Overchoice: Sell Kemper Toaster & Buy Helix Floor?

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by Chumlee, May 26, 2019.

  1. Chumlee

    Chumlee Member

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    Here's my thinking gentle readers:

    It's not a question of which one sounds better, because from what I can tell they are both very good. I suppose strictly from a sound point of view the Kemper has the edge on realism, and the Helix Floor has the edge on range of effects (correct me if I'm wrong).

    I figure it's a question of ease of use. With the Kemper Toaster I have to hook it up to my FBC1010 / UnO4Kemper and make them talk to each other in such a manner as suits my purposes, whereas with the Helix Floor it seems to be much more obvious what does what, and what is doing what, and what changes what. Maybe I'm wrong and the Kemper Toaster / FBC1010 / UnO4Kemper is plenty good enough, and clearly I'm spoiled* but I'm 63 now and don't play live much anymore, and I can't help thinking the more time I spend fiddling with gear setups the less time I have for...well...um...er...everything!

    *Overchoice or choice overload is a cognitive process in which people have a difficult time making a decision when faced with many options. The term was first introduced by Alvin Toffler in his 1970 book, Future Shock https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overchoice
     
  2. Fireproof

    Fireproof Supporting Member

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    Overchoice / choice overload! I think of it as “analysis paralysis.” Haha.

    Anyway - I think you are on the right track with your thinking. Both can sound great. I’ve had both and can attest to that.

    As far as which to go with - for many (including myself) it came down to portability, user interface, and workflow.

    I had the Kemper in my studio for a while, with the Kemper foot controller and Mission Engineering expression pedal.
    - Worked great. Easy to tweak the dials on the Kemper while it’s sitting on my desk. Easy enough to pull out the foot controller and pedal from under the desk for some jamming.
    - Two things I didn’t like...
    1. It was a hassle to take to jam sessions. Not only all the different pieces, but then what do I set the Kemper on (because I was using an FRFR speaker, not a traditional guitar cab)...
    2. I desired a computer editor for patch creation.

    So I sold it and got the Helix LT.
    - Also sounded great.
    - I loved the fact that it was “all-in-one” - making it easy to move from my studio, to downstairs, to jam sessions. Just one board to transport. Plug into the speaker and done.
    - I enjoyed the software editor - so I could build patches with my laptop on my desk if desired. But I’ve also learned that it’s really easy to build patches on the device itself.
    - I’ve come to find that FOR ME, I prefer the workflow of Helix.

    I’ve since sold the Helix LT and downsized to the HX Stomp. Love how easy THAT is to take to jam sessions. And is really all I need. But I’ll probably get another LT or Helix Floor at some point because I think it’s fun to have more blocks and switches to play with.

    Good luck.
     
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  3. vtgearhead

    vtgearhead Silver Supporting Member

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    I own an unpowered Kemper rack and a Helix floor. They're very different devices, but I find the built-in user interface of the Helix far simpler to deal with.
     
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  4. DS007

    DS007 Member

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    I've got the Helix LT, and it's a great device....very easy to use and set up.
     
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  5. VCuomo

    VCuomo Member

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    3 pieces? :huh

    The toaster and the remote both fit in the Kemper bag (and 3rd party storage solutions are certainly available too), the expression pedal (two pedals in my case) can go in a regular gig bag. :dunno

    I set the KPA on top of my FRFR cab at gigs.
     
  6. VCuomo

    VCuomo Member

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    I own a KPA, Helix, and an AmpliFire and I've gigged all of them. If I could only keep one it would be a tough decision, but I'd *probably* keep the KPA. Slightly better tone and no high-end fizz, uses less floor space, I don't use/need much in the way of effects and the KPA's all work really good for me, and there are fewer cables running on the floor (just one cable for the Remote). I
     
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  7. Fireproof

    Fireproof Supporting Member

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    3 > 1. Plus the interconnecting cables.

    Not a huge hassle, but more hassle. And I was using my FRFR in wedge position, so couldn’t set the KPA on top of it.

    Not saying it’s not possible at all. Just one more factor to consider. For me. YMMV and all that.
     
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  8. Mark Al

    Mark Al Member

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    You are kidding, right? :) It’s so easy to dial the fizz away if you don’t want it, but without those high end frequencies in the first place, you can never put it back. And having some fizz often works magic in the mix.


    People often claims Kemper has an “edge” in tone, that’s not an actual edge. It’s just that they happen to find the right profile they like, and that profile has likely already been spent tons of times fine tuned by someone else, whereas for Helix, one would need to put in their own efforts to dial it in. If one’s chop is not up there, sure, it’s easy to conclude the edge.

    Dialing tones in Helix does have a steep learning curve, often more complex than most users anticipated, eg if one hear a tone, one’s ear need to be well trained to be able to accurately describe/understand various offending frequencies of that tone, then decide/estimate how to tune it, or move onto next cab/mic. This is an inevitable skill in recording/mixing and especially in dealing with closed mic-Ed guitar cabs. It takes a non trivia amount of time for one to understand and internalize all Helix’s different cabs, mic’s eq signature, and how certain combination might coax the tone in ones mind... I keep a history of all my patches, listen to them back, it’s clear to me, I have made a lot of progress, and they keep sounding better and better, and importantly my ears are trained along this process.

