Keith Merrow & Andrew Wade on Axe FX vs Kemper

by: CreativeLive

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this section is going to be about the axe-fx well actually and the camper but that effect is what we're going to start with I recorded a band who use this that I would like to show you in a second but let's talk about the X effects for a second it simulates a range of amps like a plug-in on steroids this the axe-fx is is a really it's kind of like a plug-in but it's more complicated because of the way that it processes the the signal and will actually talk a little bit more about that in a bit this is a reason I bought it I wanted a lot a bunch of really high quality amps without actually having to buy them all the price of you know one XFX is much cheaper than buying a ton of amps and what's really cool is you can easily take it with you if you are playing life and I know a lot of people that are recording themselves are also in bands so it makes sense if you get a tone on there that you like take it with you easily if you have a computer you have to deal with all these weird boxes that we have you know figure out how to get rid of buzzes every day and stuff like that so that's why I bought it go to fractal audio comm to learn you know more about it maybe pick one up actually buying from them from their website is the cheapest way to buy it don't go to ebay for some reason they cost more blew my mind okay so here is a Nevada rose they're a brand new band little baby band have it you guys haven't heard of them but I'm I like the guys are cool guys cool music they don't have an album cover or anything yet so still waiting on that what we got here yeah this guitar tone is all axe-fx I really liked how it came out I'm going to go over in detail about this tone everything that you hear whenever I'm dealing with Sims the axe effects whatever it's going to be my impulse response my cabinet died got from the Mesa four twelve sharing with everyone so I'm just going to play a little bit of that song [Applause]


all right cool so the okay acts of vert.x facts effects versus the Kemper I get a lot of questions about this and one of the main I'll just say them it will go into detail in a second but one of the main differences between those two these two and there are a lot of differences but the axe-fx goes through for instance this is a the schematics the schematic diagram of an evh 5150 and all these tiny little different points it and I'm not a guy that knows about a lot of this stuff but they model every single circuit and tube and every component of the amp it's not it's like a three-dimensional model of the amp basically and you can mess with all this kind of stuff you can basically build your own amps inside there so it's very flexible the Kemper the way it works is it kind of takes a snapshot of a tone that you've already gotten and on the Kemper and the axe effects you can share tones you know if if you like something you can download them or whatever so I have an axe FX and we're going to go into great detail about that and and how it works and the things I really like about it and but Keith has a Kemper and I would really like for him to talk a bit about that and he's going to do a demo in a little bit sure get a tone yeah I get that question all the time as well almost every day now you know people say you know access XFX versus camper which one's better which ones this which ones out and to me they're not two separate camps you know they're they're kind of they're two different things you know that the end result is you get guitar tone out of either of them of course but the way that you achieve that can be different with with both of them so with the Kemper you know basically you can either download amps that people have profiled in the studio or at home or wherever or if you have your own amps you can set it up and you know using the methods like you demonstrated earlier you can actually profile that exact sound and reuse it you know take it with you with the Kemper and then of course you can still edit it change it around so it's to me it's a little bit more personal you know because you can you can get your exact sound that you want in the studio and actually save that so that's pretty cool alright you know if you if you have a tone that you used on an album and you want to use it again live or something like that you can