Kemper Profiler Stage vs Helix floor, which sounds better ?

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by Rawkfist93, Aug 13, 2019 at 10:16 AM.

  1. DCross

    DCross Supporting Member

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    I dunno anything about either one. Get the one that's easiest to work on the floor during a gig though.
     
  2. GravityWell

    GravityWell Member

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    After turning in my anti-modeling hat about a year and a half ago, I have made some startling discoveries about my needs in regards to tone and gear. One of those discoveries was that I liked this digital stuff far more than I would have thought (maybe it finally just passed some imaginary threshold I held it to, or maybe my requirements are a lot different than they used to be, could be either). Second discovery: after playing with and owning a Helix floor for a while, I was astounded by how much I could get away with just an HX Stomp (you can find the rig I use 98% of the time in other threads if you are really interested). I only have experience at the moment with the Line 6 stuff, and I can say that for the most part, it sounds good, I don't think you would be displeased with it. Double that with the support that you get from that company, you can't go wrong with a Helix.

    Also, everything I have heard (only in videos at this point) from the other big players in this space also sound great. For the most part, I suspect that the differences are in small degrees tonally. Sure you can 'profile' or acquire a profile of any existing amplifier in the Kemper, but is that necessary? Only you can know.

    I posit that the type of music/tones you are shooting for and the perceived quality of Fractal/Kemper/Helix are less important than workflow. How you are going to use this stuff, what you are going to connect it to, and how that works with project in question are far more important than the gear. How do you like to edit sounds? How are you going to monitor it live, or in a recording situation? Are you a tone tweaker, or a set and forget kind of player? Things like this could make or break any platform for any user. We all like things a little different, and each one has strengths and weaknesses that are going to sing to you that might not to me.

    That said, when I actually get a Fractal FM3 in (hopefully they are out!) a month or two, I could change my mind. Maybe all this workflow crap is bullish**, maybe not. I fully expect to own a Kemper someday too, probably not this year though...
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019 at 12:22 PM
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  3. KiddBilly

    KiddBilly Member

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    I love the Helix LT I use for my contemporary church gig. It doesn't belong to me so I'm on the hunt to get something like it for my other projects. Personally, I'm leaning towards a Headrush. I'm of the opinion that it is, by a slight margin, better then the Line 6.
     
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  4. mbenigni

    mbenigni Member

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    I agree with this statement on the face of it. But it presupposes that a "real amp" layout is the most straightforward UI/UX conceivable. There are scenarios where you want/ need something different than a real amp. If I didn't occasionally need those things, then (drum roll, please...) I'd probably use a real amp. ;)
     
  5. Jose7822

    Jose7822 Member

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    Well, that wasn’t the intention.

    My only point is that the Kemper is not complicated to use at all. If anything, the Helix is more complicated to fully utilize because of the reason you just mentioned ;-).
     
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  6. mbenigni

    mbenigni Member

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    I ran into plenty of complications with my KPA. But I could probably make a using a cowbell complicated. :D
     
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  7. phil_m

    phil_m Supporting Member

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    Complicated is a state of mind.
     
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  8. hitchcockblonde

    hitchcockblonde Supporting Member

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    Agreed, all the magic boxes sound good now. Buy whatever is easiest for you to use. Talking to people, the biggest objection is some variant of "I know [NAME OF FAMOUS PLAYER] gets great tone from [NAME OF GEAR] but no matter what I do, the distortions sound fizzy, the amps, sound flat, and I don't feel my trousers flapping in the breeze like I would with an amp in the room."

    Usually if you dig the UI, you'll get the sounds you like and if you don't like the UI you'll sell it and swear to never do modeling again.
     
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  9. Guitardave

    Guitardave Supporting Member

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    How do you plan to monitor them when you are playing? What you play them thru has more of an impact than the choice of unit.
     
  10. Rawkfist93

    Rawkfist93 Member

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    In ear monitors when playing live,
    Headphones when home/recording.
     
  11. KramerPacerCarreraGuy

    KramerPacerCarreraGuy Member

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    I am hoping to get a Kemper Profiler Stage as an all in one solution

    going straight to PA and monitoring using in-ears

    which one is best in that situation?

     
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  12. nicolasrivera

    nicolasrivera Gold Supporting Member

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    Me too.
     
  13. Ejay

    Ejay Member

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    You gonna get a lot of opinions...heres mine on the kpa.

    I know it does an accurate job on profiling..a/b ed myself...so in my mind it cant get any better then that.
    Also id like to give special praise to the verbs, who have the quality to never get in the way of your sound...even when you got them way to loud, your sound still remains. Thats a valuable quality which many verbs dont have.

