Kemper--talk me out of getting one and/or recommend a cab

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by JHand, Oct 22, 2017.

  1. JHand

    JHand Member

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    So this forum has convinced me that it would be better to upgrade my amp first, rather than my guitar. Right now I'm thinking of getting the Kemper profiling amp. The thinking is that the Kemper is roughly about as expensive as some of my favorite tube amps--like the blues breaker, the tweed twin, the jtm45, or the brown eye (though the brown eye in particular is significantly more expensive). And with Kemper I don't just get one of those amps--i get all of them, plus many more. Also, I primarily play at night when my kids are asleep, and the kempler is better for that since I can plug headphones into it.

    I'm curious to hear people argue against getting the Kemper. Are there any reasons to get a used blues breaker or twin or something else instead?

    Also I'm trying to figure out what type of cabinet would go best with the Kemper. Again I play primarily at low volumes at night, though I'd also like to be able to jam with friends at times. In theory I could also play a really small venue gig down the line, though I'm not sure I'd want to base my decision on that since it's unlikely in the near term and I could always get a gigging cab later.
     
  2. 6789

    6789 Member

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    I've heard the Kemper through Celestion Vintage 30s and a full range PA/monitor speaker. The full range speaker sounded far better.
     
  3. tjontheroad

    tjontheroad Silver Supporting Member

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  4. movingpictures

    movingpictures Supporting Member

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    A Kemper and a pair of studio monitors is the way to go. It's a no brainier for home playing.
     
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  5. PBGas

    PBGas Supporting Member

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    Kemper is a great unit and many folks and many pros are using them live. I’ve had a few over the years and they were so easy to record with and sound great through headphones. For the best response from the unit, an FRFR speaker is what you would want to get the full value from the profiled tones and cabs.
     
  6. Tiboy

    Tiboy Member

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    I wanted a Helios, PRS HX/DA, Marshall Astoria and a Friedman SmallBox. I got a Kemper instead and effectively got all four plus thousands more. The Helios profile is not doing it for me, but the PRS, Astoria and SB are among my favorites. I play through a Xitone 212 FRFR cab. I can play quiet enough to leave others in the house undisturbed , or loud enough for the block to enjoy.
     
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  7. tjmicsak

    tjmicsak Member

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    The QSC K12 or K10 were the go to FRFR for a while. May still be...
    These amps are meant to run direct to FOH so you want something for a personal monitor for you that is going to give you the same reference as what is out front.
    The QSC K series also allow you to have remote volume control of the powered speaker. Sticking a simple volume pot on your board and having it adjustable by foot gives you easy on demand control of your monitor level. Three wires lends it to a simple XLR hook up. The QSC comes with the block plug for the monitor end itself.
     
  8. Bogner

    Bogner Member

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    In the right situation I think a Kemper could be a great option. Use it like others have stated and you should get a positive result.
     
  9. SuperReverb2

    SuperReverb2 Member

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    Had my powered Kemper for a year now. Run it through a Glaswerks 2 x 12 with the Celestion G12-65's or a Redplate 1 x 12 with an EVM12L Classic. Stopped my amp quest dead in it's tracks. Had LOT'S of high end boutique amps in the past, but only the Kemper now. Most likely own another tube amp of some sort in the future, but for now I have zero desire to even audition one. Besides with all the profiles that are available these days I can get a pretty much bang on representation of any amp I could ever want or need. Pretty amazing piece of gear for sure.

    :)
     
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  10. C-4

    C-4 Member

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    I am not computer-savvy as others here. I have owned my Kemper for over 2 years now and I cannot get the feel of a valve amp from it, so I use it for home practicing only. Through $20 Sony head phones, it sounds incredible. If I could get that feel and sound from other gear, I would use it live.
    It sounds that glorious.

    I knew after the first song of the night that I should have brought a valve amp with me when I played out with the Kemper. I know others here are ecstatic over the Kemper for live use, but I'm no where near where these players are with my Kemper.

    Even though, I have a lot of various amp sounds at my disposal, I came to realize that for me, the Kemper means "having these sounds in case I need them". In reality, unless I was setting the unit up for a specific song, I prefer no more then what I get from a good Marshall or Vox amp. 4 sounds from clean to solo are all I would ever need.

    Maybe, this is why I prefer using a valve amp live and leave the Kemper at home for practicing. In the heat of live play, I want to be able to adjust what I need so fast, it is almost as if it happened by itself, so I don't have to stop playing.

    ymmv :)
     
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  11. JiveTurkey

    JiveTurkey Trumpets and Tants Silver Supporting Member

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    My favorite place on here :)

    OP; here is some helpful info:
    "There are three (3) basic types of profiles.

