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Microphone Month 3

Kemper Profiler Rack - Rackmount Profiling Amp Head Reviews

5.0 stars based on 17 customer reviews
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Sweetwater Advice

  • Patrick Weaver

    Because recording a guitar amp can be loud and - depending on how many tunes you're tracking - can take a long time, I've made some mortal enemies out of my neighbors. But that all changed after I got my Kemper! Now I can spend a couple hours getting the amp set up, test different mics and placement, then profile my client’s amp and save it to my Kemper. Also, a tube amp's tone can drift over time, but now I can get a profile early on when the amp is still frosty. Additionally, it lets me record a direct signal in case I want to re-amp later using the S/PDIF connections. Even clients who are die-hard analog boutique players are always blown away by the realism of the Kemper, and often end up getting one themselves!

  • Zach Neels

    With the ability to profile any amp - and a boatload of onboard effects - this sim is head and shoulders above anything else currently on the market. With the newest update from the Kemper website, I can use the Rig Manager to pull every profile on the Rig Exchange (which is over 6,000 different sounds!), with everything from low-watt classic amps to the high-gain monsters made for arenas. It's made tracking easy, it's made reamping actually fun, and it's made me practice a lot more!

  • from Okinawa Japan July 17, 2016

    Endless possibilities

    After purchasing my Kemper and plugging it in for the first time I forgot I wasn't using a tube amp because the sound is identical. Though the Kemper might seem hard to use and complicated due to all the knobs it was actually extremely easy to use and I never needed to look at the instruction manual. Going onto the Kemper rig exchange and downloading your favorite amp off the exchange is very simple and quick. Being in the military and stationed overseas on a small island it is extremely difficult to find music gear but Sweetwater answered my needs. It was great experience because of the great customer support, you guys did an extraordinary job and have earned a returning customer for life!

  • from South Eastern MIchigan, USA February 19, 2016Music Background:
    Hobbyist, part time pro


    My buddy bought one of these (the lunch box version) shortly after they came out. I "A/B'd" it to some of the amp modeling equipment I was using at the time…which wasn't bad gear. The Kemper blew it out of the water, however. I thought about making the move, I just couldn't justify the expense, however. Some time passed and Michael Wagner came out with his profiles and my buddy, who I just referred to, bought them. He was blown away. I went over to his studio and played through the Kemper with these profiles and I was blown away too. I made up my mind that I had to have one…with the Wagner profiles. In order to avoid divorce court :-), I sold some gear that I wasn't getting much use out of, that covered most of the cost of the Kemper and the Wagner profiles. Pretty cool piece of gear.

  • from Aspers, PA June 16, 2015Music Background:
    10 years of playing guitar, and playing shows for 5 years.

    Best piece of gear I've ever bought!

    I have had the Kemper for about 4 months now, have done some gigging, some recording, and a whole lot of tinkering with it. This thing is awesome straight out of the box! The presets were cool, but this thing really came to life when I hooked up the rig manager on my computer to it, and started playing with the tones that people have profiled off their amps. Its ridiculously cool being able to go from a Diezel, to a Fender, to a Roland JC120 all with the press of a button. The tones sound very real, I never feel like I am missing my tube amp. After my first gig, I got so many compliments about how great the tone was and how everything really pushed through the mix, a compliment I never really got with my tube amps before. The only downside is when you are playing by yourself, and you want to have the feel of a full tube amp through a 4X12, this amp doesnt sound like that. It is meant to profile what a mic'd guitar amp sounds like, so the tones are more of what you would hear from a recording studio, or through a PA system, not really what it sounds like to be in a garage, with a tube amp blasting at full volume. But that's okay with me, because 99% of the time Im playing with a full band behind me and the way this thing cuts through the mix and sounds is amazing.

    I currently am running the Profiler through an ISP Stealth power amp, into a 4X12 Krank cab to keep the feel of having an amp on stage, and still being able to have some stage volume, but I just use the main XLR out on the back of the head for the sound guy. Having a direct in is really nice, and its easy for the soundguy to get a good sound out of the thing, because the guesswork of mic choice and placement is no longer needed.

    I have profiled a few of my amps with the Profiler, and as I mentioned if I am in the live room while A/B'ing the amps, I can tell the difference, but when I am in the control room and switch back and forth with the amps, there was really no difference in tone to me. Very surreal, but it makes gigging so much easier. I have all my amps in a 20 pound box I can carry anywhere with me and plug in, as opposed to taking all my fragile and very heavy tube amps where I play. It also makes it so easy to switch tones on the fly. The performance mode is killer, one press of the footswitch (I use a Tech21 Midi Moose) and Im playing my Egnater Vengeance tone, next click, EVH 5150III lead tone, next button I have a Roland JC120 head with the best cleans ever! Oh, and the effects are all awesome and really easy to use too! I love messing with the EQ effects and the delay/verb sounds are very authentic.

