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Kemper vs Fractal vs Helix vs Positive Grid?


Grant Harding
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None, if it doesn't have tubes I am not generally a consumer. Not a cork sniffer, just like tubes better. I have one SS amp that was meant to be a cheap, expendable, practice only amp. All my other amps are tube based. What well known bands are you seeing that use only modelers? Certainly not the bands I generally listen to, so maybe it is a generational thing.

 

Edited by Axisplayer
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I think they've become a lot more common than you think, even for the most die-hard tone freaks. This didn't used to be the case even a few years ago because they weren't "there" yet, but all of the 3 brands in the title sound and feel like tube amps.

 

Here's an example of who uses them:

 

http://www.fractalaudio.com/artists.php

 

https://www.kemper-amps.com/hall-of-fame

 

 

 

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I'm mainly an acoustic guy so take this for what it's worth. I have a Roland Cube 80XL. I don't honestly care whether it has modelling or not. It sounds good enough for worship in a small church and it has a ''Line Out'' for connection to the PA.

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I love tube amps. I just want more flexibility and ease of use live and now you can get that without sacrificing the tube sound completely. I realise it's a lot of money, but it's the tools for the job.

Ask a professional sound engineer what sounds better and what would they rather have. ;)

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Not many well known players there compared to Fractal and I'd be really surprised if most of them use the Helix for their primary amp tone.

It's definitely the best modeler that Line 6 has ever released and is more than adequate in most live settings. Saying it's 1000 x better than the Kemper doesn't make any sense though.

 

What sort of genre do you play that suits the Line 6 so perfectly?

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I have no doubt that as an international touring professional you can make any gear sound great. The Line 6 is great sounding compared to what we used to have available.

I've just never seen one in use with a big name artist. You see AxeFX and Kemper in their racks if they aren't still using amps. I haven't seen a Helix yet.

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I've changed the thread title because I do agree that the Helix is a gig-worthy amp replacement. It's obvious that you don't just settle for whatever and that you've done your own research, so I'll reset my opinion until I hear or play one in a gig setting.

My history with Line 6 is from their very beginning - I bought their very first model AxSys 212 on preorder as soon as it was released so I suspect I'm one of their first customers. When it died several years later they got a local tech to replace both the front and back circuit boards for free, so great service.

Edited by Grant Harding
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If you do an exhaustive search, you will find that the general consensus of MANY people who have used all 3 is as follows:

 

1) For tube tone, the Kemper is the best option. It reliably recreates genuine tube tone live better than any other option.

 

2) The AxeIIFx is slightly less compelling when it comes to "doing tube", but only slightly less so. The AxeIIFx sports a much more complete FX engine than Kemper.

 

3) The Helix takes the award for the best GUI on the PC but lags noticeably behind both Kemper and the AxeIIFx with respect to tone. It is much better than the old pods, but still a good step behind the 2 leaders.

 

As someone who has been a tube purist, and sold a VHT Pittbull rig for my Kemper (and played them side by side), I can honestly say that the Kemper is a much better option for live than any single tube amp.

 

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I saw Steve Morse using a Kemper last month.

 

I should have added that his tone was unremarkable. In fact, I was not impressed and I've heard much better. It could have been a lot of factors, from the sound man to the PA itself, or many other things. I'd like to hear more Kempers and Axe Fxs live before I form an opinion.

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