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Why do some of you say the Kemper is a lot better for amp tones or effects than the Helix?

jaded1592

Member
Messages
87
Let me clarify. I've been a tube amp guy for a long time, but when I got a Vetta in 2002 So I've been a Line guy for a long time. I loved it and knew it didn't have the dynamics of a tube amp, but I was like a kid in a candy store with designing new amp sounds and the effects were killer. I sold it and got into tube amps which was way more expensive and never satisfied with any of them.

Then in 2019 I got a Headrush Pedalboard and fell back in love with modeling, but then checked the Line 6 Variax Shuriken and got one and it really is my favorite guitar just the way it plays unplugged, but the reason I got is because I play modern Country and if you have seen some of the bands like Luke Combs there will be 3 guitar players and a banjo player. I also love Keith Urban and he has many songs with a Deering 6 string banjo. That's why I got the Shuriken because it has the banjo in it and a Les Paul, Tele and Strat. Oh yeah could also create a 6 string mandolin with this guitar.

Then I'm watching the Stevic video I posted above with the Shuriken and he's playing thru a Helix.

Now I might keep the Headrush cause it's not really expensive lol, but now I want a Helix so I can change from a banjo to an acoustic to and electric with different amps, cabs and effects on the fly.

That's why I'm leaning Helix, but was just wanting input as to why some of you like amps, cabs and effects in the other boards.
All you're going to get is stirred up fanboys slinging subjective opinions on their preferred platform, when you obviously have a use case already defined that one clearly fits. You might as well be asking for comparisons between a Helix, a Haas mill, and a Jetta.

The only fact you will uncover is that they all sound good. From there, pick the right tool for the job. If integration with a Variax for on the fly guitar tone and tuning changes is what you want, there is only one brand that does that.
 

Andrews R

Member
Messages
20
3year Helix user I've owned several iterations of Helix: Floor, Native, Stomp
even had the Power Cab.

Helix is AMAZING and theoretically should be the best thing since PBJ. There is SO much flexibility and options to do with it.

BUT Kemper despite being somewhat limited in flexibility, sounds and FEELS much better in my opinion.
 

AndrewSimon

Member
Messages
2,384
I am not a software engineer but I don't think you have to be one in order to see the difference.
In modeling they start with a specific amp schematic and create a software emulation of each component to build up the whole schematic. (think SPICE modeling for those who are familiar with SPICE)
So you end up with a piece of code for each amp.

On the Kemper, I don't think anybody knows exactly how it works but there is only one code (or maybe two clean/distortion)
This single code has a "learning" feature that listens and can emulate any and all amps (unlimited). So each amp (profile) is a small setting not a whole new code.

The amazing thing is that you would think that a piece of code that was custom created down to the component level to recreate a specific circuit would be superior to a general profiling code that is a "jack of all trades" trying to recreate on the fly any amp you wish just by changing a few settings.
Yet most of the time the Kemper sounds just as good or even better then the custom code.

10 years on, same hardware still sounds top notch. Simply great.

;)
 

yeky83

Member
Messages
2,857
On the Kemper, I don't think anybody knows exactly how it works but there is only one code (or maybe two clean/distortion)
This single code has a "learning" feature that listens and can emulate any and all amps (unlimited). So each amp (profile) is a small setting not a whole new code.

The amazing thing is that you would think that a piece of code that was custom created down to the component level to recreate a specific circuit would be superior to a general profiling code that is a "jack of all trades" trying to recreate on the fly any amp you wish just by changing a few settings.
Yet most of the time the Kemper sounds just as good or even better then the custom code.
The Kemper is friggin great, but it can't emulate "any and all amps," it has limitations. Its manual even tells you that.
 

Guitarwiz007

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,082
I owned the Helix for a time. I moved it on and got a Headrush. I like the sound of the amps in the HR better than I liked the Helix. I use effects but they are sparse and not overt so the ones in the HR are fine. There is much more variety in the Helix but that is not what I need. That said, I have recorded with the Kemper and find that it not only sounds better, but the unquantifiable feel of the unit is better than both. I have an incredibly strong feeling that my next purchase will be the Kemper Stage. I'm mostly a live player with recording being the nuisance part of my musical journey. I really think there is something real and vibrant in the approach that Kemper has taken. IMHO, YMMV, blah blah.
 

RobDaglish

Member
Messages
159
Having a better processor is one part of the equation, but having more efficient code can overcome the limitations of having a sub-standard processor (this is likely why the Helix has 2 processors; they are that bad). That being said, the Helix coders are some of the best. The Line 6 internship program is known for its development of coders (they have no choice but to focus on that area, given the limitations of their processors).
I used to work for a guy who built industrial control equipment based on microprocessors. One of his pet hates was sloppy coders - we were using chips with 1 or 2K of memory, and if something didn’t work, we had to go back and rethink our coding/processes. Those who were coding for PCs just said you needed a faster processor/more ram and left the inefficient code in place...
 

Pat6969

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,945
I think the biggest thing that separates the two is the sheer number of amps available in the Kemper. For instance, Helix has 2 or 3 Plexi’s, Kemper has hundreds. If You’re a Plexi lover and don’t like the three amps L6 modeled, you’re SOL. If you don’t like one Plexi in the Kemper, you keep going until you find one you like, which is likely to happen.
 

SwirlyMaple

Member
Messages
521
Someone please explain how:

How Line 6 Models an amp?

