will kemper kill amp gas?

mirage2101

Well-Known Member
#1
So you all know I have a bad case of amp GAS. I can go without buying new guitars for years and years but amps..
Man..

I'm selling my les paul and HX effects this weekend. I still have some pedals and honestly I don't NEED anything. Between the fuchs with a drive and delay pedal and the katana I'm set for all sounds.

But amp gas..

I can go two ways.. Get the helix LT as an upgrade for the hx. I know the effects are good and I could run the pre-amp models in my other stuff. That'll give me a nice list of amps to work with when I get the itch but it's still a limited list.

Or I can just bite the bullet and get a kemper. (Potentially selling other stuff if it's as good as people say).
There are a couple of things that worry me about the kemper that might very well be solved now.
- are the build in effects good enough? I imagine I don't need much drives with all the high gain profiles. And I still have the buffalo evolution fx. I'm not a heavy fx user but I might want to use some ambient wash sounds. If I can I'd rather just use the kemper without a board.
- I get that if you profile an amp it's exactly the amp at that setting. So profiling your own amps is great. But how does it work when you switch guitars? Can you still tweak the gain or eq? Or is it better to just to go another profile because some work better with single coils or humbuckers?
- get the powered version? Or just run it into the fx return of my katana?
- get the footswitch? or something cheaper and program that?
- ? anything to add?
 

Tankman

Subtly not giving a F*ck
#2
I have played and recorded demo's with the big Helix a few times. I have to say the amp models are pretty good. I really enjoyed playing with them. You are of course dependent on which headphones or speaker you use, but even with cheap Sennheisers it sounded good.

Having said that...I don't think it will cure your amp GAS. Kempers and all other profilers and modellers sound good, but they feel different. You will always notice that it's not a real amp.

I cured my amp GAS (sort of) by getting a pedal platform amp and just using amp-in-a-box pedals. You could get something like the Mooer Pre-Amp live which sounds pretty good. I'm using a Wampler Catapulp and would love to add the Triple Wreck and the Plextortion for some different flavors. It works for me.
 

metromusic

Negative, I am a meat popsicle
#3
I used to buy a new amp every 6 months or so since I was never entirely happy. I bought a Kemper about 2 years ago after using one in the studio, and have literally had no GAS for amps since. Anytime I've thought "oh it would be great to just switch to a valve amp and go back to non profiling" I just dial up a profile of that amp and the GAS goes away, as I've essentially got it without having to buy anything new.

I've got the Powerhead and footswitch, if I'm being honest I wish I'd gone for the rack unit rather than the head purely so I could rackbox it up with some other bits I'd want, but they're functionally the same so it doesn't really matter. If you're going for a non-powered one, I'd go for the rack version. I paid the extra for the powered one just so it was all in one box and didn't have to worry about carrying around another poweramp with it. There's a few other footswitches that can be used, but I went with the Kemper one as it worked out pretty good price wise for the package (and I knew it would already be compatible).

To answer some of your other questions (to the best of my ability):
- I use the built in distortion stompboxes, reverb and delays. They do the job, I find the delays and reverb to be great, I've sometimes used my EHX Oceans 11 in front of it but tend to always go back to the built in ones as there's a lot of ways to dial in the tones. You might find something in there that replicates what you've already got, but there's nothing wrong with adding something in front of it/fx loop.
- Generally, the profiles are set up to sound best with that particular guitar (i.e if someone's used single coils to profile an amp, it'll sound best as standard with another guitar with a similar setup). Most profilers offer multiple versions of their patches with different pickup types if that's a concern. I just use the same patches that I dialed in using a Strat, and tweak the EQ to get the sound I want. I switch quite often and it hasn't really bothered me that much.

All in all, if you constantly want to try different amps and have time to sit down and dial in what you want then a Kemper is worth every penny. I may have a bit (lot) of bias towards it, but it's a great piece of kit. I get it when people say about it not feeling like a real amp, as the first time I tried one I HATED it, but that was an earlier model in my case and the newer ones don't suffer from some of the issues that they used to have. Properly set up, it's indistinguishable from a real amp, hence why they are used so much by live bands and in most studios.

