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> Kemper Profiler Amp (kpa) - Impressions
Kristofer Dahl
post Sep 24 2014, 01:31 PM
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Hi guys,

I have had this unit since February and I wanted to share some impressions with you.

For those of you who don't know what it is - it's a digital amp but not a modelling amp. Instead of modelling it does "profiling", which means taking a digital snapshot of a real tube amp (or any amp for that matter). It is often described as an Axe FX competitor although it does something quite unique.

When I got the unit I just couldn't make it sound like my tube amp, all profiles seemed too bright to me. After some research i understood I was looking for the so called "amp in the room" sound, basically an amp standing on the floor vibrating the whole room and causing lots of room reverberations. The KPA, on the other hand, I was monitoring through near field monitors.

Eventually I got used to the new type of monitoring, and I no longer strive for "amp in the room" - since it is kinda hard to mix with the sound coming from my DAW. If I did want to get that sound with the KPA, I would need to put my monitors on the floor and crank it up - alternatively get a so called FRFR solution (a 'flat rate frequency response' powered monitor, the kpa works amazingly well with these).

Now after 6 months I am completely floored by this unit. I know there is a discussion whether digital amp technology has 'caught up' - and if you ask me then YES, this is the real thing.

Every week I can download new profiles from the "Rig Exchange" - and the ones I like are most of the time ready to use out-of-the-box without any tweaking. I have found extremely cool profiles pretty much from all famous guitar amplification brands, covering all possible musical genres.

There is an incredible amount of tweaking possible - I especially like some parameters like pick dynamics and power sagging.

It also features pretty much all common effects (and these are modelled) - except for spring reverb. These are extremely powerful and tweakable. If you got the skills, you can also emulate lots of other high end pedals with simple means (example).

In the beginning I was not very convinced by these effects, for example I couldn't make their tube screamer sound like the real thing. But after having downloaded other people's rigs, I realised this was solely a "user error" wink.gif . The kemper effects are often much more versatile than the pedals they model, and the downside is that this demands a little more from the user (although it does come with presets). In many cases they have even solved limitations of the analog counterpart - so if you ask me its actually better than the real thing ohmy.gif

I should also add that I have realised I have a lot of learning to do as far as tweaking my guitar sound goes, this is something I have neglected for a long time. With the kemper I get instant access to thousands of incredible profiles - but still I would need to get better at tweaking/profiling on my own to develop originality. Like I said more work is needed for me!

To add some legitimacy, here you can see how legendary guitar producer Michael Wagener ( Extreme, Megadeth, Dokken, White Lion, Accept, Skid Row, Metallica, Poison, Alice Cooper, Janet Jackson, Queen, Mötley Crüe, Ozzy Osbourne etc ) prefers Kemper before his amps! Or rather, he has switched to using his own profiles:



I love technology when it works wub.gif


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Mith
post Sep 24 2014, 02:44 PM
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Its good to see the got around to making it rack mounted. I like all things rack orientated (Equipment, girls .. medieval torture devices)


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Huargo
post Sep 24 2014, 02:51 PM
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Ufff totally agree with this unit. I tested using reamping Online and i was totally impressed!!!
i'm saving money for this......next peace of gear for shure!


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Kristofer Dahl
post Sep 24 2014, 03:10 PM
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QUOTE (Mith @ Sep 24 2014, 03:44 PM) *
Its good to see the got around to making it rack mounted.


Yes I got the rack version. Though it seems people are happy with the "toaster" version as well. They say it's easier to transport + the rack version does not have some of the soft knob LEDs as well as two soft knobs related to modulation. This has no impact on functionality though, and I am happy with my choice.

QUOTE (huargo @ Sep 24 2014, 03:51 PM) *
Ufff totally agree with this unit. I tested using reamping Online and i was totally impressed!!!
i'm saving money for this......next peace of gear for shure!


hehe I feel with you. If it's to any consolation, I can tell you my GAS is completely gone since I got the kpa (except for guitars, that is wink.gif ). Now it's all about hunting profiles - time is not enough!


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SpaseMoonkey
post Sep 24 2014, 03:12 PM
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I have had my KPA awhile now I have one of the original run lunch boxes.

I just upgraded my interface within the last week so now I can do S/PDIF and reamp. So far it's helping my mixing a lot as I can tweak a dry track. But a tip I came across in the last week deals with cabinets.

http://www.kemper-amps.com/forum/index.php...p;threadID=3009

This has made some profiles I don't like the way it sounds way better. Because just like the real deal we may not like the speakers being used!


