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I've had a Kemper Stage for a week to compare with my AXE3...

MikeyG

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,083
I wanted to definitively have a winner. No such luck...

So I thought I'd share my overall impressions, and Axe III comparisons.

First of all, some caveats/assumptions:

I've mostly been focusing on the MBRITT profiles, because they seem to be consistently better than most (with the exception being his Guytron profile? That was horrid... not in keeping with the quality of his other patches at all).

I'm using the same CLR I use with the axe.

I've not experimented with cabs/IRs. Britt profiles use baked in cabs.

I play mostly blues, classic rock, and early metal.

So, on with the compare:

Feel:

the Kemper is very good at capturing the amp/speaker interactions. Notes catch and hold with ease, and break into overtones more smoothly. The note attack is softer/slower, like a tube amp. Notes have that rubberband quality with bounce and spring.

Winner: Kemper

Effects:

Axe FX can't be beat by many in terms of effects quality and options. However, the Kemper effects are fine for me, in terms of quality. Just not quantity. I *really* miss all the drives in the Axe. But there's enough in the Kemper to be similar to a pedal board setup.

Winner: Axe FX

Tweakability/Routing/Editing

This is pretty much universally agreed upon.

Winner: Axe FX

Editors: Axe FX. RM3 is very flaky on me.

So with all these factors leaning towards Fractal, what's the issue? Amp accuracy/feel/response is most important overall.

Im keeping the FM3, selling the Axe 3, and keeping the Kemper. Im going to explore FM3 deep edits to see if I can simulate pick attack and amp speaker interaction.
 

CloneTone

Member
Messages
839
RM3 is still in development, it will get better.

The Kemper Profiler can take pedals well, if effects are lacking, try a pedal. Most modellers can't take pedals that well.
 

Gasp100

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
22,501
Dang, the compare I'll never be able to afford...
I'm a huge Kemper fan but was blown away with the III. Honestly with the right IR's (York Audio) I was blown away by the Strymon Iridium as well.
FM3 fits perfectly into form factor, quality of amp/cab/feel, IO (except for the headphones LOL) and of course FX... no contest IMHO (I lean more towards studio quality FX vs. pedal/singular style FX).
If I had both a Kemper and FM3 my head would explode.
Good post though, that is impressive that Kemper STILL hangs tough even after all of the great strides in modeling (vs. profiling).
 

gtr37

Member
Messages
6,590
I wanted to definitively have a winner. No such luck...

So I thought I'd share my overall impressions, and Axe III comparisons.

First of all, some caveats/assumptions:

I've mostly been focusing on the MBRITT profiles, because they seem to be consistently better than most (with the exception being his Guytron profile? That was horrid... not in keeping with the quality of his other patches at all).

I'm using the same CLR I use with the axe.

I've not experimented with cabs/IRs. Britt profiles use baked in cabs.

I play mostly blues, classic rock, and early metal.

So, on with the compare:

Feel:

the Kemper is very good at capturing the amp/speaker interactions. Notes catch and hold with ease, and break into overtones more smoothly. The note attack is softer/slower, like a tube amp. Notes have that rubberband quality with bounce and spring.

Winner: Kemper

Effects:

Axe FX can't be beat by many in terms of effects quality and options. However, the Kemper effects are fine for me, in terms of quality. Just not quantity. I *really* miss all the drives in the Axe. But there's enough in the Kemper to be similar to a pedal board setup.

Winner: Axe FX

Tweakability/Routing/Editing

This is pretty much universally agreed upon.

Winner: Axe FX

Editors: Axe FX. RM3 is very flaky on me.

So with all these factors leaning towards Fractal, what's the issue? Amp accuracy/feel/response is most important overall.

Im keeping the FM3, selling the Axe 3, and keeping the Kemper. Im going to explore FM3 deep edits to see if I can simulate pick attack and amp speaker interaction.
i find a lot of the Fractal secret to feel lies in the recently added impedance curves and the output compression in the dynamics tab
 

AndrewSimon

Member
Messages
2,384
MBRITT profiles are great but don't stop there, there are so many other great profiles out there.
I want to mention three of my favorites (blues, classic rock):
Top Jimi - JT-45
Live Ready Sound - Serenity Gain (don't let the high gain capability of this 4 channel amp discourage you, it's great for blues)
Marcus Cliffe - Dumble profiles (both the 70's and 80's Dumbles)

;)
 

Jim Roseberry

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,498
Have had the Axe-III for a good while.
Got the Kemper Stage to compare side-by-side.
(Had an original Kemper several years back.)

Kemper sounds and feels very good.
So does the Axe-III
I now prefer the flexibility of the Axe-III.
If I didn’t have the Axe-III, I would have kept the Kemper Stage.
 

ColdFrixion

Senior Member
Messages
5,736
I wanted to definitively have a winner. No such luck...

So I thought I'd share my overall impressions, and Axe III comparisons.

First of all, some caveats/assumptions:

I've mostly been focusing on the MBRITT profiles, because they seem to be consistently better than most (with the exception being his Guytron profile? That was horrid... not in keeping with the quality of his other patches at all).

I'm using the same CLR I use with the axe.

I've not experimented with cabs/IRs. Britt profiles use baked in cabs.

I play mostly blues, classic rock, and early metal.

