GAS plans always change - Settled on what I want + Video!

Volitions Advocate

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So I guess the one neat thing about putting your guitars in storage and covering your amp for 6 years is that when you come back to it there are so many new and amazing things for you to look at.  I didn't know if I'd ever get the GAS to long for new toys, and in fact, in those years I acquired new hobbies that took all of my attention for a time.  I literally sold 95% of my gear at pawn shop prices to buy my first pistol.  I don't regret it, as those pedals weren't worth any more than that in the 2nd hand market anyway, and I never would have used them again, but there you have it.

I started another thread a couple months ago about my plan.  I needed a smaller amp. I was going to get back into playing and I needed a solution that didn't involve a 100W head and a 4x12 cabinet (or 2, as the case was when I had stopped playing).  I love my amp. but it doesn't sound good unless you crank it.  I love my effects. I play with  A LOT of them.  I've also been a BOSS user almost exclusively, with a dunlop or a Digitech gadget thrown in here and there.

I was never a tube purist, and I never bothered much dealing with true bypass pedals and being a big tone snob, wanting an expensive P2P wired tube amp.  but I did have taste, and I figured out what I liked.  The foundation of which was a Tube amp and Transistor amp played in stereo.  Tube for mids, and SS for scoop.  Sounds like a brick wall.  But I'm tired of lugging the gear, and playing loud enough for my amp to grind the way it's supposed to.

Now the problem is.. I don't know what my taste is anymore.  It is kind of fun because I get to look at this new / old hobby through fresh eyes and drool at things all over again (like my 2 beautiful Warmoths who were terribly neglected for those few years).

If you read my other thread, I had decided to turn my tube head into a 2x12 combo with some sort of attenuator.  Had to get the Rivera Rock Crusher to go with my rivera amp, but $$$$$.  Decided instead to go with a full set of Yellowjackets, converting my EL34 amp into an EL84, cutting about 60% of the power in the process.  They were pricey too, and didn't work the way I'd hoped. (they do great things to the tone and keep the volume from going past about 5.5 or 6 even when you crank it up to 9, but it's still just as loud as 5 or 6, which is hella loud)

Plan 2, if I had the money, woudl be to buy a Carvin V3M, because its a mean beast that sounds amazing.    I also bought a Teal Stripe Peavey Bandit, which is an amp I LOVE, and had planned to convert my Crate 120W SS 2x12 combo by building it a new cabinet that wasn't broken, and swapping the crate design speakers out for some Tone Tubby 40/40s.


AAAALLL these plans and not knowing which ones I wanted to go through with on a limited budget.

Got into a conversation about it with a guy I used to talk to all the time at the local guitar shop (something I also didn't do for many years), and the bastard told me about the Kemper.  I guess about 5 guys at the store have gone and bought them now, and they're all fanboys.

"But the Warmoth crowd says AxeFX is the way to go." I muse, which the Kemper fanboys shot down.  I am currently in no position to be a fanboy of anything other than Warmoth.

I'm sure most of you are familiar with the Kemper, and on an intellectual level I can nerd out hardcore (working on my Masters in Music & Digital Audio).  I understand the concept of convolution, maybe even better than most Kemper users.  It makes sense to create an impulse response of a Rig rather than worry about all of your physical modelling algorithms.  I think it's a smart new look at an old problem with technology that's been around for years.  I would consider it the real future of Digital, for those of us who are not afraid to use digital.

The thing is, there really isn't anything WRONG with digital, Just in how we have been using it for decades.  Rows of BOSS stomps just sucked our tone because every single pedale had an ADC/DAC conversion.  Multi effects were better because that only happened once. ...  I'm getting on a tangent now...  I'm a fan of pontificating.

The point is... Despite the fact that it does not do all of the things I want.  I believe I will be picking up a Kemper rackmount as soon as I am able.

I think the ultimate gear wet dream for me would be a Kemper paired with an Axe FX II, or a Helix, or an Elevenrack or something just for the extra effects.

