Fractal vs Kemper VS Helix: The Amp In The Room argument.

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by Oldschool59, Oct 2, 2019.

  1. hendrix1406

    hendrix1406 Member

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    sorry man.i was indeed referring the atomic amplifire.
    i got mixed up between AF3->AA3.
    my bad.
     
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  2. Oldschool59

    Oldschool59 Member

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    Thanks for clarifying. Cheers!
     
  3. TimH

    TimH Supporting Member

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    Yeah you should look deeper into Kemper's EQ. It's not like a modeller where they try to make the controls act like the real amp. The Kemper EQ is very different by design.
     
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  4. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

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    Yeah I'm the same way...I would go nuts trying to figure out how to control all those little pedals. What I'd like end up doing is simplifying way more and learning to live with the limitations.

    The great thing with all in one units is being able to easily switch multiple effects on and off or swap those out for different settings and what not. With the Axe 3 I have four channels per effect block that I can assign to different scenes. I love being able to have a more subtle quick bucket brigade delay for general rhythm playing then swap over to a longer tape delay for solos, etc.

    Impulses helped quite a bit but I still felt like I had to spend a fair amount of time either EQ'ing or tweaking or finding the right profile or mix of profiles. This was more so on the Helix and less so on the Fractal AX8. When I moved to Axe 3 there is so little tweaking and no more profile hunting.

    I posted this elsewhere, but I recently deleted over 30GB and 400,000 files worth of impulses off my computer because I'm only using two factory cabs for everything. Lots of people can vouch for my obsession with impulses and the rabbit hole I've been in for a couple years. It's done with the Axe 3. Super happy with my sound and it's just a matter of which flavor of amp tone I want.

    FYI it's a mix of two factory cabs, both Ownhammer 4x12 Marshalls with Celestion G12C's, one SM57 and one R121.
     
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  5. Oldschool59

    Oldschool59 Member

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    Cool! So the cabs you mention come with the AXE FX III factory set-up?
     
  6. Billinder33

    Billinder33 Member

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    I thought this exact same thing initially, and learned the hard and painful way that I was very, very wrong.

    After 5 years with Kemper I sold it and did a 3 month dance with Helix, before going back to Kemper. FOR ME... After 3 painful months of endlessly tweaking Helix in an attempt to make it feel like Kemer, I never was able to get it into Kemper territory.

    This is the same reason I haven't rolled with AFX III. I've heard the feel is better than Helix but less than Kemper. Unless you know sometime who has one, you basically have to buy it to try it. And I'm not in the mood to go through that again, especially not at $2400.

    I run Kemper Stage. The Editor is almost out. I've learned to embrace it's quirks. I don't care about elaborate FX chains and running parallel amps and all that other crazy stuff, even though I am a heavy user of FX. I'm not interested in a science experiment, I just want to plug in and enjoy the sound and feel. Kemper just f***ing sounds great, and at the end of the day, I learned that's really all I care about.
     
  7. Billinder33

    Billinder33 Member

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    @Oldschool59 I'll add one other thing to my post above. There is something Kemper users sometimes note... it is that Kemper profiles tend to have a "sameness" to their sounds. I can verify this is real.

    This is not to say that all Kemper profiles sound the same, they don't. But the Kemper itself does have 'a sound', moreso than the Helix IMO, and I assume AFX3 as well. This tends to put off some Kemper users over time and I too fell into this category, which is why I made the 3 month diversion into Helix.

    I equate Kemper having 'a sound' as being a similar phenomena to Neve preamps, Eventide FX, Pultec EQs, SSL consoles, Moog, etc. It's another thing I've learned to embrace about the device. Kemper is more Nord Lead than Native Instruments Komplete (that's AFXIII, IMO... And I guess Helix would be Spectrasonics by that analogy).

    Rig Exchange makes it so easy to endlessly audition profiles that one can get burnout form doing so, and that's a very real thing. There is a cure for this - LESS PROFILES. Pick 5-10 Rigs that just kick ass and build your FX on there. If you need more FX, drop a Helix FX or Eventide H9 or whatever into the loop. Otherwise you can easily lose perspective on what's important. It's like eating too much fillet mignon... everyone loves filet mignon, but if you eat it every day you can lose perspective.


    Anyhow, it sounds like you've already decided in your mind that AFX3 is the right tool for you... so it's time to "S**t or Get off the Pot", as @JiveTurkey would say.
     
  8. JiveTurkey

    JiveTurkey Trumpets and Tants Supporting Member

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    I might possibly have just taken a long overdue, unsurprising to those who know me sh!t. :anon
     
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  9. Oldschool59

    Oldschool59 Member

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    Thanks for the heads-up, very informative post. We guitarists are a strange bunch: it's funny that we obsess over minute details on the tone, the ''fizziness'' of one unit versus the interface of another, when so much is lost in a live performance, and tone can drastically change from night-to-night based on tube gremlins (as Lynch used to say), how packed the house is, psycho-acoustics, humidity in the air, etc... I agree all units have their own tone, and I can tell this much just by listening to some samples on the net.

