Kemper Profiling Amp Review (Worth The Hefty Price Tag?)

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Kemper Profiling Amp Review (Worth The Hefty Price Tag?)
VERDICT
The Kemper Profiling Amp is definitely worth the money and deserves each glowing review it gets! It is an incredibly versatile unit that can be used to model your favorite amps or as your sole guitar amp due to the amount of built-in, third party and user-made profiles available.
Features
9
Versatility
9
Performance
8
PROS
Good for guitar players of all skill levels
Can easily be adapted to a studio or live setup
Access to a wide variety of presets and ability to create your own
CONS
May take some time and processing to get a guitar tone that works for you
8.7
OUR SCORE

The Kemper Profiling Amp is one of the most highly regarded guitar amps in the growing digital amplifier market. Many successful producers and engineers have praised its quality. However, if you’re a young producer or musician, the $1,800 price point may make this amp a hard sell for you.

The first time I heard this amp used on a colleague’s recording, however, I knew I had to get my hands on one. The sound quality was impressive compared to other digital amps I had used. When I finally purchased one, my expectations were definitely high. Thankfully, the Kemper did not disappoint.

Kemper Profiling Amp (Verdict)

The Kemper Profiling Amp is a fantastic, versatile digital amp. Are you a newbie looking for your first rig? This amp offers plenty of great presets. Are you a seasoned pro? With the amps profiling process, you can put your favorite amplifiers into one light, portable box. Whatever your guitar needs are, this amplifier can meet them.

Features (9/10)

Basic Controls

On the front panel of the amp, there are plenty of controls that are easily adjustable with the twist of a knob or push of a button. You can easily scroll through your profiles and available effects with the Browse knob. There is an infinitely adjustable noise gate that is honestly one of the best ones I’ve ever used.

I was able to set the gate to a point where unwanted hum and buzz were eliminated, but every single note would pass through the gate cleanly.

You can easily turn on and off EQ, Reverb, and Delay with the push of a button. You can adjust your EQ, reverb times, delay feedback, and even your dry/wet balance of these effects right on the front panel. There are 4 assignable “Stomp” buttons, where you can assign any 4 effects, compressors, overdrives, etc., and turn them on and off.

Of course, you can go deeper into these effects settings and customize them to get the sound you want, but once you’ve done that you can easily make small adjustments right on the front panel.

Profile Options

When you first purchase the Kemper Profiling Amp, 200 amp profiles (or amplifier models) come pre loaded onto it. If you’re not happy with those, there are plenty of sites such as Tone Junkie that offer free packs of profiles you can download and add to your amplifier. You can purchase profile packs from third-party sites as well (I’m currently eyeing this pack from producer John Feldmann).

Kemper even has their own online forum where users will upload their own amp profiles.

Finally, there’s the amp’s profiling process, which gives you the ability to create your own profiles of your favorite amps. As you can see, there is a wide range of options available for getting the exact tones you want.

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Kemper Profiling Amp

Kemper Profiler is a powerhouse of classic tube tones and live-performance features just waiting to be uncovered.

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Amplifier Modes

The amp’s Browse and Performance modes make it easy to configure for studio or live use. Browse mode allows you to easily switch between profiles and adjust effects while playing, perfect for experimenting in the studio so you can get the perfect tone for your music. In a live set, however, settings need to be dialed in already.

With Performance mode, you can create your own setups tailored to your needs and store them in groups called performances. There are 125 available performance slots, and each performance can hold up to five different settings. So you could save performances with a few different tones that you use with a band, or one with settings for each song, or even one with settings for each section of a song.

You can make your live setup as simple or as complex as you want it to be. And if you spend the extra money on external gear such as the Kemper Remote, you can easily switch between these settings with a tap of a foot.

Versatility (9/10)

The basic features of the Kemper Profiling Amp are great and pretty versatile on their own. What makes this amp even better is that there are so many ways to expand your Kemper rig beyond the basic features, allowing you to customize your rig like never before.