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Ibanez RG920QM (Black Ice) , Ibanez S770PB (Natural Flat) , Ibanez RG470XL (Black Perl) , Squire IV Jazz Bass (Sunburst)
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Kemper Profiling Amp , Mesa Mark 5:25

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Kristofer Dahl
post Sep 24 2014, 03:16 PM
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QUOTE (SpaseMoonkey @ Sep 24 2014, 04:12 PM) *
But a tip I came across in the last week deals with cabinets.

http://www.kemper-amps.com/forum/index.php...p;threadID=3009

This has made some profiles I don't like the way it sounds way better. Because just like the real deal we may not like the speakers being used!


Yes some people swear by this. However I found that the cabs make up such an important part of a profile/rig - so when I start swapping I am basically hearing the amp from the original cab. It's like the amp part of the sound is a slight coloration compared to the cab.

However this is certainly a very powerful feature, and a really cool thing to do between your favorite profiles.


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Mith
post Sep 24 2014, 03:18 PM
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see I like rack mounted things because things break during transport and no one likes a broken knob


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Kristofer Dahl
post Sep 24 2014, 03:23 PM
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QUOTE (SpaseMoonkey @ Sep 24 2014, 04:12 PM) *
I just upgraded my interface within the last week so now I can do S/PDIF and reamp. So far it's helping my mixing a lot as I can tweak a dry track. But a tip I came across in the last week deals with cabinets.


Yes I would like to use S/PDIF as well, but so far I have not yet found a simultaneous two-way converter (so I can re-amp using only s/spdif) for the optical input on my mac (related thread). What did you buy?

QUOTE (Mith @ Sep 24 2014, 04:18 PM) *
see I like rack mounted things because things break during transport and no one likes a broken knob


yes for sure, when I said "easier to transport" I meant you can take it with you for a short trip without any rack case. But like you said, you will run a risk of breaking a knob!


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SpaseMoonkey
post Sep 24 2014, 05:39 PM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Sep 24 2014, 10:23 AM) *
Yes I would like to use S/PDIF as well, but so far I have not yet found a simultaneous two-way converter (so I can re-amp using only s/spdif) for the optical input on my mac (related thread). What did you buy?


I picked up a Focusrite Scarlett 6i6. I previously had a Presonus Audiobox, so it's quite the upgrade. The recording aspect sound better to me, but the headphone volume doesn't get quite as loud.


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Guitars:
Ibanez RG920QM (Black Ice) , Ibanez S770PB (Natural Flat) , Ibanez RG470XL (Black Perl) , Squire IV Jazz Bass (Sunburst)
Gear:
Kemper Profiling Amp , Mesa Mark 5:25

My YouTube Page.
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SirJamsalot
post Sep 24 2014, 06:20 PM
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this is so depressing, and cool all at the same time.
When I hear you can get a tube sound out of technology, I get a gag reflex - mostly because I'm old school and don't want to admit it yet. sigh... I love the features, but I hate the idea of going on stage without my Mesa, even though is heavier haha.

Chris

This post has been edited by SirJamsalot: Sep 24 2014, 06:20 PM


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Kristofer Dahl
post Sep 24 2014, 09:20 PM
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QUOTE (SpaseMoonkey @ Sep 24 2014, 06:39 PM) *
I picked up a Focusrite Scarlett 6i6. I previously had a Presonus Audiobox, so it's quite the upgrade. The recording aspect sound better to me, but the headphone volume doesn't get quite as loud.


Excellent - that one has 2/2 spdif. I guess that's what I should get, but it hurts a bit since I am already happy with my interface, and since my mac already has an optical input.

QUOTE (SirJamsalot @ Sep 24 2014, 07:20 PM) *
this is so depressing, and cool all at the same time.
When I hear you can get a tube sound out of technology, I get a gag reflex - mostly because I'm old school and don't want to admit it yet. sigh... I love the features, but I hate the idea of going on stage without my Mesa, even though is heavier haha.

Chris


Agreed, its' crazy that the same digital interface can give you Randall Satan or a Fender Deluxe Reverb in the exact same package. I have also felt that it gets a bit impersonal when you don't get to see tweed nor grid.

Good thing is that the kpa community is killer and highly personal, and you can learn a lot by following discussions there. Anyone who owns the kpa pretty much has the same tools at their disposal, so it's easy to apply tips from other users. The same is not true for the gear page where it is highly unlikely you will have the exact same pedal chain as some other user.

