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On the fence between Axe FX II and Kemper Profiling Amp

Kriig

Fractal Fanatic
I`m sure the kemper is really good. Never tried one. I´ve heard great clips.

People made Axe-Fx std/Ultra sound amazingly good.. The biggest difference between std/Ultra and AXII, is that the growing fw´s (FW10 and now 11b) don´t require a lot of tweaking.... But most of all. The feeling of playing this piece of gear is what has jumped ahead the most IMHO. Sound and feel is 2 things that is connected AND different. I played digital gear years ago. Sounded very good until i tried it myself. I was missing the feel. Felt flat. AXII do not.
Did that make sense??? May have to edit it later :)
I also would like to hear what you end up with. So please share ;)
 
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LVC

Fractal Fanatic
The Axe can be simple to create presets, or you can tweak away but you don't have to.
I agree with this. I am not a tweaker -- not even close. I am a vintage amp aficionado that loves tubes. I approach and dial in my AF2 same way I dial in any tube amp and effects on a pedalboard.
 

webe123

Inspired
No, it's true, and very coherent when you think about it. The Kemper has the possibilyt of taking a snapshot of a complexe live setup. That means that for a sound engineer that he can build a collection of live sounds, and call them back at will. Makes perfect senses for a professional that may not like emulated sounds for real or psychological reasons (E.G. "it's not tube!!!").
There was article about it a few days ago, I'll see if I can find it.... Even if I agree that this is a very specific use case...

Edit: there
Gearslutz.com - View Single Post - Kemper?
Sorry, but for a LOT of studio engineers a "snapshot" is NOT the actual amp!

Again MOST engineers prefer tube amps miced.
 

barhrecords

Axe-Master
Sorry, but for a LOT of studio engineers a "snapshot" is NOT the actual amp!

Again MOST engineers prefer tube amps miced.
I think for re-amping later or for doing overdubs later and even in a different studio, its a pretty slick trick.

Reproduce the exact same tones from the sessions but later and without the gear used to do the original tracking. And you don't have to have the same room, cabs, mic locker, outboard gear etc.
 

GibsonLesPaul

Experienced
I think most of it has been said already in previous posts and I don't own an KPA but an AxeII.

Only thing I want to add as a major point. If you try them both be sure that the Axe runs on FW 11(b)
That firmware really does justice about the sound, dynamics and feel of the Axe.
So before you judge, upgrade first!

Good luck with your A/B-ing and your decision.
 

karmakarmakarma

Experienced
Love my AxeFXII. For someone new, it's easy to find a large variety of tones that are very very good and useful.

Here's the super easy beginners guide:

1. Call up preset #1
2. Select any one of the 93 Amp models in the "Amp" block.
3. Try this newly selected Amp model with any of the 132 included Factory Cab IR's in the "Cab" block.

With nothing more than that, you have 12,276 Amp/Cab combinations at your fingertips. Pretty sure you'll find a dozen or so tones you really like.

Peace,
Karma

p.s. someone else can do the math to figure out how many combinations you can get if you use two amp models at the same time into two stereo cab blocks. :)
 

kkolb71

Inspired
I have owned the 11rack, Kemper, POD everything, and the AXE FX II in the last few years. I spent considerable time A/B testing the Kemper to the AXE and had no bias as to which one I was planning to keep since I was going to keep both of them for different things I assumed. I planned to use the AXE for the effects and routing features and the Kemper for the base amp sounds. After playing both separately and together and buying a lot of the Kemper profiles on line it was an easy decision to only keep the AXE. It has a higher sampling rate and just sounds better especially in the higher frequencies. The amp models also sound more realistic to me in every case. I have nothing against the Kemper but it did not sound as good as the AXE, it did not have the effects/routing equal to the AXE, and no midi interface for switching as compared to MFC-101 for live use. Just my opinion and pic below of my original layout to rack the lunch box.

Axe - Kemper .jpg
 
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Bodde

Fractal Fanatic
Bad place to talk about Kemper
Yes, Axe fx users will say the Axe fx is better, Kemper users will say the Kemper is better. If you ask the same question on the Kemper forum you will probably get totally different answers. Point is you have to try for yourself, that is the only way to find out which one works best for you. Good luck in your decision!
 

toolfanem

Power User
I think for re-amping later or for doing overdubs later and even in a different studio, its a pretty slick trick.

