The Kemper Profiling Amplifier is far and away one of the biggest game changers for my home studio. Instead of recording big loud guitars amps and hoping the cops don't show up, I can dial up any tone I want from a motherload of amps and effects. This even makes me practice more because I love to make my own custom profiles!
Kemper Profiling Amp (non powered)
I have been playing guitar 25+ years and this is buy far the best decision I have made. Get one, They are amazing.
Sell all your Amps, this will be the last piece of gear youll ever need, WOW This thing is incredible!
Believe the hype -- Worth every cent!
This is truly a piece of magic guitar technology. The factory profiles are amazing, and the Rig Manager (which you can use to find the perfect rig) is incredibly easy to use and user-friendly.
The entire process of hooking it up to record with was shockingly simple, and I was able to find a tone that I loved in no time. I can't wait to start profiling my collection, but even the tones that I found on the Rig Exchange and the factory tones were mind-blowing.
I genuinely have nothing negative to say about the KPA. It will change your guitar-playing game. Buy it. Period.
So I never post reviews on anything I but I feel compelled to after buying this gear. However I will not get into technical details.
First of all I've always been a player the evolves with time starting with the Digitech GSP7..... Let's just say technology has come a long way since then. I currently own a pod hd500 and an eleven rack and both very good units.... They by no way touch the Kemper.
First this is processing power, having the ability to run direct to foh and have an amp on stage both at the same time is ground breaking. With the previous two units you just had to deal with it. With the Kemper you get both outputs sounding exactly the same without having to find work arounds etc etc.
Now, profile vs modeling.
Profiling an amp vs somebody's interpretation and eqing with cab sims are totally different. Like I said, I'm not getting into tech details.... I'm just saying the picking reaction of a profile is much different than model. The breakup is unparalleled and cleaning up the gain by backing off the volume, no prob. Like I've said, this thing is pretty much beyond words.
I personally haven't profiles any of my amps yet as I have no real reason to. This thing ships with 300+ profiles that sound killer right out of the box. You may have to tweak the eq a bit depending on how your amplifying it. But that's it.... Where as pods etc etc all factory patches are pretty much unusable garbage. You will dig it I promise.
And one last thing. I believe Kemper was first manufactured in 2011. It's now 2016 and they are still producing the same physical units that they have been since the inception. That to me as a buyer mean a lot. Line 6 and now Avid are becoming Devils about making their product line obsolete after a few years. KPA does a great job on offering sys updates. And it doesn't happen very often which tells me they have it all together over there in Germany.
Anyway, long story short.... After spending nearly 2 grand on this, I expected buyers remorse, however this has not happened. I'm only loving it more and more and constantly finding out new things about it.
Do yourself a favor and take the plunge you won't regret it!
Oh and I forgot about the Arsenal of onboard effects!
Kemper rules the rock world
I won't go on about the zillions of amps I have. Being a pro studio we have accumulated over
50 go to amps, heads, and cabs. I would bring a band in for initial session and they would either bring their own gear or grab several of our rigs from a stock room. They might go through 5 -10 combinations to start.then they would get other amps,caps etc....finally they land on what they like. They would ask if we had this amp or that amp...it became a process that made session time tick away without any progress.
NOW the Kemper enters the studio......I say...dial in an amp to try, even if you never had or played it.
After. 3 minutes they find and amp and can they love....they tweak a few details and they are blown away.
How about morphing two amps into one super amp....done!
The Tracks that they make are so much better than the many hours we would waste messing with different Mics and their locations etc. I now use the kemper exclusively because it yields a superior sonic result.
I can save the amps create by the musician and use it over and over again when they need more tracks.
Kemper sounds exactly like the amp they want with one exception.....through the Kemper they can make the amp do things it could not do in an analogue domain. (Add sag, pick articulation , compression,etc)
The effects built in are completely pro level and easy to tweak. The whole Kemper unit is designed for
Fast and simple editing....I never read the manual and I never skipped a beat. We track directly into Protools dry and wet simultaneously....it's a recording studio dream.
Played through a powered PA it really shines...the sound is organic and supernatural
Gigs are so easy now...I just bring the Kemper loaded with my amps rig setups for each song and
Use a floor midi controller to make the changes. No big pedal board, no heavy cabs and heads to drag
Into the venue....I almost feel like I'm cheating..just showing up with my lunch box and a bag of cables, and a guitar. I just lost 200 pounds of rig I don't need! The tap into the SE board is trouble free and is
Always given praise from the sound engineer.