I am also a Max/MSP user and would program all sorts of crazy things to add to my signal chain by racking a PC in with my kemper.  Which would also give me all sorts of new control options that are entirely outside the realm of any of the big guitar and pro-audio gear companies we all throw money at.

So I'm looking at some ideas for what kind of effects unit I should go for to pair with the Kemper, assuming I decide I need it after actually playing with it for awhile.  the Axe FX is a no go simply due to price after already spending that kind of money on the Kemper.  What would be suitable?  I don't care about modelling or anything, obviously, but what would work well?  I hear the Elevenrack isn't huge on lots of effects, its more for modelling, but would be a good edition.  Something from Rocktron? Line 6?  Maybe even an old second hand Boss GT-Pro?

I also would need a good speaker to use.  Powered speaker? Power amp + speaker?  So many options.  I have to admit, you guys had me confused with all this FRFR talk.  When I finally figured out what the acronym meant I just thought: "oh... you mean a reference monitor?"  (would have been so easy for me to understand :p)  I have a pair of KRK Rokit 5's that would work just fine, but not for jamming or performance.  And I love the idea of some DIY speakers.

I already have an FC300 foot controller, so I'm all set there once I learn how to program all the MIDI.  Here is something like what I see my rig becoming:

Line6 G55 wireless (half rack) > Kemper Stomps & Rigs> FX rack > Max/MSP > Kemper return (delay/reverb) > Poweramp/ PA> Speakers/ FRFR  with a parallel chain for when it's needed.  GK3 > Roland GI-20 > Max/MSP w/ VST instruments > Poweramp / PA

I can use my GT-10 > Peavey Bandit as a backup rig. It'll work.

It's too bad there are no VST or Stand alone applications that are any good for running a full software setup strictly on the PC, but all that I have tried are kinda garbage.  So I guess I'm spending my money.    Although much of this gives me ideas for my eventual PhD thesis.  I guess I might have to dive deeply into the convolution stuff.

TL;DR.  I'm totally buying a kemper and doing crazy things with it, then profling and selling my amps.  It's a cool time to be alive and a guitar player.
 

mayfly

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Buddy!  With that massive rack and some FRFRs it doesn't sound like you're really lightening your load all that much!
 

Volitions Advocate

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Well the GR55 is a half rack, could rack it with the GI-20.  So that's 1 rack unit.  The Kemper is 3.  I could build a computer in a 1 Unit chassis (no need for video card or anything to take up vertical room), plus a recording interface to get the signals in and out of the computer like a presonus or something (1 rack).  Add a power conditioner, and a 150Watt Studio reference amp like an ART or something that is just 1 rack (assuming I don't just go with a powered speaker or save up for something like an L1 down the line).  So I could use an 8 rack... rack.  Assuming I don't go with an extra piece of outboard gear for effects, which I probably wont need to do.

I think my Rivera head weighs something like 37 Kg.  And replacing the 4x12 with a Yamaha powered speaker or some bigger KRK's, Genelec's (yeah right like I have the budget for that) or something I think wouldn't be quite so difficult to cart around, or heavy.

I think i could keep the rack a bit lighter by not using a power amp, getting a powered speaker, and if I play live in a small venue just hook into the PA and monitor that way, without my own speaker.

I still think it's going to be easier than a huge 4x12 head/cab and my old pedal board, which measured 48 x 18" inches.

1930914_31474278612_4224_n.jpg

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I used to haul ALL OF THAT with me to gigs.

[youtube]oc2lRfK0bMc[/youtube]

We ALL did.  I don't know how anybody let us play.  Good sound guys, they made it work and we were the kinds of musicians to listen.  But if you were to add all that up it was 24 speakers on stage pumping out a combined wattage of 1150 SS and 200 Tube.

Just look at how foolish I was :p

I think this new rig will be much lighter.  I've just never been a K.I.S.S. kinda guy.
 

