#1
Which is the better unit for someone who needs high gain sounds (Korn, Deftones, Smashing Pumpkins) + an interesting and powerful array of FX?
#2
axe fx, that goes without saying. kemper is just an amp modeler - a great amp modeler, but an amp modeler nonetheless.

it's worth noting that, should you need to "tone match", the axe-fx can do it as well. it's just a box of convenience for a gigging musician.

the kemper is awesome at what it does, but it's by no means the one-stop-shop the axe-fx is.
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#3
Quote by Hail
axe fx, that goes without saying. kemper is just an amp modeler - a great amp modeler, but an amp modeler nonetheless.

it's worth noting that, should you need to "tone match", the axe-fx can do it as well. it's just a box of convenience for a gigging musician.

the kemper is awesome at what it does, but it's by no means the one-stop-shop the axe-fx is.



Do you know what the Kemper is?


They're both different things. The Axe Fx is an amp modeller, the Kemper "profiles" amps. You can download patches and amp simulations to it but it's a different tool from the Axe Fx.

The Axe Fx is a great live/playing tool with some really good studio functionality. The kemper is a great studio tool with, when paired with a power amp (or you buy the kemper with a power amp) has some great live capabilities.

The Kemper "copies" or "Profiles" other amps. You mic up a Peavey 6505 and profile it into the Kemper, an Axe Fx already has it's own models of that amp. It's up to you how you use them.
#4
Quote by Hail
axe fx, that goes without saying. kemper is just an amp modeler - a great amp modeler, but an amp modeler nonetheless.



Clearly you haven't used a Kemper.

First of all, they are both amp modelers, so I'm confused by this statement and how it could be used to make the Axe-FX seem like a better choice....

Second, the Kemper is definitely not just a "box of convenience for the gigging musician," and I'd really like to argue the complete opposite. The Axe FX can do a certain sound if that's what you're looking for, but all of its high gain models sound like they're coming out of an Axe-FX. I don't know a single person who would choose to use the Axe-FX over a real amp in the studio, unless they were specifically going for that tone (ie: djent). They ARE very convenient for live use though and work amazingly well for it. As much as I tried to use my Ultra and II as a studio amp, it was not convenient at all, because you have to spend forever tweaking to get a good sound. When recording a band, time is money, and it's easier to just throw on an amp simulator in the DAW than it is to sit there any play with knobs and buttons on the Axe.

The Kemper on the other hand is very much a studio tool. Andy Sneap has used it on several records since it came out, several of which the guitars were recorded through a real amp and then parts within the song were reamped with the Kemper later, after mistakes were fixed. You can't hear the transition between the two at all. The Axe-FX might have the ability to "profile," but its algorithm isn't nearly as good as the Kemper's, the biggest difference being that the Axe-FX still can't capture the thump in the lowend of a real amp and feels hollow in the mids on 99% of its high gain models.

While the Kemper is more of a studio tool now, they recently released the rack version, which is aimed to bridge the gap between the two.

Now - The Axe-FX does have a large arsenal of some of the best effects money can buy. The Kemper is certainly no slouch there either, but the Axe has a lot more flexibility in routing, plus the shear amount of different effects it has. If you're an effects junky, the price for the Axe-FX just for the effects alone is worth it.


They ARE different tools, and it depends on what you're using it for. The Axe-FX is very complicated, whereas the Kemper is setup like a traditional amp. While you can go in and edit things just as deeply, if you're a person who wants great results from the get-go, the Axe-FX is NOT what you want. If you like to tweak for long hours, the Axe-FX IS what you want.

For me, I was twisting knobs and pressing buttons more than I was actually playing guitar when I had my last Axe-FX II. The Kemper is just instant gratification.

In the end, you might find a tone in the Axe that you love and can't find in the Kemper... but that just wasn't happening for me. Someday, I'll revisit the Axe-FX, but for now, I'm more than happy with my Kemper.
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#5
Quote by MatrixClaw
For me, I was twisting knobs and pressing buttons more than I was actually playing guitar when I had my last Axe-FX II. The Kemper is just instant gratification.

