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Change my mind about modelers

METAL

Member
Messages
338
I’m strongly considering getting a used Kemper but there are a few things holding me back.

1. Software amp sims are getting better and better. I fear that once they get on par with Fractal’s and Kemper’s, that the hardware units will be worth basically nothing.

2. The fact that I don’t know when a new one will come out or when they will end support for the model I get.

3. Modelers are extremely close to the real deal from what I’ve heard. But does it take long to get a good usable tone? Will I have to play with knobs and settings for an hour or can I get something good from the start? I tried a Kemper at my local music store. Found the unit easy to use but didn’t like any of the stock profiles for high gain metal tones.

4. One thing I love about real amps is the power and air I guess you would say from the speaker cab. I find that using modelers lose that.


I like the versatility and convenience of amp modelers but those things are holding me back. Prove me wrong and convince me!
 

frthib

Member
Messages
1,541
You're right. I'm not so hot about hardware modeler.

I've lost cash on hardware modelers

Software can be really great. The make or break step is the IR. Once that is solved, they, the current generation of VST modelers, are -mostly- awesome.

So .. :dunno
 

mikah912

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,682
  1. Software amp sims have nothing to do with the worth of a Kemper, Helix or Fractal. Not even Helix Native - which literally IS a Helix in software form - has depreciated the hardware Helix units.
  2. I don't get why people keep falling into this trap. There's always something else around the corner.
  3. Think of it this way: You ever go to a music store to try an amp, but only let other people you don't know adjust the settings with no input from you? That's what trying stock profiles or presets only is like.
  4. Insert modeler into tube power amp and real cab. Problem solved.
 

DirtFarmer

Member
Messages
90
Your statements are true, how is one supposed to prove you wrong?

#3 is the only item that can somewhat be answered but its still subjective to what you think is good tone and how long "long" is when dialing in tone. How much time are you going to spend to learn how to get the desired tone. With all modelers you need to do your homework before you can master your device.
 

Fireproof

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,868
1. Not everyone wants to jam or gig using a computer. I know I don’t.

2a. There’s always something new coming out eventually. If you keep waiting, you’ll never enjoy anything now.
2b. Even IF something comes out later, that doesn’t render your current modeler useless. You still have the features/value that you thought were valid the day you bought it. There are plenty of AxeFXII users that are still rocking just fine even though AxeFXIII is now out.

3. Not usually. Some tweaking may be required for your guitar/speakers/situation, but you should be able to get good usable tones fairly quickly with a bit of study into how the device works.

4. Use a speaker cab or real amp,. Lots of discussions on how to connect this way.
 

Promit

Member
Messages
2,481
I’m strongly considering getting a used Kemper but there are a few things holding me back.

1. Software amp sims are getting better and better. I fear that once they get on par with Fractal’s and Kemper’s, that the hardware units will be worth basically nothing.
Software is a headache. Interfaces, latency, VST hosts, random system processes interrupting, the list goes on. Dedicated hardware will always have a place, and both the industry flagships Kemper and Fractal don't seem to have any intention of moving their capabilities to plugin.
2. The fact that I don’t know when a new one will come out or when they will end support for the model I get.
Correct. You'll have to go by your perception of the company and how they support their products. We're in a vastly better place on this than ten years ago, when "support" was not a relevant concept beyond hardware warranty replacements. I believe both Kemper and Fractal have proven their commitment to long lived hardware, and L6 is making a good case for themselves so far on the Helix stuff.
3. Modelers are extremely close to the real deal from what I’ve heard. But does it take long to get a good usable tone? Will I have to play with knobs and settings for an hour or can I get something good from the start? I tried a Kemper at my local music store. Found the unit easy to use but didn’t like any of the stock profiles for high gain metal tones.
It depends on the unit and your ears both, as well as what you're monitoring through. I'm a Fractal guy and having learned what cab impulses I like, nowadays I can have a brand new usable tone from scratch in about three to five minutes. Kemper is a bit different as it's really about finding a solid base tone in the rig exchange and making small tweaks to it. In that sense it's the best unit for not sitting there fiddling with knobs, because the profile you're using either works for you or it doesn't.

FWIW I agree with you about high gain tones on the Kemper and I never really liked what I was getting out of it, which led to ultimately selling mine. Others are very happy with it. YMMV.
4. One thing I love about real amps is the power and air I guess you would say from the speaker cab. I find that using modelers lose that.
It's not necessary to give this up, if you want. You could buy a power amp (or a powered Kemper) and keep whatever cabs you like handy. The various modelers all works very well this way.
 

METAL

Member
Messages
338
Your statements are true, how is one supposed to prove you wrong?

#3 is the only item that can somewhat be answered but its still subjective to what you think is good tone and how long "long" is when dialing in tone. How much time are you going to spend to learn how to get the desired tone. With all modelers you need to do your homework before you can master your device.
I know I'll have to invest in some premium paid profiles of some high gain amps. But I just wonder how much tweaking that will have to be done to make it sound usable, or if the right profile will just sound good from the start and I tweak it to my preference.