So in general,,,,this future device is available today....it delivers all the right checks
---Sounds better than my live rig
---Easier to create amazing profiles of our own rig
---Obtain profiles of historic and impossible to get amps and cabs and use they for recording and live ------performance
---huge open source of free and low cost profiles to add to my sonic Arsenal
Anyway....I sold a couple of my boat anchor amps to finance this baby and it is worth every penny!
Do yourself a favor....you practice your craft long and hard...you deserve to have the best soumd
Meets the hype
Couldn't be happier
Kemper Profiling Amplifier
I have been really impressed by the sound of this Kemper Profiling Amp! I always hear how good something sounds on the internet only to be disappointed when I try it out at home. But not with the Kemper. It sounds fantastic! I couldn't be happier with my purchase!
best guitar product ever!!!!!
Every guitar player should have this!once you get this its worth the money.
Owned 2 years
I can honestly say this is THE coolest piece of equipment I've ever owned. It does take work to set it up and to tweak the sounds you want. There is a tremendous amount of options, effects, and it will take you a while to really get comfortable with it. I've never messed with profiling as there are thousands (I think I have 6000 available at this time) sounds and I guarantee you can find many you'll use. If you are looking to get a great sound live (without having to screw with a mic, space, multiple cables, amps, speakers, etc.) this is the ultimate.
1)Plan on spending the time to make it yours. There is a lot to it, but it is a bad (as in good) piece of equipment.
2) These units are suceptable to power problems. Consider buying some small UPS to plug it into. Mine is finicky and can take a long time to reset if a black out occurs. If live, you must have UPS.
3) Understand not every profile will suit your style or need and your ear will get tired listening to all that is available. Be patient, take your time, and rock on.
4) Be prepared to have a new sound guy hate you at first...and then come over to find out more once ithe first set is over....They love it. Very controllable and consistant...especially with digital boards where they simply memorize your settings.
Finally what I've been looking for
I've been searching for the perfect tone for years, trying multiple tube amps, a wealth of software and hardware guitar simulators, and while these got me close to what I wanted, they always forced me to compromise, either on tone or volume. The Kemper removed all these compromises and gives me such flexibility, I don't think I can turn back to anything else. It is quite honestly the best sounding piece of gear I've owned and it packs it all into such a well-designed package. If you have the resources, get one ASAP!
Amazing piece of gear!!! Another great buying experience!
Literally the best gear purchase I have made in the last 2 decades! The Kemper Profiling Amp is, in a word, amazing. From the ability to create a true digital recreation of my own tube amps and take them anywhere in the world in something that fits in a carry-on sized bag, to an all around recording solution, it is just incredible. I have been running it live with my ISP Stealth (also from Sweeteater) and my own 2x12 cab live. Still running direct to FOH. Sound guys love it and the tone is consistent. Very easy learning curve as well. Literally "plug and play"!
This is a computer dedicated to sound manipulation. I have been a professional musician since 1962. I have been a computer scientist since 1987.
You want a sound? Its here. You want to capture a sound you have, you can and perfectly. But you will find sounds, STEREO sounds that you have never dreamed of. A Kemper foot pedal is due out anytime.
Awesome Amp - really user friendly
I have used both the Fractal and now the Kemper. Both are very good, but the Kemper allows me to grab a knob and tweak on the fly if needed. The fractal is much more difficult and takes much more menu shuffle to tweak. I find using it live, I can just reach out and tweak vol, tone, etc as needed just like a regular amp. Makes it much more user friendly. And the tone, awesome and very "real" sounding. Highly recommend it...
Completely blown away with this amp - the feel is what sets this apart from modelers. I love playing a profile from an AC30. I can pick lightly and get a clean sound and then really dig in to get a crunch tone just like on a real amp. I can roll off the volume and it cleans up as well. All the profiles I've tried sound amazing (I got quite a few from The Amp Factory). I haven't tried the profiling processe yet, but I'm going to profile my MarkBass amp and a few of my friends' Marshall, Fender, Vox, and Carvin amps. My sound person told me that he can tell a huge difference in my tone as well. Due to not being able to use a tube amp on stage, I have been using Line6 modelers, the 500HD being the one that I have replaced with this Kemper. I use the Behringer FCB1010 with a EurekaPROM chip to control it and I have control over everything I need live. I treat it like a regular amp and run a BB Pre & a BBE Sonic Stomp in front of it. I have only scratched the surface.
