Kemper : Holy S


#1

The Kemper Rack version (not the toaster) arrived a few days ago, and I am completely blown away by it.

Before it was delivered, I watched a ton of the tutorial videos, just to make sure I was completely lost when it showed up.

Day one consisted of just checking out the stock sounds and dealing with learning the buttons, knobs, menus, etc. The stock patches (profiles) are incredible. I’ve had modelers for many years, and in EVERY single one of them come with horrible stock patches. Part of the headache was trying to get a good sound out of the modeler. This was not the case with the Kemper. I was blown away with the clarity and quality of the stock profiles. Maneuvering around the Kemper is very intuitive. It’s all laid out very logically. Played until my fingers started to hurt (sounds like a Bryan Adams song), then realized I was playing for 7 hours, and I completely screwed myself for getting enough sleep for work the next day.

Day 2, began with tweaking some patches, and soon turned into a test of the profile functionality. I hooked up the Eleven Rack, to try to profile my favorite patch from that unit. Without reading the “how to profile an amp” manual, I went for it. To my amazement, it got the tone right. I was able to tweak it to actually make it sound better than the original, because I was able to hear every note in the chord much better than the original. The entire process took about 45 seconds. I was floored.

I checked the Rig Exchange, and there are a TON of profiles that were profiled from the 11R, AxeFX, Helix, etc. So, I guess it’s the best of both worlds.

There is a limitation to the profiler. If the existing patch is very noisy, it simply can’t distinguish between the note and the noise. There are a few patches on the 11R that have some noise in them. It was a certain amp model that was very noisy. I tried turning off the compressor, wondering if that would help, but it didn’t.

Day 3, looked into the available effects, and was overwhelmed with the options. I didn’t realize that there were so many options in the box. This is where the learning curve is. A boatload of options. I’m guessing that’s where the real power is. It’s going to be a daunting task. I’ll probably pick a couple and really try to learn them, then the rest will most likely follow the same paradigm. I put in a couple of calls to friends with a Boogie and a couple of rare amps. I’ll have to pack this up and try to profile those amps using a Shure SM57.

…and that brings us up to date. I still have some of the EQ Tone IRs I created for the Atomic Amplifire. Tomorrow I’ll attempt to create a profile using one of them.

Loving it so far.


#2

Good luck with the new tool amigo. I have heard good things about the Kemper modelers in the past.


#3

Nice! Once you step into the world of quality modelers… you can’t go back…


#4

Nice, this just caught my eye the other day. Looked at a few comparisons between this and the axefx and pretty sure I prefer the base amp sounds in the Kemper.

The Nick Johnston vid where he plays live at namm and it sounds just like his album has me convinced I need one, if only he would give up the profile…


#5

We need sound clips! Quick before they shutdown SoundCloud :slight_smile:


#6

congrats! Isn’t there another sound sharing site? Seems like a lot were around


#7

Ok, I’m a few weeks into the Kemper, and the “newness factor” is over…NOT EVEN CLOSE :slight_smile: I still 100% love it, and can’t think of myself using anything else.

The depth of this thing is going to keep me saying “WOW” for a long time. The interface is so familiar and intuitive, that it doesn’t need a PC/MAC interface to program.

One of the best parts about the Kemper is when friends come over to check it out. They say they’re looking for a specific amp. If I don’t already have it, I look online and download it. When it loads, every single time, the person is blown away, saying that it feels like the real amp, It goes without fail. Every time.

The Atomic Amplifire was a good jumpstart into the Kemper. It got me into doing my own EQ IRs, and I learned a lot. The Kemper also supports everything the AA did and so much more. It should considering the price difference :slight_smile: I find that the same commercial IRs that I used with the AA, sound so much better in the Kemper. I can’t explain it, especially since the AA used 48K and the Kemper 44K IRs.

The Kemper is truly unforgiving. I was very spoiled for many years. If I slightly missed a note, the modeler would somehow clean that up for me. This acts like a true amplifier. Fuck up, and you hear it. It’s actually made me concentrate on playing better.