With tube amps and a decent cab, I can get a very usable tone for the most part within 10 minutes,
 

mikah912

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,682
I know I'll have to invest in some premium paid profiles of some high gain amps. But I just wonder how much tweaking that will have to be done to make it sound usable, or if the right profile will just sound good from the start and I tweak it to my preference.

With tube amps and a decent cab, I can get a very usable tone for the most part within 10 minutes,

You don't HAVE to invest in high gain amp profiles. At Sevenstring.org's Gear and Equipment forums, there is a dedicated Kemper Profiler thread with lots of mentions of free Exchange rigs that get it done for a lot of people.

This one alone should get you sorted. He is an absolute guru, and I use his Helix patches all of the time. Fantastic IRs.
 

phil_m

Have you tried turning it off and on again?
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
13,482
1. Software amp sims are getting better and better. I fear that once they get on par with Fractal’s and Kemper’s, that the hardware units will be worth basically nothing.

It's actually quite the opposite... Software generally has zero resale value after a few years (and many software licenses actually don't permit users to sell them). Any piece of hardware you get will retain some resale value in the future.
 

JiveTurkey

Trumpets and Tants
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
23,318
You don't HAVE to invest in high gain amp profiles. At Sevenstring.org's Gear and Equipment forums, there is a dedicated Kemper Profiler thread with lots of mentions of free Exchange rigs that get it done for a lot of people.

This one alone should get you sorted. He is an absolute guru, and I use his Helix patches all of the time. Fantastic IRs.
This. The "oh I've got to spend $3k on profiles to get anything usable" needs to stop.
 

Brandon7s

Member
Messages
1,648
I’m strongly considering getting a used Kemper but there are a few things holding me back.

1. Software amp sims are getting better and better. I fear that once they get on par with Fractal’s and Kemper’s, that the hardware units will be worth basically nothing.
S-Gear has been in Fractal and Kemper's league for years and years now. Software serves a fundamentally different purpose than hardware though, mostly by being incredibly convenient while recording. Hardware is far more useful and worry-free for playing live.
 

Brandon7s

Member
Messages
1,648
For some cleans maybe, but I wouldn't put it on par for high gain, generally speaking.

Oh, I agree. S-Gear really doesn't do high gain anyway - though their mesa inspired model can get high-ish gain, still not really comparable to an amp someone would typically use for something heavier than hard rock.
 

Viabcroce

Member
Messages
2,860
I feel you Metal :)

Here follows my take on your concerns:


1. Software amp sims are getting better and better. I fear that once they get on par with Fractal’s and Kemper’s, that the hardware units will be worth basically nothing.

As someone pointed out already, you don't play some sw sims but a computer. Modellers are basically a computer too, where all the services, the CPU, RAM, and - most important - I/O has been optimized for the task tho. Your soundcard's input impedance alone can drastically ruin your tone on a generic computer (and this is why Helix Native doesn't sound like its hw counterpart IMO).

I'd not focus on how much my modeller residually costs, but on how good it sound: I've been using the KPA since 2011 and never felt I was left behind.

Most important, let's keep in mind the KPA is a profiler, not a modeller: it will potentially give you access to any real rig in the solar system (and also single cabs or heads): the chances that you find something you love is extremely high, to say the least ;)


2. The fact that I don’t know when a new one will come out or when they will end support for the model I get.

Support for the KPA will never end (unless the firm itself disappears of course): Kemper is not some obscure startup, and their Virus line has been supported without interruption since ... how long is it? 25 years?

As for a new unit coming out, see above: why would this be an issue if you like the tones you're getting?

Also, note that KPA's developing path is far from being complete, and new functions, services and fx are added every year: I guess it will take at least a couple of years before the unit just becomes an adult :D


3. Modelers are extremely close to the real deal from what I’ve heard. But does it take long to get a good usable tone? Will I have to play with knobs and settings for an hour or can I get something good from the start? I tried a Kemper at my local music store. Found the unit easy to use but didn’t like any of the stock profiles for high gain metal tones.

Imagine you are in a music store, and specifically in their amps room: of course you'd want to try them all ( :D ), and of course you'd tweak those knobs.
Where's the perceived difference between amps and the Profiler? That you are not scared by amps' knobs.
The strong point of the KPA in this respect is that it has got knobs enough to not oblige you to navigate menus (and, when you do, everything is at 2-3 strikes distance from where you are; furthermore, you can assign functions to the Quick button); OTOH, once you get confident with those, the big advantage will be that, no matter what profiled brand or model you load, the controls will remain the same across the profiled amps, giving you the ultimate control over your tone.

As a side note, there are in the Profiler parameters you'd tweak more or less only once, and some you'd tweak all the time (like on an amp: bias Vs. tones and presence for example).
Here's a simple Tutorial for the first use I wrote some time ago: should you go the KPA's route, it might come in handy :)


4. One thing I love about real amps is the power and air I guess you would say from the speaker cab. I find that using modelers lose that.

