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> Axe Fx Ii Vs Kemper Profiling Amp
Bogdan Radovic
post Jun 22 2013, 10:31 AM
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Hi guys!

I have been thinking for some time now about what would make the ultimate home recording gear setup (that can go up to professional results). Thinking of guitars signal chain, I think it is so much easier to record "direct" as opposed to using amp and mic (in home studio application).

But to get as "professional" results, only two devices come to my mind :

Axe FX II and Kemper Profiling Amp

From what I heard these devises sound awesome and with good quality sound card we can easily capture their sound without complications of micing different amps etc.

The questions is : which device is more versatile for this application (recording) and which device sounds better?

Never had a chance to hear one live and probably never will for a long time (until local stores get them), so this is truly theoretical question smile.gif


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PosterBoy
post Jun 22 2013, 11:39 AM
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I would say the Axe Fx II, they are both very close to each other in terms of quality of amp modelling/profiling, the Axe has much more tweakability to create that which can't be done with an amp. It also has much more in terms of effect and routing capabilities.


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SpaseMoonkey
post Jun 22 2013, 01:07 PM
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Kemper - I like the tones that it produces to my ears it sounds closer to the real deal. I also have the original lunchbox looking one which I like how simple it is to change settings simple like a real amp, touch of a knob and done. Recording I wish it was a USB interface so I could remove my interface and just use it.

Axe-FX - Never used it but judging from videos, I think it doesn't sound quite match the real deal, but thats only due to EQ'ing. Which I'm sure after messing around with it you could get the same quality as the Kemper. I do like the fact it can be used as a USB interface.

Also everyone likes to use the Axe-FX has more pedals, delays, effect options, you'd be surprised as to the amount that is in the Kemper. Just you only get 4 slots before the amp, 2 slots after for anything, then a delay and reverb after as well. So the Axe is more customized in how much and where.

I feel it is more of a personal preference as they are both flagship items, they both will give you the same quality in the end on a mix. It's just all in do you want to spend time tweaking or not. I personally just want to plug and play, the Kemper gives me that. I change a patch adjust my bass/mid/treb and then play.


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maharzan
post Jun 22 2013, 02:10 PM
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I don't know about Kemper but I have the Axe FX II. I use mostly default settings and I like the tone. I have never played a real amp althought I do have Triaxis but I like the easiness of Axe Fx. The best thing about it is that you get firmware upgrades and new amps every now and then. It just gets better everytime. Since its modeling and digital, the tone is just about tweaking and EQing for sure. I think both would sound perfect if they are on the right hands and vice versa. smile.gif I also love the fact that I can use it as sound device when my main interface is at the practice room. smile.gif


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jstcrsn
post Jun 22 2013, 09:47 PM
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I have a question to add.
Tube amps have this electricity that they add to a live show that mods just can't simulate , even though they sound just like them. I have heard that the axe fx does (heard) . Is this true and does the kemper not just sound like them , but does it add this to live shows
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maharzan
post Jun 23 2013, 03:24 AM
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If you mean the hum, Axe FX does produce that hum. smile.gif


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jstcrsn
post Jun 23 2013, 04:47 AM
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QUOTE (maharzan @ Jun 23 2013, 03:24 AM) *
If you mean the hum, Axe FX does produce that hum. smile.gif
Its not the hum, but there is there ambiance produced from the electricity going thru the tubes( and also creates this hum), that solid state's can't produce.
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PosterBoy
post Jun 23 2013, 06:09 AM
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The main thing is amp in the room feel which I think is what you mean, both units emulate an amp mic'd up, but live if going through a power amp and cab you can get that amp in the room feel, saying that I have heard people say it's getting closer and closer especially with the latest Axe Fx update


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Todd Simpson
post Jun 23 2013, 07:22 AM
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If you can only afford one, I'd say go AXE FX for the simple reason of it's effects/routing ability. The KEMPER sounds great and does an amazing job of profiling every amp in the world, but the AXE now does something similar (though a smidge less perfect) so overall the AXE is a bit more flexible. Best case, get both smile.gif Use the AXE for effects, routing and use the kemper for amp profiles. But if you can only have one, probably axe for a studio situation.

Todd


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liveOASISforever
post Jun 23 2013, 10:38 AM
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Never used any of them although I have watched a lot of reviews and they both sound great. Considering the price difference you would expect the AXE FX to be a lot better than the Kemper.Although I can not imagine it to be that much better than the Kemper that it justifies paying more than double for it.

To be honest if I had to choose one for free it would be the AXE FX
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David.C.Bond
post Jun 23 2013, 10:26 PM
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I've played both, and I own a Kemper. I'll be perfectly honest, in my opinion the sound quality/functions of the axe fx is slightly better than the Kemper, BUT it's not $1k worth of better, so the Kemper wins for me. Its an amazing device that has simplified recording for me immensely, and is much more fairly priced than its competitor.