    A) Studio -- This is the "normal" profile, and represents the vast majority of all the profiles out in the wild (including factory, commercial, and free). The Studio profile is a combination of the Amp and the mic'd Cabinet. In order to be able to switch (or remove) the Cabinet, the KPA has to figure out what contribution the "Cabinet" makes to the profile. To do this, the KPA employs an intelligent algorithm, called Cab Driver, which calculates and determines best approximation in order to separate the Cabinet from the Amp. It works amazingly well. However, Kemper saw opportunity to create a perfect separation, which leads us to Direct/Merged profiles, discussed next.

    B) Direct Amp -- This is a profile process that employs a suitable DI box. The DI box takes the signal from the speaker output of the Amp, and sends an XLR/line level signal to the Return Input on the Kemper for the profile process. The DI box needs to have a speaker thru connection which sends the amp's high voltage/high wattage speaker level signal on to the connected guitar cabinet (a tube amp needs to be connected to a load). There is no microphone connected to the KPA during the Direct Amp profiling process.

    C) Merged -- This requires a secondary step, after the Direct Amp profiling process. Immediately after capturing the Direct Amp profile, and without making any changes to the amp settings, a normal "Studio" profile is made. The KPA now has data from just the amp (Direct amp profile), as well as the combination Amp + Cab from the Studio profile. The person making the profile (i.e., the original author) then uses the MERGE function, and Merges the Direct and Studio profiles. This is now a Merged profile, which allows the KPA to perfectly separate and subtract the Cab part of the profile from the Amp. Obviously, if the person making the profile only wants the Direct Amp (no cabinet), then the second step and subsequent Merge procedure is not applicable."

    I run my Kemper (using studio profiles) through an FRFR rig and it sounds excellent. I have a powered Kemper on the way and will be running it through a 2x12 here and there just because \m/ It's a great box with easy to use onboard controls that let you sculpt the tone quite a bit. There's no editor but I have found you really don't need it compared to other modeling rig platforms. IMO and all that.
     
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  12. HaroldBrooks

    HaroldBrooks Member

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    If your hell bent on getting a modeler it's probably a good idea, and if the kemper already has cabinet modeling, I would run it under a full range cabinet like a JBL with a 15" woofer and high compression driver to get the most out of the already modeled sound.

    Me personally, I would take the big money they get for the Kemper and run a great Supro or Gretsh vintage twin amp ($1,000 to $1,500) and with the rest of the money buy a Sure SM57, an EQ, a Boss ST-2 (good Marshall model for low volume playing), and a Lexicon MX400 for all the time delay effects, (i.e. Chorus, Delay, Detune, Flanging), and many, many more all high quality effects built into one 4 in 4 out stereo unit !

    This way I would have a great iconic Vintage amp that would potentially appreciate in value as I went along (incase you wanted to trade up in the future), and still have a host of digital processing effects to run through the amp or through the PA if I was just running the amp straight up.

    Here a Gretsch twin amp with reverb and tremolo for starters :
    http://www.guitarcenter.com/Used/Gr...^359901052695-sku^113537288@ADL4GC-adType^PLA
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
  13. JiveTurkey

    JiveTurkey Trumpets and Tants Silver Supporting Member

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    As an addition to the above discussion; modeling might not be for you. It might be best to try something on the cheaper end of the spectrum. Like an Atomic Firebox and a cheap headphone amp for late night playing. You could add a quality FRFR down the road or get something like a katana or a Mustang and run it through the fx return at jam sessions. The Kemper costs a little bit and only you can justify that cost. Good news for pretty much all the top modeling platforms is they retain their value.
     
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  14. HaroldBrooks

    HaroldBrooks Member

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    For at least until the store return policy is up...
     
  15. JiveTurkey

    JiveTurkey Trumpets and Tants Silver Supporting Member

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    Not sure what your point is. Op could always buy new kemper via sweetwater via payment plan and return within 45 day window.

    Or he could buy a tube amp that meets none of the criteria he described. Other than being one of the multiple amp tone types he's wanting.
     
