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  1. #1

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    After waiting over a year for a spring reverb in the Kemper and being disappointed in the effects in general with the kemper, i just pulled the trigger on an axefx II.

    I still love the kemper. Everytime I plug into it, I want to play for hours just like when I plug into a '60s blackface fender princeton or deluxe reverb.

    However, compared to the axefx, the time based effects are really poor.

    For a while I considered buying a good spring reverb and good tape style delay to use with the kemper but at the thought of having to carry around a bunch of pedals and power supply and cables turns me off.

    A digital modeler ought to handle amps and effects IMO.

    So at this point I think I'll just find out once and for all which is the better system (for me).

    Look for a review soon.


    Axe-FX II vs Kemper Modelers-axe-fx-ii-jpg

    Axe-FX II vs Kemper Modelers-kemper-profiler-jpg

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  3. #2

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    Looking forward to hear your thoughts, Jack. It is my impression that the Axe can sound amazing but it's not necessarly faithful to amps while the Kemper sounds exactly like the original amps.

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by jorgemg1984
    Looking forward to hear your thoughts, Jack. It is my impression that the Axe can sound amazing but it's not necessarly faithful to amps while the Kemper sounds exactly like the original amps.
    Yep. that's it in a nutshell. The axefx is a synthesizer and the kemper is a sample player. So the kemper can sound like any amp that's sampled while the axefx is synthesizing the sounds based on circuit emulation. However, it's got more general purpose horsepower for digital effects so the time based effects such as reverb, chorus, delay and such are comparable to some of the better dedicated units whereas the kemper versions are not even as good as the better pedals.

    Only having it "in my hands" is going to satisfy my curiosity so whichever one speaks to me is the one I'll keep. As I mentioned, the kemper has that "je ne sais quoi" where it just makes me smile everytime I plug into it. I have played through many boutique guitar amps as there is a local shop that has plenty of them and in 6 months of playing through their best amps, there have only been 2 that I thought were in the same league with the kemper.

    An additional desire for me which I've never mentioned before is a huge, breathy stereo sound. This is missing from the kemper IMO. The "Space" effect really doesn't do it. If you play through two analog amps with a boss reverb pedal in stereo you know what I'm talking about. The axefx can do this. The kemper can't.

    Keep in mind that Kemper has announced and shown some new delays at Namm which will be released in February and sometime this year will be releasing some new reverbs but I have not heard them.

    One thing I do know is that both companies are driven almost exclusively by the nu-metal/thrash guitar market as it's the only really solid market for electric guitar music these days. So the majority of guys playing these units are playing 7 string 5th chords or de-tuning for the low-end grundge sound. Not many people are using them for cleans and when I listen to examples of "clean tones" in the axefx and kemper forums I'm often amused because they think a semi distorted tone is a clean tone.

    With kemper it doesn't matter because it's a sample recorder/player but with axefx, hopefully the clean tone synthesis has the "je ne sais quoi" of the kemper and from several of the better jazz guys I know with them such as Joey Goldstein, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Jeremey Poparad and a few others, it does.

    So stay tuned. And sorry to offend those who think all modelers are created equal and it's unfair, unjust and unfairly biased to compare them.

  5. #4

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    I bought my first Axe in 2009 and bought a Kemper when they came out - I spent a couple years in the Axe vs Kemper Thunderdome on The Gear Page and the respective forums. I spent a lot of time comparing by ear, comparing with spectrum analyzer, profiling, Tone Matching, making IRs, etc, etc, etc.

    My opinion: they are both capable of ALL the same amp tones, and yes, the Axe has much better selection of effects and superior effects routing.


    Some personal observations, YMMV:

    1. The Kemper is voiced more like a guitar processor: extreme highs and lows are rolled off

    2. The Axe is voiced more like a studio effects processor: Flat with extended highs and lows

    3. The Kemper can be EQ'd to sound more like the Axe

    4. The Axe can be EQ'd to sound more like the Kemper

    5. The Axe is tweak-able to an amazing/ridiculous degree.

    6. To find a compensating EQ to achieve #3 or #4: Profile the Axe then run white noise into both the Axe & Kemper then each into a spectrum analyzer, add a PEQ to Axe or Kemper and tweak the EQ until the spectrum analyzer shows a similar response for both devices. Voxengo Span is a free spectrum analyzer and allows you to compare 2 signals by overlaying one on the other.

