Features: The Kemper Profiling Amplifier is a "profiler" for electric guitar amplifiers. I use my words carefully because this is no ordinary amp "modeler". The Kemper technology is quite different. It doesn't employ the standard "Dynamic Convolution" approach, which can barely recreate simple, soft distortion circuits and fails miserably for complex guitar amplifiers with heavy distortion. Instead, the Kemper unit takes a snapshot of your amp's signal chain via a microphone of your choice. Sound confusing? It's really not that bad but definitely requires some explanation. // 8
Sound: This Profiling machine is the best argument for amp modeling technology that I've ever heard. The way it works is the guitar is plugged directly into the Kemper. The Profiler's send jack will feed the unprocessed guitar sound and the profiling test signals to the guitar input of the reference amplifier (your amp). The microphone sound will be sent back to the Profiling Amplifier's Return input where it will cause the machine to burp and belch out a few mechanical sounding beeps and buzzesthen PRESTO, it's stored. At that point, you've successfully downloaded any amp's sound into the Kemper's storage system. The process takes about a minute. There is also a compare button which allows you to test how gracefully the unit performed it's cloning operation. // 8
Reliability & Durability: Okay, does it work? Yes, it works... pretty well. It works better than anything else out there. Keeping in mind, that you are always at the mercy of whatever your speaker setup is, the recreations are incredibly accurate. They aren't perfect but they are very close. Now, you must understand that the Kemper merely takes a snapshot of your amp's tone for that moment and at it's current settings. Kemper's gain and tone controls will alter the cloned sound. They claim that their controls are superior to your amp's own controls. However, I would simply call them different. In that respect, this is the point where the tone leaves the profiling system and enters the manipulation phase of your sonic creation/production. // 9
Overall Impression: I would recommend the Kemper for specific situations. It is certainly not a vital piece of equipment. For example, if you recorded an album with ten different amplifiers and you need to perform the songs live, this is as close as you are going to get to having all ten on stage. You want to play a Twin Reverb for the verse and a Marshall JCM 900 for the chorus... no problem. Again, it's not like you have both amps at your disposal. However, what it does do is it allows you to have stored presets for your favorite amp's particular configurations and specific settings. While they may not be exact replicas, it is an extremely impressive technology... and for $1850.00, it better be. I would say that the Kemper Profiling Amplifier requires surgically thorough investigation before you even consider purchasing this impish little device. I will also say, that it is one of the most interesting pieces of musical equipment that I've ever seen and I'm not the only one.
By Josh Hiken // 8