Recently, I sat down in my office with YouTube guitar instructor/player/educator/guru Brett Papa for a conversation about the Kemper and a demo of some of my favorite Kemper features:
1. VOLUME DOESN’T MATTER ANYMORE. I love the ability to use sounds from many different amps at the touch of a button. And the best part of that is that volume doesn’t matter anymore. It may not sound like a big deal, but it is. Even when using a huge Bradshaw rig with multiple heads switching and looped effects, I was still limited by the fact that all of the amps needed to be roughly the same volume to switch seamlessly between them. Now, with the Kemper, I can use any amp for clean or dirty and volume isn’t an issue. Since I will be running direct and the Kemper automatically levels the sounds, I can use (for example) a Princeton for clean tones and a 100w Marshall for lead tones. My cleans can be cleaner and the overdrive sounds are an actual cranked up amp as opposed to a stompbox for gain. And what makes the Kemper really shine is the edge of breakup tones and touch sensitivity compared to other units.
2. DUCKING. Famous in the delay world since TC came out with the 2290, ducking has been a favorite feature of mine for a while, having used it on the TC D-Two, Nova Delay, and Line 6 modelers for years. Ducking is a gating effect that reduces the output of the effect based on the perceived input level. That is to say, when you’re playing harder, the effect will be minimized and when you stop playing or play softer, the effect will increase in volume/intensity. Kemper has taken ducking a step further by adding it to most of the effects, including modulation effects (like rotary speaker, tremolo, pitch shifting, etc.). This creates a huge opportunity to create really cool blended tones where picking attack intensity can change the actual effects dynamically. This video shows the pitch shifter and tremolo effects that I use ducking on.
3. MORPHING. While other modelers have snapshot modes for saving and changing fx parameters, the Kemper has seamlessly integrated Morphing using their dedicated Kemper Remote. While you always have the option of assigning individual effects slots to on/off buttons on the second row of the Remote, the Morph feature has made it even easier to fade in/out individual fx without having to do a lot of pedalboard dancing. You can adjust the fade in/fade out time in the RIG button settings. You can change multiple parameters at once with the touch of one button (or using an expression pedal). Even the gain stomps have a Mix parameter so with Morph I can fade in 60% of the screamer stomp at the same time I’m increasing gain and increasing the delay mix. It really makes every performance slot much more powerful and effective without making new slots for minor changes.