Simply Great....... NEVER LOOKING BACK:)
I have played for approx 25 years.I have had my Kemper for about 2 months. I was pretty impressed at first but after purchasing profiles and downloading profiles from the rig exchange, I have just been blown away. NOTE: I DID THIS WITHOUT READING THE MANUEL. IT IS SO SO EASY TO USE.I have owned every amp out there. It seems like it anyway. I even custom ordered a Mesa Tremoverb once and I It was my best sounding Mesa. As far as Tubes go I will always love a good Fender amp. I have always been attracted to the so called "amp and effects all in one box" I have owned ALOT of Line 6 stuff and NEVER been satisfied. I have played for about five years Rocktron products and been pretty satisfied. Yes there were always elements missing but I didnt have to deal with amp problems. I will leave that alone and get to the Kemper. I bought the Kemper, took it home read a few pages of the manuel and enough with that, I had to plug this jewel in. This box may look intimidating but this very well may be one of the easiest most logical musical products I have EVER purchased. I swear I have not plugged back into my rocktron gear!!! THATS TESTIMONY ENOUGH. I HONESTLY FEEL THAT THIS UNIT CAN GET ANY SOUND. The Kemper is SO SO sensitive to what guitar your using meaning that the profiles react different to a Strat or my Suhr or my Les Paul. NOTE DEFINITION IS ALL THERE. I LOVE IT. The Kemper is so versatile. I feel about my Kemper like I do my Iphone. my next cell phone will simply be the next generation Iphone. My next amp will simply be the next Kemper. HOW CAN KEMPER IMPROVE THIS? I will end on this...... Does it totally replace amps? NO WAY. I dont think the Kemper crew wants that necessarily. As far as recording and live sound THIS IS IT FRIEND.
Want one bad... Need that 24 months no interest!
I've heard three of these and played through one of them.
Makes my POD HD500x whimper. The HD is still okay, but nothing like this for feel. Felt like an old trusty tube'r... effects were very functional.
My card is waiting for that 24 months same as cash like most of the other stuff at Sweetwater. :(
Like many of the other reviewers, I've traveled the modeler route for a number of years before arriving at the Kemper. I started with the Line 6 Pod 2.0 about 12 years ago and continued to upgrade to their latest offering up until the HD500. The sound was decent, but I preferred my Marshall tube heads or my Vox AC30. I explored the Axe-Fx II route but decided on pulling the trigger on the Kemper after a couple months of research. I feel like I'm on a forever honeymoon with this little toaster! The Kemper forum is really helpful on troubleshooting, tips, and trading profiles.
Note: I highly recommend downloading the latest firmware update from the Kemper site.
What an incredible piece of gear!!
This is THE best piece of guitar gear I have ever bought. I have wasted a lot of money on modeling stuff and none of it was any good! The Kemper profiler in not expensive... when you consider what you get. I started with a Gibson amp in the early 60's and Fenders in the later 60's. These amps and many more are available through what the Kemper people provide and the sharing community. For the most part the shared amps are pretty darn good and there are other profiles out there that you can purchase. Look around on youtube.. There are top notch professional musicians out there that are simply blown away by this. That's what convinced me to take the plunge and fork over the cash. Don't be fooled by its size! The amp sound I have been able to get out of this has simply blown me away!!! I only hope it is durable but so far I'm impressed with the build quality too... OK, I'll stop slobbering now.... ha ha..
I've only had it for a few weeks but am really digging it so far. Some of the rigs are amazing. Which means others aren't so much but then not every one likes the same amp tones. It feels great to play. I can see how someone may feel like it isn't quite the same as playing through an amp in the same room. For me, I usually am playing in a control room with the amp miced up in another room so it pretty much captures the same feel.
An apartment player's dream
This thing is perfect for anyone who wants to record in an apartment setting. S/PDIF will let you bypass mediocre a/d conversion.
There are some ridiculously cool amp profiles floating around the web, free for the taking.
Love my Kemper
I have played guitar for 43 years. I must say the Kemper amp is the best sounding peace of gear i have ever used . At home with headphone it is incredible, At a gig, it was inspirational. I never before spent that much money on a amp, so I was a bit concerned. I had to sell off my pedals to afford it But for me it is the best money I ever spent and worth every penny. The amps are the right volume's and ready to use right out of the box..I took the unit to a gig a week after i had it , plug into the P.A. and used the monitors.with no amp onstage, It worked great. I am very happy I bought the Kemper.
Can this be real?