    Built in poweramp, fixed seperate main / monitor outs, knob UI are also things I appriciate a lot.
    I can see myself playing this amp 20 years from now, no thoughts of chasing something else.
    Probably in time they come up with something super small which includes champagne on tap, masseuses, switching sounds by telepathy....id probably get that when the time has come ;)
     
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  14. mikah912

    mikah912 Member

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    That's a great way to describe them. They seem to run parallel to your original signal in a most complimentary way.
     
  15. Mark Al

    Mark Al Member

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    I agree that it may takes some extra time and learning curve to get the best tone and feel out of Helix. For Kemper, the profiles you get are already been spent time tuned and polished by others. All you need is to make some minimal adjustment for your guitar and output, and you are good to go. On the other hand, Helix is big tool box, to get the best tones out of it:

    1. You might need to understand how different amp parameters interacts with each other, this is different per each amp model (just like the real world), this is time costly as you inevitably want to try out many amps once they are made readily available to you.
    2. Furthermore, to get the last ounce of feel right, you will need to understand how amp deep parameters interacts with other settings especially gain structures. For example, simply cranking up the gain without increasing the amp's sag does not make it feel right to my fingers. I often adjust sag, bias and biasX together with the gain (e.g. for low gain tones, I have relatively low sag, low bias and biasX for more dynamic). Helix allows you to increase the sag to 10 with a Twin Reverb, but that would not feel right!
    3. Then there are more than 14,000 different stock cab/mic/distance combinations, understanding how each cab sounds/responds, how each mic sounds, takes non-trivial amount of time.
    4. Then there are tons of drives and effects to tweak and play with...
    5. More importantly, it all depends on how good your ears are, e.g. do you know what you are looking/hearing for? Can you hear the offending frequency of the tones that you do not like? How does a 250Hz or 600Hz hump sounds like? How does a 2Khz honk or 3.5Khz harshness sounds like? Then how to use those powerful EQ tools wisely to shape the tones to your will?

    After using Helix for a few years now, and having taken the time to learn the things mentioned above systematically, I am at a point where I know exactly what I like and how to get there with Helix. For people who believes Helix does not sounds as good as Kemper, I certainly do not blame them. It's indeed true that you could easily get non-ideal tones out of Helix. In fact, ime, it's a lot easier to get bad tones than good ones out of Helix among the vast sea of permutations of all settings, even more so than real world mic-ed amp/cab situations...

    However, if you are already a sound engineer with good ears and tweak savy, Helix will give you more control on shaping your tones, and interacting with various amp models is certainly more fun than auditioning profiles, at least for me. So in summary, are both units capable of awesome tones? the answer is a resounding yes. It might be easier to get there with Kemper, with Helix it took a bit more efforts dialing, but you'd either learn a lot along that process or get frustrated and run in circles.

    Finally, about workflow, don't overlook it. If you are gigging or plan to gig, IMO, workflow is one of the most important deciding factor. You'd be kicking yourself later if you are not able to quickly adjust your patch to your like in sound check, rehearsal etc, as each stage, floor, room is different, being able to make quick and precise change to my patch on stage is absolutely important.

    Finally finally, spend as much as you could afford on a quality output system, e.g. either your in-ears, FRFR, GRFR, studio monitor, PowerCabs, which brings far more obvious difference than what modeler you are using. People who spend 3K on a Fractal III then gigging it with a cheap FRFR makes absolutely no sense to me :)
     
  16. Benz2112

    Benz2112 Supporting Member

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    I own a Helix, and have heard lots of clips of the Kemper, and to me they both sound incredible if setup correctly. The Line6 modality is a lot closer to the Fractal than the Kemper, just a big blank palette of processing power, with digital emulations of amps and effects, whereas the Kemper is a replication of a particular amp at a particular setting. I want to say the Kemper is more plug n play, because if a particular vendor makes a profile that is your sound, you can just buy it and use it. Even though there are commercial presets for the Helix, there is just a lot more value in creating a patch template, and rolling your own, which has a learning curve.
     
  17. Jim S

    Jim S Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    :spit
     
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  18. Guitardave

    Guitardave Supporting Member

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    @Mark Al is right on the money with his comments. I've been happy with my Helix for nearly four years. It's a better fit for what I do with it.

    But I'd recommend the KPA for direct/IEM/headphones.

    And follow @Viabcroce start up guide if you get a Kemper.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019 at 2:53 PM
  19. mabrooks

    mabrooks Member

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    The one that actually inspires you to play the guitar the most.
     
  20. Nick Shephard

    Nick Shephard Member

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    The short answer is the profiling and the amazing array of amp choices that gives you.
     
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