Kemper/KPA - will it sound as huge live as a tube amp would?

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by richaxes, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. richaxes

    richaxes Member

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    Hi guys!

    So, I'm GASing for either a Kemper + some quality PA and cab (or FRFR solution) OR a Mesa Road King II head.
    Hearing so many good things about the KPA and being aware that the Mesa RKII has been profiled already as well, I'm really considering choosing the Kemper over the Mesa.
    The only thing that concerns me is live playing - will the Kemper ever come close to sounding as huge and dynamic like, for example, the Mesa would?
    If the answer is yes, which solution is better for making the KPA sound like a real guitar amp:
    1. Getting a solid-state power amp and using my 4*12 V30 cab
    2. Getting a tube power amp and using my 4*12 V30 cab
    3. Getting an Atomic FR solution and plugging straight into it
    4. Getting some powered speakers (think QSC K12) and running straight into them
    I'm really waiting forward for your opinions guys, because I'm about to spend lots of $$$ here (I'm from Hungary, everything is ridiculously expensive here) and I'd really like to get the best possible results for my hard-earned bucks.

    Thanks!
     
  2. sheguitarplayer

    sheguitarplayer Member

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    For the real amp sound and feel , then the KPA is much the same as any other modeller (If you can call it that) in that the best way to use it is with a Power amp and guitar cab.

    Ive tried ss, tube and atomic frfr amps and they are all much the same (although I personally prefer the atomic) into my 5150 cab.

    There is no difference between plugging my 5150 head into this cab or running profiles I have done of the head into the atomic power amp and the same cab. Profiles done in this way are really easy btw because you don't even have to worry about mic position etc, as you are switching the cab and mic part of the profile 'off'

    Every bit as big, bad and powerful, no exaggeration here. Ive been switching between the two for about 4 weeks now trying to 'catch it out' and Im still amazed by it.

    I have to say though that I also love using the KPA FRFR to the PA and/or the atomic. Way better than any other FRFR sound Ive ever come across (the only modeller I haven't used at some stage so can't compare is the eleven rack)

    All IMHO of course, not wishing to offend anyone,but its what the OP asked for.
     
  3. richaxes

    richaxes Member

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    Thank you, great answer!
    The things I'm really curious about are little details like real, endless sustain, nice sustaining feedback, etc. I've already asked the question whether the KPA feels like a real tube amp. Now I'm asking, does it really act like one in these little details and whatnot?
     
  4. sheguitarplayer

    sheguitarplayer Member

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    Yes, it does. Through my atomic FRFR power amp and 5150 cab there really is no difference in the way it behaves.
     
  5. richaxes

    richaxes Member

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    Very convincing.
    What about the Atomic REACTOR 50/50, do you think it would be a good match for the KPA? As far as I heard it is capable of running both EL34s and 6L6s on its sides... super versatility?
     
  6. sheguitarplayer

    sheguitarplayer Member

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    Yes I think it would.
    Im using the FRFR cab, bypassing the internal speaker and out to my cab. This is in effect one 'side' of the 50/50 (without the valve choice you will have) and it works brilliantly.
    Im planning to build myself a small 'case' for the amp section, which simply slides out.
     
  7. richaxes

    richaxes Member

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    Thanks... now I'm even more torn between the Mesa and the KPA... :)
     
  8. richaxes

    richaxes Member

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    Anyone else?
    The main reason I'm asking is because I'm super picky in terms of tube guitar sound, and even the slightest difference embarrasses me too much. I'm not talking about that a profiled Mesa should sound the same as a real one, I'm talking about the real tube amp feel and reaction to anything you do on a guitar.
    I had very bad experiences with modelers before, I sold off my Axe Ultra in a couple of weeks because I just hated how unrealistic it was.
    Honestly, does the Kemper really do JUSTICE?
     
  9. m~Dan

    m~Dan Member

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    Yes.
     
  10. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    What will the KPA provide that you could not get or that you NEED from the tube amp setup (Roadking?). I mean, if you pretty much know the type of tones you want and you know that the RK has those tones and you are already leaning towards using a tube power amp + cab, why the modeler?
    What are you trying to achieve?
    Better volume control?
    More versatility? It doesn't sound like you are looking for more beyond your core tones and I don't know how much versatility the modeler plus traditional power amp + cab will impart.
    Just curious.
     