I cannot imagine how many amps have gone through my possession in the last 4 decades of playing...now I have them all back! This thing really does capture tube guitar amps. Goodbye to my Avid Eleven. Yes, even goodbye to my Suhr Badger (gulp). I am a believer. It is addictive...I want to play 'til my fingers hurt like when I was a kid. And, the effects are superb. Goodbye stomp boxes. Reverb is studio quality.
Kemper is Awesome!!!
Can't say enough. I'm a tube snob, even to the point of searching out rare tubes to replace in my Fender and Marshall amps to change the tone and get different sounds. I was very hesitant as a friend of mine that plays metal kept saying how great the Kemper was that he got. My first thought was: Yeah great for Metal, but what about Progressive Rock, Blues and Jazz? (which is what I'm into). So I played around with his for a few hours and thought wow this thing does sound pretty good. I made the leap, picked up a Yamaha DXR10 for FRFR speaker and I'm selling all my amps. I can't believe how great it sounds. I play in a modern worship band and out and about for various gigs. Can't even say how much I love this little puppy. It's also great to hear other professional players on the forum talk about giving up their boutique and classic amps for gigging because of the control amazing tone coming out of the Kemper.
The last amp I'll ever need
Bought the Kemper from Sweetwater in February. Best purchase I ever made for guitar. I've owned many modeling devices over the years, including the best alternative to date, the Pod HD500. I liked the Pod, but this thing is miles beyond it, no comparison. I've always needed the ability to get good amp tone at low volumes, as I'm primarily a church musician these days. Prior to this advice, every digital modeler I used always left something to be desired. Not with the Kemper. I've never had tone this good before, even compared to having owned many tube amps and boutique pedal. The thing is, this machine totally captures EVERY nuance of the profiled amp, so you can have the tone that someone spent tweaking for hours with the best mics, preamps, ect. forever, except now useable at any volume. Better yet, once captured you can do things to it with the innovative controls that are impossible with a real amp. For example, a good amp cleans up as you pick softer and back your guitar's volume off. If you back your guitar's volume too much, you'll lose too much volume to make it practical. However, with the built in compressor WITHIN the amp section, you can make it so that as you back off your guitar's volume, the amp still cleans up, but you don't lose as much volume. Since it's a knob, you can compensate just a little bit or a lot. This allows even a single profile to be more versatile than any real amp could be. There are so many other musical ways that your basic tone can be tweaked, they aren't gimmicks they are real professional tools. The built in effects are also very musical and hold there own against the best. (I previously owned a TC electronic G system prior to this and the Kemper's effects are in that quality range- and I loved my G system)
It's not the staggering number of sounds available, with thousands of free shared profiles on the Kemper web or the parameters that you can adjust. It's the musical, dimensional vibe that you can only get through a tube amp. Digital technology has finally caught up with the tube amp. Pair this with a quality powered PA speaker like the Yamaha dxr10 or QSCk10 and you'll never miss playing through a real amp again. Best yet, capture your best sound and have the ability to use it at more reasonable volumes.
If that's not enough, you can actually turn off the Cab modeling and run this thing through a real guitar cab. All you need is something to power your guitar cab with, any regular guitar amp with an effects loop will do this just fine, just plug the Kemper into the effects return jack. Actually it works the best through a solid state amp! If that's not enough, with several outputs, you can send a signal to the house with the cab modeling on, while sending a signal with the cab turned off in another output for your traditional guitar cab.
Best yet, this thing continues to get firmware upgrades. Recently, they added all sorts of pitch effects, and there are other things in the works, such as an integrated looper within the upcoming dedicated foot controller. For now, any standard midi board works fine. You can even use your old Pod or other multieffects device to control this thing, as they can send midi.
The ONLY negative. If you plug it in to garbage it might not sound that good. This isn't a flaw, as if you record something with your real amp amp play it back through $5 earbuds purchased at 711, it's not going to sound pretty. So plan on investing in a quality powered PA speaker (the best option) or use your favorite guitar cab powered by something. (or buy the powered version of the Kemper. Using a PA speaker is the most authentic option, as a Twin Reverb profile will sound different with the original open back 2x12 cab turned off and played through your Marshall 1960, for example.
Other likes: Amazing noise gate, no noise cutting in and out. I've forgotten what noise is. Amazing support community and documentation. Light and portable. No sacrifice recording direct. Best sound you could possibly get for your recordings, better than anything you're going to mic up yourself. But if you do, you can capture every nuance of that sound and dial it up the next day of tracking (after you've moved your mics and tore down for the day) or years later. Except now you have that sound direct!
