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Fractal vs Kemper Differences


So I own an AX8 and love it after I figured it all out and everything. I finally got the tones I have been looking for and much more. My question is what is profiling that they talk about with Kemper and what makes the difference between Fractal vs Kemper?

Keep in mind I love my AX8 and I am not changing I am just curious to hear differences is all


Fractal Fanatic
fractal models amps down to component level. how everything interacts, how master volume affects freq response. etc. a million other ways the amp interacts on the inside. the way the power amp and preamp interact.on and on.

kempers essentially take pictures of an amp at specific settings. if the amp is set up right and profiled well it can sound very good...it doesn't respond the way the axe does and you can't tweak it the way you can the Axe because the controls on the KPA aren't interacting with one another or with the profile, simply like post-processing in a daw.

i've played through KPA's extensively....they can sound really good....I don't think they are near the Axe. plus there's a sameness to many, if not all of the profiles i can't get out of my ear, so to speak.


Gotcha. Just wondered. I have not tired out a Kemper ever but see a lot of folks with them these days. It took me a minute to figure out my AX8 but I love how in depth I can go but also can make it easy when needed. It took me a minute to get the edge of break up trick down on certain amps and figuring out what works best for me but I love Fractal and won't ever switch back. Really looking forward to seeing what Cliff has in store for the next update and seeing more folks using Fractal.


It is obviously two different tools for different targets. Fractal is aimed to people that wants ultimate flexibility and the ability to tweak it to their hearts content.

Kemper is more target to people that already have their favorite sound/amp at home but he doesn't want to carry all that expensive and heavy equipment to every gig. So, Kempers idea is to "snapshoot your sound".

So, in theory if you can have access to a lot of gear, Kemper can get your sound somehow "easier" because you just do what you are already "used to do" in your expensive equipment and you don't need to learn all possible parameters of Fractal.

But Fractal just offers infinite possibilities for those with patience to learn it :)


New Member
I own both the Kemper and the AX8. The comparison above is 100% correct. My biggest disappointment with the Kemper was that the profiles could not be tweaked like you can tweak a real amp, thus, the never ending search for a profile that sounds like the sound in your head (it can be a difficult search, the quality of profiles available varies dramatically). If you own a bunch of great gear, you can profile that and have your full selection of sounds available, BUT you need to profile the amps at all of your used settings, even as far as with your overdrive pedals, since the Kemper dirt models leave a lot to be desired IMHO. This also depends on your skill in recording, mike placement, and recording gear, thus the huge market for professionally recorded profiles.
On the other hand, with my AX8, the models sound and work like the amps should. The experience of setting up your own sound, or any sound you can think of is much more rewarding within the confines of the box. It works very well with any setup you can throw it into, the ease of cab IR implementation is fantastic, the the modeled EFX are excellent. I play it all the time and the Kemper is only brought out occasionally for recording. I have a few profiles that I use for that, and they are excellent.
The AX8 is a better unit for someone who knows how to get a good tone on a proper amp. The Kemper is a great for what it does, but you must either find a profile that sounds the way you like it (or very close to it) or profile and load your own gear into it. It is excellent for that use.


New Member
I'm interested in this but coming from the Kemper side. I've had it for almost two years and it sounds great, but I do agree that many profiles start to sound the same and that it's hard to find good profiles that are exactly the sound you're thinking of. The Kemper lacks low end IMO and has some weird compression in the mid range, neither of which go away using the EQ knobs.

Excited to try an AX8 since that's what I originally wanted 2 years ago but couldn't wait for my turn on the wait list.


The Kemper sounds absolutely killer and so does the Axe. I've owned both and played both extensively, I sit on neither side of the fence here and I own the AX8 now. If the Kemper was floorboard format I'd still own it, it is that good when it comes to pure amp tones and the way it reacts identical to the profiled amp. That being said, either one is a great unit. You'll get very different answers posting your question here and over at the Kemper forum so keep that in mind. Rock on with AX8, it's a great unit.


I have both.
Everything said before on fundamentals differences is correct, nevertheless the KPA can deliver the sound in your head if you have the right amp that does it.
And, if you know what to search, you can find your favorite sound even without owning the amp: the best option is work with merged profiles, letting you work with different cabs.
Anyway the AX8 is absolutely on par as we talk about quality of emulation.
Using the stock cabs it just sound a little less in your face, but nothing that some search on IRs cannot solve.


