What Is A Kemper?
If you’ve been hidden under a rock for the past few years and are unsure of exactly what a Kemper is then I will quickly explain it for you. Kemper is a profiling unit available in Head, Rack and most recently floorboard format. The Kemper cleverly profiles any amplifier, extracting its DNA and allowing you to call upon any amp and rig combination at the simple click of a switch. If you would like a Fender amp for your cleans, a Marshall amp for your crunch and a Mesa Boogie amp for your soaring leads, well this all capable whilst using the Kemper.
Isn’t It Just Another Modelling Amp?
Absolutely not, the Kemper is a solution for many touring and professional guitarists who need consistent sound from gig to gig, authentic tones and most importantly road ready & reliable. I’ve owned my Kemper for just over a year and I couldn’t be happier, so far it’s been super reliable and has taken any abuse at gigs and on the road. I even used it to perform at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 and it worked flawlessly even in extreme temperature fluctuations.
Modelling amplifiers were a thing of the 80’s – 90’s, a new craze that many people jumped on and were then very quickly extremely disappointed with the quality of the sound. With technology advances it’s now even easier than ever to create your dream rig and save this to the Kemper. Imagine carrying around a vintage Fender, Marshall & Mesa Boogie amplifier to gigs, just imagine the size of the car you would need and the complex switching systems you would need to connect these amps together. Not even thinking about possible phasing issues between them when running them all together and the money you would be spending sorting your back after lifting these items from gig to gig.
How Much Is This Unit?
Ok as you’d imagine a unit like this that ticks a lot of boxes is going to be pretty pricey. But for a professional all in one system for guitarists it’s a must. The powered rack unit and remote, which you will need to control your set up will set you back around £2500, but it really is the ultimate gigging & studio tool. (Ive used for both.)
Who’s It Not For?
As previously mentioned this unit has been used the world over on many tours and most recently Mark Knopfler has been seen touring with one. So it’s really not for the beginner guitarist, buying this unit as a beginner guitarist would just be an overwhelming task and would probably lead to frustration. The system is pretty intuitive to use however you do need to spend some time with it to get set up and performing at its best. I spent initially a few hours to get the rigs working as I wanted them to plus countless hours at gig tweaking them in the real world.
Where Do I Purchase The Profiles?
The Kemper already comes pre loaded with a plefura of profiles which sound fine, however I’ve found the 3rd party Profiles are much better and really bring the Kemper to life. I’ve used exclusively Michael Britt (Lonestar Guitarist) and Tone Junkie profiles and have adjusted the amp profiles to my tastes. Purchasing your profiles is a pretty simple exercise. Simply download from a third party website to your computer and upload to your Kemper via the Rig Manager or USB flash drive.
What Are The Effects Like?
I’ve found the effects on the Kemper to be really good and easy to find exactly the sound you’re after. They might not sound exactly like a vintage Copy Cat or Klone, however they are of professional standard and the listening punter at a gig will not notice the difference. I’ve had just as many compliments about my tone since owning the Kemper than I did when I was using vintage amplifiers with floor based effects.
My Live Set Up
I currently run the Kemper to the FOH (Front of house PA) via XLR outputs and have an XAIR16 mixer also in my rack unit to keep cables neat and tidy and connections constant. I also run a Shure GLXD rack wireless unit for my guitar, Kemper floor remote and Shure wireless IEM’s system with Shure 535 Red earbuds. The Kemper has given me a truly 3D sound now with IEM’s and access to a limitless amount of guitar rigs and effects. The guitar of choice is a Musicman Axis Supersport Semi Hollow. Sometimes I take a Zilla 2×12 Vertcial cabinet to gigs but most recently have been relying just on my IEM’s, and I must say I love it. Consistent sound every single gig.
If you’re a professional guitarist or gig at least once a weekend, then it really is a no brainer to purchase one of these units. Until I found the Kemper I was a complete valve purist. I still love a vintage valve amplifier but if push came to shove I would happily choose the Kemper for any gig situation over a vintage valve amp set up.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this months blog post, if you have any questions or are thinking about purchasing a Kemper I would be more than happy to offer any support.
Thanks for reading, I’ll catch you next month,