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. MKB

    MKB Silver Supporting Member

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    Having a Kemper toaster and a HX Stomp, along with Helix Native, the Kemper is better IMHO for most effects (especially time delay and reverb) and amp tones. But again this is a toaster vs. a Stomp.

    What I'd like to know is, which sounds better: a Kemper Stage or a Kemper toaster\rack? IMHO they darn well better sound the same.
     
  2. Jimmy_Rage

    Jimmy_Rage Member

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    I'd go for the Kemper based on tone alone. It's the leading device when it comes to sounds that are almost 1:1 with a mixed up tube amp in most situations.

    The effects are also really good, and there should be an editor out for the Kemper by the end of the summer (i.e. by end-September by some estimates).
     
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  3. AZG

    AZG Supporting Member

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    Just to make things more confusing ;)

    I know you mentioned you can’t afford an Axe Fx III, but the Fractal FM3 packs much of the III into a small floorboard for $1000. Having owned Kemper and Fractal in the past, Helix currently, I would personally make the FM3 my first stop. But I definitely recommend trying them all if you can. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, but for me I preferred the overall complete package of the Helix Floor over the others. The FM3 adds a new wrinkle to the equation that might just shake things up for me. YMMV
     
  4. Viabcroce

    Viabcroce Member

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    Don't know/didn't hear much about Helix as a bass device.
    Apart from the fx section, which is certainly more versatile (won't discuss sonic quality here), which would you say are advantages over the Profiler as a bass platform?


    Well, the P&W FB group is around 3100 members... I don't follow Helix community nor have a specific edge on PDub, but I thought it was a lot (considering that a small percentage of people usually joins any group/forum/board for anything).
    I'd estimate that's about 40% of the overall population, statistically speaking?
     
  5. phil_m

    phil_m Supporting Member

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    Well, besides the fact that there are a bunch of bass amps and cabs modeled, the Helix also gives you the option to blend in a dry path pretty easily. There's also a few utility bass things now. The Sansamp Bass Driver was added in 2.8, for example, and that's actually a really handy thing to have. I mean, the Stomp can be a nice little Swiss Army knife for bass.
     
  6. OutterLimits

    OutterLimits Gold Supporting Member

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    So did anybody compare both floor models?!?! I see a ton of generic comments about the Kemper and Helix, but the question was comparing the floor models, NOT the Toaster etc..
     
  7. phil_m

    phil_m Supporting Member

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    Well, the question was which sounds better... The different hardware pieces on each platform will all sound the same (with the obvious caveat that the HX Stomp can't run all the same presets that a Helix can).
     
  8. yeatzee

    yeatzee Member

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    I would hold off on the stage, there's been what seems like an endless number of posts on the Facebook Kemper group im on about issues with it ranging from software related to even footswitch issues. Several returns in there. Also they released it with a newer firmware but rig manager apparently doesn't work properly with it yet. Actually rig manager is maybe the worst peice of software I've ever used. It is so unreliable and causes a lot of weird issues when your Kemper is plugged into it.

    With all that said I own a Kemper (not stage) and a Helix and use both quite a lot. The best Kemper amp tones are in another league, and the reverbs are better for sure unless you do my reverb trick on the Helix. The fuzz is also better imo, but after that the rest of the fx are better on the Helix. The Helix interface is also way easier to use, infinitely more flexible, scribble strips are better, built in expression pedal, much better software to edit with, and L6 backs their product like no one else.
     
  9. phil_m

    phil_m Supporting Member

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    I've been trying to not respond much to this thread, but you think the Kemper's fuzz is better than the Helix? Really? :huh
     
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  10. Jose7822

    Jose7822 Member

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    Honestly, I don’t really care :dunno.

    The Kemper has the same, if not more, Bass amp models available. It also includes the option to easily blend a dry path and has profiles with Sansamp, as well as Darkglass Bass overdrives, already baked in. The only advantage the Helix has is that you have more power to tweak everything. But that could also be a curse. Like I said before, they are both great for Bass.

    All the Kempers sound the same. I know because I have all 3 formats (Rack, Head & Stage). I also own a Helix ;).
     
  11. phil_m

    phil_m Supporting Member

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    Yeah, but there's no Kemper you can throw in the front pocket of your gig bag...
     
  12. Jose7822

    Jose7822 Member

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    I thought we were talking about the Helix. At least that’s what Viabcroce was asking about. Otherwise, I agree.
     