Fractal Fanatic
Both great units in their own right. See if you can hear the difference in the low end and mids between these two though


The KPA are for capturing a particular rig at a particular setting, from input to mic, more so than modeling an amp. The Fractal gear models circuits in a virtual environment, digitally recreating the effect of a circuit on the signal path, whether it ne an amp, or pedal, or whatever circuit is loaded into the memory of the unit.


One important side note is that the Fractal team worked far more extensively on FX (pedals) than the KPA people.

So, even if there is a lot of options on the KPA unit like overdrives, reverbs, delays, etc, the ones on Fractal are somehow more refined.

That is why it is very common to see people using a Kemper with a pedalboard and also some people use Fractal AxeFX II with real amps (so, it basically does just the FX, and that is why the FX8 was created).

So, in my mind I still say that they are very different units with very different purposes. KPA, for me, is the best amp/speaker/mic "profiler", while Fractal is the best "all in one" full rig "emulator".

Profiling is different than emulating like a lot of people already pointed out...


Axe and KPA are forks in the road that lead to the same place. Whether you take one road or the other you can get to where you want to go. When I A/B switch the units on similar amps and compare to the actual amp, there is barely any difference - at least where i can say one is "better than the other." When just switching between the two and not knowing which one I'm playing through, i can tell which is which or which i prefer. Luckily, i tend to use my arsenal of analog pedals (and an M-13) in front of both, so the FX are the same, except for delay and verb, but i'm not that anal/OCD about Reverb. Now, phaser, chorus, flanger, trem and univibe - that I'm pretty particular about, so i use my old CE-1, Electrix Mistress and Maestro PS1-a.


Fractal Fanatic
I have both as well and both sound amazing but my Fractal gear gets used and my Kemper pretty much just sits in my rack case. It is a great unit but I prefer my Fractal gear.


I have both as well and both sound amazing but my Fractal gear gets used and my Kemper pretty much just sits in my rack case. It is a great unit but I prefer my Fractal gear.
Same here.

I bought my Kemper out of curiosity and also hoping I would share profiles with my older brother, he owned a Kemper first :)


New Member
The thing that made me sell my kemper and buy AX8 was that the kemper did not manage to capture good direct profiles.
So if you are not going the FRFR route, the kemper direct profiles will have this crazy low end resonance trough the cab that just sounds bad.

Will Chen

I must admit, I really do miss having the Kemper. There was a ton to love about it. While there is much love for Fractal reverbs I actually thought the Kemper reverbs sounded more natural (though Fractal much better for ambient wash type of stuff). Also unlike the above response, I thought the Kemper effects were fantastic including some unique approaches/odd ball effects that I'm not sure I've seen in any MFX (which they likely ported over from their synth). If they offered a floorboard unit I may have never bought the AX8 honestly...but I'm glad I did. I mirror the above comments that you have to take a very different more generic approach to dialing in a Kemper profile ignoring any specific amp behavior (Did they ever implement different tone stack types?) and at the time I had it disabling speaker cabs and running into a power amp and cab didn't sound very good (I believe they've addressed this with differing profile methodology). All in all, both can sound utterly fantastic but take a different mental approach to using each device.


So I own an AX8 and love it after I figured it all out and everything. I finally got the tones I have been looking for and much more. My question is what is profiling that they talk about with Kemper and what makes the difference between Fractal vs Kemper?

Keep in mind I love my AX8 and I am not changing I am just curious to hear differences is all
best thing to do is watch some Kemper videos on Youtube.

I have owned both. The Kemper has slightly better tones of a raw amp in my opinion, however Fractal is killer. To me, any device is going to add its own "color" to the sound. Fractal JCM 800 sounds one way, and the Kemper sounds one way and the Helix sounds one way
While they are all very similar, each unit has its own "flavor"

It is like Plexi pedals. You have Carl Martin, Wampler, etc. Well, they are all great ,but which one sounds best to your ears

I went back to Fractal for convenience of the floorboard unit, and one thing that drove me nuts about the damn Kemper is you cannot edit sounds in computer software. You have to go to the unit. It really irritated me. With Fractal, when I am recording, I just open the software and edit and it is soooo easy
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