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Bogdan Radovic
post Jun 23 2013, 10:56 PM
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Thanks a lot guys! It is really interesting to hear that Kemper can do almost as much as AXE FX.
Why AXE wins in the effects department? Are the main effects like stompboxes included in Kemper as well? (for example delay, chorus, wah, flanger, compressor, envelope filter)?

I think having ability to "profile" an amp is really interesting. Are there tons of profiles out there, made by Kemper users that you can download for amps that are not built in? How many amps are included by factory defaults in the unit?


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Todd Simpson
post Jun 24 2013, 04:20 AM
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There is a wad of information on the FRACTAL AUDIO Site to get in to all of the details of the fx chain but quick and dirty.

1.)The kemper gives you a few stomp box style efx that have to run in series. No parallel paths. (if that doesn't make much since, the Axe Fx may be too much to bother with to be honest as it's quite complex from what I"ve found so far)
2.)The axe fx lets' you stack up far more fx with nearly limitless options for parameters and routing including parallel fx paths. The signal chain flexibility is amazing. Not to mention the shear number of fx and parameters. Heres a list from the FRACTAL AUDIO site.

20+ Drive Pedals
Dozens of Delays
19 Reverb types
Totally customizable Wah
Intelligent Harmony
Phaser
& Uni-VibeStereo Chorus
& FlangerPanner/TremoloRotary SpeakerCrystals and Reverse5 Filter typesGraphic
& Param. EQsCompressor/Limiter
Noise Gate
Mono Guitar Synth
Built in Looper
New "true" Tape Echo
Vocoder etc.


The axe is PRICEY but to be honest the last unit released is still viable and costs less than the kemper. it doesn't have the tone matching I don't believe but you can get them for $1,200 on ebay.

So per usual, it comes down to what you wan to spend, 1k, 2k, or 3k smile.gif

Todd


QUOTE (Bogdan Radovic @ Jun 23 2013, 05:56 PM) *
Thanks a lot guys! It is really interesting to hear that Kemper can do almost as much as AXE FX.
Why AXE wins in the effects department? Are the main effects like stompboxes included in Kemper as well? (for example delay, chorus, wah, flanger, compressor, envelope filter)?

I think having ability to "profile" an amp is really interesting. Are there tons of profiles out there, made by Kemper users that you can download for amps that are not built in? How many amps are included by factory defaults in the unit?


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ItSME3
post Jun 25 2013, 05:37 PM
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I recently did a blind listening test with an Axe FX II (latest firmeware) and a kemper. For your information, I don't own them. Both units belong to a friend. I want to second Todd here. In our blind test the Kemper sounded just a bit more lively and more real to my ears (through the same cab) when it comes to pure amp sound. Same type of Amp models (e.g Plexi, AC 30 etc.) were used and tweaked to sound as close as possible and then ran through the same cab. Anyway it is possible to tweak the AxeFX so much that you can make it sound just as great. The Kemper just gets there much faster. However the FX of the AxeFX are really better and the routing is incredibly flexible. Taken together, I like the Kemper for its basic sound and the ability to profile amps so easily but the AxeFX is just the more flexible and "better" overall package. So if you got the money get an AxeFx. Also we compared profiling with tone matching. Even though these are some really different things. You can use the tonematch to build something like a profile of you amp. We did it basically like the master here




Anyway if you play the real amp with the Kemper profile and the AxeFX, the playing feel of the Kemper is much closer to the original. But we didnt go deeply into modifiying things like sag (as Pete Thorn also points out in his video). We played around a bit with all the parameters and it comes closer then. I guess you can get it as close as the Kemper, but it means a lot of fiddeling around whereas the Kemper captures all those parameters from the get go.

Anyway the AxeFX is the by far more versatile tool. No doubt about that. But to my "blinded" ears the Kemper sounds just a bit better in the pure amp department and has the great profiling technology (however do you need this ? ever? Its cool though wink.gif ). Since you will most likely always have some FX in the chain and want to work with IRs you might already use for a while (and know how to tweak them) I guess the AxeFX is the way to go.

This post has been edited by ItSME3: Jun 25 2013, 05:44 PM
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Musicman65
post Jun 25 2013, 09:58 PM
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Guys,

I'm new here and thought I'd chime in on my take. I own the Kemper and am very happy with it. The profiled amp sounds are industry leading....I'm not sure you can get any more "real". Its pretty amazing. I profiled my own amps and the results were pretty shocking. The KPA captured every nuance....don't underestimate the value of profiling. There are probably 10,000+ profiles available free on Kemper's rig exchange and growing constantly. The development team is responsive and the KPA has matured rapidly since it's release.