I need about 4 basic sounds to gig: clean, voxish, crunch, and mesa modern. Even without downloading any rigs, I pretty much found exactly what I needed. I've been looking for something that I could use in my current project (weird hybrid of techno and rock) without having to drag a heavy amp to the show. My usual pedal board is pretty basic (whammy, compressor, dist+, chorus/flange), with this amp, all I need is a ground control and an expression pedal, I can even emulate my mesa lead boost with an X EQ or a Pure Boost (I like the X eq a bit better). I updated the firmware to 1.8 so I could get the whammy and now You Make Me Feel has all the crunch it needs without the Digitech sucking tone while it's in the loop... wow! I just got the silly thing yesterday and I'm pretty much ready for rehearsal tomorrow, it's really easy to set up and the amps are just amazing. I plan on profiling my favorite Vox, Marshall's and Mesa's this weekend. Instead of lugging my 100 lb Roadster to the gig, I can put this sucker in a gig bag and carry my whole setup in one load with the added benefit of no too loud amps on stage to p*** off the club owner. YAY Beer!
The Kemper can profile amps and any lagging in the quality has to do with an imperfect profiling process by the profiler.
There are free and commercially available (Amp Factory) "rigs" which are profiled amps and their effects chain tweaked in the Kemper that make for such a huge variety, you have more amps than professional studios at your fingertips.
Setup is a breeze. Takes minutes. Profiling is a breeze. Takes minutes. This EQUALS more PLAY time as a Musician, and the Engineer in you can take a break.
Kemper has finally achieved the level of Amp parity that the digital world has been seeking for decades.
In Summary, few pieces of gear have made me truly happy and smiling for weeks and months on end. The Kemper continually makes me go "WOW" since my brain expects a large head and stack, or expensive Boutique Amp, and it all comes in a device no larger than a Lunch Box.
The One To Beat
I've owned every serious modeler out there: POD HD Pro, Eleven Rack, Axe-Fx Ultra and Axe-Fx II, and while all of them do some things very well, none of them can do what this unit can. When they say it captures the soul of an amp, they're not kidding. But the secret of all of it is to have great profiles to start with. This unit is Garbage In, Garbage Out. You capture a profile poorly or use someone else's poorly captured profile, and you're going to have a bad time.
But with some amazing free and commercially available profiles out there for the having, this unit will out perform the competition on the amp tone front. My first adventure was to download a profile for free (which I eventually gave a donation for) of a Friedman Marshall. Instant Van Halen Unchained tone. Stunningly close. Never got that close before even with the big boy competition. Just awesome. Took literally 15 minutes from turning the unit on until I had that tone, including the time it took to learn how to use the box.
I even made some profiles of one of my Mesa amps that floored me. Sounds identical to the real deal, and it's not difficult to do so long as you know how to properly mic an amp.
The effects, while somewhat limited in quantity, are of awesome quality. I was afraid that I would be left wanting, but it honestly has more than I really need. So easy to tweak in with the front panel knobs. I initially balked at the layout, but once I got to using it, it all made perfect sense. It is an exercise in great UI design.
This is the first modeler (profiler) that I've used that actually feels like a real amp. Even the Axe-Fx II was missing that last little something. This has it.
Kemper profiling amp
If you are looking for a portable powerhouse of real amp sounds look no further than the kemper. It is really cool when you hook it up to a couple of speakers (even computer speakers because it sounds great. Very clean with no hum or other background noise. This eliminates the need for a big amp combo. I have also ran it through my line 6 spider amp and you can combine the sounds for tons of cool tones. Thumbs up whether you play clean or heavy. You will spend a lot of time jamming!
IT REALLY IS THAT GOOD (but make sure you get more profiles)
I have had almost every famous amp out there and am a tone freak. I have hated every other attempt to model amps up until this little guy. I will say it is not 100% but probably 96% there. I run a commercial studio and have major label credits to my name and in the 4 months I have had this I have mic'd up an amp twice, and both times still ended up using the Kemper tracks over the mic'd tracks. I have sold a few amps now and still have a few for those times where I may want to do some crazy micing with multiple mics and what not, but honestly this thing can do whatever you need it to do.
I will say however that the built in profiles are pretty good but I was not blown away until I started profiling my own amps and really seeing how close it is. I have found my favorite profiles are the ones I have purchased from the amp faktory. I do have a few I use from the user base but the amp faktory stuff has everything you really need.