I can’t say enough about the Kemper. In every guitar processor I have ever had, I find myself gravitating toward a couple of patches. The Kemper is no exception. I force myself to go through some other presets/rigs and then I’ll find something else that I really like. Changing sounds gives you new ideas. I guess it’s like changing guitars.

As of the time of this post, there are 10609 user rigs on Rig Exchange. The software allows you to preview the rig before downloading it, or putting it on the Kemper. So far, I would say about 25% of the ones I tried are excellent. Some are good, and some are a little weak, probably just other users creating profiles of their own and uploading them.

I was using a Behringer FCB1010 to control my Eleven Rack and a EurekaProm chip. The Eureka also has a profile for the Kemper. It works perfectly with turning effects on/off, wah and volume pedals, etc. The only thing that it doesn’t do is control the on-board looper. But, if I buy the updated chip, it will work the looper also.

As I said earlier, I absolutely love this thing. Every time I think that I’m really getting the hang of it, I read about some other feature that brings it to a whole new level. I have to start recording some examples and put them up on soudncloud (before they shut their doors).

I cannot give this box high enough reviews. It’s nothing short of incredible.

Ok, my firmware update is complete. Time to play the thing again. :smile:


#8

Cool review Ed, it is a longs ways from the GNX’s I assume from your glowing review.


#9

It’s a completely different animal. Sort of like how an amp is different from the GNX. From the modelers I’ve had over the years, they are way more “forgiving” than an amp (or a Kemper). There is nothing like that in the Kemper. It acts like an amp. At the beginning it’s a little frustrating to know that you’ve been protected from these issues, and you have to ‘GIT GUD’. :slight_smile: But after a few days, you find that you’re sounding better.


#10

Yep, plus you can hear how all your guitars sound different as well.


#11

I did a quick (and dirty) demo of a Lynch-type rig on the Kemper to a backing track. The rhythm is a once through without any effects. The lead has a boost and some reverb.


#12

I can’t get it to play


#13

Nice metal type sound sounds real as can be. Nice work.


#14

That’s awesome

What is this “Post must be 20 characters long” bullshit…BERT???


#15

sounds good. Nice job on posting the whole song too.


#16

That kicked ass!
Now when are you gonna do the vocals?


#17

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 :slight_smile: ). 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 :slight_smile:

  • 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.

#18

Well amigo that is a stellar review truthfully. And if I needed more than two sounds with reverb, I would jump on that item from what you said above. Excellent review.


#19

It’s been a few months of playing with the Kemper, and I am still like a kid in a candy store with this thing. I have found an interesting negative with the Kemper. I find myself checking out presets almost daily, instead of settling on one or two sounds, which I did on other units. I bought a ton of 3rd party rigs ( Kemper talk for presets) from a guy who sold his Kemper (hence my ethical thread).

It’s an incredible ride. My next venture was using the built-in looper. The looper is only operational via a floorboard. The Kemper floorboard is around $500. I actually contemplated it for a while, and since I already own a Behringer FCB1010 with a EurekaProm, I could just upgrade the chip for the latest functionality. A savings of $480 :slight_smile:

I got the upgraded chip yesterday, and checked out the looper. I’ve never been one who felt I needed a looper, especially since I had one in the GNX3 that I think I used once. But after checking it out for a few minutes, I realized how much fun it could be.

I have to limit myself, and actually start playing some of my own things, and start recording. I need to set my iPhone timer, to limit my time checking out rigs, and now playing with the looper. I need some discipline, but I am weak :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

I have to say that I still love this thing as much now, as when I started playing around with it. It is an incredible piece of gear. Absolutely incredible.


#20

Very cool review amigo. GAS is a gas, My modeling days are over, not because they are not very improved since my GNX2 and Pod XT, but because I don’t need them anymore. I use 2 distinct sounds, clean and tube stomp overdrive, both with a slight touch of reverb into my two tube amps. But you are having fun with your Kemper and that is all that counts.