Volitions Advocate

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I only have 4 pedals left BTW.  My modded Classic Crybaby, the newer Digitech version of the DOD grunge, My GT-10, and NOS DOD Gonkulator I managed to come across a few years ago.  Everything else here, including the Waldorf Synth, the TC vocal pedal, and my wireless system has been sold.  I still have the Alesis Air FX but I've had that up on Kijiji a half dozen times locally and I've been too lazy to stick it up on ebay, but it's on its way out.  The crate shockwave head is gone,  I still have that cab, but only because nobody thinks it's worth $200 lol.

I've already shaved things down considerably.  A medium sized rack and one foot controller for it sounds like passive physio therapy to me.  And probably active psychotherapy for any sound man I encounter.
 

Kostas

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Advoc said:
...Line6 G55 wireless (half rack) > Kemper Stomps & Rigs> FX rack > Max/MSP > Kemper return (delay/reverb) > Poweramp/ PA> Speakers/ FRFR  with a parallel chain for when it's needed.  GK3 > Roland GI-20 > Max/MSP w/ VST instruments > Poweramp / PA...

Do you want to downsize or just replace your setup with another setup? Maybe I don't understand what you want (or need) but the Kemper has everything a recording/gigging guitarist needs in a single format.

There is the powered version (Profiler Power Rack or Head) with effects included. You can switch off the power amplifier to convert it into a line level unit when you need it, it makes sense to buy the powered version for versatility. Spend time learning to use it on your computer then take it out and try it on as many different speaker combinations you can find. BTW, you don't need speakers on stage :

You can monitor yourself by the common stage monitor wedge and save a lot of backache and cargo costs. However, you might still be appealed to the raw energy of a real speaker cabinet in the rehearsal room and on stage. The Kemper Profiler is well prepared for this as well. You can run a speaker cabinet by a solid state or a tube power amp, fed by the Profilers monitor output. For the most convenience our 'powered' Profiler versions are equipped with a build in Class D amplifier with 600W. The virtual cabinet can be switched off exclusively for the monitor output, to prevent the amp sound going through two cabinets in a row. Still the virtual cabinet is active for the main outputs going to the PA. Now that you use the speaker cabinet only as your personal monitor, you can adjust your individual volume on stage, independent from the signal volume going to the front-of-house.

To me it makes sense to use the Kemper as an standalone unit, to save money on pedals and other amps and not carry anything else with you except your guitar. It really has everything and I don't believe anyone will miss his amps or pedals because he can profile them, store them and then sell them!
 

Volitions Advocate

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It's a replacement, but also a downsize.  My old setup was last played the way you see it above about 6 years ago.  I'm changing the way I do things.

I think you are probably right about the Kemper, but it depends on what your definition of a recording/gigging guitar player is.  Most Guitarists never get into Guitar midi, and I'm also programming my own effects, filters, synthesizers, and controls schemes on the computer to use with both Midi data and straight audio.  I'll be taking it beyond what commercial guitar gear ever does (like Johnny Greenwood).  Plus I'll have access to all my VSTs that way too.

I'm still on the fence about needing any extra effects. I understand that the Kemper has plenty.  But some have said it's not an exhaustive collection like one would have on an Axe FX or a Helix.  I'm not interested in modelling if I were go with something like this, just a unit with more guitar effects.  I might just find that the Kemper has everything I want on it though, and anything extra I feel I might need, I will make myself in Max.

The Kemper has digital I/O with S/PDIF as well, which makes things easier for plugging into the computer.  Less conversion means less latency.  If I could set something to have a complete digital chain from input to output, that would be a great benefit.  The only analog would be the guitar cable, and the speaker cable.  It's kind of what I'm aiming for if I can make it happen.
 

TBurst Std

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A buddy I play with live uses a Kemper (I use an AXE-FX). Sounds good, but you can only use 1 instance of an effect at a time. So for instance, stacking drives is not possible. Running parallel delays is not possible. Etc.
 

