Axe II or Kemper? Help me out

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by Jbonnet, Mar 14, 2015.

  1. Jbonnet

    Jbonnet Supporting Member

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    So I'm finally going to step into the modeling world... But, with so much info on the Axe and Kemper I am totally confused...

    I bought an Eleven rack when they first came out and didn't like it very much. The tone seemed to digital for me..

    I am looking to use either the Axe or the Kemper for playing live most of the time.. I play in a 5 peace band which plays pop tunes.. (Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, some rock but very little) I also play in a trio. I play mainly acoustic in that one but, we want to add in electric so we can expand our tunes library.

    Here is my predicament. I don't like fussing with electronic devices. I suffer from ADHD and I would probably get very frustrated with having to sit for hours programming in tons of different sounds.. I want to try and mimic the original tone of the recorded versions of the songs we play.

    I have watched tons of videos on both units and only became more confused...

    Any suggestions?

    I am also going to get the foot controller.. Which is easier to use
     
  2. SkyhighRocks

    SkyhighRocks Member

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    If you use a lot of effects and need different routing options for that, then the axe is probably what you want. If you want more simplicity, then Kemper. I've owned both and am on my 2nd Kemper because I hate tweaking. Spent too much time doing it and not enough playing. You, like others, may differ...just my opinion.
     
  3. rdamato

    rdamato Supporting Member

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    I have adult ADD and at 57, I've learned that it can be very beneficial!!

    I've owned both and still have my Kemper. Both are excellent units but for ME,
    the Kemper is much easier to use. The presets that come with the Axe are good, but needed some tweaking. Yes, you can build your own presets with the Axe software, but that was much too tedious for me (ADD)!. Conversely, the rigs I purchase for the Kemper, especially MBritt profiles, Rarely need tweaking and if so, the controls are on the front of the unit. Much like a traditional amp. Really straight forward. I think the effects on the Axe may be a bit better, but live, not much difference. Yes, John Petrucci uses the Axe-Fx for his FX unit live, but does your band's sound system have the resolution to discern the differences between the two?

    Anyway, I've had the KPA FOR TWO YEARS AND STILL LOVE IT!

    Best
    ron
     
  4. Jbonnet

    Jbonnet Supporting Member

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    Yes, simplicity is what I am looking for
     
  5. SkyhighRocks

    SkyhighRocks Member

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    The kemper is all about the profiles. I only use profiles that I don't need to tweak.
     
  6. Jbonnet

    Jbonnet Supporting Member

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    Also is there a big difference in the lunchbox version and the Rack Mount version?
    The layout looks the same but there are more knobs on the lunchbox version
     
  7. SkyhighRocks

    SkyhighRocks Member

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    They are basically the same. Less LEDs on the rackmount but the usb port is on the front. I went back and forth over which to get and decided on the lunchbox because it's easier to transport and fly with.
     
  8. jazzfromhell

    jazzfromhell Member

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    For simplicity? Kemper.
    It's literally plug-and-play, and when youre on stage and need to change something quickly you just reach over and tweak it, there is no menu scrolling involved.
     
  9. ethomas1013

    ethomas1013 Supporting Member

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    Here we go again....

    The idea that the Axe is difficult to use and requires extensive tweaking for hours is total BS. Let's get that out of the way right now. You will have to learn how to use it, but it's not hard at all and AxeEdit really makes it easy. But you do have to know what you are doing and you have to know more about amps and cabs that you do with the KPA. For example, which cab should you match up with the Divided by 13 FTR37 model? Whatever sounds good is the correct answer, but knowing what to start with is a definite plus.

    I own the AxeII and have recently played the KPA (I liked it quite a bit). Both sound excellent, both respond to playing very much like an amp (neither is perfect) and I've heard incredible results from both.

    My 2c.... Make a list of the features you need, take a look at the features of both units, and choose the one that checks the most boxes. If the quality of the effects is important to you, in a studio setting the Axe is a lot better that the KPA. Not a little, a LOT. Live, it's probably not as evident. If you just want to shift through profiles until you find one that works for you and don't want to mess with choosing amps, choosing cabs, effects routing options, then go with the KPA. I found many of the profiles sounded good at the profiled settings but started to sound bad as you made changes. And some profiles matched up really well with certain guitars but sounded bad with others. But when I came across a profile that I liked, I liked it a lot. YMMV...

    Both units are incredibly capable of producing fantastic sounds. Good luck!
     
  10. jpage

    jpage Silver Supporting Member

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    I have and love the AXE, but it is far from simple...
     
  11. Jbonnet

    Jbonnet Supporting Member

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    Can I download or purchase profiles that I won't need to edit for both the kemper and the Axe?
     