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  16. Vibrolux

    Vibrolux Gold Supporting Member

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    I have 5 classic vintage tube amps and love them, Fender and Valco.
    I picked up a Kemper about 2 years ago and I do like it. Works perfect for my needs which are times when I don't want to disturb anyone at home or play through some amp tones I don't own. It took me a while to find headphones that sounds right me and found that I like the Sennheiser HD 650s . I do once in a while play though my studio monitors but I have never liked the way that sounds unless they are very quiet. Open them up and they sound like studio monitors trying to sound like a guitar amp. I do not have a FRFR system. I instead use my 1x12 or 2x12 I have that are loaded with Creambacks along with a Freyette PS2 and I always turn the cab sims off. I am sure I could get more out of the amp using the FRFR et al but haven't found the interest yet and it starts to get into the stuff like IR and I just don't care about that stuff.

    For me the Kemper sounds very good and it simple. Tried an Axe thing and OMG ... one should not have to think that much. It was like doing taxes....read, read, read. Kemper has a nice layout. I want simple and intuitive. Kemper could do better but its pretty easy. It is too easy to fall down rabbit holes with these things though and spend too much time with so many options. Maybe that is why I am starting to prefer sitting with my acoustic and in a room other than my gear room. :-/

    I could probably survive just fine with the Kemper and nothing else. But I love my amps and there are at least two I would never sell. But the Kemper is very practical and for me, serves a great purpose. I played it this am and was using an M Britt profile of a Vox AC50. Sounded incredible.

    It is very flexible. A great way to try to many different types and models of amps. Very practical for home practice while still being able to gig if needed.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
  17. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    Well, first of all, I have to disagree with most in that my guitar is more important to me than my amp. Yup, both are important and an amp has to be up to the job at hand but, if a guitar doesn't feel & play "right" in your hands, no amp can fix that. Personally, I play guitar, not amp ;).

    However, as far as amps go, modeling a gazillion amps seems silly to me...especially the expensive modelers. Give me a good guitar, a good amp, and a couple of pedals and I can do just fine with very little tweaking. The modeling things I tried, with seemingly endless screens/menu's of tweaking, to me takes the fun out of playing guitar. But, if you don't mind endless hours of tweaking, maybe modeling is right for you?

    I gigged tube amps for 50 years because I didn't like any of the alternatives...but tube amps come with headaches too. So, I tolerated tube amps until something non-tube came along that would tip the scales enough to move out the tubes. Tried every solid state, modeling, and gadgets that crossed my path along the way and none quite gave me the tone/feel and the "plug & play" maintenance free reliability I wanted, especially in gigging scenario's.

    Then, a few months ago, I thought it was time to revisit a few new non-tube things out to see what they had to offer. Again, after trying a few, I didn't care for the typical gazillion amp modeling things. The good one's were expensive and I didn't want to spend a lot of time tweaking menu's...I wanted to play guitar. And what about a gigging backup if the expensive modeler did go down?

    So, after thinking about it and kicking a lot of tires, I narrowed it down to 4 modern non-tube amps and ordered all 4 so I could do a head to head in my den with my tube amps. Long story short, the Boss Katana amp did everything I needed an amp to do and it was inexpensive...so I could buy a gigging backup too. It's a great, mostly analog, plug & play amp right out of the box...but you can also dig in with a laptop and tweak it too if you so desire. So I gave the Katana another couple months A/B'ing it with my tube amps and the Katana kept tipping the "all things considered" scales enough...so I moved out my tube amps. And the Katana's have headphone jacks, power scaling, and the head even has a small practice speaker built in.

    So, in my opinion, you don't have to spend a lot of money on a good sounding rig these days. Solid state amps have come a long way...and this is coming from an old tube snob ;). Personally, I don't "get" the gazillion amp's modeling...but that's just me. Spend your hard earned as you see fit. Whatever you do, just be prepared with a gigging backup plan! Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
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  18. sugarlou

    sugarlou Supporting Member

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    I bought one ...tried a bunch of different monitoring methods. Ultimately went back to real amplifiers.

    Like the post above I actually had better luck dialing in a Katana for a fraction of what a Kemper costs. You will find (once you get over the Kemper honeymoon) that you only need a few basic tones
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
  19. HaroldBrooks

    HaroldBrooks Member

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    Yes, multiple but sub standard. Do you think 5 years down the road the Kemper will be worth 90% of what you pay for it ? A vintage amp will in all probability be worth more than when you bought it and if you decide to sell it to get something new (another vintage amp...), and it's the real deal.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
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  20. GaryMcT

    GaryMcT Gold Supporting Member

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    If you like the dynamics of a tube amp, skip it.
     

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