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Axe-Fx III vs Kemper Profiling Amp

fourtet

Member
Thanks! I don't believe in A to B comparison when it comes to music but personally I was more intrigued to see what you were able to squeeze out of both units :).
 
It’s interesting as I recently, ie this weekend got both a Kemper and Axe Fx3, on the limited time I’ve had available I’ve found the Kemper more dynamic and “amp-like, having previously owned an Axe-FxII I know that they can be picky so and so’s on input impedance so I’m hoping to have a more thorough investigation when I get time. I foresee sore fingers and lots of coffee over the next few weeks :)
 

ML SOUND LAB

Cab Pack Wizard
Vendor
I also have both sitting next to each other at home at the moment... also I have real tube amps there as well. I've been A/B/Cing the real vs axe vs kemper thing for just a little bit and I think I can get them all sounding really close to each other up to the point where I can't even tell the difference. The Axe-Fx does require you to set the amp knobs accordingly while the Kemper can profile my real amp on one setting. That being said the Kemper profile is not 100% accurate and the EQ it has is not like on the real amps. It's really hard to talk about weaknesses when both units have so many strengths.
 

ML SOUND LAB

Cab Pack Wizard
Vendor
Profile accuracy isn't usually 100%, but I'd say 95% - 97% is pretty common.
I would say this varies from amp to another. Throughout all these years of amp modeling I feel like the fast non-linearities are the giveaway when comparing a real amp to a modeler be it Fractal or Kemper. The easiest way to test this is palm muting and if you have a super tight high gain amp, that's the one modelers struggle sounding like. I haven't been very successful nailing the palm mute sound of Mesa amplifiers. You can get very close with Fractal but I can still tell which is which even after tone match and a refined profile.
 

Jason Scott

Fractal Fanatic
I would say this varies from amp to another.
It definitely varies depending on the amp. Gain can also be a determinant. On average, I'd say 95% - 97% is pretty common though, at least in my experience.

Throughout all these years of amp modeling I feel like the fast non-linearities are the giveaway when comparing a real amp to a modeler be it Fractal or Kemper. The easiest way to test this is palm muting and if you have a super tight high gain amp, that's the one modelers struggle sounding like. I haven't been very successful nailing the palm mute sound of Mesa amplifiers. You can get very close with Fractal but I can still tell which is which even after tone match and a refined profile.
If you use a third party EQ Matching plugin (eg. FabFilter), you can get so close with respect to the KPA that the differences are pretty negligible, in my opinion. Below is an example of some palm mutes using a Mesa Boogie vs. the profile with and without EQ matching. Granted, it's not high gain (it's not my sample) and the part was played twice, however the palm mutes in the EQ matched sample sounds pretty close to my ears.

Mesa Boogie:

Profile before EQ Matching:

Profile after EQ Match:

Did you ever check out Lasse Lammert's blind test? It sounds pretty convincing, to me anyway. This was the reveal:


With the Axe, there's so much flexibility and control, I have little doubt with a bit of time and patience, you can nail just about anything.
 
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ML SOUND LAB

Cab Pack Wizard
Vendor
I feel like profiling me Axe-Fx III Mark IIC++ mode to show exactly what I mean. Just a palm mute with a long break. The Mesa Mark series amp will be super percussive and dead silent right after. There are not many modelers that can do that. :)
 

Jason Scott

Fractal Fanatic
The Mesa Mark series amp will be super percussive and dead silent right after. There are not many modelers that can do that. :)
The subsequent silence after palm mutes can be tightened up along a spectrum, from moderately loose all the way to unmusically tight with a noise gate. Check out this demo by Mark Holcomb.

 

ML SOUND LAB

Cab Pack Wizard
Vendor
Sure you can and I appreciate your help, but I'm talking about the actual modeling side of things, not noise gates or pre-EQs and stuff like that. Noise gates are not natural and pre-EQ affects the overall EQ as well. I'm talking about the modeling of the amp. I definitely know the tricks how to make my guitar ridiculously tight, but that's a different conversation. I made a video about it actually:


Mark is actually a good buddy of mine. I was at the studio when they recorded Periphery III and got to try his USA Custom made PRS guitars and everything. :)
 

Jason Scott

Fractal Fanatic
Sure you can and I appreciate your help, but I'm talking about the actual modeling side of things, not noise gates or pre-EQs and stuff like that. Noise gates are not natural and pre-EQ affects the overall EQ as well. I'm talking about the modeling of the amp.
I understand. Personally, I don't really use pre-EQ unless I'm tuning my pickups. From my perspective, if I'm trying to reproduce the sound of a specific amp accurately, all options are on the table, and as long as the result is accurate, that's all that matters to me.
 