Oh, this. Except with a Pod HD Pro and HD 500. It also lacked that powerful feeling that I get when I play a real amp in a room.
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#6
The Kemper sounds fun. If I had one I'd feel like a Pokemon trainer, going around and trying to catch all the legendary tones.
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#7
Quote by evmac
The Kemper sounds fun. If I had one I'd feel like a Pokemon trainer, going around and trying to catch all the legendary tones.


Judging by some of the stuff I'm hearing on Youtube I'm almost certainly going to demo a Kemper in the next couple of weeks.

Shame there's no USB re-amping though, but it's a small price to pay for the realism this thing seems to kick out
#8
What's the point of things like these? As an owner of a GT-10, I've come to realize that more options doesn't make something really good. Having one really good sound could make something really good. Having a lot of options doesn't mean anything if you don't use them. From what I've seen, a lot of people with the Axe-FX only use one or two amp models. And even in those models, they have one or two tones they like and just add things like boosts and delays to them. And many end up using a tube power amp into a guitar cabinet. At that point, why not just use the real amp? That Axe-FX setup isn't really downsizing and it's more expensive than the real amps in many cases when you consider that you need a separate power amp.
#9
Imagine if you owned a recording studio/rehearsal space and had either an Axe FX or Kemper (or both) to advertise as part of the equipment musicians would have access to when hiring it...
Actually called Mark!

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#10
Quote by JELIFISH19
What's the point of things like these? As an owner of a GT-10, I've come to realize that more options doesn't make something really good.


I think it's nice to have a range of possibilities when songwriting personally, generally I've always tried to layer guitar sounds, chuck in a variety of FX into a tune to add interest - the more options the better I say
#11
Quote by steven seagull
Imagine if you owned a recording studio/rehearsal space and had either an Axe FX or Kemper (or both) to advertise as part of the equipment musicians would have access to when hiring it...

I understand that purpose, but I was mainly wondering about actual players who use it as their touring rig, especially when they use power amps and guitar cabs. They'll get rid of a Dual Rectifier head to use the Axe-FX Dual Rectifier model with a Mesa power amp and cabinet. And they still mic the cab. I don't understand that use. Why not continue using the Dual Recto?
#12
What if they're a big band travelling light, like Iron Maiden do these days with Ed Force One, relying on local sources to supply the backline. Having something like a Kemper makes a great backup if they can't source the amps they require.
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#13
Can't go wrong with either... in my experience, the Kemper sounds better, YES THATS RIGHT, I SAID BETTER. Deal with it Fractal fans. I can have my own opinion.

HOWEVER! The Kemper can not "create" a tone, where as the Axe FX II allows you to create your own individual tone.

I used to own an Axe FX but sold it when I started moving my gear towards vintage tube amps. I didn't need the range provided to me by Fractal and really enjoyed the warmth of true valave amplification.

Again, if you were to buy either device you should find a way to be happy for many years to come, they're both OUTSTANDING!
#14
Quote by JELIFISH19
I understand that purpose, but I was mainly wondering about actual players who use it as their touring rig, especially when they use power amps and guitar cabs. They'll get rid of a Dual Rectifier head to use the Axe-FX Dual Rectifier model with a Mesa power amp and cabinet. And they still mic the cab. I don't understand that use. Why not continue using the Dual Recto?

Actually, that's a point I've made before against buying either. It really doesn't make sense to buy either if you only want one or two tones and plan on still using a poweramp and cab. The biggest factor in buying one for a touring rig is that you can send the signal directly to the board, so you have the exact same tone every night. You then hear that signal through the monitors/in-ears and have no need to really even have a power amp and cab, except to provide sound to the fans in the front row, of which the PA speakers don't reach, because they're projecting towards the middle and back of the crowd.