Reproduce the exact same tones from the sessions but later and without the gear used to do the original tracking. And you don't have to have the same room, cabs, mic locker, outboard gear etc.
It is, and it will only become more popular and accepted as time goes on. There are plenty of engineers that are using ONLY axe fxs and kempers for albums. Why the heck not :) A snap shot it may be, but its a more realistic option than remicing the amp and hoping it sounds the same.

I was speaking to one of my buddies about it. He grabbed the Axe FX 2 before the Kemper was even out I believe. He does major label stuff and wanted to do tone matches for a lot of previous albums he had done, and he was also interested in 'matching' amps that he was currently tracking in the studio. I told him that if he could afford it to get both, and he did. He uses the axe fx a lot more I believe, but he does use the kemper when he wants to quickly snapshot an amp hes got miced up. Best of both worlds. My money is still on the AXE FX though!
 

markmusicman

Experienced
I think the great thing about the Axe Fx is you can develop your own sound. I think you may also find its a great thing to take the time and learn how to operate this unit. Why not expand your knowledge of how the Axe works? Learning about the effects, Amps, cabs, and everything else you can learn just helps you become a better musician/sound engineer. Nothing is ever plug it in and its just what you want. You may go through allot of profiles for the Kemper only to find your still not happy with the sound. At least with the Axe you are in control of the tone you are seeking. When it comes down to it, its pretty simple to set up an amp block and cab to get started and from there you can be rocking. I wish you the best in which ever way you go.
 

shasha

Fractal Fanatic
They are two distinctly different devices because one is a modeler and one is a profiler. One is a snapshot of a specific rig and while you can tweak it in I have reservations as to how realistic that portion can be. I would imagine that with slight tweaks here and there its not a problem, but in the back of my head and just using logic I would think that the further you go with the tweaking the less accurate the experience is to dialing in the real amp. With that said I would think that if you have an amp, cabinet and mic that you love and have it dialed in that you are going to be extremely happy. If not then you start the journey of user profiles which is not really something I could get excited about. Nothing against anyone else, but even with the AxeFXII I rarely find a preset from someone else that sounds like what I want.

Fortunately with the AxeFXII I don't have to rely on others to make my presets.

This is where the distinct differences really come to play between profiler and modeler IMHO. The AxeFXII mimics the circuitry of the real amp. The TMB and drive and master volumes are "correct" for the amp that it is modeling. If I want a Vox tone I just grab an amp block, select the Vox and then grab a cabinet block with a 2x12 setup. If I don't like that cab I just select another one. But once I start messing with the actual amp controls it is going to behave and react like the real amp would. That wasn't always the case if you ask me. Prior to v5 of the AxeFXII things like the TMB were in the right place in the virtual circuit, but the values weren't accurate. You grab a plexi and "dime" it and it didn't sound exactly how a dimed plexi would because the values were not accurate. Cliff redid every amp model and set the values for every parameter to be withing +/-10% of the real amp. To me this was the single biggest improvement and the real game changer to being able to dial in a patch easily. We all know that you are supposed to dial in with your ears and not your eyes, but when you are used to an amp and it doesn't do what you are used to it causes confusion. I think that is where a lot of the comments about it being so much harder to dial in came from. This isn't the case anymore. You could get into trouble because you could exceed the values of the real amp before; now I can't really get a bad tone out of the thing.

But at the end of the day I honestly think that both are winners. I don't think that there is realistically enough to separate the two based on sound alone. I mean if you suck on one you are going to suck on the other. I would look at the feature sets because there are things that the AxeFXII offers that the KPA does not, but some of those may not be important to you. Then think about how you want to go about dialing in your own sounds. If you have no problem relying on others or have your own amps than the KPA is probably a good solution. If you want the ability to dial in an amp like you would a real amp than I think that the AxeFXII will lend itself to that better.
 

Sean Ashe

Power User
I tried the Kemper at NAMM 2013 and I didn't really think that the feel was there. The dynamics were great, but it was definitely different to the tube amps that were profiled. I personally would choose the Axe FX over Kemper any day because of the flexibility, and the features it has over the Kemper, but as someone said I do know many many engineers who prefer the Kemper over the Axe FX. But they prefer micing amps over both. As someone said, your best course of action would probably be to buy both and return the one you're not jiving with. You can't really ask an opinion of which is better at a forum where everyone has one of them and not the other haha.

