I currently own a Kemper and am looking to make the switch to the Axe FX III (this will be my first Fractal product btw). I will say, though, that the Kemper has given me some of the best tube-like amp tones I've gotten from a digital guitar product thus far. Been a big user of ToneJunkie's profile packs. His Steel String Singer and Traynor packs have been some of my favorites, and I'll definitely miss using them. Also, the reverb algorithms in the profiler are absolutely beautiful, especially the Ionosphere verb. Probably my biggest hang-up making me hesitate about switching (if anybody can help me get close to the Kemper's reverb presets, that would be greatly appreciated).
That said, if I'm going to own a top-of-the-line modeler, I'd really like to be getting more flexibility and power out of it. Only one amp and 4 effects pre-amp/4 effects post just isn't cutting it for me. Even my Vetta amp from 2001 could run 2 models at once... Also, I feel less comfortable trying to tweak the amps and drives in the Kemper away from their base settings. To me, doing so just feels more like an extrapolation than it does an accurate representation of how the amp would respond, especially with controls like "tube shape" in the amp section and “slim down” in the drive. I know there are plenty of resources out there, but after even reviewing them these controls just feel more abstract to me and less like anything with a real-world analogue. These just leave me feeling less confident in my tone, if that makes any sense. Plus, I’d like to have all my amp tones all in one box from the start, instead of just continuing to shell out for more profiles (although credit to TJ for continuing to release free packs and run big sales).
All this to say, the Kemper is still a quality unit and I’ll grab another one down the line, but for what I need, AF3 just fills that need a lot better. I’m looking forward to receiving my Axe FX III and joining the Fractal family!
I too wish the Axe did a shimmer reverb like the Ionosphere on the Kemper. It is probably my favourite reverb, and I have used a ton over the years. The swell into the pitch-shifting is beautiful, it tracks wonderfully and has none of the shrillness of so many others.
I think the 'cloud' reverbs on the Axe are slightly better, but it blows my mind how good the delay and reverbs are in the KPA for such a mature product.