    6. The dynamics/ADSR are a bit different (I doubt you'd hear it, but it showed up on a spectrum analyzer). Either the Kemper was a bit exaggerated or the Axe was a bit flattened, or a little of both. On the Axe you can use a Controller to exaggerate the Attack - kinda like an envelope filter, but attach the controller to a Gain or Level, instead of a filter, and use the Envelope to boost your level like it would control a filter.

    etc, etc, etc.

    My advice - Ignore everything in this post and just play the damn things and have fun. I spent a couple years fascinated with the technology at the expense of playing guitar. In the end I sold the Axe & Kemper, bought a Quilter MicroPro and have been playing more than I had for years. These days I satisfy my inner techie by writing code, and spend a lot of playing time with the lessons around here.


    If you are at all a techie - have a nice trip down the rabbit hole, see you in a couple years



    A tip on the Axe: For a good clean jazz tone you don't need to use an amp or cab block - parametric EQ (PEQ) is enough. There are some great sounds to be had by running an amp/cab parallel to a PEQ. Also try a PEQ then split - one row direct, the other through a cab block with a 15" bass cab, mix to taste.
    Last edited by MaxTwang; 01-22-2016 at 08:33 PM.

  6. #5
    Good tips but to me, not using the amp and cab give you a hi fi acoustic image type of sound. Not what I'm looking for. I love the sound of a nice tube amp like the vibroverb which is my main jazz amp on the kemper. I also tried the quilter and hated it so I think we're all different and it's hard to generalize what someone else hears. I plan to just create my own profile by selecting a fender amp, a clean 2x12 or 2x10 cab and go from there. I'm a software engineer so I'm not afraid of the tech but I also don't want to be programming and editing . I just want to find a single great sound and go from there.

  7. #6

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    Found my notes regarding the compensating EQ, these are from a couple years ago and firmware upgrades & newer IRs have probable changed the Axe's sound and may have negated these. If you find the 'feel' to be different between the Axe and Kemper try these in the Axe (or inverse of the gain in the Kemper) - it's amazing how much EQ affects perceived 'feel'. As the Axe models the circuits - placing EQ blocks before/after an amp will change the 'feel' of the amp block by changing how the circuit reacts and performs.

    Axe PEQ block (inverse gain for Kemper Studio EQ)
    Band 1
    type: Shelving
    Freq: 42.83 Hz
    Q: 0.636
    Gain: -5.2 dB

    Band 2
    Freq: 166.1 Hz
    Q: 3.895
    Gain: 3.31 dB

    Band 3
    Freq: 319.1 Hz
    Q: 10
    Gain: 1.04 dB

    Kemper Optional: High Gain .3 dB boost at 6000 Hz


    If you like amps with cascading gain then try putting a wave shaper before and/or after the stack in the Kemper. Just add a little distortion with the wave shaper. I found this gave me a more smooth, singing sound (like an old Boogie).


    I agree the Axe & Kemper are capable of much better sounds than the Quilter; but I'm a tech-junkie, am fascinated with electronics (have built quite a few amps) and the limited options of the Quiter help me focus on music (instead of staying up all nite exploring and analyzing the Axe & Kemper, as I so often did).
    Last edited by MaxTwang; 01-22-2016 at 10:55 PM.

  8. #7
    thanks max!

  9. #8
    axefx also just recently announced a soon to be released quantum 2.0 firmware update which has models of the '64 vibroverb with JBL speaker as well as updates to fender and dumble amp models which are primarily the ones I used.

  10. #9

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    I think Kurt is using the Axe here, sounds amazing.

  11. #10
    Just to make things interesting, I may pick up a line 6 Helix and do a 3 way shootout to report which one is the ABSOLUTE BEST modeler on the market barre none!

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker
    Just to make things interesting, I may pick up a line 6 Helix and do a 3 way shootout to report which one is the ABSOLUTE BEST modeler on the market barre none!
    Amplifire, too?

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky
    Amplifire, too?
    already tried one of those.

  14. #13

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    i sat with a kemper once for a little bit and aside from being a little out of my element, my one take away was this: it doesn't sound like a guitar, it sounds like a recorded guitar. which is odd, because that's what everyone is shooting for, but somehow... there was a weird little uncanny valley thing happening for me i couldn't shake. its like the real doll of amplification. or maybe like when you replace drums with samples from a library.

    still it was neat, and i wouldn't mind messing with one again, but i guess i'm just an amp guy. for now.

  15. #14

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    The Kemper & Axe sound like a mic'd amp (recorded guitar) because the profiles & IRs are captured with microphones through mic preamps. When playing the Axe/Kemper through an FRFR system you are reproducing the sound of a mic'd amp.