do that and of course you can also do that with the X effects you know if you record it in the studio with the ax effects and you take it live you have the same tone you know the difference is with the X effects it's kind of a predetermined model you know you that's your starting play and then you tweak it to whatever you want it does have tone matching and stuff like that but I think the Kemper is probably more robust when it comes to actually emulating the amp you know the source amp I will show it here in a little while but it gets it gets pretty much dead on so yeah and with the X effect the axe effects is actually the way that I made my impulse response and I want to share that with you guys after Keith well actually it is now it will now be a cool time to demo this I think yeah well just one quick thing that you pointed out before and you know I don't actually have either of these things but a lot of my friends do have talked had this conversation many times considered buying one or both of these so to me and you correct me if I'm wrong on this one thing with the Kemper is because it clones amps you need to have access to a way of getting those tones to begin with you can download profiles other people's profiles that they've made but in the same way as an impulse response captures the preamp the mic and the cabinet the Kemper since it captures what you're playing through the amp captures the pickup and guitar as well and I guess tell me what your experience is working with other people's profiles that you've downloaded yeah you know when you profile you know a rig with the kemper it's basically capturing everything that went into that you know so the pickup that you used that all plays a part in the in the overall tone so I found a lot of times if I were to download someone else's profile and use it for myself at home [Music] it doesn't always sound that great you know because I'm using different pickups different guitar different tuning you know there's a lot of little factors there so but you can tweak them to sound pretty good but I think the optimal way to use the Kemper is if you have a rig already that you really like you know an amp and you get your sound dialed in and you can save that sound that's that's the best way for me to use it I've heard a lot of other people have really good results you know downloading other people's towns and using them that way but I think the best way to get a good tone out of it is to set up your own rig and then save that yeah and if you are in a studio and you get a lot of bands come in like I do they're bringing in a bunch of different amps so if if you really like that you can use it again right um so that's what's cool about the Kemper if you have that opportunity where as that the axe effects again it simulates amps from scratch and it uses impulse response as a big part of that but the impulse response does not include the guitar and the pickup so it's a little that that's a small point of difference but from you know what I understand it can make a pretty big difference in how usable those other people's profiles yeah another thing worth pointing out too is is you can't profile you know complex effects delays and reverbs and things like that it won't do that right it's basically just you know you could put a drive pedal in front of the amp and then you know profile that whole signal chain but it won't do any complex effects or anything like that so it's mainly just raw guitar sound out of a cabinet but you can also profile modelers you know things like that you can you can use software sims you can model software seems just routing it through your interface right so make yourself a Kemper pod farm profile yeah be sweet sounds great eared okay so can we show how to profile really quick sure I just I find this very interesting and I think the viewers will at home it makes all these yeah it's like this little alien jumps through the microphone and all the sudden it's stole the soul out of the amp you know and we're going to be using the DI from from the song that we were just doing from a day to remember so you can the song dead unburied so you can hear something yeah just for the sake of time I mean we'll just we'll just start right away what you can do is if you just want to play the DI so we can get an idea of how it's going to sound first through the reference amp okay [Music] [Applause]