So, on with the compare:

Feel:

the Kemper is very good at capturing the amp/speaker interactions. Notes catch and hold with ease, and break into overtones more smoothly. The note attack is softer/slower, like a tube amp. Notes have that rubberband quality with bounce and spring.

Winner: Kemper

Effects:

Axe FX can't be beat by many in terms of effects quality and options. However, the Kemper effects are fine for me, in terms of quality. Just not quantity. I *really* miss all the drives in the Axe. But there's enough in the Kemper to be similar to a pedal board setup.

Winner: Axe FX

Tweakability/Routing/Editing

This is pretty much universally agreed upon.

Winner: Axe FX

Editors: Axe FX. RM3 is very flaky on me.

So with all these factors leaning towards Fractal, what's the issue? Amp accuracy/feel/response is most important overall.

Im keeping the FM3, selling the Axe 3, and keeping the Kemper. Im going to explore FM3 deep edits to see if I can simulate pick attack and amp speaker interaction.
Did you compare them using the same IR? If not, I'd recommend running the amps of both through the KPA's cab section.
 

bigfoamfinger

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,033
I do LOVE Kemper. Had the head and rack each at one point. The Axe FX III is just too nice, so that's my digital rig now. When Kemper eventually releases an updated head or rack with a color display and better user interface/editor, I'll be all over it
 

MikeyG

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,083
Did you compare them using the same IR? If not, I'd recommend running the amps of both through the KPA's cab section.

No as I stated I've used only Mbritt stuff so far (mostly). I'm still learning the lingo, but his profiles are 'studio' with the cab baked in. In the user guide, Christof said that's what gives it an edge. Marketing? Maybe? But the top end in the Kemper is smoother than the Axe, when using a good profile.
 

Pat6969

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,943
I didn’t realize how good the Kemper is until I got the Powerhead. I direct profiled a couple heads and they were indistinguishable from the reference amp, to me anyway. Fun times!!
 

Jarick

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,451
Good comparison.

A great Kemper profile is really fantastic for sound and feel. The effects are decent, okay. Interface is great for tweaking and awful for setup or deep diving. I just didn't like having the cabs baked into the profiles so much and having to roll the dice on expensive profiles to get the sound in my head, or having only one or two profiles I like in a pack of 50, etc.

You know, if there was ever a mini Kemper, like the size of an FM3, that might be fun to have as a foil against a Fractal unit.
 

Pat6969

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,943
Good comparison.

A great Kemper profile is really fantastic for sound and feel. The effects are decent, okay. Interface is great for tweaking and awful for setup or deep diving. I just didn't like having the cabs baked into the profiles so much and having to roll the dice on expensive profiles to get the sound in my head, or having only one or two profiles I like in a pack of 50, etc.

You know, if there was ever a mini Kemper, like the size of an FM3, that might be fun to have as a foil against a Fractal unit.
You should have tried the Guidorist profiles, they are simply amazing merged profiles, so no “baked in cab”. Not sure how he captures them, maybe he’s a God, but they have some serious mojo.:dude Plus they’re inexpensive when he has a bogo sale.
 

MikeyG

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,083
i find a lot of the Fractal secret to feel lies in the recently added impedance curves and the output compression in the dynamics tab
yeah I haven’t experimented with that yet, I need to
 

ColdFrixion

Senior Member
Messages
5,736
No as I stated I've used only Mbritt stuff so far (mostly). I'm still learning the lingo, but his profiles are 'studio' with the cab baked in. In the user guide, Christof said that's what gives it an edge.
The IR / KPA cab is undoubtedly going to be one of the single biggest contributing factors to the tone of either unit. The same amp/amp model (at the same settings) can sound radically different depending on the IR you use, thus if you're not using the same IR or KPA cab when comparing amps from both units then you're making an apples-to-oranges comparison because you can't be sure any sonic differences you hear are related solely to the amp, thus it's necessary to take the IR out of the equation.

If you use the Cab section of the Kemper for both units, you'll often find that the Axe-Fx III can be made to sound virtually identical to the KPA when using an amp model that's the equivalent of the amp in the KPA profile. For that matter, the Axe-Fx III's Tone Match feature often does a fantastic job of replicating the tone of many (of my favorite) KPA profiles.

the top end in the Kemper is smoother than the Axe, when using a good profile.
In my experience, I've found just the opposite with respect to some gainier profiles; the top end of the Kemper tends to sound raspy / grainy to my ears by comparison.
 
Last edited:

AZG

Member
Messages
1,586
For that matter, the Axe-Fx III's Tone Match feature often does a fantastic job of replicating the tone of many (of my favorite) KPA profiles.
When I owned a KPA and Axe-Fx II this was the trick that made me realize how ridiculously close I could get them to sound and feel. Close enough that it was the other features that became the deciding factors in favor of the Fractal.
 

Afcollett

Member
Messages
128
I think that’s a very fair comparison, it was the feel factor that sealed it for me and I have been a KPA user for nearly 8 years now.

The thing with Kemper is that my original toaster has been constantly value added over the years and will probably continue for some time, the editor is getting their, drives are coming, the Kabinet with modeled speakers are blowing peoples minds.

I’m expecting the lifetime of this machine for me to exceed 10 years maybe even much longer, it has frozen on me twice and only just recently one of the led’s died, this to me adds incredible value.

I have never tried an Axe 3, I’m sure it’s an absolute killer machine though.
 




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