Kemper is it really that good?

I’m on the verge of getting a kemper, it’s a lot of money but all the sounds I’ve heard have been incredible! Does anyone here have one?

No it’s not that good. Had it, but got an Axe FX and sold the Kemper. Haven’t even turned on my Marshall or Mesa since then (I still love my Marshall a lot though).

Man, I give up, I tried to write this response a couple of times. Having owned a kemper for years, with great profiles etc my advice is don’t do it. Nothing in there is authentic. It’s a computer board that will give you an IO error one day.

On the other hand, a real point to point marshall clone (Ceriatone or Rockitt Retro) for the money is the real deal. Take the RR100 Post Phase Inverter Master Volume Option ( PPIMV ) and optionally a buffered effects loop, a marshall 1960B cab new or old and never look back.

I can use my RR100 and 4x12 at any volume and it sounds bloody brilliant, no modeller can touch it for tone, feel, response, longevity, smell, vibe, looks, authenticity, sex appeal and anything else you can think of. You’ll be surprised how many tones you can get from a 1959 clone (68/69’ spec), so yes I’d also add versatility to that list.

With a single SM57 in the right spot, you can shame any modeller.

Please don’t do it, since you had to ask you really don’t need it.

Hi Gabriel,

What was it about the Kemper you didn’t like? Pretty much everything I heard recorded using them sounds fantastic. Did you ever try some of the Top Jimi patches?

I kind of discounted the Axe FX but then again Rick Graham uses this and he’s got great tone.

If you can afford it I’d get the AxeFX. It’s a bit more expensive, than the Kemper, though.

You could also check out the NeuralDSP Quad Cortex. It’s in the same price range as the Kemper and you won’t need to buy a footswitch.

Edit: all of these modellers are objectively pretty good, so at some point it just comes down to personal preferences and/or what one can afford.

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Hey Twangsta,

I googled those things you mentioned but the Ceriatone looks like an amp which isn’t what I’m after?

I’ve been using Amplitude 2 for absolutely years and have recently moved to BIAS fx 2 but it isn’t that best so I can a Kemper so figured it was a no brainer.

Basically I want a kind of rod rodded Marhsall tone, I like early Yngwie tone and I pretty much play for myself just bedroom messing around type player.

All of the modellers sound amazing in a mix nowadays, but the only modeller gave me the same feel and response as my tube heads is the AxeFX. The Kemper always felt awful to play on. It’s about feel, not how it sounds.

I’m a bedroom player too. But as daft as it sounds I use a 100 watt tube amp into a 4x12. I have tried everything you will, my conclusion is I wasted a lot of money and time.

Essential Malmsteen tone is a 50 watt or 100 vintage Super Leed. DOD 250 original grey box, DOD 308, or a Fender Malmsteen Overdrive. His guitar and a few delays.

This was recorded at low volume on my RR100, DOD 308 and a YJM signature strat into an SM57.

Ceriatone makes many hotrodded models, including the “All Access” but for malmsteen tones (authentic) you don’t need all that stuff.

edit: also just want to add, as a bedroom player I don’t care much about “in the mix” tones. SInce we spend time in front of an amp, the amp in the room sound is very important.

But I shall back off, I don’t want to sound religious bout it. It just hurts me to see somebody make the same mistakes based on mis informed preconceptions. If you have the basic budget get the real deal, clones these days are BETTER than anything Marshall makes, Marshall does not make vintage spec point to point wired amps correctly at any price, their HW SL100 is not to spec and is horrendously overpriced.


I have no dog in the fight really, but don’t own a modeller and probably won’t be looking for one. Main reasons being:

  • I don’t need that many tones (how many needed depends greatly from player to player, but I suspect most players only need 4 or less). This makes the kemper price point not that great - you could get the real deal for similar money.
  • I don’t want an integrated rig with effects in one box, if the box dies I have lost amp tone and effects in one puff of smoke
  • A traditional amp won’t be obsolete in a few years.
  • If a traditional amp needs servicing/repair it is easily done by (relatively) local amp tech. I’m not sure the same could be said for the kemper
  • If you are only playing at home you can get very similar tones from from your PC without a kemper.
  • I don’t want to constantly trying to find and refine a kemper profile - heavily relying on other people to find your amp tone…

All that aside, they do sound great.


I think it’s the right time and place for one of my fav guitar memes.

I’ve played Kemper a little and they are really good IMO. They don’t sound 100% like a miked amp because obviously only a miked amp sounds 100% like a miked amp. They’re a versatile and portable tool, great for homerecording. I don’t believe that in a well done mix somebody could tell a difference between a Kemper and a real amp, especially when it comes to heavily distorted guitars. Even Pat Metheny uses it.

My friend records all of his stuff through Kemper, if you’re into modern metal check him out.


I’m pretty ingrained in the real amp/cab/mic/mic pre world, myself, so I absolutely have my own biases here, and the one thing I will say against the better modelers on the market vs a good tube amp is that an amp is a lot more future-proof. Even if a newer or better version of your amp comes out, well, I play a Mark V, but plenty of people still swear by their Mark IVs, you know? Computers become obsolete a lot faster than hardware.

That said… I have a buddy who’s built up a truly stupendous amp collection in recent years, for a bedroom player. Off the top of my head, and I’m sure I’m going to forget something, but a Mark V, a modded block letter 5150, a Soldano SLO25, a Kemper, and an AxeFX III. I haven’t been able to get up and play through these in person for a while now for obvious reasons, and I think these all date to after the last time we got together and played music (he was mostly using an AxeFX II back then), but his take has been provided you’re using a good profile, the Kemper is hands down the most amp-like modeler he’s played for rhythm playing, and feels and sounds more like an amp in the room than anything else he’s tried. The Axe he likes a little more as a prcessed/recorded lead sound, and lately he’s been geeking out over the SLO (I mean, who would blame him), but I think if he had to do some paring down of his collection, the Kemper would be one of the last, if not the last, to go. I get a text every couple weeks from him on a cycling group chat with another few guitarists we know about how we all need to buy one of these things, because they absolutely rule.