    If you are a gigging or studio musician, this thing is pretty much a necessity. It is so versatile, and can do so many different things with it!

  • from May 6, 2015

    Wow... Just Wow...

    I've owned or have had on loan "EVERY" modern flagship amp modeling rack or floor based modeler... Digitech/Line 6/Zoom/Boss/Fractal/Vox/Yamaha... I have gigged direct to FOH for the last 6 solid years and I am blown away by the tones I'm getting with the Kemper Profiling Amp... just wow...

  • from Tampico, IL. March 23, 2015Music Background:
    Songwriter, Musican, Recording

    Believe all the reviews

    I've had the Kemper Profiler Rack for a couple of weeks now. My friend has a Kemper and I had seen and heard one before I bought this so I knew what I was getting. WOW - yes it's beyond anything I have owned with regards to guitar interfaces and modelers etc.... I have added a Michael Britt amp pack along with the ones that come with it from the factory, there are some great sounds coming out of this unit and I can't believe that I own one!!!!!!! I know it sounds like bragging (and I guess it is) but this unit is worth bragging about. This is a Major Upgrade to my studio. Thank you to Nathan Malone and Sweetwater for their excellent customer service and prompt order processing - that's why I keep coming back.

  • from New York March 5, 2015Music Background:
    Recording Engineer/Professional Musician

    Lives up to all the hype.

    I just got my Kemper profiling rack. It does everything that it claims to do. As a recording engineer, this was the missing piece to my studio. I have tons of high end gear. Many guitar amps as well. But the fact is, the Kemper is much easier to use when trying to find the right guitar tone for a track. Rather than auditioning several amps and microphones searching for the right tone, I have thousands of the best amp profiles at my finger tips. Now I always record a DI so I can re-amp later on in case I wasn't happy with my first choice. For a producer or recording engineer, this is the smartest way to go.

  • from United States February 14, 2015Music Background:

    Best piece of engineering i've use.

    This thing is unreal. I head up analytics at a big corporation. I use things that are made by some of the best engineers in the world and cost $$$ for a living. I have an esoteric watch and car..I have API, SSL and UA gear. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I have yet to see something do what it's built to do better than the Kemper. If you can afford the 2k get it. If you can't use software as a stop gap until you can save up to get this thing. It changes the way you play and are inspired.

  • from Nashville TN January 29, 2015Music Background:
    Recording Engineer/Producer + Session Musician


    All of my amps are for sale. As a studio owner this meets all of my amp needs. Amazing.

  • from McAllen,Tx July 17, 2014Music Background:
    Jazz, jazz fusion, Rock, Country, etc.

    The best that there is!

    I am 53 years old and have been playing since the age of 6. I came out in Total Guitar Magazine in September of 2009 from my compositions on YouTube. I have played in numerous bands of all genres. I have had countless tube amps and my last gear before the Kemper was an Axe FX 2. Firstly, I want to be fair to the people at fractal audio and say that their gear is exceptional. HOWEVER.... There is simply no comparison between the authenticity of the tube replication between these two units. The Kemper is simply superior in the actual tube characteristics and feel. I simply cannot tell the difference between the real thing and the Kemper. Actually, I prefer the Kemper because of the control over my tone.The sustaining qualities are also completely natural with absolutely no artifacts. The Kemper is like nothing I have ever owned. I still can't believe my ears each day when I pick up my guitar and play. But not only is it the most incredible sounding device on the market, the ease of which to program it is nothing short of brilliant. If you want square waves, Dial in less clarity and less definition, if you want smooth even harmonics, simply dial in more clarity and definition. You can even blend it with the dry signal if you want to. The Kemper's effects, all though not as many as the Axe FX 2, are also simply more natural and beautiful to my ears. To me, the Kemper is simply the best sounding rig that you can buy at ANY price! It can literally do ANYTHING!!!!!
    Updating it is also a breeze versus the fractal gear, and it doesn't change your previous saved presets when updating.. God, what a pain in the butt that was on the fractal. The layout makes so much more sense for ease of use when it comes to programming. I use it with full range Xitone 112 cabinets in stereo that are powered. Honestly, the word amazing... Does not do it justice. I also have an RJM Mastermind GT 16 MIDI controller for the absolute Ultimate guitar rig! It does not matter what style of music you play, you cannot make a mistake when buying this unit... I've finally found heaven in my guitar sound... Everyone who hears it, freaks out at how good it sounds. I really recommend A Full Range cabinet. Once your ear learns how to shape guitar tones using a tweeter, you will never go back... Remember, this is how the audience hears it through a PA... Now you can have the same experience on stage without the sterile soulless sound of going through your normal monitors. The Kemper paired up with Xitone speakers are simply the best in my opinion. The compressor on this unit, the reverb and delay are all over the top and quality. But the amps are something that can hardly be described... They must be experienced, to be believed... It is the best!!!!!!
    I want to thank Tony at Sweetwater for his excellence and service. You can't go wrong with this company either.