  11. RayRay

    RayRay Silver Supporting Member

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    Agreed. Sounds like you're trying to force a modeling solution. That Mesa is bad ass. Why not just go with that?
     
  12. DADA

    DADA Guest

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    Not if he wants a modeling solution which meets his criteria.
     
  13. richaxes

    richaxes Member

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    Thank you for the questions, very important to understand my needs!
    I'm one who needs huge versatility. I've never really been satisfied with any tube amp heads because they were just too narrow tonally for my likes. I'd like an equipment that can go from clean->jazzy->country->pop rock->hard rock->instrumental rock (think Joe Satriani & Steve Vai)->metal->brootalism.
    The RKII seems a good !all-tube! solution for this, taking its 4 channels and Progressive Linkage (running either EL34s or 6L6s or both at the same time) into consideration. Sadly, I have no chance for testing it (nor the KPA) because none of them is selling in Hungary. I'll order one of them from preferably Germany when the time comes.
    I'm looking for a solution that can deliver virtually all kinds of tones achieveable with an electric guitar and amplifier, but all of this within the boundaries of tube sounds.
    That's why I'm so desperate to know if the KPA would be able to do the same (and even more) for me than the Mesa could. I know that all 4 channels of the RKII have been KPA profiled by factory, but I'm just curious if the KPA through some power amp solution + my 4*12 guitar cab would sound at least 90% the same as the Road King would through the same cab.
     
  14. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    Cool, I go through this all the time as well wondering how much versatility I really need. I'm starting to think I need less lol!
    I thought the Mark V was actually the most versatile Mesa? I don't know much about the Road King.
     
  15. richaxes

    richaxes Member

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    The Mark V and the Road King are definitely competeing for the "most versatile Mesa" title in my opinion (TBH, my first thought was getting a Mark V until I read more about the RK).
    The Mark V utilizes 3 channels with 3 modes per channel, each of the modes kinda completely revoicing the amp, and they are actually exact copies of the preamps they are named after (like the Mark I, IIC+, IV). Add the graphic EQ to this, and also the ability of going 90/45/15 watts (and pure Class A tone in 15 watts) and it's very versatile.
    On the other hand, the RKII offers 4 channels with 3 modes per channel which are not as versatile as, say, on the Mark V, but we're still talking about 4 channels. The RKII utilizes the feature called Progressive Linkage I've just mentioned in my earlier post (running either EL34s or 6L6s or both at the same time without swapping tubes, presetable PER CHANNEL!!!) which is kinda a deal breaker. Also the RKII has the Lonestar's clean which is one of the best cleans ever and the Lonestar's reverb, too. With the Road King you can go 150-100-50 watts, and for each channel you can decide whether you want Rectifier Tube or Diode tracking, even more altering the tone. The Mark V can only do this in 45 watts mode, in 90 watts mode its auto assigned.
    4 channels and Progressive Linkage is kinda the deciding factor between the V and the RKII for me, I simply see bigger versatility with these features than the 3 channels of the V. You can set up 4 channels as Clean - Crunch - High Gain Rhythm - High Gain Lead, what you can't really do with 3 channels. There will always be an empty space that you need to fill somehow (like a booster pedal or OD or something which I simply hate using).
     
  16. richaxes

    richaxes Member

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    Just to let you guys know, I've decided. I'm not the type of guy who thinks too much and confuses himself - actually I almost did in this situation, and I hate this.
    I'm getting the KPA as soon as my Peavey JSX sells off.
    And I'll happily play the boutique amps it offers which I'd never ever in my life get a chance to play - even if they're "only" 99% correct.
    Also, crap on Mesa/Boogie for asking for double prices in Europe. The RKII is really only worth half of what I'd pay for it here.
    So I'll just happily sing this into the aether whilst playing the Dr. Z amps:
    Welcome to the future!
     
  17. fakeox

    fakeox Member

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    Sounds like a well considered plan. Don't forget to post clips!
     

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