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Is a Kemper THAT much better than amp software sims?

Davy

Member
Messages
1,463
You can get BIAS FX 2 now, S-Gear etc. Is a Kemper really that much better than these to justify the price?
It depends. I have a Kemper, S-Gear and Mercuriall Spark. The plugins are very good, all things considered, but the Kemper is without doubt better. Much better. With a good profile it's sublime and you can lose yourself playing for hours. Whether that improvement is worth the considerable difference in price to you though is where the "depends" comes in.

I've decided I can happily live with S-Gear and Spark, mainly because I tend to play acoustic more nowadays. The Kemper is a bit too pricey to have sitting around doing nothing most of the time so it's up for sale. When I feel like recording anything I'll use plugins and if I want to make a lot of noise I'll fire up my actual amp :)
 

MKB

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,452
I'm currently using a Kemper, AmpliFire, Helix Native, and have used a HX Stomp for about a year before selling it. I've also had a lot of time on Bias and every other generation of Line 6 product. Kemper slays them all in amp tone and IMHO effects tone and versatility. But Native does destroy the Kemper on versatility. I've tried really hard to like the AmpliFire and Line 6 products more than the Kemper, but this has not happened and I don't expect it to. The Kemper has a depth of response and versatility that the others don't, and I find it easier to get the tones in my head from the Kemper than the others. The Kemper amp tones are astoundingly versatile between the tons of profiles and the underappreciated deep parameters. Just the trick of adding a Soft Shaper to clean tones in a Kemper does amazing things.
 

AriBoiangiu

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
511
Personal anecdote: I have been enjoying the Amplitube 4 Mesa Boogie pack. Its the closest I have had to modeling my mark IV and Rectos that i actually gigged in the past. I gigged with the Kemper for 3 years, and to ME the Amplitube rig feels more like the actual amps then the Kemper did. 30 bucks for the software on an ipad, and no need for an expensive computer upgrade. YMMV
 

Billinder33

Member
Messages
1,930
Kemper direct to DAW smokes any plugin I've ever used - Mercuriall included, who IMO make the most realistic plugins.
 

Billinder33

Member
Messages
1,930
Personal anecdote: I have been enjoying the Amplitube 4 Mesa Boogie pack.
The Amplitube Boogie pack is excellent. They really captured that classic Mesa midrange "honk" and that genera of Mark lineage tones even better than Kemper can in some respects.

That said, tone/feel wise, I wouldn't put it above the Kemper overall.
 
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kyolic

Member
Messages
885
Is a Kemper THAT much better than amp software sims?
Yes.

The closest competitor is Helix Native which costs 400 USD. Kemper Stage on the other hand costs 1700 USD.

Is Kemper 4 times better than Helix Native?

No.
 

AriBoiangiu

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
511
The Amplitube Boogie pack is excellent. They really captured that classic Mesa midrange "honk" and that genera of Mark lineage tones even better than Kemper can in some respects.

That said, tone/feel wise, I wouldn't put it above the Kemper overall.
I hear that! I love so much of what the Kemper does, and my longest gigging streak with the kemper was actually when I profiled my own direct rigs, which probably just means I want to hear what I'm used to hearing...but I think there are many of us that are the same way. In that aspect, to answer the OP's question, there are absolutely software-based ways of getting there.
 

rburkard

Double Platinum Member
Messages
3,160
It is so easy these days to get your own opinion regarding equipment. Just buy it, compare it and send back what you don’t like. That’s all it takes.
 

Elric

Member
Messages
4,861
You can get BIAS FX 2 now, S-Gear etc. Is a Kemper really that much better than these to justify the price?
Part of the value proposition of a hardware unit, is that it is a hardware unit, it is both the hardware and the software. Some of the features of the hardware unit are pretty much 100% hardware and you will not be able to get them without some kind of hardware unit to supplement your software. Ex. I can connect a powered KPA and drive a cab or passive PA directly.

As such, it is going to command a premium in price because it has features that simply do not exist in the plugin. If you absolutely need any of these features it is almost certainly 'worth' it.

That said, what you probably really mean is "does the response and sound of the unit alone vs the sound and response of well configured plugins setup for low latency merit the price difference?" i.e. ignoring all of the value added by the hardware do the differences in sound or results between the two, alone, merit the cost?

I'd be pretty shocked if it did for most people if they were really objective about it... assuming you have a truly low latency plugin setup and given that numerous plugins can achieve recorded results that are indistinguishable from the KPA to most people in a blind test. Go listen to the Choptones demos of their THU rig libraries vs the same KPA rig libraries, F.ex. There may be slight differences but no way could I personally pick out the KPA rig libraries vs THU in a blind test.

The biggest thing the KPA is going to provide you in that situation is no "fear of missing out" (FOMO) on the KPA goodness/mojo when surfing TGP and other gear groups since it has tons of mindshare. It is going to buy you membership into the chorus of people above, saying "Yes, the KPA (my rig) is special".

Sort of like how some people cannot abide a rig that does not have tubes in it somewhere.

FOMO is like nitrous for GAS, it fuels a lot of us here who have four or five of these units that all do the same thing. If there were some magic wand that eliminated FOMO from TGP it would be a shadow of its former self within a week.

Honestly, I can't believe just how good stuff is now. It is bananas. It is ruining gear hoarding/collecting.

We all have our preferences when selecting between two things but, there is no doubt that if you are using plugins and are cutting tracks your success is not going to be limited by using plugs vs hardware. It is not a disadvantage or going to limit your creative vision.

In that use case and looking solely at results; unless the hardware is bringing some other feature to the table that is enabling your work flow, it is adding no value.

If the only value is you stop obsessing over whether you have the 'best toanz in all the land' and get to it, then so be it but that is all in our collective heads.

IMHO.
 
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Hired Goon

Senior Member
Messages
853
TH-U runs Kemper amp profiles (indirectly). Many of the peeps (Choptones, Big Hairy Sounds, Live Ready Sounds) who sell Kemper profiles sell the same packs for TH-U.

If you like Kemper but also want modelling, particularly of effects, you get the best of both worlds with this software. That said, I really like S-Gear, although it is significantly limited in comparison
 

DS007

Member
Messages
765
You can get a Kemper (unpowered) for ~$1500.
Depending on the profile, IMO it can sound significantly better than BIAS or Scuffam.

A quality audio interface that has low noise-floor (120dB dynamic range and low round-trip latency - similar to a top-tier hardware modeler) is $600+ (Quantum 2 or better).

S-Gear thru a $200 audio interface isn't going to be equal to the Kemper, Axe-FX, Helix.
Noise-floor will be significantly higher... and round-trip latency will be significantly higher

If you already have a high-end audio interface that provides low round-trip latency (as part of a DAW), software solutions in that type of scenario make more sense. If you have to buy the computer, audio interface, and software... it's going to be more expensive (and less portable) than the Kemper.
Great answer and so true!
 




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