Kemper vs reactive load with IRs?

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2,550
I suspect a number of you have experience both playing live and recording with BOTH

1) the Kemper
and
2) an amp head / reactive load (suhr, torpedo) / IRs loaded on hardware (Torpedo CAB / Live, other)

I'm preparing to invest in one or the other of these 2 options to play/record quietly at home and for playing live with an in-ears setup. For those of you who have tried both how did the two compare in terms of sound quality and feel? For those of you who have landed on #2 (or both) I'd be interested to know what rig you landed on and why.

Comparative cost of the units, additional amps, effects, etc. are all secondary issues to me. I just want to know if one or the other sounds and/or feels better to you.

Fire at will and thanks!
 

JerEvil

Vendor
Messages
4,697
I like the Kemper better than my amps with my Power Station and impulses personally for live use. So much more convenient and still feels amp like.

Studio both are killer. I feel safer with the Kemper live too. For some reason, with my attenuators I still get worried about blowing my amps up.
 

Blix

Wannabe Shredder
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
28,786
Live straight to in-ears? As much as a fan I am of my Shur Load and using IR's, live I'd rather use a Kemper then dragging an amp/pedals/whatnot.
 

Blix

Wannabe Shredder
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
28,786
OK, but putting aside your preference for convenience, is there a difference in sound quality and feel or not?
You would most likely not being able to tell the difference blindfolded. :)
 

Husky

Member
Messages
13,033
I'd say if you are listening to someone else play you won't be able to hear the difference with tons of gear, but if you are playing you will feel the difference. I do have both and the Kemper with Michael Britt profiles is an awesome box and I use it all the time. When I want to hit the record button I default to the RL and IR's though. There is something about the tubes and their headroom still evident when using a RL and IR's. You are not taxing the tubes in the amp by using a RL as long as you play the amp the way you would normally play it through the cabinet. If you are looking for an excuse to dime everything on a plexi sure you will be burning through power tubes quicker.
 
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1,257
I haven't played live in a long time, but as far as recording goes I was able to make profiles of my amp rig (Randall MTS preamp modules, Randall RT2/50 power amp, Weber Mass Lite, Torpedo C.A.B.) that sounded and felt exactly like the rig. I still have the Kemper, but the amp rig is gone.
 

wedewer

Member
Messages
2,438
I had a Torpedo live, which I sold immediatley after getting the Kemper. It wasn't even close. Even with using Ownhammer IR's. With that said, the results Pete Thorn gets with his recording are outstanding.
 

JoeB63

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
14,306
Good Kemper studio profiles (e.g. Michael Britt's) sound and feel better than using IRs.
 

djd100

Member
Messages
3,076
Modeled gutar amps and real tube gear sound and feel different, especially in the edge of breakup through mid gain areas, though both sound good so you need to try both and choose for yourself.

Be sure to try in all the ways you might want to use them, DI'd, via Guitar and FRFR speakers etc.

For me it's custom HV Tube Preamps through a Torpedo CAB for modeled Tube Power Amp, Cab, and Room Sims, and a Axe FX Ultra for FX only.

That's DI'd and/or through FRFR/Guitar speakers via lightweight solid state power).
 

Husky

Member
Messages
13,033
Good Kemper studio profiles (e.g. Michael Britt's) sound and feel better than using IRs.
I have both and Britt's profiles are awesome but it is really about what IR I think. Plus even with the Kemper I miss something about a tube amp even if being used with a reactive load and an IR. Check out our new video with James Ivanyi and the Eclipse and Bella. That is a reactive load and IRs all in a very modest home setup recorded in silence.
 
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Viabcroce

Member
Messages
2,891
One thing worth mentioning is that the cab profile in a Kemper is - by design - able to follow the output transformer's impedance curve, generating a more realistic cab than a static IR, with a truer dynamic response.

HTH
 

Husky

Member
Messages
13,033
One thing worth mentioning is that the cab profile in a Kemper is - by design - able to follow the output transformer's impedance curve, generating a more realistic cab than a static IR, with a truer dynamic response.

HTH
You mean the speaker/cab impedance curve ? That is what the Reactive load does. The transformer reflects the load impedance from the secondary back to the primary so the speaker impedance curve will change what the power tubes are pushing in to, that is why a resistive load sounds and feels lifeless. A reactive load with the right curve does this nicely in an analog system which to my ears is butter not margarine, even when using IRs
 
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Viabcroce

Member
Messages
2,891
Thanks Husky, I couldn't say how a RL and an IR would cooperate in order to re-create a realistic cab behaviour... can you use them in conjunction?
I was merely pointing out the difference between a cab profile and an IR, not sure we're talking of the same thing
:)
 

Husky

Member
Messages
13,033
Thanks Husky, I couldn't say how a RL and an IR would cooperate in order to re-create a realistic cab behaviour... can you use them in conjunction?
I was merely pointing out the difference between a cab profile and an IR, not sure we're talking of the same thing
:)
That is exactly the best way to record silent unless you don't want to deal with IRs. The reactive load makes the amp behave like its seeing a real speaker in the cabinet. The IR captures the mic setup and the speaker EQ response including the cab. That video I posted is exactly that with the Eclipse as the overdrive and the Bella amp as the tube amp. You could also use our analog cabinet emulator if you don't want to deal with IRs and that learning curve or simply want to go straight to the house.
 

mix2much

Member
Messages
746
I enjoy using the Suhr Reactive load with my tube amps but more often than not I use the Kemper. It is so convenient and the recall capabilities are a really big advantage in the studio and live. When making profiles with the amps isolated in another part of my studio, I honestly could not tell a difference between the micd amp and the kemper profile of that amp. It took making my own profiles to really bond with it.
 

Chris@TGP

Member
Messages
650
I've been using a Kemper for years. It's great and will feel 99% like the actual amp into the cabinet.
The real amp into the Suhr reactive load and your choice of quality IR is the missing 1% to get you to the full 100%.
As John said, the latter just has this last tiny bit of extra magic that is missing even from the Kemper...
YMMV of course!
 




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