Posts by Chris Duncan

    We rehearse with two kempers and one bass going straight into the mixer and the drumset beeing miced up with a couple of AKG Drum mics. We then all listen to eachother over Superlux HD-662 headphones. We don't use speakers other than that. Basically you would only hear drums from outside. I used the same headphones at home but listened to the kemper through the headphone output. Over the mixer or at least in the mix it sounded different somehow. Maybe because of reference to the bass and drums. The kemper volume is higher at rehersals, the headphones just a little but not much

    Okay, the picture is starting to come together for me. There are a couple of factors that are influencing your experience, and the effect can be significant.

    First, you, the other guitar (I think you said he plays baritone) and the bass player are all competing for the same sonic real estate in certain areas. You and the other guitar in one range, you and the bass in your lower range, and the baritone and the bass in their respective ranges. If you spend much time mixing in the studio you'll be familiar with how much instruments with a common frequency range can get in each other's way, sometimes one masking the other, and so on. It can absolutely take you from killer guitar tone to "why does this sound so lame?"

    In a band with two guys playing standard guitar, one common trick is to use a parametric EQ and cut a range from one player and boost it on the other. This is often in midrange frequencies with a wide Q and only a subtle adjustment, ~3db or less. While it's routine to pan the guitars to either side, giving each other some room does much more to let each guitar be heard.

    Who you boost and cut can depend on what they're typically playing (e.g. chunky chords vs delicate arpeggios). It can also depend on the tonal characteristics of the guitar. A guy might play a Tele because he wants that high end bite. If the other guy plays a Strat, you might get the Strat out of the way of the Tele in that "take your head off" twank range of the Tele. If your other guy is playing baritone, you'll have some contention in your lower range (which could cut some of the balls off of your sound), as well as the full guitar range mentioned above.

    I don't know how much of a studio rat you are, but if you can get a multitrack recording of the band from rehearsal and dump it into your DAW at home, it'll make it easier to experiment with EQ, which you can then apply to the mixer in your next rehearsal. Of course, when reaching for the EQ knob remember that it's always best to reduce player A than to boost player B (unless you're doing the equal cut / boost two guitar thing mentioned above).

    When you listen to yourself at home, you're not competing with any other instrument, so you're hearing exactly what the profile is doing. Meanwhile, back in the real world, you have to find a place in the mix for each instrument. That's why I've always been happy to pay for good sound engineer. You can be absolutely slaying it onstage, but if the sound guy sucks the crowd will think the band sucks. Don't ask how I know. :)

    The other factor has to do with a headphone-only setup. I know some guys can do this. I never could. I have high quality, custom mold Ultimate Ears IEMs. They do a great job of reproducing what I hear from the Kemper. But for me, rock is a physical experience, and if there's no air moving, I find it much harder to feel it. When I first experimented with IEM only, I ended up putting a sealed 12" Celestian cab hidden under the stage, turned up just loud enough that I could still feel the thump in my chest when I punched those power chords. This may not be that important to you, but for some guys it's a critical consideration.

    From an apples to apples comparison perspective that's not a factor for you since you listen on headphones at home, too. However, out of curiosity, what kind of amp did you use in rehearsal before the Kemper? Was it an amp and speaker cab, miked into the board? If so, part of what you're "losing" with the Kemper, no matter which profile, is the feeling of that air moving. There's not a profile in the world that can help with that. If you never used speakers, then you're already used to it. If you had a speaker and now you don't, that's another "what's different?" thing that would influence your opinion of the Kemper experience.

    Either way, EQ will be crucial to your rehearsal experience. I would recommend spending time on YouTube watching studio mixing videos that talk about the EQ approach to bands with multiple guitars / keyboards and how they deal with the competition for sonic real estate. Then take what you learn at home and experiment in rehearsal. Don't be surprised if the tweaks you do at home in your DAW have to be altered a bit in rehearsal, because room acoustics get a vote, too. If you have a digital mixer, better still. Once you nail it you can save a preset. That way if someone accidentally bumps a knob and everyone wonders why this sound isn't quite right today, you can just recall the preset and you're back in the game.

    Hope this helps.

    I really liked the reampzone profiles for the JVM410 and the Friedman BE100 at home via my headphones but when I brought them to band practice they sounded a little thin.