They need to develop a midi based on screen editor for your computer however because trying to manage a 1000 profiled amps on the little built in screen is a waste of time. That will come in time though.
Buy it if you can afford it and you will not be disappointed.
Lives up to hype and exceeds expectations!
If you're looking at this, you are probably skeptical like I was about whether or not the unit can actually do what so many claim it can do... whether it can legitimately sound just like the amp it is profiling.
Let me ease your doubt and tell you emphatically YES!! This has been one of the truly FEW products I've bought that not only lived up to the insane amount of hype but shattered my expectations of "close but not quite".
I am a HUGE tone freak and obsess over even the smallest nuances but this unit has 100% impressed me. Not only does it faithfully capture the tone and FEEL of a cranked tube amp, its controls allow you to manipulate and tweak the sound in ways that the actual amp would not. This lets you, dare I say, improve upon the existing amp's abilities in a recording environment.
With a full featured effects selection, built in re-amping capability and plenty of professional quality profiles available for either free or for a small cost online, the possibilities are near limitless.
Axe FX II Gone & the Kemper Black KPA Way Lives On!
I have waited a couple of months to do this review to be certain that I was not in the Honeymoon Stage of acquiring this new gear. In a word this piece of equipment is STELLAR! I sold the Axe FX II before getting the KPA. I was tired of constantly tweaking to achieve acceptable tone. I do not regret that sale. With the Kemper right out of the box I was able to get that guitar tone that I have been chasing for decades & have spent $1000's of dollars on. With very little tweaking the Kemper tone is flat out amazing. I have never been an amp man so I cannot tell you if it sounds just like the amp that it has profiled. What I can tell you is that the pick response & the way it cleans up with the volume knob is amazing. It excels in every area. From Clean, Crunch, Drive, & High Gain, all sound fantastic. The effects and stomp pedals are excellent as well. It seems like a lot of buttons & lights on the front panel, but this is one of the most intuitive pieces of equipment that I have ever used. With just 2, 3, or 4 simple tweaks I am in tone heaven. Those tweaks take only a couple of minutes to make & then the fun begins. Time spent playing the guitar & not tweaking. I have been a playing / giging guitarist for 47 years, been a sound engineer, recording engineer, singer, & song writer & I can confidently say that my quest for guitar tone is finally over. I have the Kemper & it will only get better with free firmware updates. Do yourself a favor & put an end to your search for guitar tone. Buy the Kemper now! You won't be sorry. Also, Sweetwater rocks! Dan Van Amerongen is the best! Super Fast Shipping. Excellent Customer Service. Sweetwater has earned my continued business!
PS: I have not even profiled with this unit. There is no need because of all of the free profiles inside the Kemper, free profiles on the Kemper rig exchange, & there are awesome profiles to purchase through the Kemper forum. This KPA is truly THE game changer. Axe FX II Gone & The KPA Way Lives On!
Above and beyond anything else out there.
I was skeptical. Really skeptical but I unpacked it, plugged it in, updated the operating system from the kemper website and scrolled through the 200 plus amp profiles that come with the unit...
It sounds, feels and plays EXACTLY like the amps that are profiled. I don't mean "almost there" like most modelers, I mean EXACTLY!
I've had a AC30 for years, no difference between my AC30 and the AC30 Profiles in the Kemper. I then downloaded from the Kemper website some new profiles to try out and found the LEGACY amps of Steve Vai fame...again WOW!
Everything else is a cheap toy now. There is absolutely no unit out there that can beat the Kemper. I really don't think the sound can even be improved on as there is absolutely no difference between the Kemper and the real amps it profiles.
Needless to say, my new album is being entirely recorded with this.
This is the first piece of gear I've ever wrote a review on. The KPA will forever change this industry. It is the first non-processed sounding pre-amp that actually sounds like a real tube amp. It even acts like a real amp when you turn your guitar volume down. STomps are incredible.
very happy with it. I also got the foot controller from the website and they go hand in hand very well. Going out stereo with stereo effects is the way for me :-)
Because I use in ears most of the time at my church it's a wonderful experience. This is from me spending thousands on pedals, a nice boutique amp, and sound man loves me more to. I get a lot of sounds from ampfactory, and use it in the studio a lot. Easy to carry, no hernias from moving heavy amps and all around thrilled. .5 star minus would be a little more easier interface and option to use multiple delays, reverbs. The onboard pedals aren't the best for the distortions. They should profile boutique pedals and have a one stop shop.
