Anyone own/use a Kemper Profiling Amp? Looking for opinions.

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Anyone own/use a Kemper Profiling Amp? Looking for opinions.

Post by Smitty » Wed Feb 03, 2016 6:17 pm

Bit of background: We're moving, and our new place affords me a good-sized room to devote to music and creative pursuits.

Which is awesome, but moving sucks, and while the last 12 months have been freaking unbelievable in terms of the amazing gear deals I stumbled/traded into, lugging all the resulting guitars and amps and cabinets currently in the collection got me thinking about how I could maximize creative potential while minimizing physical mass.

It is with this in mind that I find myself looking at the Kemper Profiling Amps. It seems they've been out for a while but I've been out of the cutting edge-gear loop for a number of years.

As someone who wants great tone at low volumes, primarily for recording in one location, in a less-than-acoustically-ideal (and under/untreated) room, this thing kinda seems like the holy grail. Plus an open-source approach to sharing free Profiles and the ability to roll your own (from those weird one-trick "character" amps I've been saving for years)? Pinch me.

My only concern is intuitive usability. Nothing strangles a lovely creative moment like five minutes of squinty, frustrated menu scrolling. It's one of the reasons I've hated amp sims in the past (but am deeply in love with my Yamaha THR10C).

I searched but only found a scattered handful of references to them here on the TOMB. I presume with everyone that's on here, there must be more people who've used these, right? I'm a hack, but in a real studio these things would seem to be invaluable.

I'd really value some insights and opinions from anyone who have hands-on experience with them.
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Post by Randyman... » Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:25 pm

I'd add the Line-6 Helix to your very short list :) Not a profiler, but likely the best modeler with the tightest foot-controller integration imaginable (if that kind of thing is important to you).

I'm close to getting face-time with one, and have already heard reports that the older HD500 surpasses Amplitube3 which we currently use and love - so the Helix sounds like a serious piece of kit with jaw-dropping controller integration...

:cool:
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Post by kslight » Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:39 pm

Randyman... wrote:I'd add the Line-6 Helix to your very short list :) Not a profiler, but likely the best modeler with the tightest foot-controller integration imaginable (if that kind of thing is important to you).

I'm close to getting face-time with one, and have already heard reports that the older HD500 surpasses Amplitube3 which we currently use and love - so the Helix sounds like a serious piece of kit with jaw-dropping controller integration...

:cool:

I have an HD500X and I personally like it better than Amplitube. I do like the controller integration, very intuitive.

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Post by Waltz Mastering » Sun Feb 07, 2016 5:58 pm

I think if it's a choice between a nice amp collection verses a Kemper,
the amp collection is the better asset for the studio if you're wanting to attract outside bands/artist to produce and record.

Where does it stop? ..drum samples, amp profiling, console/tape emu's, autotune, quantizing, blah, ..sounds like it could be a recipe for mediocre, un-inspiring and boring sound..all things being equal, I'll take the real deal any day . warts and all

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Post by kslight » Sun Feb 07, 2016 8:14 pm

Waltz Mastering wrote:I think if it's a choice between a nice amp collection verses a Kemper,
the amp collection is the better asset for the studio if you're wanting to attract outside bands/artist to produce and record.

Where does it stop? ..drum samples, amp profiling, console/tape emu's, autotune, quantizing, blah, ..sounds like it could be a recipe for mediocre, un-inspiring and boring sound..all things being equal, I'll take the real deal any day . warts and all
In all fairness I think the Kemper/other modelers have more imminent creative possibilities than drum replacement to try to sound like RHCP... I'd love to try one to see what I could pull out of it (I never cared who has the most realistic amp emu) but I'm more on a Line 6 budget.

Given low volume guitar recording options, I think modelers have a place, have a tendency to sound better than an ISO cab.

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Post by Waltz Mastering » Sun Feb 07, 2016 9:05 pm

kslight wrote:
Waltz Mastering wrote:I think if it's a choice between a nice amp collection verses a Kemper,
the amp collection is the better asset for the studio if you're wanting to attract outside bands/artist to produce and record.