When I use my Kemper live, I play it through an FRFR PA cab that weighs ~25 lbs. The Kemper weighs 7 lbs if I remember correctly. Together, that's less weight than just a tube head, and it can all be carried in one trip, and easily fits in the back of a compact car.

I still have my 5150 and 2 cabs (Soldano 2x12 and Emperor 4x12) that I likely will never get rid of... But that being said, I haven't turned on the 5150 in months, because the Kemper is just an easier solution.


Even still, I don't understand why you'd buy a Kemper or an Axe-FX if you were planning on using only 1-2 models, even if you weren't playing out. That's another reason I had to factor in to selling my Axe-FX II. There were several models that just plain sounded better than the rest, and only using it for a few tones made no sense. I use A LOT more tones on the Kemper than I ever did with the Axe.
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#15
Quote by MatrixClaw

Second, the Kemper is definitely not just a "box of convenience for the gigging musician," and I'd really like to argue the complete opposite. The Axe FX can do a certain sound if that's what you're looking for, but all of its high gain models sound like they're coming out of an Axe-FX. I don't know a single person who would choose to use the Axe-FX over a real amp in the studio, unless they were specifically going for that tone (ie: djent). They ARE very convenient for live use though and work amazingly well for it. As much as I tried to use my Ultra and II as a studio amp, it was not convenient at all, because you have to spend forever tweaking to get a good sound. When recording a band, time is money, and it's easier to just throw on an amp simulator in the DAW than it is to sit there any play with knobs and buttons on the Axe.


This simply isn't true. A while back I found a list of notable albums that were recorded solely with the AxeFX and it was certainly not a small list. Either way, people ARE choosing to use them over real amps in the studios and it's happening more and more often.

The Axe-FX might have the ability to "profile," but its algorithm isn't nearly as good as the Kemper's, the biggest difference being that the Axe-FX still can't capture the thump in the lowend of a real amp and feels hollow in the mids on 99% of its high gain models.


Also not true... My band and another band recently did a little comparison. We used a Dual Rectifier and a Bogner Ecstasy through a 4x12 Rectifier Cab as well as a Kemper and an AxeFX into a Matrix GT1000 into the same cab. We had a mic in the middle of the room and a SM57 on the cab. We also used a looper to eliminate any inconsistency in playing.

The results? Identical. None of us could tell which was which. HOWEVER... While everything had basically identical settings on tone and volume the Axe needed some minor adjustments in the advanced parameters before it sounded right.

In terms of modelling I'd say they've pretty much become equal.

The Axe has much better effects, far more versatile, is constantly evolving and has some of best support I've ever seen. You can basically achieve pretty much any tone you can imagine on it.

But it's overly complicated and has a huge learning curve. It's also quite a bit more expensive.

The Kempler Not as versatile not as expensive and much MUCH easier to use. Plug in and you'll have a smile on your face almost instantly.

I personally don't think it's about which one is a better product so much as it is about which one suits your needs more?
#16
Quote by icronic
This simply isn't true. A while back I found a list of notable albums that were recorded solely with the AxeFX and it was certainly not a small list. Either way, people ARE choosing to use them over real amps in the studios and it's happening more and more often.

Clearly you didn't read what I said.

I never said that bands aren't using them in the studio, I said that only bands looking for the specific Axe-FX sound are using them (ie: 99% of "djent" bands, and several other metal bands). No one is saying "Man, I really dig the sound of the JCM 800 for this record... let's hook up the Axe-FX and see if we can get close." My point is, for 99% of musicians, the Axe-FX is a great live tool, but is not something that is replacing real amps on albums quickly.

Guys like Steve Vai, Alex Lifeson, John Petrucci, Phil Collen, Megadeth, Paul Waggoner, Mark Tremonti, Eric Johnson, etc. might be using the Axe live, but they're still not recording entirely with them (if they're recording with them at all). Periphery recorded their second album with the Axe-FX, but it wasn't direct - It was through the power amp of a 5150 III. Deftones recorded their latest album with the Axe-FX and it sounds pretty cool - But it was a profiled tone, not an amp built into it (not that that's a bad thing... but what seems to draw people to the Axe-FX is the built in amps much more than the profiling capabilities), and still not as awesome as the Diamond Eyes tone IMO.