This Unit is Amazing. I love that I can have basically any amp that I want at the flick of a switch. I take this thing over to friends houses and profile their amps! Being a songwriter for various styles I need a lot of different tones. Its nice to be able to play a nice country tone on a Dr Z and then start playing some punk rock with a JCM 900 and Dual Rectifier. Its super easy to add on more tones from the community on kempers website. super hard to delete them. What i mean by that is that you dont want to delete them! However, the more amps you have on it, the longer it takes for it to start up. I use this amp alot for songwriting as well as Reamping in my studio. It has brought new life to many mixes. The reason that I gave this 4.5 stars is that there is no software to manage your amps yet. Naming amps and filling in all the information takes forever! If they could make a software that can hook up to the kemper via usb and let you edit with a keyboard, this would save so much time! Also they previewed the new power amp for the kemper at Namm and to be honest i think its super steep price wise (700$) Ill just stick with a regular 1U power amp. Sounds great in the studio or live.
I have owned the AxeFx Ultra and AxeFx 2. *For me* the Kemper is better. I'm not a tweaker. Not interested in scrolling thru menus, downloading the latest firmware every 2 weeks etc.
If I want to adjust the treble, I reach down and adjust the treble. No scrolling thru 3-5 menus to get there.
To my ears, the Kemper sounds better. Much more amp like. The Kemper makes me want to play.
Why not 5 stars? It's not 100% done yet. No foot controller on the market from Kemper. The "perform" feature isn't active yet. The effects are not quite as good as the AxeFx, but they're good enough for me. [all I need].
Great Studio Tool
I've been working with this unit for 5 days now. I had ordered a reamping unit from my sales rep because my amp plugs were not getting me what I needed for recording and he mentioned the KPA to me and I gave it a shot.
First off I have to say that the amps that come with it did not do much for me. I went to the amp factory and downloaded many more models. After that I was happily blazing through the presets spending a lot of time on the Bogner Goldfinger model because I own a Bogner and I love his sound.
This is the first modeler I've heard that really gets the harmonic structure of amps as well as getting those just breaking up sounds that are so hard to find. As I went through the CD I'm currently recording I was able to find the right amp sound for each part very quickly. I had been messing with amp plugins and they just weren't nailing it but the KPA did.
Then I hooked up the reamp device out of Pro Tool and started recording all my guitar tracks with the KPA. The fit in the mix is astounding to say the least and I'm finally comfortable with the guitar tracks. I saved the presest on the KPA to let me know which ones I used.
I haven't tried to model my own amps as I'm fine with what's in there (with the ampfactory models). All I can say is that it fixed up my recorded guitar parts with great sound. One thing that was cool is that as I reamped the parts back into Pro Tools I could control the gain on the Kemper in realtime so I did so on a few parts where I wanted the gain to drop a bit and then come back up. Worked like a charm.
It's a great tool for what I'm doing but it's expensive so you may try other things before you lay out for this.
Kemper with all the trimmings
If you're willing to spend some front end time setting up your profiles and you're willing to follow up this purchase with a decent power amp and flat response speakers you will be rewarded handsomely. I've been running it in stereo through a Peavey 60/60 (6L6 tubes) into two separate 1x12s with relatively flat response speakers (EVM12L and WGS Blackhawk). I've also run it through two Tech21 Power Engines with great results. Obviously the profiles are not going to sound exactly like a the real amps but they can be very very close. The KPA is allowing me to "demo" a lot of amps I might not have otherwise tried and has me seriously looking at buying an amp I would not have previously considered. It's small footprint and having a nice selection of effects on tap sealed the deal for me.
WOW Worth a try
I own over 50 guitar amplifiers, most are vintage from the 50's and 60's and a few are higher end boutique amps. I recently purchased my Kemper from Sweetwater. The amp comes with hundreds of profiles and several websites including the free user group offer downloadable profiles.
The unit performs as advertised... profiling versus modeling is BETTER! I've owned a Line 6 X3 Live pedal, a Line 6 HD 100, and other software based modelers... (Liquid, and Garage Band)... they are all good, but profiling is more authentic and simpler/more intuitive for the guitar player.
Running it through a PA with cabinet emulation on, or through a 4x12 HiWatt High output cabinet with a 1600 watt solid state power amp... both approached create tone and dynamics like the original amps... INCREDIBLE.
Read the web site to learn more about the features and tweak-ability. I'm unloading all my modeling gear, and looking forward to profiling my vintage amps to share with other Kemper users.