    I may have missed it, but I went back through your posts and I don't see any mention of what you're listening through, either at home or in rehearsal.

    I know this is a really dumb thing to highlight, but whatever is moving the air will also have a huge impact on your sound. When it sounds good in place A and less good in place B, the first thing I usually look for is what's different with speakers and room acoustics. Debugging 101: something broke? Then what changed?

    What are you listening on at home - studio monitors, headphones? Which brand?

    At rehearsal, do you have a powered head into a passive speaker, or are you using a powered speaker? Traditional guitar cab, or FRFR? Or do you hear it exclusively through the PA speakers of your overall mix? Or IEMs? At the risk of pointing out the obvious, if you only hear your guitar through the main PA speakers / board mix (i.e. you have no dedicated guitar speaker cab), you're at the mercy of whoever is doing the mixing.

    Also, what volume are you playing at in rehearsal versus home - is one louder than the other? Michael's profiles, for example, are known for really coming alive at gig volume (remember, "alive" for a classic rock guy may be "too much / little X" for a modern rock guy). Plus the Fletcher-Munson effect, of course.

    I've read comments from some guys saying they apply certain EQ curves to their live setup versus when they're playing at home to achieve the desired effect. And of course, which speakers to use, guitar cab vs FRFR, powered versus passive, etc. is an entire conversation in and of itself.

    If you've found some profiles that give you the sound you're looking for at home, you're starting to zero in a solution that's appropriate for your taste. That's great progress, and puts you in the neighborhood. However, you still have to sort out the other influences in what you're hearing before you get to Guitar Utopia. No hurry. We'll save you a seat. :)

    The SRV attack just won't work with slinky strings. But 12s and 13s ...

    As a point of contrast, does anyone know what gauge Brian May uses?

    It's well known that he plays with a coin, but I saw an interview recently where he talked about having such an extremely light touch with picking that at the end of a Queen show the stage was always littered with coins he'd dropped.

    I wonder if he uses heavier gauge because of the weight and inflexibility of the coin, or if he uses light or moderate strings because with a light enough touch it wouldn't matter.

    Hey! I tried out some profile at band practice and was kind of shocked how different everything sounded. I did not have manny M Britt profiles to test but tried out the Victory V50 and was very disappointed. I still can not shake the feeling that it may sound great with the right profiles though and still want to give it a shot. I had a look at the Crank'n'go Pack but I am hesitant since I do not want to blow any more money... Does anyone have the pack and can recommend it?

    First, based on your user name and comments I've read, my assumption is that you're a metal guy and are looking for modern distortion tones. If that's incorrect, the rest of this may be of limited value to you.

    I have all of Michael's profiles, and that's 99% of what I use. Crank 'n Go is among my favorites. However - and this is important - I'm a classic rock guy, and that's a genre that he's fluent in. He's not a metal player. If that's the kind of sounds you're looking for, you need to look at profilers who do metal.

    Also, apologies if I'm pointing out the obvious, but a fundamental concept that's crucial to being happy with the Kemper is the fact that when you're buying a profile of, say, a Victory V50, you are absolutely, positively, not buying a Victory V50. You're buying a single tone that someone has dialed in using a Victory. One tone, and one tone alone, out of all the things a Victory is capable of doing (which is true of any amp).

    When I first bought the Kemper I started out downloading Marshalls from Rig Exchange. All of them were five star and well regarded. And I was absolutely shocked by how horrible they sounded. I almost returned the Kemper. Eventually I realized that they were all tones dialed in for modern metal, and I was looking for something to play classic rock with. A Marshall dialed in for a Bad Company song will sound lame in the extreme for metal. A Marshall dialed in for metal will get you booed off the stage of a Bad Company tribute gig.

    The problem I had is that I saw "Marshall" and made assumptions of what it should sound like based on how I would personally dial in a Marshall. And that's the problem with profiles, free or otherwise. It would be much more helpful if they were described as "Here's a Marshall Plexi dialed in for Bad Company." I'd buy it, you'd avoid it, but we'd both be happy because we understood what it was. Unfortunately, that's just not the way it works. Profiles are listed by amp brand / name, and sometimes you get what speakers were used. Not terribly helpful.