    A guitar cab is notoriously directional and beamy: The sound you hear directly in front of the speaker is dramatically different from what you hear standing to the side. We dial in our amp so it sounds good to our ears which are usually 6' above and to the side of the speaker - we're hearing the smooth, warm, creamy sound of our amp off-axis, while the audience might hear a shrill, harsh, nasty mess from a mic placed right in front of the speaker.

    Sounding like a mic'd amp isn't a bad thing as we are finally hearing our guitar the way the audience hears us. Modelers give us the ability to define our mic'd sound, and not leave it up to random sound guys at random gigs. In this respect modelers give us consistent sound that fits better in the mix, which may lead us to adjust our playing in a way that fits better with the ensemble.

    There have been improvements which bring modelers closer to 'amp in the room', changes in mic'ing, eq'ing, new algorithms to lessen the mic & mic preamp, etc. For now the solution to 'amp in the room' is to bypass the cabinet modeling and run the Axe or Kemper into a guitar cabinet.
    Last edited by MaxTwang; 01-25-2016 at 01:10 PM.

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by feet
    i sat with a kemper once for a little bit and aside from being a little out of my element, my one take away was this: it doesn't sound like a guitar, it sounds like a recorded guitar. which is odd, because that's what everyone is shooting for, but somehow... there was a weird little uncanny valley thing happening for me i couldn't shake. its like the real doll of amplification. or maybe like when you replace drums with samples from a library.

    still it was neat, and i wouldn't mind messing with one again, but i guess i'm just an amp guy. for now.
    Disagree 100%. I've sat down with my kemper running through an Alto TS-110A PA cabinet right next to Dr Z, Badcat, Victoria, Tworock, Allen, Vintage Fender and it's beautiful in the room and actually sounded better than the tube amps. The reason is that it's a sample player. It's impossible for it to sound like recorded guitar because it doesn't sample the guitar for it's playback. I have found that people who say that it doesn't sound and feel like a real amp are the same guys who use monster cable and insiste that they can hear the bits when they listen to a CD. And because you control how loud you play and what the tone control settings are when you record the samples, you can then get the sound and feel of *THAT* tone at *ANY* volume level from whisper quiet to 1200 watts worth.

    I was an amp guy before I tried the kemper.

  17. #16

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    Loueke is using the Kemper here




  18. #17

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    i didn't mean that, exactly. i mean it sounded like a finished product and not a work in process. it didn't sound like me laying down tracks to make a record. it sounded like a record. it didn't sound like raw material to me.

    like i said, i didn't spend an incredible amount of time tweaking and twiddling until i was satisfied with the result. i came in with an open mind, i wanted to like it and that was my take away. uncanny valley. for the money they are asking, i'm not inclined to pick one up and hope it gets better when i put in the time to program it. its too expensive of a dice roll, and i wear to many hats for that. mics and pedals are faster to me, and the sounds i want are all there.

    and apparently i'm in the minority here, but what would really interest me in a modeler would be one that just did the amps and skipped the effects, but they seem to want to go in the other direction with that. or maybe an even more stripped down version where i could just profile my amps, or just have a few in there, sort of akin to the tc electronic toneprints.

  19. #18
    I bought mine for $1500 used which is about the going rate of a boutique tube amp so I didn't think it was overly expensive considering...The atomic amplifire is $599 and from what I understand is very close to the quality of the kemper in a more stripped down pedal setup. They have an unconditional 15 day money back guarantee so it's not too much of a roll of the dice.

    I did spend a lot of time buying profiles and tweaking but in the end , I simply use a '64 vibroverb amp and don't really do any tweaking. I have 3 amps loaded into my kemper but use the vibroverb 99% of the time. The other two profiles I use are a fuchs ODS semi-clean and a two rock custom reverb for a more overdriven robben-ford tone. I find that I like the vibroverb with overdrive as well as just about anything else I've ever owned. One really cool thing is that I get the same "good vibes" feeling playing through the vibroverb setting as I did with my Gries 35 and my Plexi 45 tube amps but i don't have to turn up loud so my ears are much happier.

  20. #19

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    Jack & feet are both right.

    Something to think about: There are approx. 7,000 profiles on Kemper's rig exchange, the Kemper comes loaded with a few hundred more, and hundreds/thousands are available for purchase. Each of those was painstakingly created by someone who thought each profile worthy of being shared or sold (think about how many didn't make the cut).

    Of those 7,000+ profiles Jack uses 3. When I had a Kemper I only used 1 publicly available profile and made my own.

