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> Kemper Profiler Ethics
yoncopin
post Feb 18 2016, 02:37 PM
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I've been looking at upgrading my amp/modeller setup and had started saving for a Kemper after discussions in this thread. Last night I ran across the video below on Youtube and it really shook my belief in whether I wanted to support this kind of technology. Regardless, it's a great question for discussion. After watching all three videos in his series I'm really torn.

Basically he's saying that by purchasing or sharing third party digital amp profiles for cheap or free, we are devaluing the work and research amp makers are doing to the point of it not having a financial incentive to continue. We've seen this in the music industry, and I have personal experience in the world of software too. I think he makes a very good point and I hadn't even considered it before.



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Mertay
post Feb 18 2016, 06:19 PM
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Its like saying we should buy cd's while its already past 10 years the industry collapsed and re-shaped.


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yoncopin
post Feb 18 2016, 06:57 PM
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You could look at it that way, but to me it seems more like we should pay creators to create.


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Rammikin
post Feb 18 2016, 07:25 PM
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Yeah, it's not the same as music or software piracy since there's no copyright violation here. He's just saying "yes, it's legal, but it's causing problems". And he needed 2 hours of youtube video to say that smile.gif.

This is an old issue in my business. Virtual instrument makers have been making synths that emulate analog hardware synths for years. In the end, software and hardware synths learned to coexist peacefully.

OTOH, I've never understood how Kemper or Fractal have the right to use amp names in their product literature. They always have a qualifier to say the those are trademarked, but it seems like Marshall should have the right to prevent Kemper from using the Marshall name.


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AK Rich
post Feb 18 2016, 07:58 PM
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QUOTE (Rammikin @ Feb 18 2016, 09:25 AM) *
OTOH, I've never understood how Kemper or Fractal have the right to use amp names in their product literature. They always have a qualifier to say the those are trademarked, but it seems like Marshall should have the right to prevent Kemper from using the Marshall name.

I would have to agree with this. It seems that other modeling amps and software will describe the amp they are modeling so that folks know pretty much what amp is being modeled, but stop short of actually naming the amp. I would think there must be some legal reasoning for not actually naming the amps that are modeled. Not sure why Kemper does it different. I guess by mentioning the amp brands Kemper models as "trademarked" this covers their butts legally. At least for now.


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yoncopin
post Feb 18 2016, 10:13 PM
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QUOTE
This is an old issue in my business. Virtual instrument makers have been making synths that emulate analog hardware synths for years. In the end, software and hardware synths learned to coexist peacefully.


I guess this is a good point, I've read lots of posts today focusing the counterargument and I think I'm ok with it again. Good to think about though.


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Todd Simpson
post Feb 19 2016, 03:42 AM
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Well, he is correct wink.gif However, the same argument was made for sharing/swapping digital music files and it didn't stop that from happening either. Folks are gonna swap and share to some degree no matter who says/does anything. Personally, while I agree with the idea that artists should be able to make a living and that amp makers should be able to make a living as well, I also believe that we have to change with the times as they change or risk being left as a relic of the past just angry about change. Being angry about change is just not a decent coping strategy for dealing with change IMHO. Instead, embrace change and find new ways to create value out of whatever it is you do, whether it's making amps or making great profiles of great amps smile.gif

Todd


QUOTE (yoncopin @ Feb 18 2016, 08:37 AM) *
I've been looking at upgrading my amp/modeller setup and had started saving for a Kemper after discussions in this thread. Last night I ran across the video below on Youtube and it really shook my belief in whether I wanted to support this kind of technology. Regardless, it's a great question for discussion. After watching all three videos in his series I'm really torn.

Basically he's saying that by purchasing or sharing third party digital amp profiles for cheap or free, we are devaluing the work and research amp makers are doing to the point of it not having a financial incentive to continue. We've seen this in the music industry, and I have personal experience in the world of software too. I think he makes a very good point and I hadn't even considered it before.




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klasaine
post Feb 19 2016, 04:16 AM
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He has a point but the cat is so far out of the bag on this that it seems ridiculous to even talk about it.

Guitar amp makers have been copying each other since the late 50s.
The first Marshall amps were almost direct copies of Fender Bassmans (1959 tweeds to be exact).
Mesa Boogies were originally based on Fender designs with a heavier transformers and speakers. In fact the first one's were just modded Princetons.
Matchless amps were originally Vox AC-30 clones. Same for Dr. Z (Vox and Marshall).
Friedman, Suhr, Soldano, Blankenship amps are idealized, hot-rodded Marshalls (ask them, they'll tell you that).
What about all the Ibanez TS 808 copies? Or Tonebender and EH Big Muff clones?
You can't copyright a 'tone'. It's player dependent. Eric Clapton sounded completely different with a Les Paul and a Marshall than did Jimmy Page. Or think about Jeff Beck, Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen. All 3 were Strat into Marshall guys at one point. Do they sound the same to you?
You should think about how you touch and approach the guitar and amp to get music out of it rather than worry about the tools. Because that's all a guitar and amp are - tools.