I honestly wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the bands recording with an Axe-FX direct are actually being reamped by something else during mixing. My latest encounter recording a band was for a friend's who uses them live and I tracked the vocals for their latest single at my studio. They ended up having a pretty big name guy mix the song, and I'd be VERY surprised if he ended up using the Axe-FX tone (even though they insist that he did). He would've literally had to somehow put a bunch of frequencies in there that weren't even present in the original tone.

Quote by icronic
Also not true... My band and another band recently did a little comparison. We used a Dual Rectifier and a Bogner Ecstasy through a 4x12 Rectifier Cab as well as a Kemper and an AxeFX into a Matrix GT1000 into the same cab. We had a mic in the middle of the room and a SM57 on the cab. We also used a looper to eliminate any inconsistency in playing.

The results? Identical. None of us could tell which was which. HOWEVER... While everything had basically identical settings on tone and volume the Axe needed some minor adjustments in the advanced parameters before it sounded right.

I can certainly see how they'd be very close, since you're playing it through an actual guitar cab. I'm talking direct recording, though. If I'm recording a band who's using an Axe-FX I'm sure as hell not going to put them through a power amp and then mic up a cab. That totally defeats the purpose of the unit to save me time.

For direct recording, the Kemper simply matches the original source much more accurately (especially in the low end). Fractal is certainly improving its low end response with every update, though. For live use, either work very well - No one's going to tell the difference.


I'm really not defending the Kemper more than the Axe, though, just trying to shine more light on it, since most people looking for a modeler are severely biased towards the Axe-FX. Both are excellent sounding units - It just seems like people are buying the Axe-FX based on the name more than anything now. If you're looking at buying one, you owe it to yourself to check out the Kemper, too. Most people don't realize how complicated the Axe-FX is going to be to use and just jump in because "____" band uses it. Hell, even the POD HD series sounds awesome, and at 1/4 the price.
Quote by Dave_Mc
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#17
Quote by MatrixClaw
Actually, that's a point I've made before against buying either. It really doesn't make sense to buy either if you only want one or two tones and plan on still using a poweramp and cab. The biggest factor in buying one for a touring rig is that you can send the signal directly to the board, so you have the exact same tone every night. You then hear that signal through the monitors/in-ears and have no need to really even have a power amp and cab, except to provide sound to the fans in the front row, of which the PA speakers don't reach, because they're projecting towards the middle and back of the crowd.

When I use my Kemper live, I play it through an FRFR PA cab that weighs ~25 lbs. The Kemper weighs 7 lbs if I remember correctly. Together, that's less weight than just a tube head, and it can all be carried in one trip, and easily fits in the back of a compact car.

I still have my 5150 and 2 cabs (Soldano 2x12 and Emperor 4x12) that I likely will never get rid of... But that being said, I haven't turned on the 5150 in months, because the Kemper is just an easier solution.

Even still, I don't understand why you'd buy a Kemper or an Axe-FX if you were planning on using only 1-2 models, even if you weren't playing out. That's another reason I had to factor in to selling my Axe-FX II. There were several models that just plain sounded better than the rest, and only using it for a few tones made no sense. I use A LOT more tones on the Kemper than I ever did with the Axe.


But does anyone need more than one or two models? You'll likely find yourself preferring certain tones over others. I got my GT-10 because I liked the idea of the flexibility of it. While I could get many good sounds from it, most of them weren't used once I found my tone. I didn't really deviate from it once I found it. I don't even change parameters for different guitars. It perfectly fits the way I play.

I find that it's easy to spend a lot of time twiddling and tweaking on these modelling devices rather than playing. I think that's the main downfall for them. Different amps feel and respond different and you experience that with modellers. While you get a taste, I don't think you really fully explore it just because it's so easy to give up and find immediate satisfaction with a different model. It becomes about finding what sounds good for their style instead of altering their style to work well with the amp.