Mhhh... if you use desktop monitors this might be true, but if you fire up 2 120-dB active CLR and unleash their volume knobs I highly doubt you'd be able to play in front of them with no hearing damage ;)
Heck, I own a 15-W retrofit poweramp I use with my Profiler, and when using a 102dB cab @ 4 ohm it was impossible to raise the volume beyond halfway 'cause windows started to shatter o_O

I guess the most relevant difference between a real cab and a modelled\profiled cab is that the latter are usually mic'ed in a way that makes them sound... like mic'ed cabs (which is, ultimately, what your audience hears when you perform). I believe this is what most players report about when stating differences (provided of course they are equipped for getting an equivalent SPL).
Talking about this, the KPA has got some adaptive controls that tame this difference.

Best thing, of course, would be to use (profiled) cabs mic'ed in a perhaps more evolute way... or to use a real guitar cab. But I am not sure I see a point in using the KPA like a pre only (unless you find your go-to tone and need just that): you'd miss all the sonic versatility of profiling a complete rig.

Whatever your route... HappyMusic :)
 
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ColdFrixion

Senior Member
Messages
5,736
1. Software amp sims are getting better and better. I fear that once they get on par with Fractal’s and Kemper’s, that the hardware units will be worth basically nothing.

Line 6's Helix hardware didn't stop selling after they released a software version of it.

2. The fact that I don’t know when a new one will come out or when they will end support for the model I get.

If this is really a concern, consider that Fractal Audio just released the Axe FX III and won't be replacing it with an Axe FX IV for a number of years, and Kemper hasn't given any indication that they plan to release a new unit any time soon.

3. Modelers are extremely close to the real deal from what I’ve heard. But does it take long to get a good usable tone?

It depends on what you consider usable tone. If you're used to plugging directly into an amp and cab, and that's what you expect a modeler to sound like, then you'd want to use a power amp connected to a real guitar cabinet, because they sound different otherwise. Modelers (when not used with a power amp into a real cab) reproduce the sound of a mic'd cab, thus it's the difference between hearing a live performance vs. listening to a recording of said performance. As long as you understand that and temper your expectations, you likely won't have too much of a problem.

Will I have to play with knobs and settings for an hour or can I get something good from the start?

The Kemper is the most plug and play of the lot, in my opinion, and I almost never have to fiddle with knobs for more than a couple of minutes (if that) to get something usable. There are too many great profiles out there to spend time tweaking one obsessively.

While you can get a very usable tone with the Axe FX in short order, it helps to understand what the basic parameters do. While the unit has a lot of advanced parameters that can be tweaked, you don't generally need to touch them, unless you have something very specific in mind and understand what they do.

4. One thing I love about real amps is the power and air I guess you would say from the speaker cab. I find that using modelers lose that.

See answer to number 3.
 
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Unnecessary

Senior Member
Messages
2,667
I’m strongly considering getting a used Kemper but there are a few things holding me back.

1. Software amp sims are getting better and better. I fear that once they get on par with Fractal’s and Kemper’s, that the hardware units will be worth basically nothing.

If you only play at home for yourself, then maybe a full-featured modeler isn't necessary, but I don't think you'll ever see the end of dedicated hardware for music making. It all comes down to your usage and needs. Digital gear doesn't retain it's value like analog gear, and it shouldn't at the rate that technology grows.

2. The fact that I don’t know when a new one will come out or when they will end support for the model I get.

If you wait until you're sure that there won't be something better around the corner when it comes to technology, you'll never buy anything.

3. Modelers are extremely close to the real deal from what I’ve heard. But does it take long to get a good usable tone? Will I have to play with knobs and settings for an hour or can I get something good from the start? I tried a Kemper at my local music store. Found the unit easy to use but didn’t like any of the stock profiles for high gain metal tones.

Kemper is quite different from most "modelers" since it "plays" profiles of amps instead of doing component-level digital recreations. Kempers are pretty easy to dial if you have a profile that sounds 90% of the way you want it to out of the gate. Something like the Helix or AFX is going to take maybe a little more effort, but IME if you treat it like you would an analog signal chain, its no more complicated than an amp and some pedals. I mean, you wouldn't just buy 60 new pedals and a new amp, arrange them on a board, dial everything to noon, then expect to sound like you want it to, right?

4. One thing I love about real amps is the power and air I guess you would say from the speaker cab. I find that using modelers lose that.

Plug it into a real cab! The only way to get the feeling of playing through a guitar speaker at a decent volume is to, surprise surprise, play through a guitar speaker at a decent volume. Modelers/profilers will sound like that guitar speaker at a decent volume with an excellent mic perfectly placed on it in the other room and relayed through monitors because that's what it was designed to do. There's almost no way around the retaining the physicality of a traditional guitar rig without using a traditional guitar rig.

I like the versatility and convenience of amp modelers but those things are holding me back. Prove me wrong and convince me!
 

hugbot

Member
Messages
983
Digital amp sims are “software” in a sense. They’re software loaded into specialised hardware. I mean you could gig with a laptop and the software and a dedicated interface + poweramp + midi floorboard but... why?
 




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