And I have to say, as much as I love tube amps - I don't love their unreliability or weight wink.gif


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Todd Simpson
post Sep 24 2014, 10:44 PM
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Congrats on your KEMPER!! smile.gif I have to agree all the way. The kemper really does make it possible to have any amp on earth at your fingertips which has been the promise of "modeling" for years. Other processors like the axe fx do something similar, but none to it quite the same or as well as the kemper in terms of recreating all of the subtle bits that make an amp unique.

Even hard core, cork sniffing, tube snobs, have been turned to the "Dark Side" and gone digital in recent years after spending some time with "The other woman" and falling for the Kemper. There are those who have an emotional attachment to their amps and I get that, I have an emotional attachment to my Ibby's smile.gif The Deans I could watch burn. So some folks are just not gonna get it cause they don't want to.

But yeah, it's here. There's officially no actual reason to hold on to those amps other than the emotional attachment imho. I never bonded with any particular amp so it's probably easier for me to see it objectively. Just dont try to "Profile" my RG560!!! smile.gif

Todd


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SirJamsalot
post Sep 24 2014, 11:48 PM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Sep 24 2014, 02:44 PM) *
Congrats on your KEMPER!! smile.gif I have to agree all the way. The kemper really does make it possible to have any amp on earth at your fingertips which has been the promise of "modeling" for years. Other processors like the axe fx do something similar, but none to it quite the same or as well as the kemper in terms of recreating all of the subtle bits that make an amp unique.

Even hard core, cork sniffing, tube snobs, have been turned to the "Dark Side" and gone digital in recent years after spending some time with "The other woman" and falling for the Kemper. There are those who have an emotional attachment to their amps and I get that, I have an emotional attachment to my Ibby's smile.gif The Deans I could watch burn. So some folks are just not gonna get it cause they don't want to.

But yeah, it's here. There's officially no actual reason to hold on to those amps other than the emotional attachment imho. I never bonded with any particular amp so it's probably easier for me to see it objectively. Just dont try to "Profile" my RG560!!! smile.gif

Todd


you'll eat those words they day they replace guitars with touchscreens!! muahahaha




This post has been edited by SirJamsalot: Sep 24 2014, 11:48 PM


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Kristofer Dahl
post Sep 25 2014, 08:11 AM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Sep 24 2014, 11:44 PM) *
I have an emotional attachment to my Ibby's smile.gif The Deans I could watch burn.


You mean you could washburn them? Sorry couldn't resist laugh.gif


QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Sep 24 2014, 11:44 PM) *
Other processors like the axe fx do something similar, but none to it quite the same or as well as the kemper in terms of recreating all of the subtle bits that make an amp unique.


My understanding is that apart from the the difference in user interface and usability, the Axe FX offers a "few" (188) amp sims that are extremely authentic (they are so good so who cares how close to the real thing they are - it's impossible to A/B anyway) whereas the Kemper offer thousands (and counting - fast!) profiles that are spot on (compared to the real thing by A/B:ing). Apart from this, Axe fx has more effects and more flexible routing than the Kemper.


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Todd Simpson
post Sep 25 2014, 07:48 PM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Sep 25 2014, 03:11 AM) *
You mean you could washburn them? Sorry couldn't resist laugh.gif

My understanding is that apart from the the difference in user interface and usability, the Axe FX offers a "few" (188) amp sims that are extremely authentic (they are so good so who cares how close to the real thing they are - it's impossible to A/B anyway) whereas the Kemper offer thousands (and counting - fast!) profiles that are spot on (compared to the real thing by A/B:ing). Apart from this, Axe fx has more effects and more flexible routing than the Kemper.



TOUCHE!!! "washburn them" nice one smile.gif

Very true on the AX FX. THey are really entirely different beasts though they are competing in the same category. AX FX is a modeler with wads of fx and routing. As you mentioned, KPA is a profiler. They are as different as ice cream and the space shuttle in how they work. But similar in terms of what they try to provide in terms of "good guitar tone'.

I"ve even heard of folks using, gasp, BOTH in a rig to leverage the PURE TONAL BLISS of the KPA matched with the DEEEEEEEP effects and routing of the AXE FX. Such a rig is somewhat overkill IMHO and would break the bank to a degree but if one has the chips......



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klasaine
post Sep 25 2014, 11:00 PM
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As old school aNaLoG as I am, the next high-end big ticket music gear purchase I make will most probably be a Kemper (rack version with power amp). I haven't bought a new amp in 3 years. I have enough vintage and boutique tube gear for two lifetimes at this point.