Where does it stop? ..drum samples, amp profiling, console/tape emu's, autotune, quantizing, blah, ..sounds like it could be a recipe for mediocre, un-inspiring and boring sound..all things being equal, I'll take the real deal any day . warts and all
In all fairness I think the Kemper/other modelers have more imminent creative possibilities than drum replacement to try to sound like RHCP... I'd love to try one to see what I could pull out of it (I never cared who has the most realistic amp emu) but I'm more on a Line 6 budget.

Given low volume guitar recording options, I think modelers have a place, have a tendency to sound better than an ISO cab.
I hear ya.. I think I'm a guitar snob at heart ; ) Things are always developing and getting better to where you can barely tell if it's real or if it's Memorex. .. but, as independent eng/producer, I would book a studio with a nice selection of amps over one who's only amp was a Kemper.

I've mastered a fair amount of projects where Kempers were used, and their sound can be ok, but I've also been able to spot them blind a couple times,.. just didn't feel like a speaker pushing air to me, .. but I don't hate them

In a pinch, they have it now where you can upload your DI guitars and then audition and run your .wav files through a kemper online for $5. http://reamping-online.com/pricing

I've heard some good sound coming from
Lepou amp sims (donation ware) http://lepouplugins.blogspot.com/

..and Wall of Sound speaker cab sims are pretty decent 
http://www.two-notes.com/en/software/to ... f-sound-3/

Close to $4K for the Kemper I think

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Post by Randyman... » Sun Feb 07, 2016 9:15 pm

I'd also add - you can use modelers in front of real amps (or in the EFX loop or whatever you want) to expand the tonal pallette of that single amp.

Something like the Helix will tighten-up my multi-amplifier rig IMO (12" 2 Channel tube amp combo + Stereo Tube Power amp feeding stereo 4x12" Cabinet / total of three discrete playback chains plus channel-switching on the combo amp).

The Helix will also control Clean/OD channel-switching of a "real" guitar amp. This allows varying degrees of Amp Sim OD/Distortion/Fuzz and "Real Amp" lead channel drive as you switch between patches/presets. Opens up a lot of tonal options from a simple 2-piece floorboard/combo-amp rig.

If you wanted to get fancy, you could even separate the modeler's preamp/drive section (keep that in front of the combo amp / still utilizing channel switching control), and then separately insert the modeler's digital EFX into the tube combo amp's tube EFX Loop for true "post-overdrive" EFX capabilities. All with two units (floorboard and amp) plus a guitar.
Waltz Mastering wrote:Where does it stop? ..
"It" never stops - and always remains fresh in the hands of those with ambition and foresight to integrate these digital tools into their inherently analog musical being. :cool:
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Post by Smitty » Mon Feb 08, 2016 6:52 am

Waltz Mastering wrote:I think if it's a choice between a nice amp collection verses a Kemper,
the amp collection is the better asset for the studio if you're wanting to attract outside bands/artist to produce and record.

Where does it stop? ..drum samples, amp profiling, console/tape emu's, autotune, quantizing, blah, ..sounds like it could be a recipe for mediocre, un-inspiring and boring sound..all things being equal, I'll take the real deal any day . warts and all
Philosophically, I agree. But I just moved all my amps and gear in one weekend (from the basement of one house to the 2nd story of another) and there were moments where I literally considered death as the preferable option.

However, unlike many folks on here (who are muey professional in skills and/or occupation) , I'd consider myself a rank amateur/hobbyist at best. My tiny bedroom "studio" is 99% for me, and me would love to have more recording options at arms length in a smaller and lighter footprint.

Been researching the Kemper a lot online, and the thing that gives me most pause is that it seems to be much better at profiling some amps than others. It seems to be an amazing device any way you slice it, but it's kind of a let down if it excels at aping a hundred subtle iterations of the usual Marshall and Fender suspects but falls flat when you try to profile an Ampeg V4, and old Traynor, or even something weirder (I'm reading that it doesn't excel at "big iron" amps with non-standard distortion profiles).