I wasn't sure what to think of the Kemper at first. Their demo videos released a few years ago didn't impress me all that much. I'd been an Axe-FX Ultra user for years, and I also ended up picking up an Axe-FX II when they were released. A few metal musicians I trust told me this was worth picking up, and they were absolutely right.
This unit is VERY easy to get great tones with right out of the box. There's a vast community of Kemper users making exceptional profiles and uploading them to the Rig Exchange site. It takes less than a minute to download a new profile, put it on a flash drive, and add it to your unit.
I quickly had an understand of tweaking and navigating. Despite the wide array of controls on the front, it was never overwhelming. There's an intuitive natural to the layout.
The absolute biggest advantage of this over the Axe-FX in my opinion is the dynamics. I really love my Axe-FX, but there's a slight lack responsiveness when picking lightly using high gain simulations. The Kemper really feels like the maintains that tube sponginess and response. It's pretty incredible.
The reason this is the 4 instead of a 5 is the way the power works. It takes roughly 45 to boot up fully. Even when I deleted most of the rigs in the unit, I was still looking at around 30 seconds. Also, when there's a quick power failure, they unit doesn't boot itself back up. The capacitors in the unit need to fully discharge, it needs to be switched off, then the power can be set to the on position again. If you're using this only as a studio tool, then you don't really care about that. For live use, that would really make me nervous.
These are things that can be fixed with firmware updates in the future. Kemper seems to really be on top of responding to the community for things like this. I'm absolutely hanging on to this. I can't wait to see how they improve it down the line.
Hit and miss for me
Ok, I'm sure I will catch some flack for being critical of this, but here's my experience with the Kemper:
-The profiling is incredibly accurate. It's very dynamic and responsive, behaving very much like the actual amps. Don't mistake that with forgiving though, if you put sub-par sounds in, you will get the same out. The sounds that are captured well are REALLY good. There are some clean tones that came on it that blew my mind.
-It seems to be built very well, I haven't heard any horror stories. All of the knobs feel solid.
-Being able to adjust your modulation and reverb/delay without going into the menus is a plus if you're using this live.
-The 3 light tuner that is always on, that's awesome, I love it.
- I think the unit as a whole is pretty cool looking.
-Ok, I read the manual, and I understand how to navigate it well enough, but it is not a simple piece of gear to use. The AxeFX II (although it had numerous tiny menus) was much easier to navigate than this.
-Performance mode, still not working. What's the hold up?
-No computer interface (why have a USB connection if we still have to put sound files on a USB flash drive, there is a port for this to connect via cable that is unusable at this point). Also, no software for editing on the computer. I'm sure the Kemper will improve with these things with time, but people have been saying that since it came out in 2011, and here we sit. Still waiting.
-Unless you have access to the amps you want, chances are someone else's profile will never sound right to you. At this point, you are relying on someone else to capture sounds for you.
-On every high gain or modern amp I've gone through (50-60), the gain knob should be labeled "Fuzz."
-I wouldn't rate the effects as great. They do the job of the effect they should, but they are far from great. I noticed especially that the overdrives had almost no adjustment...
I guess I was expecting something a little different, and I hate to compare this to the Axe FX II, but that's just what seems to be happening.
So, if you are trying to decide between the two, know what you want most from your gear. The Kemper will be just awesome for you if you have access to a lot of amps you love, but do not want to put wear and tear on them, because you can capture all of those tones and take them anywhere on this thing!
But, if you're wanting to create new tones and unique combinations of amps, if you're an effects junkie, if you want something that is continually and rapidly being updated and improved, something that does a vast majority of things incredibly well, I would point you towards something from Fractal Audio.
Or you could go back to basics like I'm doing and go get some tube amps, analog effects, real speaker cabs, and crank those suckers!
I had both the Axe II and the Kemper. The kemper, although it sounded good, had a low fi, mid range bumped kind of sound. The Axe II in comparison was much more hi-fi. There wasn't a thing the Kemper could do the Axe II couldn't so I sold the Kemper. Nice unit for those who just want vanilla sounds though.
The profiling thing is a unique approach to modeling. I also own a Pod HD500, an Eleven Rack and an Axe-Fx II. The Kemper is the best of the bunch after the Axe-Fx II. The Kemper has a slight cocked-wah thing going on and an exaggerated low-end. The Axe-Fx II is more accurate and more realistic sounding.
Effects are okay but nothing to write home about. Reverb is terrible. Eleven Rack and Axe-Fx II have better effects.