    You'll have a much better experience if you consider genre first and foremost when looking for profiles. Find guys who play the kind of stuff you enjoy playing, then try their profiles. If you're a metal guy trying to use Michael or any other non-metal guy's profiles, you're most likely going to be unhappy with what you get. That said, once you find the right kind of profiles for your style, I think you'll love this thing.

    Because I'm not a metal guy I can't offer recommendations, but there are tons of guys here who go for modern rock sounds. Rather than a thread like this that's essentially "I can't get metal out of a classic rock profile," I would instead start a new thread seeking advice and recommendations from guys who like the same kinds of bands that you do (always a good reference point). I think that'll help get you where you want to go.

    Do agree, although in a Rory Gallagher whim, took a sander to a strat...don't worry, its only a squier :)

    That's okay. You get bonus points just for mentioning him. :)

    Truth be told, I consider myself pretty accomplished at wearing out guitars and Levis all by myself.

    After my own heart, although I love it when my jeans fade and yet still twitch when I get a nick on my guitar.

    Thanks, Peter. It was interesting having the Pod version for comparison (I had the Pod Pro rack mount version). I personally wouldn't classify them in terms of better or worse, but rather just two different guitar tones.

    For my taste the Kemper / Marshall version felt a bit smoother and fit into the mix more easily. On the crunch parts I could also hear more of the Les Paul's character. But honestly, the differences are probably pretty subtle to anyone but us guitar folks. You could easily picture either version on the radio.

    I'm a Strat guy who started playing in the early 70s when a black face Fender was just the stuff you bought used at the pawn shop and nothing exotic. Yeah, you can dime the things to get some crunch out of them (until you go deaf), but I was playing plain Jane, used 70s Strats with stock pickups. My amps never sounded that ballsy. Ever.

    It was very frustrating at the time because I was a classic rock guy trying to get those record sounds, but I simply couldn't afford a Les Paul or a Marshall, so the memories of the limitations stayed with me. Eventually I tried SGs (much cheaper than Les Pauls) and the humbuckers obviously gave me more crunch. Then I swapped out the stock pickups with Dimazzio Super Distortion pickups, and it was even better. All the while, the same amp.

    The video just says custom shop Strat. What pickups? What string guage? What's the height of the pickups? What wood for the body of the guitar? What pick is he using? How hard is he hitting the strings? Apologies for pointing out what I know is terribly obvious, but just because you plug in a good quality Stat doesn't mean it's going to push the amp in the same way as someone else's given all the variables.

    All of this is to echo the thoughts of others. This Kemper thing really does get you 99.5% of what the real thing can do, you just have to find the profiles that work for you. The free rmpacheco Morgan AC20 on Rig Exchange is widely loved (including me). For clean, ambient and jangly stuff, Tone Junkie does some nice work. M. Britt is another respected profiler and a personal favorite of mine (for classic rock the Crank & Go is excellent). If it's Fender you seek, he and Tone Junkie would be great places to start, and they both have free stuff.

    That said, there are caveats. What you hear in a demo will almost never be exactly what you hear when you play it yourself due to differences in the guitar and style of playing, even if, as is the case here, it's a "Strat" (e.g. no one would ever try to convince you that a 1962 original Fender Strat is the same thing as a brand new one - there's a massive variety in Strats over the years, and especially today with so many options).

    Also, when you do start looking for profiles on Rig Exchange, don't make the mistake I first made, looking at a profile, seeing Fender or Marshall, and assuming what it should sound like. A Marshall dialed for metal is not a Marshall dialed for rhythm & blues, but it's still a Marshall. A profile is a single snapshot of one tone setting, and an amp can do lots of different stuff. So the style of music the profilers play and what tone they were going for will influence what the "Marshall" profile (or any other amp) will sound like.

    I've been at this guitar thing for a while now and have never been comfortable with digital offerings. A week after I bought the Kemper I sold every tube amp I owned - Fenders, Voxes, Marshalls, all of them. That was a year and a half ago, and I regret nothing. My guitar has never sounded this good.

    The trick is to find the profiles that work for your guitar, your style of playing, and your personal taste. And they're out there.

    Keep the faith, brother.