Daveis

Inspired
I’ve watched some Anderton’s videos lately where Rob Chapman and Lee Anderton are blind testing a Kemper with MBritt profiles versus Marshal, Vox, etc. Rob uses a Kemper live and he invariably chose the Kemper as sounding better than the real amp. Lee “Captain” seemed to have figured out how to spot the Kemper sound based on how it handles tube sag. This is apparently tweakable on the Kemper.

I would like to see Camilo do a round 2 where he is trying hard to make the sound better on the Axe3. Maybe compare AustinBuddy or Mokes best patches against MBritt.

I have not found a clear winner on blind youtube tests between Axe3 vs real vs Kemper. Things that are hard to hear from youtube videos are very apparent in person. Example — Helix vs Axe3 is night and day different to me in person.
 

ML SOUND LAB

Cab Pack Wizard
Vendor
I've seen those Anderton's videos as well. Chappers can definitely notice some small details like blindfoldedly knowing which tonewoods his guitar has. That's just ridiculous. Also he blindfoldedly spotted different pickup manufacturers. That was insane as well. Captain is a sweetheart but he guessed the Kemper right ONE TIME. Even he himself said that it might've just been luck. That's a 50/50 bet after all. That being said if you know what to listen for it's a lot easier. It's the palm mutes. That's the reveal.

EDIT: It's not an unrealistic type of low end in the palm mute. It's just different, that's all. I feel like this is not captured by the profiling process.
 

ML SOUND LAB

Cab Pack Wizard
Vendor
I just released this clip where I compare Axe-Fx amp sims to a real tube:
The real amp doesn't exist in the Axe-Fx III so it's not apples to apples but that's essentially a British sound first and an American one second. Which is which?
 

Jason Scott

Fractal Fanatic
One of the tells I hear in the Kemper is in the high end. In a number of profiles I hear subtle artifacts and sometimes raspiness that's either non-existent in the real amp or much less apparent. To my ears, single coils tend to exaggerate the effect.
 

Jason Scott

Fractal Fanatic
I just released this clip where I compare Axe-Fx amp sims to a real tube:
The real amp doesn't exist in the Axe-Fx III so it's not apples to apples but that's essentially a British sound first and an American one second. Which is which?
My guess would be clip #1 and #3 are the real amp, though I'm less certain which one is the real amp in the last 2 samples.
 

Daveis

Inspired
My guess is first one is real amp. I'm mostly listening to how the sounds trails off more than the initial attack. If you have pointers for spotting the modeled versus the real I'm all ears.

I also find it fishy that Chapman can't tell a real amp from a modeler he is very familiar with. He has correctly picked out the sound of DiMarzio's over other pickups. He's got a decent ear for tone but claimed to be disappointed in himself for not picking the real tube amp. His band uses Kemper. He obviously likes the sound he gets from Kemper and maybe prefers it to tubes at this point. At the least he's become indifferent to what's tube and what's Kemper and is just going through the motions.

Edit: I heard differences between the Kemper and real on those Chapman videos. 2 out of 3 times I preferred the real amp. I am starting to think I don't like the sound of heavily attenuated tube amps. I much prefer my own tube amps through real cab over power attenuator. I prefer Axe3 over tube amp that I can't turn up loud.
 

ML SOUND LAB

Cab Pack Wizard
Vendor
I also find it fishy that Chapman can't tell a real amp from a modeler he is very familiar with. He has correctly picked out the sound of DiMarzio's over other pickups. He's got a decent ear for tone but claimed to be disappointed in himself for not picking the real tube amp. His band uses Kemper. He obviously likes the sound he gets from Kemper and maybe prefers it to tubes at this point. At the least he's become indifferent to what's tube and what's Kemper and is just going through the motions.

Edit: I heard differences between the Kemper and real on those Chapman videos. 2 out of 3 times I preferred the real amp. I am starting to think I don't like the sound of heavily attenuated tube amps. I much prefer my own tube amps through real cab over power attenuator. I prefer Axe3 over tube amp that I can't turn up loud.
We actually get a high quality signal when watching those videos. The guys in the room got one of their first FRFR experiences. Just saying that if they'd have a real cab in there which is what they're more used to, maybe we'd have different results. :)
 

DLC86

Fractal Fanatic
I just released this clip where I compare Axe-Fx amp sims to a real tube:
The real amp doesn't exist in the Axe-Fx III so it's not apples to apples but that's essentially a British sound first and an American one second. Which is which?
1st take is the real amp for me, on both parts.
 
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