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Which amp option is best for me?


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  • Which amp option is best for me?

    Hello all,

       I am looking to upgrade from a Line 6 Vetta to a new amp for the purposes of recording and live playing. The amps I am trying to decide between are the Kemper KPA and the Fractal Axe-FX. I realize that these amps have been compared endlessly, but I am looking for recommendations based on specific needs and I am trying to find a way to kill many birds with one stone!! I will say that most of the threads I have read about the comparisons were posted pre-update for both amps, so if there is any new light on the head to head comparison...I would love to hear about it.

    1) Recording needs: My band's music is pretty wide in range (Extreme Metal to Ambient/Acoustic) so I am looking for something that can handle aggressive modern metal tones equally as well as sweet warm cleans. I also record the bass guitar for the band and I would like to use the amp as my bass rig as well, if this is possible. We record in a home studio so loud amp/mic'ing is not an option.

    2) Live needs: The high gains sounds must be there for the metal band, but I also play in an acoustic duo and I would like to use the amp as my acoustic amp as well (if possible). I have both a piezo and a magnetic pickup in my acoustic guitar with separate inputs so the amp would be run with the "pickup" jack.

    3) If I decide to go with the Kemper KPA, I saw a mod that would let me use my Line 6 longboard. Is there any updates to this concept or should I look for a new pedal as well? If it is the new route, which midi pedal is the best fit for the KPA?

    4) I would love to have all of the effects in the Axe-Fx at my disposal, but I have read a lot about the KPA being more "natural and "authentic" in tone. Would the Kemper with outboard effect (ie. Eventide pedals) be preferable to the Axe-Fx? Also,would the Axe-Fx effects be good to use as an outboard effects unit for other things besides guitar during mixing?

    Thanks for taking the time to read my ridiculously long question!! I look forward to hearing your opinions!!

  • #2
    Wow!! So many responses!! Let me ask you this...were you unable to answer my questions or just annoyed by them?


    • Steve2112
      Steve2112 commented
      Editing a comment

      Hello Count..I am very sorry you didn't get any responses the first time around. H-C has gone through the last several months. Traffic is down a little bit. But always look on the bright didn't get made fun of! As much as there were some good peeps here "before"...there were some jerks too, and some good peeps who sometimes made bad posts. It's just MVHO..and be it as it may...I will try to help ya.

      1) There are a few big metal amps that seem to record well in our little home studios. Have heard some AWESOME tones from Mark IV/V where I could still hear the electric guitar acousticly. The bass guitar I have run direct with some outboard rack gear. With modern recording don't necessarily need a "rig" to record the bass. You might use compression, EQ, room simulator, bass amp and cab sim if you have it....but it's possible to get a great bass tone without a huge rig and/or tons of sims.


      2) To expect quality tones with a modern metal amp and acoustic guitar/piezo is...wel..I will say it...impossible. Here's what I do with my Brian Moore Custom C55P...I run a stereo signal; the magnetic pups go to my floor processor and amp rig. The piezo signal goes to a Korg AX acoustic processor that goes direct to the board. I can use eithe rmy guitar volume controsl or the floor processors' foot pedal to control the signal volumes. The Korg AX adds depth and body to the sterile piezo signal and works GREAT!


      3) I cant attest to the Kemper because I;ve never played one. But I believe it may be one possible solution to your expansive and possibly impossible request. You certainly could run a bass and maybe an acoustic piezo through the Kemper. Line 6 POD HD500 might be a cheaper and vastly inferior option.

      4) I am not sure why you would want to add pedals to anything like a Kemper. You are defeating the purpose of having a Kemper. Of course it is possible...they;ve designed it to do it...but you're adding a headache...more stuff...when it will do just fine on it's own. The Axe FX is a worthy opponent. Some people like the Axe...some like the Kemper. Again...I haven't tried the AXE...but I will tell you that I have used lots of guitar FX for other things like vocals and special effects and bass guitar and stuff. Kemper and AXE would work quite well I would say.



      In the have some very specific needs. Certainly there should be an Axe/Kemper forum wher you can get more specific answers. one can baby sit you or hold you by the hand. Somoen could tell you the kemper is perfect for you and you;d hate it. Other will tell you a Mesa Boogie Mark IV won't come near to what you want and you;d LOVE it. There's no substitute for experience...and as much as it pains you....coming up with the cash to find what works best for you. You cant cheese out and expect to be bailed out of the hard work and suffering that G.A.S. involves. Sometimes you get lucky...sometimes not. With due diligence and smart buying...the pain can be alleved.


      Good luck and happy GAS.

  • #3

    Both the Kemper and Axe-Fx2 would be vast upgrades over anything Line 6 fabricates in China.


    In terms of finally ending "guitar amp acquisition syndrome", I'd be willing to bet no modeler can do that. Pick attack-dynamics won't seem quite ideal.

    Modelers are constantly going obsolete, no getting around that. Not so with classic tube amps. If you had bought a Dumble in 1982, you'd probably still have it today (unless you needed the 50 to 100 grand).


    Both the Kemper and AXE-FX2 have built in effects, forget about Line 6, no need.


    's the Kemper low down:


    Kemper Profiler Rack Features:

    • Rackmountable guitar preamplifier can create profiles of any physical guitar amplifier
    • Includes 200 amplifier profiles for you to start with
    • Easy to profile your own amplifiers: all you need is a microphone and cable, guitar cables, and a combo amp or amp head and cabinet
    • Built-in DI can split your signal to a direct output, for simultaneous recording of your dry guitar signal and the guitar amp profile
    • Great sounding collection of effects in addition to the amplifiers
    • Automatic spillover lets your delay and reverb tails fade out naturally when you change presets
    • You can lock individual module settings when changing presets, for example keeping your current delay effects settings while changing amp profiles
    • Effects loop lets you integrate your hardware effects and stompboxes



    • Steve2112
      Steve2112 commented
      Editing a comment

      Vague...thanks for the good post.

      You said "modellers are costanly going obsolete". And that is both bad news and very good news. They are making improvements all the time. I wont confuse my Fender Mustang III with a JVM stack or MB Mark IV....but I can really feel my pick attack with it. I also get a tiny bit of note blossom--- after touch? A little bit of nice feed back on some presets, especially when I am able to crank it is a 100 watt amp after all.


      But as you correctly noted...this isn't the be all and end all. It will become obsolete as something BETTER is devloped. A "classic tube amp" and something like the Mustang are two TOTALLY different things and any comparisons are apples and oranges.

  • #4

    Thank you so much for the responses!! Very informative!! I have to say, I am leaning towards the Kemper and your info brought to light even more great info about it (ie: spillover! Yay!!) that will help a ton when making my final decision. I have no doubt either way it will be a vast upgrade from the Vetta!!

    In regards to my question, in particular section 3...I am not looking to add any outboard effects (I should have been more clear about this) but rather a midi pedal to change presets/effects in a live situation. The Line 6 longboard looks to be usuable with the kemper if modded. I was really looking for a better solution for a midi pedal though.

    It is great to know that the Kemper can handle tracking bass guitar, but I was sceptical about the acoustic needs. I saw that acoustic Kemper profiles exist, but I question their usefulness.

    Can the Kemper be use as an outboard effects unit for other instruments during mixing?


    • Steve2112
      Steve2112 commented
      Editing a comment

      I am sure that it can. Frequency range is there. Your software doesn't do it for you?