Volitions Advocate

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That's one of the issues I have with the fanboyism of the kemper.  Yeah.. you can profile a pedal, but it's not like you can profile it on it's own and then insert it into the signal chain wherever you want.  What you really do is profile your favorite it pedal plugged into your favorite amp.

I want to ask on the Kemper forum how exactly I would be able to switch cabs out on my profiles if I did a profile with a cab attached to my amp.  That doesn't make any sense to me and the manual doesn't really explain it well.  I registered 3 days ago but they still haven't activated it.  So I wait.

Despite all that, I still think this is the direction digital needs to go.  It has even given me a lot of fodder to think about my PhD thesis topic once I'm done my Masters.  My Rivera head. I figured, can be profiled  about 50 different times with all the options I have for it.  Notch filter pulled or not, EL34 or EL84. Subwoofer attached or not. All channels. etc.  It doesn't actually capture the inner workings of your amp, it just takes an impulse response, which is genius, but not as magical as it sounds.  Still.  I'm all over it.
 

TBurst Std

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Have you considered an AXE-FX. Profiling (nothing more than an IR) can be done on that using MIMIC. But really many (AXE users) don't even use that anymore as Cliff has  the models tweaked so well. It is more money, but it may well be the last purchase you need to make in that area. My buddy still likes his Kemper, but he was gushing over the Trainwreck Express patch I used last night at rehearsal.
 

Volitions Advocate

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I watched a video of somebody going through the tone match steps of the Axe FX and I found it kind of cumbersome.  Also one of the reasons I'm excited about the Kemper is using it with bass without having to swap rigs.  I know the Axe FX can do bass as well, but from what I've read it only has one amp model.

To be honest, if I could find a 100% software way of doing this. I would do that.  If I can have everything inside the computer, I can route everything through Max and work out my switching logic in there.  Anything that needs to move to different programs can be done with Open Sound Control and I could have ultimate flexibility with a 100% digital audio chain.  But there is nothing in software that I can find that is as good as the Kemper or the Axe FX.  I'm sure a convolution filter would be easy enough to program, it's not that complex of a concept if you understand how digital audio can work, but then I would be left with no IR's to use, since I'm sure I can't use the Kemper ones for my own software.
 

Cagey

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Everything in the Kemper/Fractal units is done with software, but it's done on a DSP vs. a general-purpose CPU. They're more efficient for the type of processing being done, so they have time to do what needs to be done to generate accurate waveforms in a timely manner.
 

stratamania

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If you want to do things in software on a computer worth checking out is Scuffham S Amps, and U Audio interfaces and plugins.
 

Volitions Advocate

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I know it's all software. I meant with a general purpose PC.  If you write efficient code the latency wont be any worse than with units like the Kemper.  Electro-Acoustic bands, sensor bands, and laptop orchestras all use PC's for their sound generation and manipulation.  There really is no reason a guy couldn't have a PC with an audio interface as their pre-amp.  I find the software mostly just lacks the punch.  I would be on board with an Axe-FX or a Kemper VST or RTAS or something similar.  Could run it in Max, or Reaper.  Or even one of those virtual plug in racks.  Combine that with programs like Processing, ChucK, Super Collider or PureData, sending your logic back and forth with OSC and MIDI, you can create some pretty amazing things.

I'm all for Guitar 2.0, and I don't think the proprietary stuff from Roland or Gibson or Godin is it.  But if the high end units are just specialized computers, there really should be no reason a PC couldn't handle doing exactly the same thing.  I see it all the time in academic music. (the problem is most of that stuff isn't really... music)
 

TBurst Std

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Advoc said:
I watched a video of somebody going through the tone match steps of the Axe FX and I found it kind of cumbersome.  Also one of the reasons I'm excited about the Kemper is using it with bass without having to swap rigs.  I know the Axe FX can do bass as well, but from what I've read it only has one amp model.