Should a record company and an artist pay a license fee to the amp, guitar, pedal, mic, etc. companies for recording/recreating (profiling) those sounds on a record, CD, mp3? Making a record is 'profiling' all those manufacturer's sounds isn't it? Or is it? Maybe it's that gear in the hands of the player, writer, engineer?

As for people buying high end amps, profiling them and then returning them ... eh, I'm sure it has happened but I don't think it's an epidemic. Totally lame when it does happen! I personally know many Kemper owners (both players and studio owners) and none of them has done that - or even mentioned it (yes, they would talk about to me it if they did). There's really no point. There are literally 1000s of already profiled amp tones and there has been since the first year of the Kemper being around.

People aren't buying as many amps (or guitars or musical instruments in general) because playing music isn't the 'big deal' it used to be. Why? That's for a different day.

There are way too many boutique amp, guitar and pedal companies out there. Most of them don't (and never did) make a profit. I personally know many boutique builders and most of them just break even - even pre Kemper. Most of them made or make money in another field (repair is common) and many of them actually have another job.

It's all about tech now. Tech is where the risk is. Tech is sexy. Tech is the new Rock & Roll.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Feb 19 2016, 07:35 PM


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Todd Simpson
post Feb 20 2016, 08:08 AM
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Well said smile.gif Tech is the new "Rock N Roll". I say we should embrace change and the tech that comes with it and learn to make it part of our lives and our art and integrate it in a positive way rather than bemoaning the state of things and trying to shame folks in to paying for things and such.


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AK Rich
post Feb 20 2016, 06:40 PM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Feb 18 2016, 06:16 PM) *
People aren't buying as many amps (or guitars or musical instruments in general) because playing music isn't the 'big deal' it used to be. Why? That's for a different day.


Getting a bit off topic here but this quote reminded me of my recent trip to the biggest music store probably in the entire state of AK. I hadn't been to this store in quite some time. We are talking 10 yrs or more. And the time before that was probably another 10 yrs.
While taking my time and browsing the entire store, I made my way back to where all the rack mountable signal processors used to be all those years ago.

When I got back there I found 1 rack that had maybe half a dozen rack mounted processors and this was mainly component gear like EQ's, Noise gates and a few other processors which were probably more geared for a studio than a personal rack for a guitarist, but not 1 multi fx processor for a guitarist.
When I went back out front to search further I did find a few floor mounted multi fx processors out there but they were a small minority in a massive collection of stomp boxes.

Right about then an employee approached and asked if he could help me find something so I asked him where all the rack mounted guitar signal processors were and he pointed me to the back where I had just come from .
Back in the day this room would be packed with numerous brands of GSP's and now there was hardly anything at all, so I asked the guy about it and he told me that those units just don't sell anymore and he pointed back to the massive display of stomp boxes and said that this is what's selling these days, stomp boxes and amps, both of which they had a huge selection. So I asked about Kemper and Fractal and he said they had no plans to carry either of those either.

So in my little corner of the world at least it seems the old school way of obtaining that special tone (stomp boxes and an amp) is the most desired nowdays, and the flashy GSP's of the 80's and 90's are mostly gone.
So I am not so sure that Tech is the new Rock n Roll. Maybe in the studio,or for your metal gods and rock superstars, but not so much for guitar players in general. At least that was the impression I got from that little visit to Mammoth Music.



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Rammikin
post Feb 20 2016, 07:44 PM
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Yeah, in recent years there has been a shift in form factor. Guitarists using racks of outboard gear is a thing of the past. While some of that has been replaced by software plugins, most guitar processing gear is now on the floor. Pedals for the old school types, and processors like the Line6 Helix for the new school types. Higher end gear like Kemper and Fractal AxeFX is rack mountable, but when you see those, they are often alone in the rack.

Also, the pedal market is highly fragmented right now. So even if the store sells as many digital processors as pedals, you'll see a lot more pedals on display because everybody and his brother is making pedals, while the digital processor market is dominated by a few players.

Probably the bigger trend in music retailers is inventory. In this internet age, they simply don't carry as much inventory as they used to. So, the shelves are relatively bare compared to what they used to be.


P.S. Fractal has never sold through retailers.


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klasaine
post Feb 20 2016, 07:52 PM
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Stomp boxes and real amps are still what most guys use in the studio and for local gigs.
The Kemper and Axefx are used for touring or heavy top 40 gigs (6 nights a week in casinos, cruise ships etc.).
Guitar players have been using non-amp setups since their inception
I used to do a steady casino gig in the 90s and I used an ADA mp-1 into a Mesa pwr amp and Yamaha spx-90. And for a more country/early R&R gig (also casino) I used a Morley JD-10 pre-amp, comp and a TS-9 straight into the PA. I even used a POD on a major tour in '99 and 2000.
But given my choice, locally in town - always real amp and pedals. And it's still that way for most. Sounds better, feels better, looks cooler, easier to tweak on the fly (important when you're gigging with 3 other bands in a strange room and you've got 15 minutes to set up) - whatever.

