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I might drop the dime - Kemper, Helix users and Axe-Fx III now?

Conley Shepherd

I forgot to mention that I have been in the UK for almost 2 years and got back in august last year. Been out to jail ministry several times and getting back into a prison ministry with the women's jail in Lockhart, TX. I am looking forward to seeing what the FX III can inspire me on. hasn't shipped yet, but I am chomping on the bit...


Fractal Fanatic
Thanks again for the feedback. Right now, my main FX unit is the G-major 2. I have a ground control pro and love it. I haven't looked at the midi mapping of the AXE yet. Gonna do that today sometime. Looking at the tutorial that Chris did was pretty informative and the front panel is really user friendly for editing. I love that. The software looks nice too.

How is the patch switch time delay? Is there any lag at all? I guess it would be the scene changes I guess. Still need to get that scene and patch relationship sorted in my mind. My X32 has them too with shows and scenes.

I am totally gonna pull the trigger on the AXE in time to have it shipped today. Just trying to find out a few more things so I can make a good decision based on what I want which is first -0 stellar FX, then good amps. I have a mesa mark V so I am good with the amp for the most part. I will have a good replacement for my G-Major 2 and a lot more. Not sure I will be using all four inputs, but that could be good for re-amping in my recordings.

You can use the GCP but you'd be missing very cool features of the FC that Fractal is releasing any day now. The ability to power it by 1 XLR cable and also have 2 way communication(name patch on AXE III and it shows up on the FC as such). In addition the ability to have LCD screens that show the name of the patch/effect/scene as well as have the switches assigned to do anything per preset is a game changer. I know it sucks to spend more. But I would HIGHLY recommend biting the bullet. This is the last unit you'll want until the AXE 4 comes out way down the road(probably 6 years or more) and it will do anything. You'll never want or need anything else IMO.


Had the Kemper, didn't like the routing.
Still have 2 Helix and 2 Axe III here.
I prefer the Helix in most cases except one: Routing possibilities. The Helix is very limited with that.
But I don't want to talk more about the Helix here because I only get hate if I make a real comparison.
Did that already on other platforms and fanbois got their hate out... so I'm not spending my free time anymore on this stuff.


Please share me some of those Helix patches of yours. I’m not hating on you here but all my Helix patches sound so tinny and fake. It however is an excellent midi floorboard for me and I do appreciate its acoustic simulations along with my variax guitar.


FWIW I've just had a HX stomp, Kemper and AA6 in my studio to demo and while they're all excellent units that fill their niche at particular price points, when I turn the III back on I can't help but smile. From the raw amp tones to the new features that are rolling in and the I/O flexibility it really just is another animal. Everything else I've tried sounds good, but the III sounds real.


Don’t follow the Kemper/Axe FX comparisons. They are literally two different technologies. The Axe is a modeler, the KPA is a profiler.

An “amp” in KPA is a profile of a real amplifier that was captured with a mic. Sounds an awful lot like an IR to me. You can do some tweaking with the profiler.

The modeler on the other hand seeks to digitally replicate certain aspects of real amplifier circuitry.

I have always thought that if I owned a room full of amps whose tones I wanted to get into a single box for gigging or recording, the KPA would make sense.

They really are two different tools that address two different problems.

Conley Shepherd

I bought the FX III - dime was dropped :)

I appreciate everyone who has provided their input. Now I just need to figure out the MFC until my FC12 comes (If someone can put me ahead in the wait list, I would surely appreciate it!) ;)


Congrats. Good decision. I have lots of amps, so Kemper has a value for me. That said, I own both, but I’m tilted far and away toward FAS. It’s all about tone, right?


I just dropped the dime on a new Axe III myself (just sold my Axe II XL). I do own a Kemper still which I love for a few (10 or so) great amp profiles and I run it in the FX loop of the Axe for those occasions that I want those specific amp tones, but playing with the Axe III for just a short time I have really noticed how improved the amp feel is now vs the II, and also how much better the screen, routing, control options, and intuitive GUI are. So best of both worlds for me, very happy. Good luck.


You are absolutely right on. It's originally why I bought both. The III has the necessary amount of I/O. What I eventually discovered, was that the FAS III has better tone and feel than my Kemper. I still use it, but only the profiles of my own stuff. Plus, I've had to use it live, while waiting for my FC.


Coming from the Kemper that I bought in 2016 (and have since sold), I concur with what others have said. The AX-FX III is just more advanced. Too many cables with the Kemper plus the need for a recording interface. Also, no editor. I knew about these aspects before but when I had it, I realised that for me they were dealbreakers. I never used the unit much as a consequence, although there are great sounds to be had. Ultimately, I prefer the Axe FX III since it feels and (mostly) operates like a normal amp, whereas on the Kemper you need to hunt for profiles (and very likely invest some money in commercial ones). I also found that amps sound more diverse and realistic in the Axe FX III, while the Kemper, in my opinion, has some degree of "house sound", if I may call it that.

When I finally jumped ship and went for the Axe FX III, I immediately knew that this was what I had wanted all along. One power cord, one USB cable, headphones - and done. The frequent (and substantial) updates justify the initial investment even more. Had I gotten the Kemper upon its first release, I may have judged differently, but in 2016 it already felt somewhat dated. Don't get me wrong: It's an absolutely capable unit and would be worthy of being kept as backup or second option if money is no object, but I personally never felt as motivated to turn it on and go tone-hunting/tweaking as I do with the Axe FX III. Everyone else's mileage might vary, of course.


New Member
Had all three only kemper and axe 3 remain

I mostly use the kemper as an expensive travelling amp with headphones now and fractal for 100% recording

just could not click with the helix honestly... I did put down the 100 for the helix native as my justification to sell the pedal incase they ever add extra stuff but I just did not enjoy making patches or anything on it and the dsp limit was always hit!

never hit the dsp limit on my axe 2 when i had it let alone the 3 now


I was only speaking for myself and I did not have the powered version. For live playing and the desire for using an actual cab, the powered Kemper is certainly a great solution. At home I needed to connect: 1 power cord, 1 USB, 2x TS cables for stereo input into the DAW, one S/PDIF cable for DI track recording and possibly another TS cable from the monitor out for a raw guitar track (Stack). That's six cables. With reamping it could even go to seven. With the Axe FX III it's two cables so far.

Brian Wahl

I own all three (and the AX8). Of them all, the Helix and Axe FX 3 are my favorites. Kemper sounds great, but I use it by far the least.

I've used Helix by far the most of any of them - countless hours building patches and using it in a live environment (I also play in church, and I've used it doing prison ministry before as well).

The more I use Axe FX 3, the more it's pulling away from Helix from a tone perspective, but the price points are very different, so that's something to keep in mind.


I just pulled the trigger today too and ordered the 3. Been waiting for the fc and figure it will be released soon enough. In the meantime I’ll use the fbc1010. Have the XL and ax8....will sell the xl next week. My other guitarist is a Kemper power user, and it does sound great, tho no better than my xl by any means. To top that, he will readily admit my fractal has way better effects and can do so much more than his Kemper. As far as the helix, I had it for about a month, got some decent tones and sounds out of it, but could not get rid of that digital Line 6 tone as much as I tried. Routing and effects were damn good on it..of course my fractals sounded better to me.
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