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Kristofer Dahl
post Sep 26 2014, 09:02 AM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Sep 25 2014, 08:48 PM) *
I"ve even heard of folks using, gasp, BOTH in a rig to leverage the PURE TONAL BLISS of the KPA matched with the DEEEEEEEP effects and routing of the AXE FX. Such a rig is somewhat overkill IMHO and would break the bank to a degree but if one has the chips......


Yes, but that seems more of an experiment to me. I am sure that in theory this can be amazingly flexible. But given the versatility and complexity of both of these units - using both of them at the same time would cause my tiny brain to implode for sure!

QUOTE (klasaine @ Sep 26 2014, 12:00 AM) *
As old school aNaLoG as I am, the next high-end big ticket music gear purchase I make will most probably be a Kemper (rack version with power amp). I haven't bought a new amp in 3 years. I have enough vintage and boutique tube gear for two lifetimes at this point.


That would be awesome Ken, then please live for another two lifetimes to profile that equipment (and keep hanging around here to enlighten our days).

Are you sure you need the power amp version btw? From what I gather people seem more happy with the non powered one using FRFR powered speakers like yamaha dxr12 or even better atomic clr.


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klasaine
post Sep 26 2014, 11:12 AM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Sep 26 2014, 01:02 AM) *
Are you sure you need the power amp version btw? From what I gather people seem more happy with the non powered one using FRFR powered speakers like yamaha dxr12 or even better atomic clr.


I have six cabinets of various speaker combinations that all sound great. I wouldn't be looking for a 'full range' type of sound. Just standard guitar amp profiles. If I do get one I guarantee you that I'll only end up actually using 5 or 6 profiles - Deluxe Reverb, Super Lead, AC 30, Supro and a Bassman.


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Kristofer Dahl
post Sep 27 2014, 08:51 PM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Sep 26 2014, 12:12 PM) *
I have six cabinets of various speaker combinations that all sound great. I wouldn't be looking for a 'full range' type of sound. Just standard guitar amp profiles. If I do get one I guarantee you that I'll only end up actually using 5 or 6 profiles - Deluxe Reverb, Super Lead, AC 30, Supro and a Bassman.

But full range sound here means you will hear the profiled amp and cab exactly the way they were meant to be. That is not true if you use your guitar cab, although I am sure your cabs sound amazing. FRFR will basically allow you to profile all your cabs, and bring them all with you to a gig using just one FRFR speaker.

It is still not possible to eliminate the cab from a profile with good results (although that is something I believe Christoph Kemper is working on). So your best bet using guitar cabs, would be to find profiles that have been created using direct out jacks on the profiled amp.

Of course if you do get the power amp version, you have still have the option of going FRFR if you should change your mind. So it might not be a bad thing after all, if you are willing to spend the extra bucks.


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SpaseMoonkey
post Sep 27 2014, 09:19 PM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Sep 27 2014, 03:51 PM) *
But full range sound here means you will hear the profiled amp and cab exactly the way they were meant to be. That is not true if you use your guitar cab, although I am sure your cabs sound amazing. FRFR will basically allow you to profile all your cabs, and bring them all with you to a gig using just one FRFR speaker.

It is still not possible to eliminate the cab from a profile with good results (although that is something I believe Christoph Kemper is working on). So your best bet using guitar cabs, would be to find profiles that have been created using direct out jacks on the profiled amp.

Of course if you do get the power amp version, you have still have the option of going FRFR if you should change your mind. So it might not be a bad thing after all, if you are willing to spend the extra bucks.


I was running my KPA via a Mesa Triple Recto into a 1960s Marshall 4x12 cab loaded with V30s. It got me by but it really didn't make the unit shine at all for me. Could have been the serial loop on the Mesa as they are known to be different, but it just didn't help it at all.

I actually bought a low end priced FRFR my Alto, it's what a lot of people recommend to try if you are unsure of what route you wish to go. I am actually thinking of trying to get what you mentioned Kris the Yamaha DXR series, but I'm thinking of going with (2) 10" models if they aren't super large in size. This way I can run my interface out and be able to jam without headphones using my DAW and I will get a stereo sound out of it.

klasaine, it really comes down to personal taste. I bet if I had my old Egnator Renegade 65w amp it may have worked out and sounded great as that amp took a POD HD and made it sound amazing through the cab.


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Guitars:
Ibanez RG920QM (Black Ice) , Ibanez S770PB (Natural Flat) , Ibanez RG470XL (Black Perl) , Squire IV Jazz Bass (Sunburst)
Gear:
Kemper Profiling Amp , Mesa Mark 5:25

My YouTube Page.
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