TL;DR buy a Kemper :bounce:
 

mirage2101

Well-Known Member
#4
Properly set up, it's indistinguishable from a real amp, hence why they are used so much by live bands and in most studios.
TL;DR buy a Kemper :bounce:
cheers!
I figured they'd have a solution for the pickups. I can't be the only one running into that.

I'm leaning towards powerhead and just connecting it to my cab. Turning cab emulation off and use it as a pre-amp. Would that be considered "properly setup"?

To be honest your explanation of how you use it does resonate with me..
 

metromusic

Negative, I am a meat popsicle
#5
cheers!
I figured they'd have a solution for the pickups. I can't be the only one running into that.

I'm leaning towards powerhead and just connecting it to my cab. Turning cab emulation off and use it as a pre-amp. Would that be considered "properly setup"?

To be honest your explanation of how you use it does resonate with me..
Yep, I basically run mine through either a Blackstar 2x12 or Mesa Rectifier 2x12 with cab emulation off for live use. I've used cab emulation when I toured without cabs, and for direct in recording so it's easy to turn on and off.

The pickup thing is quite common to come up, and the 2 ways of looking at it are either getting sets of patches for the different setups, or just treating it like you would a normal amp and adjusting it. I'm re-doing my patches at the moment, and just duplicating performances with different settings for the different guitar loadouts so I can switch between them on the fly.

I reckon I would've spent a hell of a lot more on amps in the meantime compared to what I paid for mine! :p
 

everfreetree

I... I like trees.
#6
I feel tagging @MrDon is appropriate for this question, as he's had some experience in this trade-off.

In my (very, very limited) Kemper experience (in a store, for like 15 minutes, tops)...
Amp is good.
Kemper is good.
Amp will always be amp.
Kemper can be many amps.
Amp will make you appreciate its flaws, over time.
Kemper will make you appreciate how easily you can swap amps when those flaws become difficult to appreciate.
It's the price of a Kemper that frightens me, initially, but then... it's the option paralysis. So many buttons... so many options.
 

Chu

Well-Known Member
#9
I love my Kemper. I've had zero amp GAS since getting one. The delays and reverbs have been massively upgraded and hold their own against pretty much anything (You might read critism regarding the effects based on earlier firmware). I'm very happy with the wahs, mods and EQs but the ODs seem a teeny bit lacking, if really only in the emulation of real world pedals. If you combine a drive with an EQ and a Bit Shaped though, you can come up with amazing drives of your own, you just have to think about what you want.

You can adjust the settings of each profile just fine but I always start with a profile that is right where I want to be, maybe adjust the gain and top end a little. I find that I much prefer profiles created from amps set up with similar pickups as mine, all my favourites are like this.

Will it cure your GAS? I think you need to spend some time really understanding your reason for the GAS. I love how my Kemper allowed me to learn exactly what cleans and crunch tones I really want, often not what I thought i wanted at all. I've always aimed for a forever rig, I've never wanted to change stuff for the next new thing. I've stuck with the same three profiles for about two years, a Splawn crunch, a Friedman clean and Mesa heavy tone for my baritone. I vary the gain and effects but don't use more than those amps often at all.

But if you're flipping amps because you love the thrill of researching and buying new gear, or spend the whole time thinking that the grass is greener elsewhere, I'd say that you won't be happy. Kempers are brilliant tools but sometimes people just enjoy the journey of buying new stuff.
 

Tankman

Subtly not giving a F*ck
#10
Honestly, I understand why touring bands use Kempers. To some extent, I understand why you would use one in the studio. In the end, you can hear the difference. You can feel the difference. Even in a room, through a PA, you hear it. They are great, but they are not the same. But it seems you've already made your choice.
 

mirage2101

Well-Known Member
#11
@Chu Thanks! That sounds as a glowing endorsement.
As for the grass is greener. It might be part of it. But I don't really enjoy shopping and flipping. I've gone through some amps over the past years learning a lot about them and what I like but I don't think I've found "home" yet. Not like I did with my guitar. I'm hoping the kemper will enable me to find a few profiles that are home. And cure my GAS by simply being able to try a profile of amp X. Either I'll like it and use it or I won't. But either way it's easier then going to the store and trying stuff out. Especially since most stores here are either limited or very busy at the times I can go. And stuff like friedman and mesa is just not affordable here. the mark V:25 is 2300 euro..