I've got a small collection of super-fun old/weird/sick/dying novelty amps that I'd love to soul-suck for posterity/reliability with something like the Kemper, but if it can't do that... it's less fun.

And you can find the non-powered version used for $1500, which would realistically mean flipping a few heavy pieces of kit that I got cheap and wasn't using that much anyways. If it can do a quarter of what it claims to, that would seem to still be a pretty good deal.
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Post by kslight » Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:32 am

Smitty wrote:
Waltz Mastering wrote:I think if it's a choice between a nice amp collection verses a Kemper,
the amp collection is the better asset for the studio if you're wanting to attract outside bands/artist to produce and record.

Where does it stop? ..drum samples, amp profiling, console/tape emu's, autotune, quantizing, blah, ..sounds like it could be a recipe for mediocre, un-inspiring and boring sound..all things being equal, I'll take the real deal any day . warts and all
Philosophically, I agree. But I just moved all my amps and gear in one weekend (from the basement of one house to the 2nd story of another) and there were moments where I literally considered death as the preferable option.

However, unlike many folks on here (who are muey professional in skills and/or occupation) , I'd consider myself a rank amateur/hobbyist at best. My tiny bedroom "studio" is 99% for me, and me would love to have more recording options at arms length in a smaller and lighter footprint.

Been researching the Kemper a lot online, and the thing that gives me most pause is that it seems to be much better at profiling some amps than others. It seems to be an amazing device any way you slice it, but it's kind of a let down if it excels at aping a hundred subtle iterations of the usual Marshall and Fender suspects but falls flat when you try to profile an Ampeg V4, and old Traynor, or even something weirder (I'm reading that it doesn't excel at "big iron" amps with non-standard distortion profiles).

I've got a small collection of super-fun old/weird/sick/dying novelty amps that I'd love to soul-suck for posterity/reliability with something like the Kemper, but if it can't do that... it's less fun.

And you can find the non-powered version used for $1500, which would realistically mean flipping a few heavy pieces of kit that I got cheap and wasn't using that much anyways. If it can do a quarter of what it claims to, that would seem to still be a pretty good deal.
Yeah same I'm not recording other people as much as myself, and I find loud amps impractical in my house due to volume (ironically becomes hard to tell what you sound like), feedback (which is cool, sometimes), and noise...not to mention acoustic imperfections of my space. Modelers are very practical when I need a lot of choices that require minimal setup and fuss, record and on to next cue...at least with film work. I have some really cool weird amps but I find myself never using them because of above variables, would be cool to have them preserved in a can. I am more interested in getting wrong/unique results out of the Kemper than another rectifier preset.

Would be curious if/when Kemper will release an updated model, seems like these have been out for awhile. I know they say they don't plan on new models every year like some guys...but we all know they'll have to put out a new one at some point.

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Post by Smitty » Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:42 am

kslight wrote: Yeah same I'm not recording other people as much as myself, and I find loud amps impractical in my house due to volume (ironically becomes hard to tell what you sound like), feedback (which is cool, sometimes), and noise...not to mention acoustic imperfections of my space.
Same.
kslight wrote:I am more interested in getting wrong/unique results out of the Kemper than another rectifier preset.
This, exactly. I would want to be sure that it's capable of doing that.
kslight wrote:Would be curious if/when Kemper will release an updated model, seems like these have been out for awhile. I know they say they don't plan on new models every year like some guys...but we all know they'll have to put out a new one at some point.
It seems they've been doing a lot via firmware updates and downloadable additions, which makes sense. Technology may have (hopefully) progressed far enough that the hardware doesn't need updating every 2 years.
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Re: Anyone own/use a Kemper Profiling Amp? Looking for opini

Post by stereobongos » Fri Feb 12, 2016 8:20 am

Smitty wrote:I'd really value some insights and opinions from anyone who have hands-on experience with them.
I did a couple of sessions with a Kemper (as a guitarist) and here are my insights and opinions.