    The Kemper and Axe are capable of infinite nuances but if your taste does not match the tastes of the person creating the profile/patch - they're all unusable.

    The best way to test drive this gear is with someone who is adept at tweaking these devices (Scott Peterson of TPG is outstanding when it comes to the Axe).

    Then there's the adjustment to FRFR for someone used to amps ...

  21. #20

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    It's hard to believe the time based effects suck on the Kemper. <$200 will get you a really good delay or reverb pedal. Kemper couldn't build that into their box?

  22. #21

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    I think you should be able to get as raw or processed as you want. On the AXE you canary it to authentic or ideal. You can load effects or none. You can add room and a variety of distance, cabs, mics or none. You can tweak forever or not. Eq, overdrive, saturation, add two amps or none. Not sure about Kemper but I'm sure it's about as versatile. Sometimes I like processed and finished and produced. Sometimes I don't.

  23. #22

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    And i don't use "profiles" or presets unless I greatly alter them. I like having my own sounds. That's kind of why Axe Fx II suits me personally.
    Last edited by henryrobinett; 01-25-2016 at 05:44 PM.

  24. #23

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    The Kemper is also an incredible tool for us recording guys. Just straight into a good interface and you have a world of great sounds available.
    I no longer use any plugs by Line 6 or anyone else (and I think I have them all). This means that I now have to commit to sounds whereas before I would leave the plug instantiated just in case I needed to tweek for the mix, and this has worked well for me. The sounds are so good that I haven't had to tweek them apart from the usual mixing adjustments.o

    And the bass sounds!! I no longer use my Sansamp rack bass pre. The Ampeg and Fender profiles in the Kemper are so much better.

  25. #24

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    Yup. Axe Fx too. I just released a CD where all the electrics were recorded with it. Reamping is very easy. I record everything with a dry DI in addition so j can go back and change the sounds, effects, amps, clean or dirty after the fact.

  26. #25

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    Anybody try getting old school EH-150/185 or GA-50 type sounds out of these rigs? I've been looking into the Amplifire mostly because it's cheaper and I wouldn't be tweaking it a lot. Basically I'd only need a couple of tones and wouldn't need the infinite tweak-ability of the Kemper or AxeFX.

  27. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by jasonc
    Anybody try getting old school EH-150/185 or GA-50 type sounds out of these rigs? I've been looking into the Amplifire mostly because it's cheaper and I wouldn't be tweaking it a lot. Basically I'd only need a couple of tones and wouldn't need the infinite tweak-ability of the Kemper or AxeFX.
    yeap, it excels at profiling amps so it's got all the old school amps you could ever want. The catch is that if those amps depended on effects like pitch vibrato or spring reverb, the kemper is not good at that.

    And to the guy who was asking about building that stuff into the kemper, yes a $200 wet reverb pedal sounds better than the kemper reverb IMO.

    My theory is that they're using so much bandwidth on the amp models that they programming becomes way more difficult so as not to interfere with the amp models whereas the axefx II has a ton of processing power. It may just be that axefx is more adept at writing time based effect algorithms too...

  28. #27

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    So, Jack do you think the Amplifire and an Alto 10 could get me EH-150/GA-50 tones without having to scour the earth for octal tubes that aren't microphonic? Or were talking about the Kemper?

  29. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by jasonc
    So, Jack do you think the Amplifire and an Alto 10 could get me EH-150/GA-50 tones without having to scour the earth for octal tubes that aren't microphonic? Or were talking about the Kemper?
    i know kemper can, contact andy at ampfactory and see if he has those profiles available for amplifire.

  30. #29

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    Kemper are releasing firmware version 4.0 as Public Beta in February after NAMM. Regular release after that apparently.

    The new firmware contains a new "morphing" functionality" as well as new versions of effects such as delays .

    They seem to give you a lot of value in the firmware updates in terms of new functionality. The alternative would be to release a new version of the product every couple years, I E, planned obsolescence .

    The drawback in maintaining a product over a number of years is the PlayStation issue: lack of computing power to create revolutionary new functionality . I E, the continued added functionality is limited by the overall processing power of the CPU .

    However, for the purposes of jazz, the Kemper is a great Amp. I sold almost all my amps and was able to profile them before I sold them, as well as profiling really expensive tube amps like Allesandro and Carr from a friend.

    Is there any way one could use a Kemper and the AxeFX as a stereo dual amp set up, using a switcher pedal?
    I thought about doing that with my Kemper and my pod HD 500 ( I still have those outstanding settings generously provided by Jim Soloway), via my Lehle switcher.

