2019: Axe FX 3 vs Kemper - What's the consensus?

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by rmg471, Aug 9, 2019.

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  1. rmg471

    rmg471 Supporting Member

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    I've owned a Kemper years ago, never owned an Axe FX of any sort. What is the consensus as far as "realism" is concerned, or is it still the "old" consensus of: Axe is better at effects, and Kemper is better at true amp tone?

    I'm curious because I'm looking to pick one or the other up.
     
  2. phil_m

    phil_m Supporting Member

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  3. rmg471

    rmg471 Supporting Member

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    Perhaps a bad choice of words, but, looking for opinions, and I know everyone has those!
     
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  4. WBellman

    WBellman Supporting Member

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    This is the LAST place to use as a 'buyer's guide'. Might as well round up 5 different parents in a room and ask them which of the children are cutest.

    That said: Kemper
     
  5. Karl Houseknecht

    Karl Houseknecht Supporting Member

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    I think the consensus is that both sound really good.

    However, I'm sure each of us have our preferences.
     
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  6. rmg471

    rmg471 Supporting Member

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    Any particular reason? Quicker to a good sound without tweaking, or the ability to download profiles, or... ?
     
  7. Karl Houseknecht

    Karl Houseknecht Supporting Member

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  8. rmg471

    rmg471 Supporting Member

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    Karl, can you give me just a brief rationale for your choice?
     
  9. sixesandsevens

    sixesandsevens Member

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    I'll share a little of what I've learned in trying to answer this myself. The TL;DR is yes, it's the same old same old.

    Kemper's caught up a bit in the effects department, but still doesn't have the same flexible routing grid for rig layouts as the FAS stuff.

    Both are widely reported to have great tones but I see more people willing to sacrifice the FAS flexibility for a perceived better amp tone with Kemper than I would expect, which leads me to believe that tonally it has some edge.

    FAS of course has the "it works just like the amp" advantage top when it comes to being a shop-at-home-club experience for learning to dial in real amps. Kemper's EQ is still in its own spot rather than mimicking the amp tone stack.

    Price wise FM3 makes FAS flagship modeling available for $999USD vs $1700 for Kemper Stage, which makes FAS cheaper to get into, at least in the states.
     
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  10. WBellman

    WBellman Supporting Member

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    In all seriousness, there's enough videos and data out there to research to see which you feel is the best fit for you. At the end of the day when it's time to plug in and simply play they will both do the job - as will a number of other platforms. There's no better. There's no perfect fit.

    That said: Kemper
     
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  11. mbenigni

    mbenigni Member

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    "Rationale..."

    [​IMG]

    Seriously, though...

    I've yet to hear the Axe FX III in person, but my guess is the difference in tone will be less relevant than the difference in features, etc. and how these relate to your needs and preferred way of working. There's no substitute for trying both for yourself. Ideally, own both for a while before settling on one and flipping the other.

    If that's not practical, then do a bunch of research. I'd expect the Axe III to be a lot more versatile, but that may or may not matter to you. Some guys even seem to consider it a liability. :dunno
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
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  12. bdrepko

    bdrepko Member

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    Soundwise, you can get killer sounds out of both and I could go with either one IMHO. For live use, I would choose the AXE3 any day.
     
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  13. Fresiki

    Fresiki Member

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    Here are some rambling thoughts from my perspective. You're touching on the big thing, the actual big difference between Kemper and "other modelers".

    With the Kemper, you could dial in the amp, then profile it. If you don't own the amp and are stuck with downloadable profiles, a Kemper could seem less flexible, but in actuality, the intended way to use it is if you want your amp to have more midrange output, you would profile your amp anew with the settings you want on the amp. When you buy profile packs, a lot of profilers put out not only profiles of differing gain, but with different EQ profiles as well. At the very least, there will be "noon" and "mid boost" versions of profiles inside the packs. While on a Helix or Axe, you would use the amp controls on the modelled amp to get a more mid-focused sound, on the Kemper you would just make a new profile.

    It's a different workflow, that some prefer and some don't. I have probably 10,000 kemper profiles. I use maybe 30 profiles, and that's really just 5 snapshots (clean, pushed, crunch, gain, lead) of 6 different amps, sorted into six performances. If I ever need another tone I have 9970 profiles to sift through. I don't feel in any way that the lack of realistic amp controls is a hinderance. If I was actually playing an actual amp, in a live setting, I wouldn't be tweaking the actual amp during the show to change my tone around anyway, I would use pre-set pedals or something, so say an EQ pedal and a boost if I needed a more mid focused tone. In actuality, the amp settings would be hard set. That's how I also conceptualize working with the Kemper. But since I can swith profiles on the fly, it's actually like having many amps with hard-set settings in one box. It's just like having a switcher and a few different pre-amps in a rack. Each preamp gives you different tones, but the settings on each are still probably hard set. Nobody's running over to their rack to up the treble in between songs. So again, I just think of the Kemper as being like a huge rack full of any preamps I want, with a switcher that has a thousand loops.
     
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  14. Laketta

    Laketta Member

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    Kemper is much easier to use and navigate.
     
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  15. WBellman

    WBellman Supporting Member

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    Agree with @Fresiki When gigging, once my amp was set I never touched it. Amazing how many folks these days have forgotten how powerful the knobs on their guitars are.

    Think of the Kemper EQ more like the EQ on your mixer or stereo. Many times that's all you need to bump something a little up or down.
     
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  16. Zacflame

    Zacflame Member

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    Axe is the best, now go place your order as soon as you finish reading this, are you ? Of course not, the words coming out of my mouth(or out of this keyboard) will have no bearing on what comes into your ears sound wise.

    As soon as you buy one you will wonder if you should have bought the other. If you can swing both put them in the ring and see which one comes out.

    good luck
     
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  17. ShaunOsovs

    ShaunOsovs Member

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    Have both - they're on equal playing ground. Kemper still has the edge in my book with raw amp tones, specifically because I profile my own amps at their sweet spots that I like them at. In the studio its helpful to make a profile of the amps used at their exact settings you used on a album too then take those sounds on the road. The AxeFX-III has better built in effects, more bells and whistles, an easier to use interface, recording capabilities, and it usually gives me option paralysis. But its brilliant if you are a tweaker and love making new sounds. So it all comes down to what you like, what you want to spend your time doing, whether or not you already have amps that you like, etc.
     
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  18. Karl Houseknecht

    Karl Houseknecht Supporting Member

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    It is totally personal preference. Deciding which unit you want will largely depend on what kind of experience you desire. When I want a particular tone, I generally know the kind of gear I should use to achieve it. FOR ME, I don't jive with the profile browsing process. I'm good picking an amp and cab and then dialing everything in to suit my guitars, fingers, tastes, etc. I'm not saying the Kemper doesn't work that way, it just doesn't work for me. Different paradigm. I like having all the available tones already in the box, and not having to buy anything to get there.

    Now, having said that, I also think that the Axe-Fx III modeling is better. TO MY EARS, which could arguably be suspect, I hear (and feel) good things in the power amp modeling of the III that I don't hear or feel in the Kemper. I also like the quality and variety of effects available in the III.

    To each his own. I've owned both (multiple times on the Kemper front). I kept the III. I also keep a Helix.
     
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  19. PaisleyWookie

    PaisleyWookie Member

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    Mine, obviously.
     
  20. WBellman

    WBellman Supporting Member

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    Wanna fight?
     
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