Now I'm getting an amp to replace the GT-10. The amp I'm getting is extremely simple. It's just two volumes, a master, and a tone knob. There's also a voicing switch and vibrato but it's still not much. But your use makes sense. I get that. But I don't get a lot of the reasoning behind getting really expensive modellers if they end up being more expensive and the same size. Is it the exponential possibilities that attract people?
#18
Quote by JELIFISH19
But does anyone need more than one or two models? You'll likely find yourself preferring certain tones over others. I got my GT-10 because I liked the idea of the flexibility of it. While I could get many good sounds from it, most of them weren't used once I found my tone. I didn't really deviate from it once I found it. I don't even change parameters for different guitars. It perfectly fits the way I play.

I find that it's easy to spend a lot of time twiddling and tweaking on these modelling devices rather than playing. I think that's the main downfall for them. Different amps feel and respond different and you experience that with modellers. While you get a taste, I don't think you really fully explore it just because it's so easy to give up and find immediate satisfaction with a different model. It becomes about finding what sounds good for their style instead of altering their style to work well with the amp.

Now I'm getting an amp to replace the GT-10. The amp I'm getting is extremely simple. It's just two volumes, a master, and a tone knob. There's also a voicing switch and vibrato but it's still not much. But your use makes sense. I get that. But I don't get a lot of the reasoning behind getting really expensive modellers if they end up being more expensive and the same size. Is it the exponential possibilities that attract people?


Your opinion is self centered. Just because you only use 1 or 2 tones doesn't mean others won't.
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#19
I've seen videos of people showing how they set up they're Axe-FX. I've seen a bunch of professionals using the Axe-FX with only 1 or 2 models rather than 4 or 5.
#20
Quote by JELIFISH19
I've seen videos of people showing how they set up they're Axe-FX. I've seen a bunch of professionals using the Axe-FX with only 1 or 2 models rather than 4 or 5.



And if the models are based on a Vh4 and a Trainwreck the axe is cheaper than buying both...
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#21
Quote by JELIFISH19
I've seen videos of people showing how they set up they're Axe-FX. I've seen a bunch of professionals using the Axe-FX with only 1 or 2 models rather than 4 or 5.



I find your arguments from incredulity and appeals to authority uncompelling.

Don't need it, don't like it? Don't buy it.

But arguing here against people that own or have owned both as if you're an expert and your personal, anecdotal opinion has rational value to anyone but yourself just makes you look....well....stupid.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
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#22
I'm not arguing. I'm trying to find out the appeal of them. I've seen how a lot of people use them and it doesn't make sense to me when the Axe-FX rig ends up being more expensive and the same size or bigger than the actual amp.

MatrixClaw's use makes sense since it's much smaller and lighter
cliff_em_all's example makes sense since it's cheaper
Meshuggah's goes direct so it makes sense
I see how having one in the studio can be good

I'm trying to find why they're used in situations outside of those examples.
#23
Quote by JELIFISH19
I'm not arguing. I'm trying to find out the appeal of them. I've seen how a lot of people use them and it doesn't make sense to me when the Axe-FX rig ends up being more expensive and the same size or bigger than the actual amp.

MatrixClaw's use makes sense since it's much smaller and lighter
cliff_em_all's example makes sense since it's cheaper
Meshuggah's goes direct so it makes sense
I see how having one in the studio can be good

I'm trying to find why they're used in situations outside of those examples.


You're trying to apply logic to gear acquisition?

Let me be the first to assure you that the purchase of musical instruments and accessories are far more often than not entirely unrelated to any type of needs-based reasoning.

If that weren't the case, a great many businesses would go out of business...bedroom heroes buy far more gear as a group than do gigging professionals, although the professionals may buy more as individuals.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#24
Quote by Arby911


Let me be the first to assure you that the purchase of musical instruments and accessories are far more often than not entirely unrelated to any type of needs-based reasoning.



Tell me about it