Considering trading my kemper for an Axe II

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by jzucker, Feb 24, 2015.

  1. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    First of all, if you're a hata, please ignore this. I'm interested in an actual discussion and open dialog free of snarky and sarcastic comments.

    I love the kemper's amp tones but I feel the effects are really weak. All the time based effects - chorus, delay, reverb are not really on par with even a mediocre pedal. For example, my $50 digitech digiverb in the loop sounds better than the built-in reverbs.

    The overdrives, distortions and fuzz pedals have too much gain. I often have to put a negative gain boost in front of them to get the gain down to usable levels.

    I find myself using an outboard zendrive, reverb, fuzz, TS9, vibe-machine and wah pedal. Maybe that's not such a bad thing. Just wondering your thoughts?

    Threw this kemper clip together of my 175, my kemper with a fender twin profile and the digitech reverb. The digitech isn't the greatest but the tails are are cleaner than what I get out of the kemper reverb.



    here's another one with ampfactory's vibrolux reverb and the internal hall reverb. I like this reverb sound more than others I've been playing around with though the mix is too high.



    [FOLLOW-ON-EDIT]

    Here's an example I recorded this morning before work. Slight slapback delay along with hall reverb. Really evokes the '80s George Benson sound where he was playing through a twin.

    At this point, I'm sticking with the kemper and even though I'm not crazy about some of the effects I think it'll be 6 of one 1/2 dozen of another to switch to the Axefx. Tempted to delete this thread because of all the chest beating and noise but there is some good info here. In light of that, it'd be nice if the off topic folks deleted their postings but I won't hold my breath, lol.

     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015
  2. Lain

    Lain Member

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  3. crispsandwich

    crispsandwich Member

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    I have to say I really like the Kemper's effects. The drives are good (the TS in particular) and everything else is much more than useable IMO. Awesome wah sounds, and the pitch shifting stuff is easily amongst the best I've tried. I had a Kemper once before, and went to the Axe FX II. The effects on the Axe II are incredible, no doubting that, but I found myself doing more tweaking than playing. In terms of amp tones, I don't think there's much between them. They both do an incredible job.

    I went back to the Kemper, and I've never been happier than I am with my current rig (Kemper into Line 6 Duoverb FX loop for bedroom playing and Behringer Truth active monitors for recording).
     
  4. Gas Hed

    Gas Hed Member

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    For what it's worth, I would appreciate a dialog on this topic. There are many folks (like me) who toss between FAS and KPA and information like this is useful in decision making.
     
  5. Jason_86_951

    Jason_86_951 Supporting Member

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    I've owned the Kemper twice now, once in the early firmware and recently with the latest. I've also had all the AxeFx variations in the past and currently have the II XL.

    I had Kemper ahead in the amp feel/sound until V18 of the Fractal. Now it is neck and neck, too close to declare a leader.

    The FX/routing is not even a contest IMO. Fractal for the win by a mile.

    Kemper is the Staples' easy button. Super simple and sounds great depending on the profile.

    Fractal is what you put into it, no easy route, but it is much better right off the bat with V18.

    Just my 2 cents.....
     
  6. atquinn

    atquinn Supporting Member

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    Instead of trading your Kemper, buy a used AxeII and decide for yourself; that's what I did. Or you can wait for all the Axe owners like me to tell you how they like the Axe more and all the Kemper owners to tell you how they like the Kemper more.
    -
    Austin
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
  7. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    I found the gain too high in the kemper. I keep the gain on my TS9 at zero and the kemper has more gain at 0 than the real pedal.

    I agree that the pitch shifting is fantastic. But the chorus, delay and reverb are not!
     
  8. db9091

    db9091 Member

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    Unless there is another company (digitech, eventide) that will work for the effects you want paired with a Kemper I see you have 2 other general solutions:

    1) Hybrid solution: Kemper/Fractal pairing or
    2) Mono solution: Fractal

    So you have to figure out WHICH Fractal unit.

    Hybrid paring:
    1) KPA/FX8
    2) KPA/AX8
    3) KPA/FXII
    4) KPA/ULTRA

    Mono would be any of those Fractal units.

    Only way to know is to take FULL advantage of Fractal's Return policy and TRY one before you sell the KPA.

    The question it seems isn't "which effects unit do I want" as it seems:
    A) you don't like the KPA effects so much and
    B) I haven't heard anyone complain about the Fractal effects.

    I think the bigger question is: Which AMP/CAB block do you like better? (or is it a tossup in your tastes?)

    Some like the KPA's amp block and the Fractal effects. This would be my ideal setup and is my bias.
    Some like the KPA all the way.
    Some like the Fractal all the way.
    Some do either unit and just add the pedal/s they need.

    Fractal is putting multiple products on the table lately that can cater to your exact needs and being less than the cost of a full FXII allow you greater flexibility at a lower price.

    The "gear attitude" I have for my studio is to keep everything modular.
    Remember the TV's with the VHS in it? But if the VHS died you had to buy a whole new TV?
    I had an Akai DPS24 that was great for recording (still is) but it's effects were 10 years dated.

    So I like the separation of gear allowing for individual advancement lines to be independently upgraded. Food for thought.

    The only thing some might add is the fact both companies are constantly upgrading firmwares. This can lead to new effects being added and alterations in tone. But since that's an EVEN unknown, I'd consider it a "sunk" cost not part of how you evaluate your choice.
     