    Some say that the Helix is sterile, that Kemper is ''blanketed'', that Fractal is ''fizzy''. I am not overly concerned with tonal signatures/quirks of specific units. I'll give an example. My best tube amp is a PWE EH3, which I chose from a variety of well-regarded modded M-type amp 100 watters. It's a keeper. It sounds PHENOMENAL though my CAE 412 loaded with WGS Vet30s and ET65s. But it also sounds PHENOMENAL though my Mark IV's Black Widow-loaded combo shell. Phenomenal, but completely different. The base EH3 signature is there, and so are the dynamics, but the sounds are quite different. And, played though the OX, with different cabs/speakers/mics into an interface, it sounds phenomenal, but equally different. These differences are bigger than those between the various modelers... So, IMO, the question should not be: which is the closest to reality, because we established that reality can mean many different things... but rather: is the unit high-quality, does it provide realistic tones in line with M-types, or F-types, or D-types, or..., is its workflow convenient, can you work with it, can you upgrade it over the next few years, can you have FUN with it? I believe that for the main contenders (Kemper, AF3, helix, etc...) the answers for most of these questions are YES. It's simply a matter of user preference.

    And yes, I'm not getting off that pot. I'm working it, man! ;-) Cheers!
     
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  10. Johnny Ninefingers

    Johnny Ninefingers Member

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    I can understand liking Neve pre-amps. :D

    I also really like the old Trident pre-amps. The sound of “Abbey Road”. Now if the Axe FX III or Helix modelled those as well...
     
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  11. Billinder33

    Billinder33 Member

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    There's some studio gear that just sounds good no matter how you crank the knobs (within reason, of course). Neve 1073 and 1081 EQs, Overstayer Modular Channel, everything Manley produces.

    Kemper's kinda like that for me. It's the anti-modeler in that regard. May not have the exact sound you're looking for, but always sounds pretty good regardless. Always sounds like a Kemper.
     
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  12. ColdFrixion

    ColdFrixion Member

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    Really? So, you think you could pick the Kemper out of a few random audio samples?
     
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  13. ColdFrixion

    ColdFrixion Member

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    In my opinion, the Axe-Fx III is the deepest and most flexible modeler on the market, hands down. It's on a whole other level in terms of available parameters and features compared to the other two. To someone just starting out, the number of available parameters can be overwhelming at first. The critical thing to remember about the Amp block controls is that, as a beginner, you only need to focus on tweaking parameters in the "Tone" (or "Authentic") section of the Amp block. You can basically ignore the Preamp, Power Amp, Power Supply, Speaker, Input / Output EQ, etc. sections, at least until you get comfortable with the unit or feel like going deeper. If you're using the front panel, the "Tone" section of the Amp block contains all of the parameters you'd find on the actual amp for a given amp model. If you're using the software-based editor(via computer), the section is called "Authentic".
     
  14. Oldschool59

    Oldschool59 Member

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    You just gotta love this place! So much awesome advice! Thanks kindly, I’ll certainly go « Authentic », before learning to run. I’m pretty certain I’ll make it work for me. Many thanks for your help.
     
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  15. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

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    Yes. The Axe 3 has I think 2,000 cabs but generally organized by having several mics for each speaker cabinet that you can blend together. In theory this is like what the Helix does but it works much, much better.

    If you haven't already, check the Fractal Wiki out for details.

    Honestly if you've tried everything else and don't mind burning $100 or so on shipping, find a used Axe 3 and see what you think. If it's all that and a bag of chips, keep it. If not, find something else.
     
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  16. Johnny Ninefingers

    Johnny Ninefingers Member

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    What is great about this thread is that you have good working players each supporting a different platform, but all acknowledging the respective strengths of the other platforms. This has been one of the most clear-headed threads on modelling/profiling for players who haven’t decided which platform(s) they would be most likely to go with.

    And you have a purchaser with no skin in the game making a considered choice. I await a follow up when you buy your modeller of choice. :)

    Whichever you go for have fun.
     
  17. TimeSnow

    TimeSnow Member

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    I'd say that at some point it's almost down to how much you like the company and its products from an ease of use POV at this point.

    If you can't get a useabke sound out of ANY of these it's probably user error.
     
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  18. Oldschool59

    Oldschool59 Member

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    Well, the deed is done! Axe Fx III on the way. The timely price decrease from Fractal couldn’t have been better! I will report back with the AF3.

    I must say, this has been a most civilized discussion, indeed. I will post my initial experiences with the unit in the same vein, not being a huge fan of confirmation bias and post-purchase reinforcement (hey, marketing IS a thing...) ;-).

    Thanks to all for the very infirmative posts. I’ll be back soon with more info. Cheers!
     
  19. Johnny Ninefingers

    Johnny Ninefingers Member

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    You don’t need the floorboard as, iirc, you have mainly home use. That looks like a good fit. I haven’t as yet got my hands on one for any length of time, alas; but I know (and know of) other folk for whom it really is the best out there. May you be one of them. :)
     
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  20. AuntieDiluvian

    AuntieDiluvian Member

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    QFT.
    I found the same thing with my rack and Bogner. The potential sounds are endless; the best way for me to play real gigs is with a dozen or so FX patches and one good baseline settup on the amp. Any more than that and I am playing with toys onstage, not performing. My assumption is that moving to a KPA would be similar - build up the equivalent of my current gig setup, add a few specific profiles that I wish I had on tap (JCM800, Super Reverb), and call it a day.

    Am I understanding you correctly?
     

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