In L.A. there's not a bunch of music stores you can go into and find a Kemper or an Axefx. They're around but Amps, pedals and Line 6 stuff is way more common.


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Todd Simpson
post Feb 20 2016, 08:55 PM
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I was more talking about technology in terms of digital distribution, computer based recording/signal processing etc. Rather than rack vs stomp boxes. Ken is spot on per usual here again. Local gigs and stores are full of amps and pedals. Top band/player touring rigs often have a kemper (with redundant units) or axe and not much else. Not every act to be sure, but wads and wads of em. Four touring, and or casino/cruise gigs, having everything in a small rack just makes sense for travel/cost etc. For your average guy learning, they will usually buy an amp and add some pedals. Eventually adding some sort of processor as many folks here have done.

I had a similar experience at guitar center recently. AXE and KEMPER seem to have all but cornered the market on higher end rack gear to the point where the other vendors can't sell enough units for it to make sense. We will see if the HELIX continues. AVID quick making the 11 rack. There are wads of amps and pedals but I didn't see one kemper or axe. However, in L.A. / New York, where pro guys are divesting themselves of gear all the time, I'm guessing you'd see more axe/kemper on the floor of a bigger music store. smile.gif


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Rammikin
post Feb 20 2016, 09:28 PM
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One factor with pedals is: guitar players have never been as comfortable with technology as, for example, keyboard players. So, even though digital guitar processing has made huge strides in recent years, analog pedals combined with traditional amps are more popular than ever simply because guitarists find them more approachable than digital gear.

One thing that's easy to overlook: Fractal and Kemper get a lot of attention because they're so impressive, but they are a surprisingly small niche in the market. Boss sells hundreds of DS-1's for every AxeFX sold by Fractal smile.gif. That's one reason why Fractal has never sold AxeFX's through retailers, which is why you won't find them in stores.



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Rammikin
post Feb 21 2016, 05:17 AM
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One other point about the popularity of pedals these days: In addition to an abundance of pedals on the market to choose from, IMHO the quality has never been better (I'd like to hear Mertay's opinion on this). A lot of the pedals being made today are *really* good.


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klasaine
post Feb 21 2016, 05:47 PM
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QUOTE (Rammikin @ Feb 20 2016, 08:17 PM) *
One other point about the popularity of pedals these days: In addition to an abundance of pedals on the market to choose from, IMHO the quality has never been better (I'd like to hear Mertay's opinion on this). A lot of the pedals being made today are *really* good.


Absolutely!
A renaissance for pedals (and amps).


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Kristofer Dahl
post Feb 23 2016, 04:34 PM
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This sure is an interesting topic!

I must say I dislike the youtube video though. It doesn't make any sense to first explain how bad he thinks the unit is, and then argue this technology will kill analog amps.

I do think Kemper is a valid substitute for tube amps. Now what will happen with the old industry really is not on Kemper's responsibility. However I sure hope they will adapt - because for us as customers - the more options there are, the better!


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Mertay
post Feb 23 2016, 04:47 PM
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On the other side, the have transistor based amps mimicing tube.

There is a whole pedal market now copying mesa/marshall drive really good, 1-2 friends of mine are using tech 21 stuff for stage or recording again very good (liked it more than software).

Roland also did an amazing job with the bluescube (only the reverb is digital) and the upcoming waza amp seems promising.


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yoncopin
post Feb 23 2016, 06:55 PM
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I have to agree, the video is sort of rambling and rant-ish, but sparks discussion nonetheless. In the end I decided $1500-$2000 was too much for a modeller right now and got a Bugera G5 Infinium and a few DIY pedal kits (Rat, Tubescreamer). Which, in the context of this debate, have the same issues as the Kemper. The Bugera is a modified clone of a Blackstar, which is probably a modified clone of... The DIY kits are clearly clones of popular pedals with additional mods. In researching these purchases, I was amazed to find how similar these amp and pedal designs are to each other. There are really only a handful of solutions to achieving the desired effect of distortion/overdrive, etc... In the end, all modern gear was built on the fundamentals established long ago.

I did some A/B mic recordings of my Pod HD500X and my Vox Valvetronix and found I preferred the amp models of the Vox paired with the effects from the Pod. I'm going to make some more recording samples for comparison with the analog drive pedals and tube amp to see what the best setup is for sound quality and convenience for me. I'm really interested to compare the in-the-room sound of a analog pedal vs a few different digital models of the same thing. Digital vs analog is some kind of holy war, but I'm very excited to let my own ears decide.


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AK Rich
post Feb 23 2016, 07:02 PM
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Spoiler alert. Analog rules! cool.gif Just my opinion. smile.gif


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