    Just select a MB profile you like the reverb on, lock the reverb module, then browse TJ to your heart’s content :)

    Wait, that doesn't seem nearly complicated enough. How could it possibly work? :)

    This points out how very little I do in the realm of tweaking profiles. It never even occurred to me that I could lock the reverb and make it global across all profiles.

    i have various dedicated midi controllers including RJM mastermind. I would never dream of trying to use the Kemper as a midi control source. I would want to do my midi programming from a single central controller (such as as the RJM which has an amazing editor for this sort of thing) rather than one of the audio devices so I don’t see it as a shortcoming of the KPA in any way.

    Having said that, I now only use the KPA with no external midi devices so my RJM is basically gathering dust as the Remote works so well with the Kemper.

    The RJM was absolutely awesome when I was running tube amps.

    When I bought the Kemper and Remote, I sold the RJM. Dust is for bunnies. :)

    I never use SPDIF and get good results with analog. In a couple of areas I use Steinberg's UR22, which doesn't support SPDIF. Very reliable hardware, very good analog quality. Also very simple setup.

    Many people here use SPDIF and get excellent results. Be advised, however, that going digital on occasion means additional configuration / compatibility concerns. Analog is always just analog. Depending on your geek comfort level, that may or may not be an issue for you. Whether or not the audio difference between analog and SPDIF is something you can feel is also a consideration.

    The UR22 comes with a free version of Cubase, which is probably more than you'll need. Cubase is a traditional DAW recording / mixing approach in the vein of Pro Tools. Ableton Live supports that to a degree but its strength lies in its innovative design that makes sample / beat / loop based performing more intuitive. They're both very good at what they do, it's a matter of which is the most comfortable for you.

    The majority of my collection is M. Britt. I bought some Top Jimi as well. M. Britt is my go to as I'm a classic rock guy, so my comparison was from MB to Top Jimi. I found it hard to make apples to apples comparisons because all the Top Jimi stuff was absolutely drenched in reverb, where MB Crank and Go, for instance, used it more as ambiance.

    I've been so happy with the MB that I really haven't circled back around to give my Top Jimi stuff another try as it would require dialing back the reverb on each and every profile. Since the MB stuff sounds great for my taste right out of the box it's hard to justify the effort. But of course, that's all a matter of taste. Someone doing a Van Halen gig may want it drenched in reverb, and that's Top Jimi's wheelhouse.

    That said, I think one huge thing to consider whether you're buying commercial profiles or getting them from Rig Exchange is the genre of music the profile was dialed in for. A Marshall JCM 800 dialed in for Covid-Apocalype-Zombie-Death-Metal is not at all the same as the guy who dials in a JCM 800 for a Bad Company song. But people see Marshall (for instance) and have certain expectations. The amp is only the beginning of the profile. At it's heart, a profile is a snapshot of the final tone that someone dialed in. So you're buying someone's expertise in dialing in that JCM 800 for a specific sound. That's very different than just buying the Marshall itself (and frankly a big part of what I pay for since I kinda suck at dialing in tones).

    I made that mistake when I first started on Rig Exchange. So many five star profiles sounded absolutely horrible to me and I almost returned the Kemper wondering if I'd made a mistake. Eventually I realized that I was listening to amps dialed in for modern metal but I was expecting classic rock, based purely on the amp name. Then everything came together. One of the reasons M. Britt profiles work for me is that he personally goes for the same kind of tones that I enjoy.

    So, as with most things in life, context is king.

    These were the only Jazzmasters that were released with maple fretboards (from what I know) yes. It has a very "stratty" feel & tone to it. It seems that there are many who praise Fender for these Jazzmasters, but they aren't very popular among traditionalists (maple fretboard, strat-"like" single coils and no dual wiring system). I'm loving it, but I have an alternative taste in general.

    I've always wondered what Jazzmasters bring to the party that's different in the Fender camp.

    I've played Strats for decades and only recently added a Tele as they were so close to Strats that I often wondered what the point would be to having both. And if money had been more of an issue, I'd still be fine with just the Strat. The Tele is brighter and has slightly more body. Still twanky as hell though, so instantly recognizable for that "Fender" sound.

    What are the characteristics that would make me reach for a Jazzmaster rather than the Strat or Tele?

    Hi all, This is not my main player but a favorite one I built.

    Say, shouldn't you put that guitar down and pay attention to driving before you bump into one of those other planes? :)

    (and very cool guitar)