Is the Kemper Profiling Amplifier Worth It?

Is the Kemper Profiling Amp worth it?

Who is the Kemper Profiling Amp for?

Is the Kemper worth it? This is a tricky question to answer because it depends on a few factors that I will hope to cover in this article.

What is the Kemper Profiling Amplifier?

The Kemper is a guitar amplifier that can replicate the sounds of existing amplifiers you (or your friends) already own.  Unlike a lot of modelling amplifiers you literally “profile” the amps, you want to emulate.  You do this by dialling in the sound you love with the

Is the Kemper Profiling Amp worth it?
The Kemper Profiling Amplifier (passive version)

the microphone of choice and letting the Kemper do the rest.  The profiling time is about 45 seconds.

The end results change in respect to where you have the microphone placed on the amplifier, how many microphones you use and how you have the amp dialled in.

Do you own a lot of Amplifiers?

If the answer is yes, then a kemper is a really great way to have all your amplifiers in one unit.  By profiling your amplifiers with clean, distorted, or with your favourite overdrive, you can easily recall the tones at the click of a switch.

Do You Do Any Recording or Studio Sessions?

Most guitarists dabble in recording to some extent.  If you’re a studio player and home recording artist the kemper is amazing for a few reasons.

  • You’ll have all your amp tones ready to go
  • The recording is dead quiet thanks to the XLR outputs
  • The tones are indistinguishable from the actual amp with the microphone
  • You have almost unlimited options in the Kemper like delays, reverbs, overdrives, distortions, fuzz pedals, and more.
  • You won’t drive your neighbours crazy with volume
  • You’ll save your ears in the long term

If you are into recording then it’s a total no-brainer. Get one.

Is a Kemper good for Gigging Musicians?

This answer is a mixed bag.  Let’s put it like this.  The tones of the kemper are amazing but if you’re used to an analog amp and analog effects odds are you won’t be loving the Kemper in a live mix.  Most people using the Kemper live will own the footswitch and without it, the functionality of the unit is not as good as it would be without it.

If you are playing direct to a PA system and you want the same sound all night then the Kemper is a really great option.

Is the Kemper Good with Pedals?

I find the Kemper to work well with pedals in the studio only.  I don’t think using analog effects with the powered kemper into a cabinet responds anywhere near the same way as pedals would with a regular tube amp.

In the studio, you can get away with it.  In a live performance setting, you’ll spend half the night trying to get them to sound right in the Kemper.  For this reason, I would suggest getting the passive head version of the Kemper over the power amp version.

Active or Passive Kemper?

The power amplifier Kemper is too powerful.  I’ve seen it blow a 250 watt EV speaker up on stage.  The active Kemper profiling amplifier is rated at 400 watts which is total overkill unless you’re a bass player.  If you’re a bass player the active amplifier is the way to go.

Is there a Huge Learning Curve?

To understand the basic functionality of the Kemper, no.  The Kemper is very straight forward and I have never even needed to read the instructions for it.  Sure, you could deep dive into all of the settings and play with everything if you choose but a lot of guitarists won’t need to.  You’ll have your favourite amp tones ready to go in no time.  In terms of what is available on the market in 2019, the Kemper is still the best in the World at what it does. I am yet to find anything else that can replicate a recorded amplifier tone with such accuracy.

What is the downside of the Kemper?

The only downside is the “wall of sound” you get from an amp.  A lot of guitarists enjoy the interaction between volume, sustain, and tone.  The one thing missing is that wall of sound but the benefits far outweigh the downsides.

Is the Kemper Worth it?

Is the Kemper worth it? I would say for most home studio players you’ll love it.  If you’re an old school tube amp guy wanting to gig with it then maybe not.  Stadium musicians who can afford the Kemper foot-switch and don’t want to bring a big amp rig on the road then I would say the Kemper is worth it.

The Kemper profiling amplifier is highly popular.  I am sure there’s a lot of people who use it in various different ways.  Overall, I love the Kemper amplifier but for me, it’s a home studio tool only.