Both units are good units, and I've heard plenty of clips of the Kemper that sound just as good as the Axe FX. It just depends on your personal preference.
 

jlynnb1

Fractal Fanatic
when you think about it, how many engineers prefer to record dry with little to no fx? most fx are added post-processing unless they are integral to the guitar part, and even then they can be added via plug in so it can be tweaked later. a Kemper makes a little more sense in that application than the Axe.

that being said, i STILL believe the Axe definitelynsounds and feels better, by a good margin.
 

matt1973

New Member
Owned both.

The Kempers interface is good, the layout is welcoming whereas the Axe's is a perhaps a little sterile initially. Personally I got over that pretty quickly but perhaps it could be off-putting for some?

Kempers 60sec startup routine is bad news if you plan to play live. I really did not like that at all.

Axe wins by a country mile on tone. Thr Axe's effects are way more comprehensive. The MFC is another major advantage that is seldome mentioned in head-to-head comparisons.

Overall - it's the Axe by some considerable distance.
 

animal

Experienced
I picked up a kemper recently and was blown away. It's actually become my main recording rig.
Unfortunately I won't be near a pc to give a detailed reply for a few days , but OP should try them both.
The axe-fx is the clear winner if you have to do some crazy effects/synth/ambient type stuff but anything else IMO is highly subjective.

The alaising got fixed a few FW ago.


And as far as having to try hundreds & thousands of profiles .... Lol
The amp factory might have 10 profiles of a certain amp.... After my first weekend with it I had a ton of killer sounds.
It was very very easy.

As for the start up time, I guess everyone just flicks a tube amp on right with out standby lol
 

A to the T

Experienced
...snip
It seems as though guitar players prefer the Axe FX II while professional recording engineers and studio heads prefer the Kemper.
I think my biggest concern with the Axe FX II is that it will take a lot of tweaking and learning to get the clean and melodic tones that I most want to sound good to me. I am not really into tweaking. I would rather just turn it on. Run a few simple pedals for sound modification and spend most of my time playing. Of course like some have said it might take a lot of time and effort to find the perfect Kemper Amp profile online or in one of the The Amp Factory Packs.
well, its guitar players who use it and you're a guitar player so studio heads and engineers opinions can easily be discounted.

I've been tweaking with MFX units for years and I didn't find the Axe complicated at all. I only got it a while back and within same night of having it i was building presets. very easy to understand. great factory tones outta the box presets 24/25 Friedman amps are phenomenal. I wouldn't let ease of use scare you. I reviewed Kemper before buying the Axe. I made my decision based on the following facts:

- Axe was way more bang for the buck with tons of fx models and large array of blocks and functionality that kemper did not have
- Axe had way more pro guitarist endorsements. i dont mean financial, i mean actually seeing it in action. vai, petrucci, loomis, govan, all these guys actually using the product professionally and speaking of it in interviews. these guys can play whatever they want but they choose gear that works for them and has pristine sound.
- Kemper took like 45seconds to boot up. WTF?
- Kemper really focused heavily on amp profiling and honestly, I have no access to any amps that require profiling. the community has already profiled most of them and this was their big selling point.
- Axe tone matching and ability to use and save IR's was extremely appealing
- I trolled here for years and there has been nothing less than an increase in firmware development. although axe-edit was secondary in support to the axe, the fractal team has been committed to its development.

I will continue to monitor Kemper developments. One thing that can elevate either company is an investment in R&D. I think Kemper has done well in this area in the last year. If they got a decent cash injection they may be able to catch up with the quantity and quality of effects that the Axe is full of. Development requires money and time. I believe that Fractal has more skin in this game right now as Kemper has to play catch-up in certain areas. Just my opinion...

Either way, I love all these companies as it gives us more options for tone and gear.

I have zero regrets.
 

toolfanem

Power User
when you think about it, how many engineers prefer to record dry with little to no fx? most fx are added post-processing unless they are integral to the guitar part, and even then they can be added via plug in so it can be tweaked later. a Kemper makes a little more sense in that application than the Axe.

that being said, i STILL believe the Axe definitelynsounds and feels better, by a good margin.
I agree with you on this. But with that in mind, why not go a step further and use the USB to record a DI while still monitoring the amp sim. I dont think you can do that with the Kemper from what I recall. In the studio this is an awesome option. Then you can reamp over USB and change any effect/amp/cab you want :) And the MFC rules.
 
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