  9. ejecta

    ejecta Supporting Member

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    Best idea hands down. People's opinion on forums are even more useless than clips when it comes to deciding on what gear will work for you.
     
  10. Mr. Brady

    Mr. Brady Member

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    There is obviously only one answer. Get both.
     
  11. jazzfromhell

    jazzfromhell Member

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    I agree that the weak point of the KPA is the FX. They are ok but nothing to get excited about. To me that doesnt matter as I use effects very sparingly anyway. I want to get great, realistic amp tones quickly in a studio and live situation, thats why I play a Kemper.
     
  12. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    It's really hard in the digital & modeling gear forum. There seems to be a much higher degree of fanboism and snarkyness. If someone posted a Nash vs MJT thread, I don't think you'd have this degree of sarcasm and baiting but here you do. Fanboiz rule!

    That makes a lot of sense. The other factor is live use and adjusting. Having dedicated knobs for gain, treble, mid, bass, vol and master is huge to me. What's your view of the actual effects in axefx vs kemper? I had an axe I and my impression was that the chorus, delay and reverb were much better even back then. I'm sure they're ridiculously good by now. There are promises of a better reverb on kemper but it's almost at Firmware rev 3 and no mention of reverb that I've heard. Does the axe II have a good spring reverb?

    Probably the best bet.
     
  13. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    I would be amazed if you could not find workable amp/cab tones in the II at this point.
    The FX are no question, hands down, amazing in the II. I found the drives in the KPA very lackluster (and preferred to use profiles dialed according to gain level for all of my patches). I find the drives in the II to be great (I use the BB pre, RAT and TS variants often) and much better than the KPA.
    Just my 2 cents having owned both many, many times. I don't own or use any "real" pedals.
    But, the II is more expensive than the KPA.
    I would actually recommend buying new vs. used - 15 day return policy.
     
  14. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    Another thought is that I do a lot of clean and/or semi-clean playing. I don't mind using outboard overdrive or wah but I really want a good reverb and delay in my modeler. I hate having to put a chorus, delay and reverb pedal in the loop of my modeler.

    I ought to be able to bring my kemper , a powered cab, my guitar and a cable to a gig or a jam session if I want to. I don't want to be forced to always have to bring a reverb pedal because the amp's reverb isn't good enough.

    What I've discovered, now that I've started recording is that I'm not crazy about the kemper reverb when used for clean stuff. Just my opinion of course and caveat - I have yet to try the MAB Advanced Reverb presets - but the tails of the reverb just don't sound great to me.
     
  15. JerEvil

    JerEvil Supporting Member

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    I own a Kemper and really do like a lot of the AxeII stuff I've heard. I am considering the FX8 for my effects solution as it will also do channel switching on my tube amp. I need to read up more and see if it'll work as a controller for my KPA. This may give ME the best of both worlds. The KPA tones I love with the killer effects from Fractal.
     
  16. RackFiz

    RackFiz Member

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    Hmm, I always thought the KPA's effects we're plenty good. But, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    I actually ended up buying another Axe Ultra just to use for effects, but not for the lack of Kempers, rather, just for the range of complexity.

    If that's an option for you, I would suggest tracking down a used Standard for under a thousand and pairing it up with the Kemper.

    Unless you're just getting bored and trying to justify the swap, in which case, have at it! :D
     
  17. atquinn

    atquinn Supporting Member

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    I don't believe that would meet the OP's grab and go requirements. Also, it seems like being able to control both units would be a bit of a nightmare especially since I don't believe the OP has a midi pedal yet? Anyway, my problem with the Kemper (for the short while I had it) was more with the base amp tones themselves, not the effects, so what do I know :D
    -
    Austin
     
  18. TheAmpFactory

    TheAmpFactory Member

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    I will say this.. The Kemper team are working on adding content all the time, timeframe no idea. but lets say we wont be disappointed with some of the things they have planned! be patient and they will come...

    Regarding the Fractal AxeFX, it has great effects, not sure it has more... it just means you can run more of them together. with more control.. and it a lot of cases two of each, up to I think 16 effects at once) your limited more by its cpu I think.. - the effects cliff did are great, studio quality.

    I say, If your happy with the amp tone, then wait it out.. IF not, then switch..but if your setlist or style of play is effects heavy, then maybe the fractal is the way for you?
     
  19. journo

    journo Member

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    Hi,

    I have found the fx in the Kemper to be good enough for me but it took some tweaking. And for some reasonthe tweaking feels somewhat different from tweaking other products. Not any more difficult, just different. There are som examples in the KPA I like better than in the AF and some vice versa.

    I now have the Kemper and use only the KPA fx and am very happy with that.

    Cheers,

    Mats N
     
  20. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    I keep hearing that and yet we're almost to version 3 of the firmware and we are still dealing with chorus, delay and reverb that are sub-standard.

    From what I understand, we're not getting improvements in the time effects for firmware rev 3 so at this point, I am suspicious that there is not enough DSP horsepower available to get it right.

    I don't care about quantity. But the effects it does have blow away the ones on the kemper for the most part. At least in terms of chorus, delay, reverb, univibe, overdrives, fuzzes, etc.

    I am happy with the amp but from the clips I've heard of the fractal with V17 firmware, they are very close. I think the main advantage of the kemper at this point is that it sounds more like the actual amps it's "supposedly" emulating but in terms of just sounding great, they are pretty even.
     

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