  12. ethomas1013

    ethomas1013 Supporting Member

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    Ok, let me add "IMO" to my statement that it's not hard. Not meaning to insult anyone, but I have definitely met my share of guitarists that would not be able to handle the AxeFX or the KPA :bong
     
  13. ethomas1013

    ethomas1013 Supporting Member

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    You can download and edit "patches" for the AxeFX, "profiles" for the Kemper. Profiles are free from other KPA users or purchased from 3rd party companies (does Kemper sell profiles?). I'm not aware of anyone that sells AxeFX Patches.

    I have had mixed results trying to use other people's AxeFX patches. Someone else programmed them for their guitars, the amount of gain they want to use, and their playing style, etc. You are best to learn to make your own patches. If you go with the AxeFX, the best way to make your own is to start simple with an empty preset and add an amp, cab, and a little reverb. Adjust common controls (Gain, B, M, T, P - one button push to get to the menu and then 5 knobs on the front of the unit to make common adjustments, no scrolling) and go from there. No need for deep editing or tricks to get fantastic tones, IMO.

    Personally, I would not count on using someone else's patches for the AxeFX. There will be a learning curve with either unit and it's probably steeper with the AxeFX.

    Someone else will have to explain the workflow for the KPA.
     
  14. DwightX

    DwightX Member

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    I'm in the same boat as you Jbonnet, and at this point am seriously leaning toward the Kemper. Mainly for 2 big reasons, and I'd really appreciate input if I'm missing something.

    (1) I'd rather have something with a simpler interface, and don't want to deal with a huge learning curve.

    (2) I really *want* to buy an AXE simply because of how amazing the company is, given Cliff's super support and continuing improvements. However, one day when Fractal moves forward with a new product, the firmware updates will end and the product will be what it is at that point. Not that you won't be able to get awesome tones from it, but this seems like a downside to me.

    I'm thinking the Kemper may be somewhat more future proof. If the company went out of business tomorrow, people will likely be using the hardware to profile new amps and stompboxes 10 or 20 years from now. That consideration alone is very appealing to me personally.
     
  15. wcfields

    wcfields Member

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    There are TONS of threads on this everywhere. Do a search....
     
  16. Don Petersen

    Don Petersen Member

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    right.
    we almost managed to keep all the controls of the Lunchbox when designing the Rack (not bad, eh?), two had to go - the dedicated MOD(ulation) Rate and Intensity knobs.
    TBH I don't recall ever using them on the Lunchbox, the dedicated DELAY and REVERB knobs - yes, quite often, MOD - not so much.

    I thought I'd miss the LED rings on the four soft-knobs below the display, but now I mostly work with the Rack and I'm not bothered by this at all.

    If you now what you're looking for, yes absolutely.
    We released quite a few Rig Packs that are free to download from our website, and more will come :)

    You can also access the almost 6000 user profiles with our (free) Rig Manager software, for example by searching for a specific amp you like/want. Rig Manager will link your Profiler and the Rig Exchange in real-time, so you just double-click a rig and it appears on your Profiler. :)

    Often, the author of a profile you like will have other profiles that suit you.
    You can also search by gain (very handy).

    hth
     
  17. Jbonnet

    Jbonnet Supporting Member

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    So lets say I want my guitar to sound like EVH guitar (Eruption) can I just download profile?
    FYI thats just an example.. I can't play that very well
     
  18. ethomas1013

    ethomas1013 Supporting Member

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    I wouldn't make any predictions about the future release cycle of either product.

    Both companies are striving to improve their products and at some point both products will reach the end of their lifecycle. The consistent knock agains the Kemper is the quality of the effects. Is there enough processing power with the current hardware to improve them? Maybe so, maybe not... What if Kemper decides to change the format of the profile to allow profiling the amp at multiple settings for better accuracy when changing values? I'm not a Kemper user so maybe these things are already forthcoming with the current HW? Just throwing out a couple possibilities for future updates, and I'm sure there are many more that the developer has in mind, that may or may not be possible with the current HW.

    On the AxeII side, FW 18 reduces the amount of processing power required for the amp models. So, it appears that an end of lifecycle for the AxeII is still a ways off. Time will tell.
     
  19. jeff5x0

    jeff5x0 Member

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    Its more about amps than songs. So maybe Eddie used a Marshall Super Lead 100 (I have no idea here) so thats what you would look for. I think most can agree tone wise both these units are very very good. What are you planning to play the device you choose through?
     
  20. MaxTwang

    MaxTwang Member

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    Get on the Fractal and Kemper forums and try to find owners in your area who will let you try their rig and give you a quick demo of the unit's work flow. There are a lot of really generous and helpful people on the respective forums.

    The Axe and Kemper are both very capable, but the sound/feel/workflow are different enough that you might gravitate more to one than the other with a hands on demo - go with your instincts.

    IMO selecting the right amp & cab on the Axe then fiddling with parameters isn't less tweaking than auditioning lots of profiles then fiddling with parameters on the Kemper - just a different approach.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2015

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