Ins and Outs

The back of the Kemper Profiling Amp

To start with the amp itself, the back panel of the amp offers a wide range of input and output connections that allow you to adapt your rig to any situation and get the tone you want. The amp offers both XLR and 1/4 in. outputs, allowing you to go straight into a recording interface, DI box, mixing console or through a speaker cabinet if you still want the feeling of playing through analog gear. There are also S/PDIF connections if needed to connect to a digital mixer.

A USB connection allows you to import your own profiles on your computer through Kemper’s Rig Manager software. This connection also allows you to do firmware updates.

One of my favorite output features the Kemper has is a “Direct Output.” This is a 1/4 in. output that bypasses your amp profile and any effects, giving you just the clean guitar signal. This is great in a studio setting, especially if you are pocketing distorted guitars in the editing stage. By recording the direct output alongside the main output signal, you can easily find the transients in your clean guitar track and use those to edit the distorted signal. This results in a more professionally edited track.

External Gear Options

Outside of the amp, there some great options for external gear that allow you to expand your setup and tailor it to your needs. I’ve mentioned the Kemper Remote, which is a pedalboard that allows you to switch between settings in a performance. It also has a built-in looper, tuner, and tap tempo delay, along with four user-assignable buttons, allowing you to create the optimal pedalboard for your needs. Mission Engineering also offers the expression pedal, which is designed like a wah or volume pedal but allows you to assign any two effects you want to it. As you can see, the Kemper Profiling Amp allows you to create the personalized guitar rigs you’ve always wanted.

Performance (8/10)

All of these features are great, but I’m sure you’re wondering, does the Kemper sound any good? If it doesn’t, then all these flashy features are useless. I am happy to inform you that the answer is YES! (but with a small catch)

Built-In Profiles

First, let’s start with the built-in profiles. Since this is the only amplifier I have, I have been recording with these profiles and have gotten pretty good results from them! Here is a demo of a clean guitar tone, using the profile “Ducked Clean Trem.”

Here is a demo of a distorted guitar tone, using the profile “Nineties Finest.”

The small catch here is that I am not getting those sounds just by loading up the profiles and playing. These profiles don’t sound perfect right away when you select them. I often make EQ adjustments on the amp itself and add some effects processing, and do more processing in the box as well. If you are willing to spend some time adjusting the settings, you can some really great sounds of this thing!

Profiling an Amp

As for the profiling process of the amp, I cannot personally attest to whether it can create a profile of your amp that sounds like the real thing, as I don’t have an amp to test it on. However, there are plenty of demonstrations of this process online. After watching some of them, I have to say that the recreations people have made sound very accurate!

The biggest thing to be aware of during the profiling process is that the quality of the profile depends on the quality of the equipment you use to capture it. Since you physically have to mic up your amp in order for the Profiler to analyze it and make a profile, make sure you are capturing a quality recording before you start this process. Experiment with different microphones and mic placement techniques in order to get the most accurate tone you can.

Overall, there is a bit of a learning curve with this amplifier that you will have to endure to get the best sound. However, if you are willing to put the time in, you will get great results!

In Summary

The Kemper Profiling Amp is definitely worth the money and deserves each glowing review it gets! It is an incredibly versatile unit that can be used to model your favorite amps or as your sole guitar amp due to the amount of built-in, third party and user-made profiles available.

Its multiple modes and variety of external gear options allow you to create the most efficient and comfortable setup for any studio or live situation.

If you are willing to put the time in to experiment with the sounds, you can get results that rival a solid-state or tube amp! The price tag may be hefty, but you truly get your money’s worth with the Kemper Profiler.

WE RECOMMEND
Kemper Profiling Amp

Kemper Profiler is a powerhouse of classic tube tones and live-performance features just waiting to be uncovered.

Check Price On Sweetwater Check Price On Musician's Friend