  31. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by NSJ
    Is there any way one could use a Kemper and the AxeFX as a stereo dual amp set up, using a switcher pedal? I thought about doing that with my Kemper and my pod HD 500 ( I still have those outstanding settings generously provided by Jim Soloway), via my Lehle switcher.
    Yes, you could do that. However, if I end up finding an amp that I really like with the axefx, I would probably opt to just run it in stereo because it sounds huge in stereo using the stereo reverbs and delays. Another option would be to use the kemper for amps and the axefx for effects...

  32. #31

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    There is a reverb called Matchbox Sproing and Matchbox Amp Spiral. Both names are a blatant reference to springs IMHO. I have used them both and they sure sound like spring reverbs to me.

  33. #32
    I guess there's no accounting for tastes. Neither of those reverbs sounds like real spring reverb and certainly nothing like a fender reverb. So if Mr. Kemper is having a laugh at my expense, I guess he's laughing at the other thousands of users clamoring for spring reverb too since it placed 2nd or 3rd in the poll of what folks were hoping for in terms of new features. And I guess it's my imagination that he recently stated that the reason they have not released a real spring reverb is because they want to get it right and that they plan on releasing it in late 2016.

    And duh...Of course you can put anything you want in the effect loop but why should you have to?!? For $2500 you should be able to model time based effects (as does axe-fx) and at least come close to some of the mediocre pedals on the market.

  34. #33

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    I know nothing about Kemper. I might be a Fractal fanboy. I don't know. But Cliff is driven to improve Axe Fx constantly. It's not that he doesn't listen to the members. He does and he responds but he constantly works to improve things nobody had on their screen.

  35. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett
    I know nothing about Kemper. I might be a Fractal fanboy. I don't know. But Cliff is driven to improve Axe Fx constantly. It's not that he doesn't listen to the members. He does and he responds but he constantly works to improve things nobody had on their screen.
    One thing that jazzers and old timers have going against them is that the primary audience for these products are the nu-metal guys doing their detuned and/or 7/8 string chunka-chunka thing. So things like reverb have low priority. I think Cliff is a little different and ever since the beginning seemed to want to make the effects "world class". In the kemper forums or on TGP, if you mention that you don't think the effects are very good, folks will jump all over your sh!t and I've had guys stalking me telling me my playing is horrible and so forth, all for speaking my mind about what kemper needs to do to improve. The thing that kemper *does* do right is that their profiles sound *EXACTLY* like the amps you profiled them from. Assuming you profile with reasonable settings and not do dumb stuff like one of the top profile makers did recently where he profiled a fender twin with the tone controls and volume all on 7!

    Basically, I think that the kemper profiles sound more like the real amps than the axefx profiles but in the end, I don't care. I really don't need to sound exactly like a '64 vibroverb (which is the amp I use the most on the kemper). I just want a sound that inspires me to play and that feels good in the room. And the axefx certainly fits the bill in that regard and brings stunning time-based effects to the table which is a particular weakness with kemper.

    Also, there are many folks reporting problems with latency and other issues using the kemper effect loop. I never experienced that personally but being required to do another D/A | A/D round trip just to get a good reverb or delay isn't at the top of my list.

    Henry, you mentioned doing all your recording dry...Do you also play through an amp in the room? Whenever I record dry, I have a hard time being inspired by my sound and so I play worse.

  36. #35

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    No I don't do my recordings dry. I use three output from the AXE FX. Two stereo and then one DI that is dry. So every time I play I record three tracks.

  37. #36

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    I don't record digital. I don't use USB. I record at 96K. And fractal is just 48. So I record analog.

  38. #37

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    I happen to like the effects on the Kemper. It is true that the spring reverbs are not stellar but I like their "hall" if used subtely. The Tape Delay sounds to me as good as any pedal I tried (e.g. mad professor deep blue), the vintage chorus sounds good to me, the compressor too, the boosters are fine, the tubescreamer is as faithful as the maxon i once had, i also like the rotary speaker. All in doses, i don't have to have my guitar sound like starship enterprise :-) i admit that my ears are not as discerning as Jack's .... But I am just ok with the Kemper effects ... But yes - i'd love them improve their spring reverb. Just my 0.02$

  39. #38

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    Music is my imagination. Why would I want to limit it to the sound of specific amps? I mean it's cool. It's what both are advertised to do. But I loved being able to mix and match amps, apply the tone stack for a Dumble to DR. Or completely mangle to make it unrecognizable. Does it sound exactly like a X? I don't have one so I don't know. I had a Boogie III and DR. Sound exactly like it to me. But hell, I wanted to move away from that shit anyway. I had something new and I wanted it to reflect that. Almost infinite tweak ability. That's just me.
    Last edited by henryrobinett; 01-26-2016 at 07:29 PM.

