voodoo you speak of? I can plug in a keyboard? Did I miss this in the manual?
Send me a message kind sir and fill me in!
Thanks so much!!
They are actively looking for developers. Based on some of the skill sets required, I think it would be a good bet that some kind of software integration is coming.
I'd also bet that, whatever it is, there will be people disappointed. Lol
Happy for anything new to play with. Bring on Verbzilla 1.0!!
Maybe they'll blow everyone away and demo the verbs with a beta editor.....
I would consider using an Avid Eleven Rack. They can be had cheap new and cheaper used. Tons of patches available and swapping out for the Kemper would be simple unless you have powered unit.
If that's the case, I'd grab a Boss Katana. Totally usable sounds with direct output and a 12" speaker for monitoring. If your whole rig failed this would cover you.
I wish you told me this last Friday when I asked. I wouldn't have posted it.
I think it's clear I was trying to be a good citizen.
Well, I'm done. Sorry guys. This is a bummer.
I don't think this is a deal breaker in any way. Maybe an opportunity.
The Kemper can go so deep that, for some, it's a bit daunting. Or for others, like me, that are sometimes too lazy to dig into sub menus for hours tweaking tones.
A perfect lesson for all would be for you to detail the process involved to tweak these tones to your needs. Thereby educating us all on your methods.
Not everyone may take the time but, and I know I'm not alone here, any simple insights as to how to take a profile that is "close" to the tone you're searching for and get it to the next level would be appreciated.
I too have been disappointed with a lot of the commercial offerings for various reasons. Most of the rock and metal profiles have way too much gain added back in after profiling and many have the dreaded phase issues resulting in the cocked wah effect we all know.
LIke you, I grew up on 70's rock and 80's metal. Page, Iommi, Van Halen, Lynch, DeMartini, Campbell, et al so, I am looking for those classic mid gain 3 preamp tube tones. I can appreciate some of the brutal metal tones these guys are getting these days and even enjoy firing one up from time to time but most of my presets are based on Marshall not Bogner Uberschall profiles.
I tried early on here to get a thread going to start sharing or creating a repository of replica star rig Profiles but it only got a small amount of interest. Maybe that is something we could revisit?
I myself would love to have a series of 5 pack profiles based on album tones of an artist. Clean, rhythm, lead and a couple of specialty goodies. Load in a slot and you have your Dokken sound ready to go, etc.
Regardless, don't be discouraged, this copyright issue is minor and understandable. I think it's more of a one size fits all solution as there are people with less integrity who would abuse it if tweaked profiles became popular.
Hang in there. I'll stay with you on this. If your first effort is any indication, you have a great set of ears and will be an asset to the community. Myself included.
Downloaded this and tried it through a 4x12 Mesa V30. Couldn't say I would tweak a thing. Nice work.
It's not a drastic departure from the original but, it does add something in the midrange area that I like.
Only tried with my trusty old Strat but overall I like it. Thanks!