  • from Ottawa Ontario June 17, 2014Music Background:
    Amateur Recording Engineer and Musician

    Kemper Profiler

    I rarely write reviews but I will make an exception here because I am so impressed. I have owned a number of mid-range modelling pedals by Boss, Line 6, Zoom, etc. I have also used the models extensively in Apple Logic Studio. To me, they were all pretty good - cetainly they all had strong and weak sounds. Adjusted correctly, they worked particularly well live though with all of them, I have struggled to get good sounds for recording. All of that changed with the Kemper . The others all sound like digital toys to me now - a huge surprise. Suddenly, it is easy to get high quality recordings. In fact, I can record songs now that were impossible before. There are still some sounds I like on my other pedals - so I have profiled them. Now they sound warmer and richer and are far more useable. Amateur, hobbyist or professional, in my opinion, if you are serious about sound, there is no other choice. Amazing technology.

  • from Boca Raton, FL USA May 23, 2014Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Musician

    AMAZING ... A++++++

    Like many musician, I've tried over a dozen of amp simulators, effects and all ..... Including the popular fractal axe fx II and elevenrack
    To me this is a dream come true ..... IT REALLY CAPTURES THE SOUL OF AN AMP .... The big plus ... There's a huge library of amp profiles for this unit already ... Having the ability to load and try profiles from vintage amps from around the world is priceless... I personally own a Mesa boogie mark V head and 1/2 cab and it sounds identically after I profiled it

    One word ....... WOW

  • from Houston, TX April 7, 2014Music Background:
    Active Live/Studio Musician for 40 over Years

    Kemper Profiler is a Killer!

    I have been playing guitar for over 40 years and have had (and still do have) tons of gear. I originally bought the Kemper with the profiling in mind. Thinking I could capture some of the Amps I own as well as others I have access to.
    Well let me tell you, this thing does an excellent job of capturing an amps sound with it's particular settings. You may have to take several snapshots of an amp to capture it's different sounds ... clean, dirty, gain, etc. which will be saves as Profiles.
    Now, where the good stuff is is in the studio, you can't tell the difference between the Kemper and the original Amp in the mix, it's really that good.
    And for playing live it sounds so close to the original it's crazy and I'm just loving this piece of gear!!
    I'm even thinning out some of my gear because the Kemper sounds as good and doesn't need a lot of space like Amps do and now I'm finding myself playing through the Kemper almost all of the time.
    There are also profiles available online and some for sale through some studios who capture some incredible Amps (The Amp Factory) and they sound absolutely incredible.
    This is the best gear I've purchased in a very long time!!!!

  • from L.A. March 4, 2014Music Background:
    recording, performing, hobby

    unbelievable tones

    I've had mine for 6 months now and I've not grown tired a drop from this thing, it is so fun, it took me back to when I first started to learn to play, that's the inspiration it brings out. That inspiration has already improved my playing. Does it sound like the real amps, absolutely. although you might need to tweek a little to adapt to your amp/guitar/pickup setup in order to get a profile of your own amp to sound exactly like yours. Easy to learn the ropes though. That being said I've heard Mesa dual recs that didn't sound exactly like each other, that's the nature of amps, there's always gonna be variables, but the main important thing here is, the Kemper always sounds really good. Sometimes better than an original, once you dial it in and play with the cabs. One more thing don't neglect to use the internal studio eq it really dials your tone in to your liking in addition to the front tone knobs. Worth every penny to any guitar player of any level. I've gotten everything from clean tones like Pink floyd, lead tones like Eric Johnson, and high gain tones like the most hard core sounding metal/djent bands you've heard. It NAILS 5150 and 5150III! love it. Thanks Germany.

  • from Colorado November 17, 2013Music Background:

    Best home studio recording product to come around in 25 years!

    I've tried just about every product combination for recording guitar in a quiet home studio environment. The Kemper is an ingenious design offering true authenic guitar amp profiled sounds that, in my opinion, beat any of the modeling amps on the market. You don't have to play loud in your home to enjoy all of the classic amps of the world running at their sweet spot settings and its difficult for me to stop playing my guitar and walk away from it.. Thanks to Ryan Murphy at Sweetwater.