    Good modelers are not about “sounding good” which is subjective, instead it’s all about accuracy which is measurable. Then users need to coax the tone they like out of it, unlike Kemper, which you try others profile which is a hit or miss, with much less flexibility or control for further tweaking.

    So yeah, with Kemper one could potentially get good tones faster, but with Helix or other modelers, one would need to invest time to make actual progress learning it systematically, in order to realize its full potential. The benefit of the latter is that you actually acquire some important skills that applies elsewhere, you will be in full control of your tone with maximum flexibility or tweakbility, and you will get tones you like better than the ones you previously thought was the best :)
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2019
  9. JiveTurkey

    JiveTurkey Trumpets and Tants Silver Supporting Member

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    But I thought it was the easiest to use.....?
     
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  10. Mark Al

    Mark Al Member

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    LOL, well played, Sir :)

    HelIx UI is indeed considered to be leaps and bunds ahead of others by many. The learning curve I referred above should apply to all modelers, I think.
     
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  11. Foxmeister

    Foxmeister Supporting Member

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    Easiest to operate? ;)
     
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  12. buddaman71

    buddaman71 Student of Life Silver Supporting Member

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    FWIW: I loved but sold my LT and got a PowerRack and haven’t regretted it for one second. I only use this live tho. I treat it exactly like an amp head. For home use, I probably would’ve kept LT.
     
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  13. Chumlee

    Chumlee Member

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    I think I might get the Helix Floor and keep the Kemper as there is a used Helix Floor locally. That way I can embrace the tyranny of choice in concert with consumerism (now there's a pun for you!).
     
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  14. MIJLOVER

    MIJLOVER Member

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    This is the best option. :)
     
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  15. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

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    IMO unless you specifically want the Helix just get the remote. For many of the amps I prefer the Kemper by a fair amount though.
     
  16. Chumlee

    Chumlee Member

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    As to my first post:
    1. I have a FBC1010 / UnO4Kemper thus not remotely interested in the Kemper Remote (play on words);
    2. It's not a question of which one sounds better, because from what I can tell they are both very good, heck I've got a DG Stomp I still appreciate so that dates me (go fig-ure).
     
  17. VCuomo

    VCuomo Member

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    Absolutely NOT kidding.
    :rotflmao:rotflmao:rotflmao
    Nor would I want to.
    That's your personal opinion/preference, not fact.
    You're saying that one cannot find either free or professionally made commercial presets for the Helix too? :huh
    We are in agreement here. Helix has a much steeper learning curve and requires a lot more effort to get the tones you're looking for. Advantage KPA on this one. ;)
    My view is that good music equipment is about getting the tone that one is looking for, which is indeed subjective. I've gotten my Helix presets very close, which is why I use it live (as well as my Kemper), but MY truth using MY ears is that the KPA is just a hair better.
    So, again, advantage KPA. :)
    I get tones that I not only like, but (slightly) prefer over what I get with the Helix - with much less of having to "invest time" that you previously mentioned.

    Look, everything in your post and mine are OPINIONS - nothing more, nothing less. We each have our preferences, it's as simple as that. These aren't laws of nature that are chiseled in stone, and there's no "right" nor "wrong". We all use what makes our ears happy (which is 100% subjective). Capisce? :)
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2019
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  18. bkb1984

    bkb1984 Supporting Member

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    Just get an Axe III and be done with it...
     
  19. ljholland

    ljholland Silver Supporting Member

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    I have had all except a fractal. All should get you there. The only thing you’ll achieve with these flips is draining your bank account. (Spoken by someone has achieved just that). I’ve stepped down from the Helix and now just have the Stomp and HXFX which seems to me to be enough...(and the powered Kemper). I just found I was only using a basic amp sound with the Helix plus some delay and reverb. The Kemper does seem a lot easier for me for a simple setup plus I can plug it right into any cabinet and go.

    Maybe focus on what you have and make it work?

    Btw - the Kemper remote is exceptionally well thought out. Very seamless integration with no fuss. Since I’ve never used a FCB I couldn’t compare.
     
  20. Alchemist XP

    Alchemist XP Silver Supporting Member

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    At some point, you get to the high end of the gear spectrum, and the question really isn't about which new piece of gear will "get you there" it's really about committing to a certain setup and really mastering how to use it.

    I think the vast majority of flips we read about hear on TGP involved gear that was barely understood, let alone truly mastered as part of a total rig ... Trey Anastasio has spoken at length about how much effort he has put into pretty much getting his rig set and then learning how to master it without changing it out much anymore because it really takes time and practice to maximize the potential of today's gear.

    The potential of the helix floor units is pretty much unlimited and there are fantastic tones in their to be tapped ... but it takes some work to master the unit.
     
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