So, I’m going to go out on a limb and say the quality is probably there. From there, it’s a matter of whether it’s the right amp for you. I’ve stuck with tube amps for a couple reasons - I already own two incredible amps (Mark V, Roadster) and a really nice 4x12, a pretty good mic collection, and some really killer mic preamps/EQs, so I already have about as good a signalchain as I could ask for; my Mark V in particular is remarkably forgiving on master volume so I can get great tones out of it at condo-friendly levels, and even really good tones at volumes I can easly talk over (and I’m pretty soft spoken), because I’ve already invested a lot of time into learning how to get good sounds micing up an amp, which definitely has a learning curve, and because I don’t really need a huge arsenal of tones - a smooth, saturated lead tone, a heavy rhythm tone, a less heavy rhythm tone, a gritty/edge of breakup clean tone, and a regular clean tone, and I’m good. I’m not the kind of guy who feels like he needs an authentic Mark IIC+ tone to play Metallica, a boosted Marshall sound while playing a Satriani tune, a Blackface Fender with a TS to play SRV, etc etc etc. I just want “my” tone, and I have that from an amp. You can get “your” tone out of a modeler - I’ve messed around with his AxeFX II enough to know I could easily build a few patches I’m really happy with and live on those - but that’s sort of a waste, I think, given the crazy versatilityt hat would just be wasted on me.

I’l say this, though, as a tangent - my audio interface has a good guitar DI/passthrough input, so lately while writing I’ve mostly been recording DI tracks and using freebie VST plugins for guitar sounds while demoing, and it IS pretty awesome to be able to demo something out one night, come back the next morning and decide you don’t like the chord changes for your solo section and punch in something else, and later that week come up with the perfect bridge/breakdown/lead-in to that solo section, and punch THAT in, and have it all sound seamless. You can’t do that with real amps, at least not without recording a second amped-up track while writing and then going back and reamping the whole thing when you’re done, which is kind of a pain in the neck. A modeler, though, it’s as simple as going back and pulling up the same patch, and you can work pretty freely. It’s a pretty liberating way to arrange music, and it’s almost impossible to do with “conventional” amp technology, so I’d say that’s another bing win for modeling.

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Thanks all, interesting range of perspectives, I think I will continue to do a bit more research then. Unfortunately a real amp is out of the question as they’re too big and loud for my personal situation. It just feels like I’ve been waiting for ages and that Kemper would be a good bet, I think the place I was looking at offered a 14 day return window so if it wasn’t my cup of tea I could easily return it.


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You asked me earlier what I didn’t like about the Kemper, the biggest issue was compression, I don’t know how much the kemper was doing for me till I lived with thee amp and cab I always wanted. Then there was latency and the lack of amp in a room sound. Initially, you will love it.

New gear is exciting and the kemper can be quite thrilling, Congratulations!

It has the best feel of the modellers, but I’m not sure how it stacks up to the new quad thingy. Michael britt profiles are the best. Good luck, you will love it!

This was the kemper:

Grosh Electrajet VT, AC30 free profile on the rig exchange, by the end of it, I had 4 profiles on the kemper, it would boot up much faster and its all I needed. I had the kemper for 5 years till I got that IO error, I got it repaired and sold it.

That sounds fantastic! Great playing and tone. One Kemper SOLD! Thanks for sharing.


Hmmm… I seem to have defeated my own cause :joy:
Thanks and enjoy it, it’s a great unit, take care of it. I suppose your getting the floor unit?

I was looking at a Kemper, but have decided on a Fractsl FM3. It gets excellent feedback and sounds amazing on the G66 videos. Also Andy wood uses Fractal.
It arrives on Tuesday :slightly_smiling_face:

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You’ll love it. It has the same firmware, just less processing power so you can’t use that many blocks together and also misses some of the blocks, but mostly it’s the same as the AxeFX III. I was a bigot tube amp head until one of my favourite guitarist (who was an analogue guy for decades) made a very long stream about why he changed to modellers and showcased many different plugins, physical units, etc. In a mix there’s literally zero difference between them and the real thing, and he has also shown how a tube head sounds WITHOUT the speaker. That’s where all my illusions were broken. It turned out that the amp in the room feel is caused mostly by those really awful quality speakers they started manufacturing in the old days (there was nothing else on the market) and that’s how the electric guitar sound was born. If you want the amp in the room feel, buy a decent pair of FRFR speakers, my cheap headrush speakers don’t sound 5-700$ worse than the Atomic CLR or other expensive units, and it blows your head off your neck.


gabrielthorn - Thats what I wanted to hear :+1:
I’m also looking at a Headrush 108 FRFR speaker which also gets excellent reviews.
I’m quite excited :laughing:

I use a Kemper exclusively. I originally bought it as I used to do a lot of studio work and many bands wouldn’t have great amps so the Kemper gave me a lot of options. Also, the ability to reamp a D.I through the Kemper was a feature I needed.
Nowadays, I use it for my own recordings and general playing. I’m not too familiar with the competition so can’t say if it’s better or not. I think it comes down to what you need, what you can afford, etc.

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I have the 112s buth they are massive compared to the 108, so it’s a great choice if you need a much lighter, more compact unit.

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