The company owner is a very friendly down to earth guy and participates in the Kemper Forum. He has committed to never changing the profiling engine to assure that all amp profiles keep their distinct characteristics without having to re-tweak them as firmware progresses. I have read that the AxeFX updates can alter the sound of patches and can require a lot of rework to get the tone back after an update. Others may know about that. I have been a modeler user for the last 10 years and once I get a solid set of patches (usually 100+), I DO NOT want to have to change them after an update.

Kemper's "Performance mode", which allows 125 songs x 5 rigs each to be quickly arrange for live use (corresponding to a stylist perhaps?), is now available. Pitch Effects and Intelligent Harmonize are too. Look for some more fat analog synth effects and wave shapers soon. The number of effects available is quite adequate and growing. The effects loop allows outboard gear to run series or parallel and is programmable per rig.

If you want the "Amp in the room" sound, which is a Logical first step for real amp users migrating to modelers, you can disable the Cabinet portion of the profile and drive a real cabinet if you like. I prefer a full range flat response amp and allowing the KPA to generate the full sound.....amp head, cabinet, mic and all.

Overall, based on sound samples, either one is a premium product with great sounds! If I had an AxeFX first, I'd like it too. The Kemper has a virtually unlimited number of Amps profiles available, natural response, with traditional amp routings for a full range of effects. The AxeFX can be configured in more ways with more options, a soundscaper's dream.

The question is "Do you want to play more....or tweak more?"

FYI, a little background. I run a Roland VG99 in tandem with the Kemper. The VG99 is the mother of all soundscaping tools with an endless level of tweakability, hexaphonic processing, dual everything.....nothing else directly compares.....so I appreciate the value of a device like that. The AxeFX is similar in its own way, I am sure.

Bd

This post has been edited by Musicman65: Jun 25 2013, 10:02 PM
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Todd Simpson
post Jun 25 2013, 10:40 PM
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I don't think this has been mentioned yet, but. ...


Here is a link to download the AXE EDIT program (which is free) that serves as a PC/mac visual editor for your AXE FX patches. Making it pretty easy to drag and drop complex patches. IT will run fine WITHOUT THE AXE FX as a sort of demo without any sound just to let you get used to the options on the AXE FX.

http://www.fractalaudio.com/p-axe-edit-software.php


I have not seen a kemper software editor yet but I think one is ready or near ready?

Todd


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Musicman65
post Jun 25 2013, 11:14 PM
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No official editor....yet. It has been announced.

There are 2 unofficial offline editors and 1 online/offline editor available that are free. The full MIDI specification is published so anyone can create software as needed. Over time, this will foster the development of tools by users.

Honestly, the Kemper front panel is well designed for quick access to everything. It is not menu/sub menu multi layered like many products. It has lots of knobs for real time adjustment which free you to play guitar more and read the manual less. I doubt I will use the software much while playing, once its available.

bd
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Rammikin
post Jun 26 2013, 02:19 AM
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QUOTE (David.C.Bond @ Jun 23 2013, 09:26 PM) *
BUT it's not $1k worth of better,


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the price difference is $200?

I can echo what others above have said. I own an AxeFX and have spent a lot of time with the Kemper. Realistically, at this point, there's not a lot of difference between the amp/cabinet tones you can get from them (effects, routing, and performance flexibility clearly favor the AxeFX). The Kemper is a more polished package. A lot more time was spent on the factory presets and the front panel has a more professional appearance. As popular as the AxeFX is, it still feels like Cliff is making them out of his garage. It doesn't look as slick as the Kemper and he's constantly updating the software like he's always tinkering, sometimes altering tones. If you also like to tinker with sounds, then the ride with the AxeFX can be thrilling. But if you want to go down to Guitar Center, plug in, try it out, take it home and not do a lot of tweaking, then the AxeFX might not be for you.


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maharzan
post Jun 26 2013, 06:37 AM
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Just couldn't stop saying this.. if this is the amp you are referring to http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/ProfilingAmp, I feel like that looks like some oscilloscope from electrical department, really! I don't think that looks professional in any way to be called an amp or rack box. Thats just how I felt since Rammikin brought the appearance issue, not trying to wage a war. smile.gif Anyways, yep the price difference definitely is not 1K as protruded here. Its 200$ as Rammikin said.

Bogdan, you will have to try to see which one fits you. I am not sure of Kemper but Axe FX has like 15 day return period and you can return it if you don't like it.


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ItSME3
post Jun 26 2013, 02:39 PM
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Kemper also issued a "normal" rack version of the amp.




Also a version with build in power amp
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