  40. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by FrankLearns
    I happen to like the effects on the Kemper. It is true that the spring reverbs are not stellar but I like their "hall" if used subtely. The Tape Delay sounds to me as good as any pedal I tried (e.g. mad professor deep blue), the vintage chorus sounds good to me, the compressor too, the boosters are fine, the tubescreamer is as faithful as the maxon i once had, i also like the rotary speaker. All in doses, i don't have to have my guitar sound like starship enterprise :-) i admit that my ears are not as discerning as Jack's .... But I am just ok with the Kemper effects ... But yes - i'd love them improve their spring reverb. Just my 0.02$
    I've ab'd the effects against stuff like the topanga reverb, the strymon delays and my analog man TS9 , the DLS chorus and the pedals blow away the kemper effects. The axefx pedals are head and shoulders better than the digital effect pedals. I wasn't as happy with the overdrives with the axe 1 but I'll be reporting back with the axe 2.

    One issue with the overdrive pedals on the kemper is that they have 3x-4x the amount of gain so for example, on a vintage fuzz or TS9, you can turn the drive down and just get a hint of distortion and use your guitar volume , you can't do that on the kemper.

  41. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett
    Music is my imagination. Why would I want to limit it to the sound if specific amps? I mean it's cool. It's what both are advertised to do. But I loved being able to mix and match amps, apply the tone stack fit a Dumble to DR. Or completely mangle to make it unrecognizable. Does it sound exactly like a X? I don't have one so I don't know. I had a Boogie IIIabd DR. Sound exactly like it to me. But hell, I wanted to move away from that shit anyway. I had something new and I wanted it to reflect that. Almost infinite tweak ability. That's just me.
    That's the biggest advantage of the axefx over the kemper IMO. Also, I think the kemper just lacks general DSP horsepower which is why they've had a hard time getting digital reverbs, delays and choruses that don't suck away DSP horsepower needed for the modeling. The axe has way more processing power.

    Also, you can do stuff like send two different amps through different stereo sides. Kemper has this new feature called morphing where you can use a controller pedal to gradually switch from one amp to another so maybe they'll eventually allow you to use 2 amps at some point but that seems like a limitation to me.

    Another example, I've always loved the sound of running in stereo with a solid state amp and a tube amp. You can configure the axefx to be a polytone on one channel and a twin reverb on the other. (This is what benson does).

    Not so on the kemper.

    On the other hand, if you find an amp you really love (i.e. my mambo) you can profile it on the kemper. Not so on the axefx. So, there's no clear winner. I still love my kemper and as I mentioned before, *EVERYTIME* i plug into it, it puts a smile on my face. I've put it next too some of the best tube amps in history and liked it better. It's hard to go wrong with either one. I would just like to get a setup where I don't have to plug pedals into it. That's the only reason I'm searching.

    Not *WHINING*. *REFINING*.

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker
    My theory is that they're using so much bandwidth on the amp models that they programming becomes way more difficult so as not to interfere with the amp models whereas the axefx II has a ton of processing power. It may just be that axefx is more adept at writing time based effect algorithms too...
    The AxeII has 2 dual-core processors with 1 dedicated to amp modeling, the Kemper has 1 processor. IIRC each processor in the Axe is more powerful than the Kemper's. All that CPU power in the Axe requires fan cooling, while the Kemper does not.

    Before release Kemper had a price target of $1,500, it appears they made design decisions based on that target price. Jack is probably correct - the Kemper doesn't have the processing power for amp modeling and cpu-intensive effects, it is a guitar processor and the effects are acceptable for most guitar players.


    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett
    I know nothing about Kemper. I might be a Fractal fanboy. I don't know. But Cliff is driven to improve Axe Fx constantly. It's not that he doesn't listen to the members. He does and he responds but he constantly works to improve things nobody had on their screen.
    Fractal and Kemper seem to operate with with vastly different business philosophies: Christoph Kemper builds a solid product with a slow/steady development lifecycle, Cliff Chase is driven to compete with, or outperform, everything - if an effect or modeler comes out that outperforms the Axe, then expect an update to the Axe's firmware to compete. Kemper says the profiling engine is done - profiles made today will work in 10 years; Fractal is constantly changing their modeling - a preset made today may need to be re-tweaked tomorrow.