To be honest, if I could find a 100% software way of doing this. I would do that.  If I can have everything inside the computer, I can route everything through Max and work out my switching logic in there.  Anything that needs to move to different programs can be done with Open Sound Control and I could have ultimate flexibility with a 100% digital audio chain.  But there is nothing in software that I can find that is as good as the Kemper or the Axe FX.  I'm sure a convolution filter would be easy enough to program, it's not that complex of a concept if you understand how digital audio can work, but then I would be left with no IR's to use, since I'm sure I can't use the Kemper ones for my own software.
My observation, between my friend profiling with a Kemper vs me MIMICing with the AXE. The only extra step needed was me loading the MIMIC IR as my speaker IR. a 10 sec effort. (I will say I have not found a need to MIMIC once past FW 18, We are now at least 5 FW revisions beyond that).

Going total computer based is totally doable. The question is the quality an authenticity of the plugin. I think that's what separates all these solutions. How much time and effort put into them being quality and authentic.

I will admit, I am a Fractal fanboy, but they have earned that from me over the last 7 years. And by know means am I against Kemper. I just want you to make the best decision for you, and it seems you have a view on some shortcomings on Fractal that are not true. Make sure you can deal with the possible limited effects selection/layout with Kemper. My buddy who uses one is OK with it as he no longer plays lead live (more focus on singing).

Regarding bass amps, which ones are you wanting? I ask as I also use mine for bass, and have not found myself limited. Between the Ampeg, the Fender, the Tube DI, and the Roland, I find I can handle my needs (PS if you want a modern Marksound sound etc, use the Roland followed by the Tube DI). Honestly I use the Ampeg 99% of the time. The only tone I can't truly reach is the classic dull thud P Bass, but that's a limitation of my Lakland bass and its pup/pre-amp (J MM and LC3)as well as my string choices (Rotosound PSD). (It may be a limitation of my ability to explore it, as that tone is never my choice.)

The Kemper sounds great for what they have from the factory, as well as you can get your hands on (make SURE you use an excellent mic for profiling as it is crucial to the outcome. Right now my buddy is trying to borrow a Neumann U 87 so he can profile the tone from my Trainwreck patch in the AXE.

But make sure they either have it or you can get your hands on it. Right now for live shows, my main amp is the Trainwreck Express. Only 7 or so of those were built. Cliff was able to audition one and include it. And feel free to see which very famous player's Mesa MK II 2C+ he got his hands on to audition.

As a deciding factor, also look at you effects you use live. If you are studio only, it shouldn't be a limiter, live may present an issue. I can't live without parallel delays.

Either way, its a big decision, offer it the investigation it deserves. Either could replace all the analog you ever used, or will use.




 

Volitions Advocate

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Damn.. this S-Gear stuff is really good.  Need to spend time tweaking it but...  Man it's really good.  Even takes Impulse Responses for Cabinet simulators.  I wonder if there is a way to bypass the amplifier in the virtual rack entirely, and use a whole amp/combo IR in place of the cabinet IR to run amps through it the way a Kemper (presumably) does.

Thanks for pointing this out man. It run flawlessly with Max as a VST host.
 

stratamania

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Cool, no idea if it will do what you suggest.

But there are plenty of IR loaders out there for DAWs, but i doubt you could run a Kemper profile in one.
 

Volitions Advocate

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Well after all that I finally settled on what I wanted to use, and here is a video I made last night explaining how I'm using it.  Should be interesting if you like techy stuff.
Warning: If you are a point-to-point-wiring, true bypass boutique pedal, straight-into-the-amp-and-nothing-else kinda guy, you are going to hate this :p

But I figure somebody might find this really interesting.  Of course I had to screw it up and not pay attention to the final meter in my voice over, so its clipped the whole time, but I am far to lazy to re-shoot this entire thing, and you can hear me well enough.

Let me know what you think, if you manage to watch the whole video.

[youtube]9wlr6H_C5yU[/youtube]
 
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