Now that the “newness factor”* is over, I will give my honest assessment of the Kemper.
I can honestly say that the Kemper is absolutely the best piece of gear that I have EVER used. It completely blows me away on a daily basis. I find new things to get blown away from with the unit on a daily basis. The sounds are incredible. the versatility is beyond belief. There are tons (and I mean tons) of effects that you can add to your profiles.
Profiling an amp cannot be easier. The greatest amount of time profiling, is moving the mic around the cabinet and getting the sound that you want to profile. Headphones are almost a necessity during this phase. You also might want to place the amp in another room, just to make sure you get the exact sound you want through the headphones without hearing any of the amp sound bleeding through the headphones. The direct out goes into the amp input. The mic goes into the return of the Kemper, and you’re ready to profile the amp. You can use multiple mics as long as you use some kind of a mixer that will create one line out to the kemper.
Once you have mic’d the amp, you set the Kemper to profile mode. This simply cannot be easier. The first page gives you 3 buttons at this stage: Kemper sound, Source amp sound and Next. Since we haven’t profiled the amp yet, the Kemper sound is just whatever patch you’re currently on. So, button is basically useless at this stage, but there is a reason it’s there. It comes full circle at the end.
The next page has 3 buttons, and gives you 2 options, a distorted or clean profile, one or the other, and a begin profile button. To be honest, I think this is an unnecessary step, because if you choose a clean profile and it detects a distorted sound, it automatically switches to the distorted mode. At that point, you hit profile. The Kemper sends some alien noises to the amp, and the profile is done in around a minute.
After the profile is created, you go back to the first screen. Now there are 4 buttons, the Kemper profile, the amp sound, the refine profile, and next (which is used when you want to start a new process). This is when the first button makes all the sense in the world (did I mention full circle ). You select the profile, and play whatever you want with your guitar. Check if it sounds exact by switching between the source and Kemper buttons. If it’s not perfect, hit the refine button. Then start “chugging” notes on the guitar. Hit the strings hard. It’s not time for a slow mellow solo. Just bang out some chords and muted 8th chords. It listens to your guitar playing through the profile and adjusts it.
At this point, you check the profile again, and usually, it’s dead on. You save it and you’re done. If it’s not exact, go back and hit refine again. You might think you’re done, but there are a ton of options that you can tweak to make it actualy sound better than the original. Does the original amp sound a little muddy? You can add clarity. I could go on and on, but it’s really amazing to see it in action, and have all this power to create any amp profile you want.
Profiles are not limited to amps. You can profile other guitar processors. For example, if you have a helix, AxeFx, etc., you can profile (almost) any patch in those rigs, and create a profile on the Kemper. I did this with some of my other guitar processors, and the results are amazing. I was able to profile them, and make the profile sound better than the original. Hell, I went back and profiled some of my favorite patches in my old GNX3. I posted one profile on Rig Exchange, and people thought it was a fantastic guitar sound. I was having so much fun profiling, that I created 27 profiles from the GNX last night.
I could go on all day long. But I can say that the Kemper is the greatest piece of gear that I have ever had, ever used. At first I thought the 1800 price tag was a lot to throw into a guitar processor. But, when you realize that it basically contains every amp in it, it makes it one of the cheapest pieces of gear on the planet. You have 1000 profile locations to store profiles. You can have pretty much every patch from all the modelers inside of this box.
Anyway, enough typing. Time to play the damn Kemper
newness factor: It’s sometimes called the honeymoon phase. It’s best described as having a new girlfriend with an accent. In the beginning, you love everything about her, and you love to hear her accent. After a few weeks, the newness factor wears off, and you can’t stand when she opens her mouth. Her accent is like finger nails on a chalkboard.