KEMPER PROFILING AMP POWER HEAD
WHO SAYS YOU CAN’T HAVE A WAREHOUSE FULL OF AMPS AT YOUR DISPOSAL AT ANY TIME? THE BANK MANAGER? PFFT.
We’ve long since moved on from the days when digital modellers sounded like arse, or were just for prog metal players with 21-string guitars and Fallout tattoos. Digital amps can now fool many listeners into believing they’re hearing a valve amp on a recording, and they’re getting closer and closer to mimicking the real-world feel – that indefinable push-pull of an analog amp – to boot.
A WAREHOUSE FULL OF AMPS
Kemper’s amp-replicating profiling technology is available in a few different configurations: Profiler Head, Profiler Rack, Profiler PowerHead and Profiler PowerRack. All are built on Kemper’s profiling technology, but the Power versions also include a 600-watt power amp which lets you plug into a speaker cabinet. You don’t need a cab to use any variation, though: plug it straight into a mixing desk or computer, and you’ll be set. There are plenty of connections on the back of this thing: stereo XLR and quarter-inch jacks; monitor out; direct output/send; XLR and quarter-inch return inputs; an alternative input for plugging into the back instead of the front – especially handy if you’re running a more complicated rack system and you want to keep the front tidy – digital S/PDIF in and out; MIDI in, out and thru; two switch/pedal quarter-inch jacks, an Ethernet network jack and a USB out. Oh, and an 8-16 Ohm speaker out. It’s a little disappointing that with all of this processing power available, there’s only a single mono speaker out instead of stereo – or even better, the option of a wet/dry/wet three-cabinet rig.
The main differences between the powered head and rack versions are in layout: the head gives you some additional controls for the modulation, some handy LEDs around the main amp controls and a rear-mounted USB port. The rack version’s USB port is on the front and gives you controls for the reverb.
One particularly important part of the way the Kemper does its thing is its use of a high impedance input, which allows your guitar’s volume, tone and pickup settings to act like they would if they were ‘seeing’ a real amp. This also ensures that stompboxes work just as they should when driving the Kemper, an especially important factor if you’re running something like a vintagestyle fuzz or wah. Of course, the real heart of the Kemper its library of amp profiles. It comes out of the box with more than 200 profiles including vintage classics, modern high-gain amps and rare boutique items, all of which made by top engineers and producers in premiere studios around the world. And you don’t just have to use downloaded presets: you can profile real amps, too. Just plug your amp into the Kemper, mic it up and record. Test signals are sent from the Kemper into your amp and recorded by the microphone, and after less thana minute, the unit has captured what Kemper calls “the sonic DNA of your tube amp” and created a custom profile.
You can then tweak it to more closely match your original amp, or to create a custom profile that does things your original can’t. The unit gives you control of all sorts of parameters such as Amp Definition (to give it more of a vintage sound or more modern character), Power Sagging, pick attack (even through heavy distortion), Amp Compressor and Cabinet Voicing (which you can turn off if you’re running into a cabinet, of course). And there are plenty of effects to choose from, including modulation, delay and reverb. Everything