  • from Kennewick WA May 27, 2013Music Background:
    Song Writer

    Best piece of live and studio gear I own

    This thing is not so much a modeler as it is a profiler. I have a wall of Marshall's and have profiled them all now and while the trained ear can hear a difference it is very negligible.

    There is a website you can download about any popular or vintage amp to export into this unit and its like have any amp at your disposal. The ability to adjust the eq, again and noise gate on each is killer.

    I run this in stereo into SONAR using Two Notes for a cabinet simulator even though cabinet simulation is included in the unit. The built in effect are excellent.

    I also run it though a 100 watt class A slave amp with a quad of EL34s and the tone through a Marshall 1960BV is hammer of the Gods, never had such a complete rig in my 40 years of playing.

  • from Dublin, CA March 12, 2016Music Background:
    Former guitarist/vocalist of BOSTON

    Great tones, tough interface

    I've had my Kemper Rack now for well over a year. No question that you can get some very nice tones. I profiled my cranky Rockman XPR and even with the compression dialed in (which the manual tells you to turn off) the profile came out PERFECT. So good in fact, that I'll bet my ex-boss wouldn't recognize the difference between the Kemper and the real thing, except for the lack of 60-cycle hum! The community that's out there constantly profiling amps and combinations of guitars is incredible. So much variety. Really a great and vibrant community of contributors.

    Really my only complaint about the Kemper ecosystem is the lack of a full-featured PC/Mac editor/manager -- the Rig Manager in my experience is mostly designed for picking up new tones from the community. There is some ability to arrange Performances. The manual is frustratingly light on detail. It's definitely a work in progress, lagging well behind the amazing technology of the amp. There is an Alpha-version of a 3rd party editor called "Toaster" which seems to work (thank you 3rd party!) but bringing this all into the Rig Manager would be the right solution.

  • from August 13, 2016

    Great Unit, Falls Short of Guitar Panacea

    Although I think the Kemper is an excellent tool for guitarists, I don't agree with reviewers who claim that the unit "sounds identical to, or even better than any tube amp, and therefore replaces all existing amps, speakers, and effects units". Instead, I think the Kemper is a convenient tool for practicing, jamming, and sketch recording. Let's start with a few hard truths about guitar amps; they're loud, fragile, expensive, unreliable, and at best, sound good on a handful of settings. The average tube amp cannot hope to match the versatility or convenience of the Kemper. I myself have been perpetually dissatisfied with most every amp I have ever used, and wanted a quick and easy solution to the never-ending quest for great tone. I had the highest hopes for the Kemper, and wanted the cycle of anticipation and disappointment associated with guitar gear and tone to finally end with a single purchase. One of the most amazing and infuriating things about guitar tone is how unique a single guitar or amp can sound, and how elusive a particular tone can be to recapture. For some time I have been trying to recreate a sound I used for some recordings a few years ago; unfortunately, the amp I was using at the time blew up and nothing I have tried since comes close to that tone. Obviously the Kemper has a huge advantage over traditional amps when it comes to consistently recreating a signature sound. If I had used the Kemper to make that tone, I wouldn't ever have a problem recreating it live or in the studio. The current problem however, is that the Kemper just can't nail that sound either. In attempting to recapture that sound, I downloaded profiles of the same amp I used from the rig exchange and tweaked every parameter I could think of. I compared the tones side by side and used analyst plug-ins to try and match the exact fingerprint of that original sound; nothing worked. Conventional amps are physical objects and for better or worse, have peculiarities that make them slightly different from an identical model. In a world where guitarists are trying to build a unique identity and an instantly recognizable signature sound, real amps are still superior for crafting a one-of-a-kind tone. Since I bought the Kemper, I have accepted the reality that no one unit can nail every sound, and that the search for great tone is integral to writing and performing music on guitar. With that said, here are a few observations on the strengths and weaknesses of the Kemper, and anecdotes on Kemper related topics:
    99.99% of all Kemper profiles suck; fortunately, there are thousands of profiles available.
    Commercial profiles available for purchase from "The Amp Factory" and others are complete garbage and sound nothing like the online samples; total rip-off, stay away.
    In my opinion, the factory profiles are all effects-laden junk; I deleted all the factory profiles from my unit.
    The built-in effects are mediocre.
    There is a midrange "notch" that exists in every Kemper profile I have ever heard; no amount of tweaking or cabinet switching can eliminate it.
    There is no software editor for the Kemper, making even light tweaking tedious and time consuming.
    The Kemper can produce many usable tones with very low noise and very high sound quality.
    Recording with the Kemper is extremely convenient.
    All of the best Kemper profiles can be downloaded from the Rig Exchange for free.
    The Kemper possesses many flexible sound-shaping tools that can help you get the tone you need.
    You can practice late at night through headphones with great sound.

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