  43. #42

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    For me, the big drawback with the Kemper was that you couldn't play two profiles in the stereo set up. I found out about that after I bought it and was really bummed. I mentioned it on the Krmper message boards, but people were flippantly to saying, "just buy another Kemper".


    It seems to me that a big drawback for me with the axe FX is the incredible learning curve it seems to require . I am not a gearhead Nor an engineer . In comparison, the Kemper is practically plug-and-play.

    I do not have nearly as much experience as you guys with regard to pedals , I just want a little bit of delay and reverb and EQ that sweetens and thockens the sound a tad.

    I'm not sure what that translates to in actual technical and gear terminology.

    It seems that my petals are probably better then the Kemper in that regard.

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker
    On the other hand, if you find an amp you really love (i.e. my mambo) you can profile it on the kemper. Not so on the axefx. So, there's no clear winner. I still love my kemper and as I mentioned before, *EVERYTIME* i plug into it, it puts a smile on my face. I've put it next too some of the best tube amps in history and liked it better. It's hard to go wrong with either one. I would just like to get a setup where I don't have to plug pedals into it. That's the only reason I'm searching.
    Give the Axe's Tone Match a try. With over 200 models to base your match on you should be able to nail just about anything. A few years ago Kemper acknowledged they only use 1 underlying model for clean profiles and "more than one" for overdriven profiles (the cab has a lot of influence on clean sounds/profiles).

    Kemper's patent is for the automated process of profiling: sending a test signal into a device, measuring the output then setting parameters. Tone Match is a bit more work selecting and tweaking the underlying model, but the results are very good.



    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett
    Music is my imagination. Why would I want to limit it to the sound if specific amps? I mean it's cool. It's what both are advertised to do. But I loved being able to mix and match amps, apply the tone stack fit a Dumble to DR. Or completely mangle to make it unrecognizable. Does it sound exactly like a X? I don't have one so I don't know. I had a Boogie IIIabd DR. Sound exactly like it to me. But hell, I wanted to move away from that shit anyway. I had something new and I wanted it to reflect that. Almost infinite tweak ability. That's just me.
    And we have a winner!!!!!!!!!! Why, in 2016, are guitar players obsessed with imitating 75 year old amps instead of building on, and improving on, 75 years of amplification.
    Last edited by MaxTwang; 01-26-2016 at 02:52 PM.

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by NSJ
    For me, the big drawback with the Kemper was that you couldn't play two profiles in the stereo set up. I found out about that after I bought it and was really bummed. I mentioned it on the Krmper message boards, but people were flippantly to saying, "just buy another Kemper"..
    Were you trying to get a sound with clean on one side and dirty on the other, or trying to get a hybrid sound of 2 amps? If you were going for a hybrid then fiddle with the deep parameters in the Amp section, a little adjustment goes a long way. Also, don't be afraid to turn a clean profile dirty or a dirty profile clean; one of my favorite jazz profiles was a Jim Kelley that was profiled with medium gain, with the gain turned down it turned into a beautiful clean (didn't sound quite like the Kelley did clean, but was really good).

  46. #45

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    As an update to my post suggesting the Axe's Tone Match:

    One of the most important factors, if not the most important, is properly setting the gain in the underlying model before performing the Tone Match (and gain staging if the model has 2 gain controls). If the gain is not right, the Tone Match will not be right; gain doesn't just affect drive, it also affects tone and feel (this is a simulated tube circuit).

    The easiest way to set the gain is use your guitar's volume control: Start with your guitar plugged into your amp and play while turning down your guitar's volume until the amp cleans up, now plug into the Axe and do the same - adjusting the amp model's gain(s) until the Axe is cleaning up exactly like your real amp.

    Try a few different models and find the one that cleans up like your amp - it might not be the one you initially expect. Now fiddle with the model's tone controls and get the Axe close to the amp and you're ready to Tone Match! After a few Tone Matches you'll find Tone Matching isn't as difficult, time consuming or intimidating as it may seem.

  47. #46
    I just got the axefx II home and plugged it in. Picked out a usa clean, 2x12 cab and some spring reverb. I dig it more than the kemper. They are both great but there is something organic in an early benson sort of way that I'm getting that I never heard out of the kemper.

    I think being able to select your cab and routine layouts and stereo options is huge.

    They're both great boxes and it's hard to go wrong with either one. More later.