@Tankman
I admit I might have confirmation bias :)
With the pod500 I never could get the right feeling and that's what is keeping me back from just outright getting a kemper. And I can always send it back if I really don't like it after a couple of weeks. With the owners here being enthousiastic I think I'm getting to a point where I'll just have to experience it for myself.
 

Tankman

Subtly not giving a F*ck
#12
@Tankman
I admit I might have confirmation bias :)
With the pod500 I never could get the right feeling and that's what is keeping me back from just outright getting a kemper. And I can always send it back if I really don't like it after a couple of weeks. With the owners here being enthousiastic I think I'm getting to a point where I'll just have to experience it for myself.
Well, experiencing it yourself is the only real way to find out if it's for you. I experienced it many times as a player and as a listener and it just didn't compute in my head. I keep hearing that digital character and I just feel that it's not real.

Honestly, again, for costcutting and sound consistancy live, I totally understand the concept. I would consider a Kemper if I were to go on tour ever. But as long as I have the space and possibility to carry a real amp, I will keep doing that. Again, a lot can be achieved with a pedal platform amp and some good pedals. For example, I have AB'ed my Catapulp with a Rockerverb and a Jim Root terror. These are pretty much the same thing. The differences were minimal.
 

ed lespaul

Well-Known Member
#13
So feels like a regular amp etc and given funds just buy one?

Do you have an opinion on powered vs running through another amp?
I have an unpowered, because I'm anal about having components separate. It probably comes from my computer building days. But, I always steer towards keeping components separated, in case something goes wrong. If the power section ever dies, it has nothing to do with my Kemper. Just a replaceable component.
 

Tankman

Subtly not giving a F*ck
#14
I have an unpowered, because I'm anal about having components separate. It probably comes from my computer building days. But, I always steer towards keeping components separated, in case something goes wrong. If the power section ever dies, it has nothing to do with my Kemper. Just a replaceable component.
Solid advice. My dad always told me the same when it came to TV's with built in VCR's or DVD players back in the day. :p

If you go Kemper, go powerless. Adding a power amp externally is easy and not even as expensive as you might think.
 

Chu

Well-Known Member
#15
Solid advice. My dad always told me the same when it came to TV's with built in VCR's or DVD players back in the day. :p

If you go Kemper, go powerless. Adding a power amp externally is easy and not even as expensive as you might think.
I'm the opposite. If I take my powered Kemper to a jam night, i can plug into any guitar cab if a PA isn't available. I'm also excited for the upcoming Kemper Cab which relies on some funky DSP work in the Kemper to produce something special. As the cab will be passive, the powered Kemper has the big advantage to behave exactly as expected. If I'd have gone passive, I'd definitely have wanted to get the rack version if only to save set up time at rehearsals and gigs and to protect both in transit.
 

mirage2101

Well-Known Member
#16
Solid advice. My dad always told me the same when it came to TV's with built in VCR's or DVD players back in the day. :p

If you go Kemper, go powerless. Adding a power amp externally is easy and not even as expensive as you might think.
I can just run it through my katana head so it won’t even cost anything unless i want tube power later
 

mirage2101

Well-Known Member
#19
well that's a lot more affordable then buying new amps all the time :)

I just sold my les paul. the HX effects is going tomorrow. Depending in my wife I might drive to the store.
 

Chu

Well-Known Member
#20
I spent about an hour trying out Splawn, Marshall and Mesa profiles on RigManager (the Kemper librarian program) last night. Having found a few I liked I tranferred the effects from my usual tones to them. Despite them all sounding good, when compared to my main tones they didn't surpass it. Cheapest GAS adventure ever......

Despite my main two tones being freebies, they are fucking ace.
 
Top