So it arrived earlier this week.
I'm slightly miffed because it seems the unit has been used. There are some settings not factory default and the floor board was opened. On the bright side there are no marks, even the foil is still on the screens. So it won't stop me from enjoying it. But I'll be having words with the store for making me pay full price for an open box.
Cabling everything and getting it all in place took a bit of doing. I had to switch a lot of stuff to make switching between the kemper and the fuchs easy. The katana serves as power stage for the kemper now. Getting sound took a bit of doing because the monitor out was disabled.. Sigh. So the first evening I had pretty much was over getting to this point.
I finally had room to play with it today.
Holy... I might have been wrong for years.. Let me talk about a couple of things..
The age shows. It's a simple as that. If you see how smooth the helix workflow is this interface is just years behind. But that said, once you get the logic it isn't difficult or in the way. Where the pod500 as a pain in the ass to setup without the software the kemper works perfectly fine. Assigning footswitch buttons is easy as pie. The biggest things I've run into is that sometimes you have to hold buttons to do what you'd think pressing would do and the other way around. Turning off the amp section feels like it should be a hold and settings a press. But it's the other way around.
Browsing through profiles and effects is where it shows its age worst. No great tree to go through but a lot of knob spinning.
I'll be happy when the new rig manager hits though by that time I probably found my sounds.
After loading a pack of the kemper site I got 291 rigs. That's a huge lot to get through and honestly it's impossible to listen to all of them really well.
I did find a bunch that I liked instantly. And I didn't like a lot either. Some are just not the sound I'm looking for or made for humbuckers. Some would need eq on the amp to work for me.
But with the ones that work.. They're responsive, they feel great, they sound great.. In one the definition setting made it from a bit tinny sound to a really lovely full clean sound. It's going to take me a while to get through all of them and find my spot. Usually I don't use a whole bucketload of sounds but a nice clean, crunch, gain and lead sound is fine. I've found more then one of all of them.
There's pro's and cons to having so much presets to work with. On the one hand it's part of the journey to get to know your amp and balance between the channels. On the other hand.. Just getting an amp on its optimal setting for that one sound and then enjoying the hell out of it is a huge gain.
I haven't really gotten to effects except where they're setup in rigs. I haven't heard anything that offends my ears and it seems to me that there are enough blocks to work with for any sound that I could want. If I want a lot of pedals for a sound I'll just make it a seperate rig. While I think helix has better real world versions of pedals that each react differently with each amp and guitar combination it seems that Kemper has done a great job of getting the essence of an effect. If you select a fuzz or boost that's exactly what you're getting. While you might lose out on the character of a timmy or ep boost I don't think it's a huge loss. And there still are profiles that include pedals like that. So all in all I'm happy so far.
Conclusion for now..
If I hadn't been burned with the pod500 I might've given the Kemper a chance sooner. For now I have to conclude that it exactly does what it says in the folder and I was wrong to avoid profiling for so long. With the amps I've bought over the time looking to find my sound I could've bought a kemper much sooner. Even though it was still a pricey affair to get it.
I kept all the boxes in order so I could return it but if this keeps up I'll be putting up the fuchs for sale in no-time.
PS, I now get what you marshall people are going on about. I just lost an hour to a silver julibee profile..