How Kemper Profiles an amp?
Not sure if your question is literal or rhetorical, but assuming it's the former, it was already explained in summary above by @AndrewSimon just a few posts above this.

If you're looking for more explanation, here's a qualitative one: Imagine you have a pumpkin and a catapult, and you want to know where the pumpkin is going to land after being launched.

If you're Line 6, you break out your calculus, write up the equations, include a bunch of complex corrections for drag, crosswinds, friction in the launcher, gravitational acceleration, etc., and then solve all that math to predict where the pumpkin will land. You solve the equations, get out a map, and draw a line from your catapult to your best guess of the pumpkin landing spot. You've constructed a theoretical model of pumpkin flight behavior.

If you're Kemper, you say, to heck with all this, let's just throw the pumpkin and watch it VERY carefully as it flies, and then write all that down so we know what it'll do next time. You do the test, and draw the path on your map. Again, you have a model, but this one is completely empirical. It'll reconstruct that pumpkin, under those exact conditions, every time with great accuracy. But it can't predict how another catapult slightly different in size will work, and it also can't predict how the first catapult will work if you vary the size of the pumpkin or adjust the throwing force.

That's the key difference in a nutshell. Line 6, Fractal, and the others with modelers work from theory and make predictive models with it. Kemper works empirically and makes descriptive models which describe only one specific thing.
 
Messages
4,786
To take that pumpkin catapult analogy a little further, I’d say it’s more like the Kemper looks at how the original catapult throws the pumpkin, determine which catapult in its inventory of catapults with similar specifications will throw that pumpkin the same distance, selects one, and then applies some fine customizations that will more closely match the original throw.
 

Billy Moss

Member
Messages
6,192
OK, I think I get it.

Line 6 uses reverse engineering and painstakingly creates all of the components digitally of great sounding amps, effects, speakers, cabinets and mics and turns them into presets.

Kemper finds great sounding amps, effects, speakers and cabinets and records them in a studio to record how they sound and turns them into presets.

Am I right to on how modelling and profiling works?
 

phil_m

Have you tried turning it off and on again?
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
12,625
OK, I think I get it.

Line 6 uses reverse engineering and painstakingly creates all of the components digitally of great sounding amps, effects, speakers, cabinets and mics and turns them into presets.

Kemper finds great sounding amps, effects, speakers and cabinets and records them in a studio to record how they sound and turns them into presets.

Am I right to on how modelling and profiling works?
 

Foxmeister

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
359
I think the biggest thing that separates the two is the sheer number of amps available in the Kemper. For instance, Helix has 2 or 3 Plexi’s, Kemper has hundreds. If You’re a Plexi lover and don’t like the three amps L6 modeled, you’re SOL. If you don’t like one Plexi in the Kemper, you keep going until you find one you like, which is likely to happen.
All true, but then again when you do find that Plexi profile that you like, you may find it doesn't work so well for you as you adjust the gain/eq on the profile, because it won't necessarily react the same way that the original amp does.

As I understand it, a Kemper profile is a truly faithful recreation of any given amp with the controls set in a particular way, but it can't "know" how that amp would "react" if you turned the gain from say, 3 to 10, because that information simply isn't in the profile.

The further you stray from the original settings, the less likely it is to sound like the real amp - note, that doesn't mean it will sound bad, just different.

Obviously, you can switch to another profile of the same amp at different settings, but the point is that a modelled amp should stay "closer" to the amp it was modelled after as you adjust the settings.
 

AndrewSimon

Member
Messages
2,384
All true, but then again when you do find that Plexi profile that you like, you may find it doesn't work so well for you as you adjust the gain/eq on the profile, because it won't necessarily react the same way that the original amp does.

As I understand it, a Kemper profile is a truly faithful recreation of any given amp with the controls set in a particular way, but it can't "know" how that amp would "react" if you turned the gain from say, 3 to 10, because that information simply isn't in the profile.

The further you stray from the original settings, the less likely it is to sound like the real amp - note, that doesn't mean it will sound bad, just different.

Obviously, you can switch to another profile of the same amp at different settings, but the point is that a modelled amp should stay "closer" to the amp it was modelled after as you adjust the settings.
This is true and I usually don't stray from the profile but it's not a problem.
On commercial profile packs sometime you get 100 or more profiles, one of them usually hits the sweet spot.
Also there is the "Distortion Sense" in the Rig Setup that lets you vary the amp gain reaction without changing it's nature, this covers a lot of ground.

Bottom line, I have 21,595 profiles in my Rig Manager, it took me some time to find my 5 favorites out of those but once I found them I'm all smiles.
These 5 profiles is all I need.

:)
 

LaXu

Member
Messages
7,270
This is true and I usually don't stray from the profile but it's not a problem.
On commercial profile packs sometime you get 100 or more profiles, one of them usually hits the sweet spot.
Also there is the "Distortion Sense" in the Rig Setup that lets you vary the amp gain reaction without changing it's nature, this covers a lot of ground.

Bottom line, I have 21,595 profiles in my Rig Manager, it took me some time to find my 5 favorites out of those but once I found them I'm all smiles.
These 5 profiles is all I need.

:)
See this is why I don't own a Kemper. I just really dislike that workflow with having to hunt down the perfect profile. I already got overwhelmed enough by the hundreds of amp models in an Axe-Fx on top of all the cab sim choices, which is pretty much a different form of the same process.

There is something to be said for simpler amps (digital or not) that offer an already curated experience. Of course you can always go down the rabbit hole of finding the perfect amp or the perfect overdrive etc...
 




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