  13. mmmaslowski

    mmmaslowski Member

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    Hi,

    I feel the same sentiment as the OP; I've been on the very same quest for the past year & I've narrowed the decision down to either the Kemper, or the full-blown Helix Floor. I am very impressed with the Profiler Stage form factor, as well as the new HELIX firmware (love the tone of the Fullerton, Grammatico, and Tone Sovereign models).

    It appears that in 2019 we really should put the debate of "what sounds better" to rest; either the Kemper, or the Helix can sound virtually identical in terms of the final tone, but the question comes down to the cost of attaining that, then the associated workflow, as well as the monitoring gear you will be utilizing. This is an opinion that I've formed spending dozens of hours talking to the actual owners, followed by my own experience with my HX Stomp, and testing the KPA in one of music stores. Naturally, YMMV. The bottom line is: if you know what you're doing, you will make your HELIX sound as good as Kemper and I've heard that with my own ears. Before I will get slaughtered in the comments here, I realize that (at least right out of the box) the nuances of the models in the HELIX, and the captured amp profile in the Kemper may significantly vary (likely in Kemper's favour), but there are ways to aid with that (at a cost). Above all, I think the question here is not to make the HELIX (or whatever) sound as close to an amp, but as close to what inspires you the most! In the end, if it tickles your senses, will it really matter if it sounds super-close to the JCM800, or whatever amp?

    Based on my (limited) experience with both platforms, the basic amp tone (with a good profile, like the Tone Junkie's, or Michael Britt's) is noticeably better - more dynamic, and with greater dynamic response - usually, you're already where you need to be as the profile makers typically spend time perfecting it. Typically, the time invested in refining the rig is usually spent on tweaking the fx. With the HELIX, it's typically a reverse situation where one needs to invest more time in honing the amp/speaker model/IR tone combo first, and then tweak some fx when needed. The HELIX UI is superb for editing and tweaking, specially with the new HX Edit, and now matter how streamlined the Stage is, it is not as user friendly as the HELIX's UI is. These are, by and large, the trade-offs to consider here. Also to note, are you planning on using external fx with the device?

    Then, there's the monitoring aspect - it will have huge impact on how one feels playing one's rig(s). My experience has been this: no matter how well developed the platform is, if you're playing through (quality) headphones, you are likely to end up being frustrated - been there & done that. So, do you have a good quality FRFR? Do you plan on using in-ear monitors, or perhaps you own the Powercab(s)? These are quite important questions, as the monitoring part has often been overlooked and there's where the most of the feel is.

    I own a pair of Powercabs and the HELIX makes the most sense in my particular situation. However, the Kemper Stage with an expression pedal will likely get me where I'd like to be quicker. So, the reason for me stalling with the decision-making is purely based on the preferred workflow. But hey, I'm getting there :)

    I hope you end up with the device that streamlines your workflow, and makes you feel happy while playing, so good luck!
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019 at 2:17 PM
  14. Jose7822

    Jose7822 Member

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    I agree with you, except for the headphones part. I’ve practiced extensively with both the Helix and the Kemper using headphones and to me they sound like what I’d expect from each device. I didn’t think either sounded noticeably bad.

    Obviously playing through headphones sounds different than through an FRFR, or a Cabinet. Not to mention that even sound systems within the same category (i.e. FRFR) sound different. But that’s a given.
     
  15. Karl Houseknecht

    Karl Houseknecht Supporting Member

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  16. JiveTurkey

    JiveTurkey Trumpets and Tants Silver Supporting Member

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  17. yeatzee

    yeatzee Member

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    As the owner and user of both, yes. But if there's any effect that's subjective to personal preference it's fuzz.
     
  18. mmmaslowski

    mmmaslowski Member

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    You are absolutely right, and I did not mean to give any bad wrap to the headphones, whatsoever. It's the reality of playing through the headphones (like probably most of us bedroom players do), vs. the feel that is so much (positively) impacted by switching to FRFR/monitors, etc. To me, it was the proverbial eureka moment.
     
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  19. mmmaslowski

    mmmaslowski Member

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    Speaking of the fuzz in the Kemper, have you guys seen this nifty trick? I mean, it sounds glorious for a fuzz to me!


    Cheers!
     
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  20. phil_m

    phil_m Supporting Member

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    I own both, too... It's just that the only fuzzes on the Kemper are the Fuzz Face and the Big Muff, and neither seem great to me... I guess you could make a profile with a fuzz. Counting the Legacy models, there are dozen fuzz pedals in the Helix. It is the one thing where having the variable input impedance makes a huge difference.

    Not trying to pee in your cornflakes, though... If you found something that works for you that's all that matters. I was just surprised. :beer
     
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