Interesting comparison: AxeFxII and Kemper (and others if you want to add them)

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tubiux

Member
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30
There's a huge difference in philosophy between these two units (or rather, the Kemper and all other modelers) in that there's a built in A/B function in KPA. The Kemper puts itself continuously on the line, whereas the rest merely claim that they're exact models etc. This does NOT in any way mean that the KPA is better or worse than the rest of the pack. So what if the Axe/11R/HD500/... doesn't sound 100% like the original amp as long as you like the sound and it's useful.

It's very, very simple - if you want the real sound - get the real deal. The Axe FX II and KPA costs quite a lot. If you play metal, you can get a used Dual rect for around $800, a decent cab for a few hundred extra. On top of that you could buy a top of the line FX unit like the Eventide used and still save money compared to the Axe FX II. It's a matter of ease of use and versatility. I'm in the market for one of these units myself, but I've been extremely turned off by Fractal and their attitude.

I bought a POD HD500 to fool around with and use live, but I returned it after a week. I went through the chorus and delays in detail for many, many hours, and I simply couldn't make them sound organic. You have a million parameters, but for what? If you can't make a chorus sound good with some simple tweaks, there's no real hope. Although, I gave it a serious shot, by combining several choruses etc.

My personal rule of thumb is simple: If the piece of gear (whatever it might be) inspires you, it's good. It's not enough that some famous guy says it's great. If you enjoy it, you'll most likely make better music and what more can we ask for?
 

DGTCrazy

Mod Squad
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16,289
I doubt the AxeFX Demo is a good sample of what it can sound like. The clip was harsh sounding. The Kemper demo sounded better per se, but the ground noise and compression (maybe from the camera) didn't help either.
 

Earl Mobile

Member
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213
First the AxeFXII:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=zhA63nHTqDw#t=153s (I positioned the clip to the Soldano demo).

Now the Kemper:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=ErZfk5sz82A#t=103s (I positioned the clip to skip all the profiling space noises, etc.)

Someone feel free to add the equivalent from the HD500 and the 11rack or your favorite equivalent of a Soldano done via any modeler. I find the comparisons interesting and fun.

this thread is pointless...
 

Spider-Man

Silver Supporting Member
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6,105
Those clips are recorded in such different conditions, with different guitars and different players, that they are totally worthless as comparison clips.

What people are waiting to hear is the two units, side-by-side, played through the same monitor/amp for a direct comparison.
 

guitarnet70

Member
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4,659
Those clips are recorded in such different conditions, with different guitars and different players, that they are totally worthless as comparison clips.

What people are waiting to hear is the two units, side-by-side, played through the same monitor/amp for a direct comparison.

...not even enough, you would need to profile with the Kemper the same exact amp that Cliff has modeled in the Axe and then play both through the same monitors....but then, again: what should the purpose be of this exercise? Do they sound good? That's it! All this is like d!ck waving under the shower of the sport club, it's music, not a car race...IMHO
 

desdinova

Member
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575
So what if the Axe/11R/HD500/... doesn't sound 100% like the original amp as long as you like the sound and it's useful.

And this is the point (and a great second post in the forum ;)).

I like the Axe: it can be made to sound great, in recording or live, and it's tweakability guaranties that you'll never run out of options.

I like what I hear/read from (and about) the KPA, I don't personally care if it sounds "spot on" but it really seems to have awesome amp tones. The effects need to be proved more, but I'm optimistic.

I also like the 11R, and if it wasn't for a few minor issues (routing, PT as editor, etc), I could gladly buy one, perhaps combine it with a couple pedals/rack for wild and unusual effects and be done with it.

Other offerings are getting improved, and/or will be updated in the following months (e.g. Line6 improves the firmware on the HD and I'm sure Digitech and Boss will introduce new gear in the next few months).

What I'm saying is, we have great opportunities and quite a number of them to choose. When I started playing guitar as a kid, a tube amp cost a fortune, modeling was a dream and quality effects were in the pro domain only. Let's stop all this pissing contest about which gear is the best and enjoy the ride, I say.
 

Scott Peterson

TGP Co-Founder and Administrator
Staff member
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37,794
I have an Axe-FX II and have owned the Standard and the Ultra.

That video clip of the Axe-FX is not an indication nor representative of what you can do with the Axe-FX Standard, Ultra or II with the Soldano amp block IMHO. It is representative of what that individual did with it but bears zero resemblance to any sort of authoritative representation of that sort of sound or even what you can get from any of the Fractal products using that sound.

The rest of it will be opinion, but basing opinions of this level of gear using sources like an obviously amateur created video of one product versus one that is professionally released by the company for another product says everything you need to know about the hypothesis of the OP.

In short it's useful as a start to forming your opinion, but it surely isn't anything more than that.
 
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randombastage

Gold Supporting Member
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4,543
The only comparison that really gives a player a 'complete' picture of how any two devices stack up is when he plays through them himself side by side. Anything else is just an example of how the devices sounded in a recording made by someone.

Certainly good sounding recordings can spur us to want to have that personal playtime with the device but recordings we don't like are usually proof of nothing inherent to the device. Of course when 99 out of 100 clips of a device all show the same fundamental flaw the trend probably has merit.... ie; PodII really is fizzy.