For these sessions we actually sampled or modeled or WHATEVER-ed my own amps into the Kemper. I then played through the Kemper for the actual recordings. First thing is it's not just an amp modeller, it's designed to replicate the recorded tone, which includes the sound of the amp, the amp's speaker, the mic it was recorded with, whatever processing was used, and the mic pre it was all recorded with. This is impacted by the guitar one is playing while the initial sample/model/whatever is taking place too.

The short answer is the engineer likes it more than the guitar player. If you're the guitar tech or FOH for some major touring band that has complex guitar rigs that switch to radically different sounds from song to song, or even during the song, the Kemper will save you hours in setup and soundcheck. As that guitarist it can mean you leave your many many amps and racks of effects at home and you take the Kemper in its place as carry on luggage. You'll hail it as a godsend. It sounds good when you sit in the control room and when you hear it out of the PA. The audience won't know the difference and you've cut your overhead significantly, more money in your pocket. Hell yes.

If you're guitar player that loves vintage tube amps and knows the difference between great and meh, you might not love playing through it.

Just for reference, my guitar rig for studio or live usually goes like this; Guitar-Cable-Amp. Sometimes I bring a tuner but usually not. When I get really fancy I use a wah wah and maybe a delay. My amps generally have tremelo and reverb but that's it for me. But still, as an electric guitarist I feel that my amp is part of my instrument and I'm very particular about them even though I use rented backline on tour. Digital stuff doesn't work for me for a variety of reasons.

I can't dis the Kemper because it is kind of amazing, but it ain't for everybody. I can imagine it would be great for recording at home. But it seems you have a live space where you can make noise and you have a fair amount of nice amps. So you want to sell the real thing to buy the fake thing? People like me depend on people doing such things because that's who we buy our vintage gear from!

I say storage is cheaper than regret, but I'm kind of a hoarder.
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Post by stereobongos » Fri Feb 12, 2016 8:32 am

Smitty wrote: My tiny bedroom "studio" is 99% for me, and me would love to have more recording options at arms length in a smaller and lighter footprint.
Just reread your post, you're recording at home. It might be great for you! Still, don't sell the real stuff unless it's to me :lol:
Just because you can, that doesn't mean you should.
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Re: Anyone own/use a Kemper Profiling Amp? Looking for opini

Post by Smitty » Fri Feb 12, 2016 8:58 am

Thanks for the insight, that's super helpful.

The gist I've gotten is that it's a studio tool first and foremost, and also quite possible to use it as a live amp, given the right settings and complimentary gear (which seems to be quite different and (more expensive) than a normal guitar rig... super clean power amp and FRFR or PA/neutral speakers.

Or you can just ram-a-jam it through whatever power amp and speakers you happen to have, while understanding that you're making the Ethereal Spirits of Truest Tone weep tears of sadness every time you play the profile of a priceless and vintage Marshall Plexi through the power-amp section and speakers of an old open back Peavey combo (this is the more likely scenario for me, FWIW).

My plans are to use it primarily as a studio/writing/practice tool, and it seems it would work well for that.
stereobongos wrote:I say storage is cheaper than regret, but I'm kind of a hoarder.
Me too... that's kind of the problem.

If I was settled down in a place for a long period of time with plenty of space, it might be different. But moving has me seeing things differently.

I've got a huge stack of cool old amps, most of which are between 25%-75% busted (that old Gibson Hawk would probably sound a lot better if it had a speaker in it, etc.).

Constantly finding great deals on cool gear is awesome, but it means I almost never have the cash on hand to devote to getting any of them gone over properly so they're fully functional.

But that's likely a whole different disorder.

Bottom line is, I'm not planning to liquidate the entire collection, or even really to part with anything that's super rare or hard to replace.

But I've got some stuff I could definitely stand to send along.

Anybody need a minty 1963 Vox 18" Foundation Bass Cab? Get at me. :D
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