    ================================================== =====

    Edit - Feb-8-2016

    So, I spent some more time last night with a friend of mine. We took two presets on the kemper and the axefx and went between them with the same speaker. (My TS110A has 2 XLR inputs)

    We compared a fender vibroverb and a Dumble ODS 100 on both amps. I was playing my Seventy Seven Albatross setup with .011 roundwound D'Addario jazz-rock strings.

    The kemper profile was an ampfactory vibroverb with jenson 15 and the ODS profile (unknown speaker) was mbritt.

    The axefx profile was the vibroverb going through a 2x12 cab and the ODS Ford 1 dumble profile, same cab.

    Results were different that the previous. We both felt that the fender sounds were more amp like on the kemper. It sounded more like a vibroverb amp on the kemper whereas the axefx sounded great but not quite exactly like you were playing through a tube amp. We both liked the axefx a little better and concluded that the vibroverb profile on the kemper had been captured with a speaker that neither of us cared for with regards to clean jazz playing.

    The biggest difference was on the dumble amp. We both felt that the kemper dumble amp sounded like a $50,000 dumble amp whereas the axefx sounded great but not quite like an amp. more like playing through a loud amp with a zendrive or other dumble style overdrive. They were both set to about the same apparent gain/overdrive settings but when I turned the guitar down, the kemper cleaned up like a great dumble/two rock amp whereas the axefx moreorless got quieter but not exactly like a real amp would. Again, more like a pedal would react. With the guitar turned down on the kemper you could get a nice clean(-esque) tone but you could dig in and make the note squeal and sing through guitar dynamics. This was not quite the case with the axefx.

    Regarding effects, as expected the kemper delays, reverbs and choruses sounded toy-like. They are not even as good as a decent set of pedals whereas the axefx versions sounded studio quality and rivaled some of the dedicated time-based effects processors.

    The overdrive effects such as fuzz, zendrive and TS9 were way better on the axefx and sounded much more authentic. For example, the fuzz on the axefx cleaned up very well when you turned the guitar down whereas the kemper version does not. Same with the TS9 pedal. Kemper doesn't have a zendrive but the zendrive on the axefx is fantastic.

    Anyway, it makes for a tough decision. I'm now amending my previous conclusion and want to say that the axefx amp simulation is not quite at the level of the kemper but that most everything else about it is superior. If you are playing clean sounds, I think the axefx is the way to go but if you are doing dumble style overdrives, the kemper profiles sound more realistic. I'm going to copy this content to the original post in the thread for new folks who take a look at this.
    Last edited by jzucker; 02-08-2016 at 12:10 PM.

  48. #47

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    As I've said before, the Axe Fx is a remarkable piece of kit. Its so versatile. But things are so convolutedly competitive. They're both fantastic technologies for guitar players, but both camps just won't hear about it from the other. They will shout you down. Its like WTF. Just play your guitar and enjoy the ride. They're both great. But Axe Fx II is better. (kidding!)

    And part of the problem when comparing them is keeping current with the updates. Cliff just blast through with so many improvements. Its like one guy says he's had both but prefers the Kemper. And I go, which VERSION of the AF did you use? And it was like two years ago. Well there you go. Nothing wrong with preferring one over the other, either one, but let's keep it fair when publicly promoting. OK, I'm done.

  49. #48
    all good points Henry. I think the biggest advantage I see of axefx ii quantum 2.x is that you can select your cabinets. 99% of the profiles I've tried on kemper are overdriven. Many rock and blues players don't even know what a clean sound is. Folks in the kemper and axefx forums post clips of semi-clean ala SRV's little wing and claim that there is absolutely no overdrive in the tone. And the point is , with kemper, I found that many of the profiles were done with the amp turned up really loud so there is naturally some overdrive in the captured sound. Most of the users want/like this and don't even know or like a totally clean amp and the profile makers generally are catering to the largest audience...

    The axefx allows you to circumvent this by turning the master up, the gain down and choosing the speakers you want....

  50. #49

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    I'm a Kemper owner since 2012, I'm satisfied with the product and its work flow. At this time, I have no desire to change but I will have to agree with Jack regarding "clean profiles". The clean profiles I like are few and far between and generally are ones where there isn't a great deal of overdrive to begin with and where I end up rolling the gain nearly all the way off.

  51. #50

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    I like the total control of the amps parameters in the AF bottom up. I'm not relying on other peoples profiles. That's why I said I don't want other people's sounds. Fractal always allowed you to choose your own cabs btw. You can tone Match your own cabs too.

    Sorry for the auto correct stupidity.
    Last edited by henryrobinett; 02-01-2016 at 08:08 PM.