I find the best internet source for comparison to be another player who you have a common baseline with. For example, I've owned just about every device out there so if someone like Scott or javilynch plays through a Kemper and tells me it sounded better than a device he and I both have owned and we both like then I'm more inclined to follow his lead than even a dozen comparrison clips on YouTube that seem to favor the Kemper.
 
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2,550
I have an Axe-FX II and have owned the Standard and the Ultra.

That video clip of the Axe-FX is not an indication nor representative of what you can do with the Axe-FX Standard, Ultra or II with the Soldano amp block IMHO. It is representative of what that individual did with it but bears zero resemblance to any sort of authoritative representation of that sort of sound or even what you can get from any of the Fractal products using that sound.

The rest of it will be opinion, but basing opinions of this level of gear using sources like an obviously amateur created video of one product versus one that is professionally released by the company for another product says everything you need to know about the hypothesis of the OP.

In short it's useful as a start to forming your opinion, but it surely isn't anything more than that.

The hypothesis of the OP (me) was that both sounded pretty darn nice. I'm not sure which one I prefer to be honest. Yes, one is professionally recorded by the manufacturer and the other is a guy on Youtube. Ok, whatever. It's not that hard to listen past that and hear the quality of the two tones.

Personally I think Fractal (and others) makes a mistake by not demoing what the AxeII is capable of when setup by pros as is the Kemper.

So, was your theory about my hypothesis right? :)
 

forum_crawler

Member
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7,307
The hypothesis of the OP (me) was that both sounded pretty darn nice. I'm not sure which one I prefer to be honest. Yes, one is professionally recorded by the manufacturer and the other is a guy on Youtube. Ok, whatever. It's not that hard to listen past that and hear the quality of the two tones.

Personally I think Fractal (and others) makes a mistake by not demoing what the AxeII is capable of when setup by pros as is the Kemper.

So, was your theory about my hypothesis right? :)

I disagree (partially). Fractal Audio has several internet people out there doing videos of what their units can do. These people tend to have good recording tools and good know-how, or at least a head-start over the regular YouTube troopers out there.

Just look at those people who got the AxeFx II in the first place, before the rest of the people could. I think you would be hard pressed to find one who doesn't know what they are doing when recording.
 
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@forum_crawler: That may be true, but it would be nice if there was a collection of clips that were gathered together by Fractal as an approved set that are representative of at least some of what the box can do... for those of us who don't want to plow through forums trying to weed out the great ones from the mediocre from the less so.

If such a list of samples for the AxeII exists I'm unaware of it. For the Kemper, Scuffham S-Gear and others I know where to look for the "official" set. My personal favorites for the AxeII were found by scrounging around on Youtube, TGP and Fractal's forums.
 

Scott Peterson

TGP Co-Founder and Administrator
Staff member
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37,794
The hypothesis of the OP (me) was that both sounded pretty darn nice. I'm not sure which one I prefer to be honest. Yes, one is professionally recorded by the manufacturer and the other is a guy on Youtube. Ok, whatever. It's not that hard to listen past that and hear the quality of the two tones.

Personally I think Fractal (and others) makes a mistake by not demoing what the AxeII is capable of when setup by pros as is the Kemper.

So, was your theory about my hypothesis right? :)

You are reading my post incorrectly.

What I am pointing out is that the flexibility you have within the Axe-FX essentially negates the specifics this sort of comparison.

The Kemper is marketed as a straight up copy-cat; that's generalizing, but that's the way it is presented in all their videos. You put in 'amp a' and you get 'amp a' back out, a straight up duplicate.

With the Axe-FX and JUST focusing on the amp block ONLY - the Fractal boxes give you a footing on a block and then you craft your own version of that tone.

A does not equal B in this case. That never was the case, never will be the case.

You point out that this is fun and interesting. On that we agree. But really IMHO it is as useful only as a discussion topic over the entertainment aspect only. Your OP leads one to believe this is some sort of 'comparing A to B'. One clip/video or a hundred do not a comparison make... clips/videos are great for piquing interest, but not for any sort of qualitative or substantiated critical listening.

Now have one person make the same sort of comparison and it holds more water, but even then can't make any sort of real conclusion.

That's all. Let's not pull the agenda cards out, because that was not my intent. My intent was to note the shallowness of comparing videos from different sources to draw any sort of conclusion.

And note this in the end - Fractal doesn't do marketing in any traditional sense of the word. They have guerrilla marketed via web countdowns and done some magazine advertising; but really, their entire advertising/marketing 'push' is strictly word of mouth by end users that have already bought the box and use it. Kemper is in full blown marketing launch mode by every definition of the word and has distribution.

On one end, it's volume vs. essentially a boutique shop direct to their market. Very different methods. Fractal's 'mistake' as you define it isn't any mistake, it's simply how they work. They are as boutique a company as you'll find out there. No marketing, no sales force, no distribution, no nothing but a vision and a product and all direct to consumer. Kemper is the opposite of that marketing-wise. That's not pro or con or judgmental, that's just the facts.
 
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bmi

Senior Member
Messages
858
from what? both?

kemper amp had soldano and then profile.

axe had just its model

:huh
You are right, i just find the sound of kemper's soldano bad.
I don't know how these guys have miced the cab but it sounds fizzy.
This one sounds better in the mood of soldano IMO :




 




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