and that came through at home I assumed they could hear the mic signal yeah I think uh you're miked up right you know they took it away from me oh I was too loud or something I don't know okay okay well this is easy enough okay so basically on the Kemper there's a profiling mode that you would switch to and you know it would probably take a long time to go into all the specific details and settings that you can do but basically we're going to show you what it does and we start with just I just picked an amp that was in the camper already that's our starting point and I switched into profile mode and we're going to send the signal through the amp which is going to be picked up by the mic and the Kemper is actually going to store it so here's that weird alien thing we're talking about


we're at the ocean it's beautiful it's a calm and soothing ocean breeze [Music]

[Music] okay so basically what that was is the kemper sent its weird alien signal through the amp and it caught all the frequencies through the mic and basically stole the soil out of the amp which is awesome now what we can do is we can further refine the profile just by hitting the refine button and then he's going to play the di through it and what that does is the Kemper will read it in real time and sort of adjust the parameters and the frequencies to get as close to the amp as possible so we'll try that now [Music]


[Music] all right so basically we just ran it through there it reads it a little bit further with you know the actual guitar tone to get it a little bit closer I'm just going to save this one now

we'll go back here I'm going to run the di through it and he's going to play through monitors and you'll be able to hear that it got it pretty close so yeah just put that on standby so I'll just run it through again yep okay all right so we can hear it in here too oops oh my [Music] there you go that's basically it you can spend more time and get it even closer than that you know spend more time getting your mic placement right can your amp settings right and you can own it just the gain and stuff yeah at that point you can go back through adjust your gain all your EQ so you can add effects to it you can even put stomp boxes you know virtual stomp boxes like the tube screamer in front and really shape the tone that way but basically we just modeled this rig right here in what five minutes yeah so it's a pretty cool tool very cool all right awesome thank you so much key so if you can see uh we didn't talk about this but this is the there you see the guitar that's um you can you can actually play the guitar yourself while you're doing that yeah we just used a DI for the sake of saving time right and you guys are familiar with what that sounded like through the amp and stuff yeah I mean setting the DI through is basically the same thing as playing it so right usually when I profile apps I actually play because it helps me to dial it in and then when you refine you know it's really important to go across the whole frequency range of the instrument you're using so you know you play high notes low notes hard palm mute soft notes you know because you can get all the dynamics of the amp using that refine feature if you you know pretty much go over the whole spectrum of what you would normally be doing it'll uh it'll get that amp sounding really close yeah so this is what we have the guitar which or di going into the Kemper and then we also had the microphone plugged into the Kemper that was coming getting a signal from the amp so that's that's how it gets the sound of the amp you just have a microphone that's plugged straight into the Kemper and then it goes out into the into Pro Tools and and we listen to it and that's basically it simple okay let's talk about the axe again because we're going to be we're going to go over this in more detail here

okay so why is the axe-fx in a box and it's not just a plug-in there are there are actually a lot of reasons for that one of them one of the biggest advantages of having it in a box like that and I'm sure it's probably the same with the Kemper they have a lot of excellent preamps inputs and outputs the that a lot of circuits are gold-plated like they make sure that it's very low noise and like I said earlier we have all these direct boxes and things to get rid of all these buzzes and stuff but you plug in straight through that and it's absolutely clean and you can take it with you if you're going to try to plug your computer in and use an amp sim live you're going to have to deal with all that noise and and try to figure out you know where it's coming from and rig to rig you're going to have different problems that you've never had to deal with but we got one nice box where it's all just in there and that's it also well actually also the which this is not a bullet point but the axe-fx has tons of insane effects built into it and I can't wait to show you guys a really awesome atmospheric tone that I got with with it using some pretty zany effects but pretty cool result the simulation quality versus if you had this as a plug-in on your computer it would be eating up your CPU there are a lot of other plugins that use outboard processing like the what is it that you have the you know the universal audio UAD stuff is a dedicated DSP card exactly Pro Tools HD exactly exactly HD same thing same idea basically this guy the axe-fx has a bunch of powerful you know chips I don't know I don't know what they are a bunch of fancy chips in there that do the processing that you know would bring your computer to its knees so that's that's a big part of the reason why it needs to be in a box and it's virtually not exactly but it's virtually zero latency which that's something if you're playing through an amp sim through your computer you're going to be dealing with a bit of latency and if you're playing through this through this you're not really having to deal with that so it has that dedicated processor so it's super fast and it's not messing up your computer you can use it with a laptop even if it's not a very powerful computer and like I said earlier you can take it with you you know any any tones that you dial in you can take it with you to the stage Keith I know that there are some people who use either the the lunchbox camper or the rackmount one on the road what have you heard about that well I have a rec mounted one as well and they're the same thing you know there's no feature about them that are different from the lunchbox to the rack one it's just the form factor of it but you can get either of those with a power amp so you know if you wanted to use the Kemper live the power amp version might be a better option I would also say if you're going to use a camper live the rack-mounted one is probably better you know so you could put it in a case lunchbox one is you know it's mobile but you know you can't put really a case on it you know I mean sure you could find one but the rack mount one would be more convenient I think for that toughness wears durability goes so you know if you hear good things all right about it I have a couple friends that toured with the lunchbox version and they had they had some problems you know it's it it's maybe not the most durable thing when it comes to you know throwing in the back of a trailer you know but yeah I mean it's reliable and it's well built you know the axe-fx though I think you could probably throw that thing off a building and it wouldn't hurt it you know so well Andrew on the way here you had you you put your ax effects in the hands of the TSA which you know we can after this maybe we can talk about whether that was a wise idea or not but it survived so yes there's that yeah I had to wrap it in a very thick yoga mat and they they gave me a huge piece of wood to put in my suitcase to to help protect it because it was I was scared that thing has tones on it that I don't want to lose but I have them backed up that the XFX comes with software so you can easily put stuff on your computer and share it with a friend or an enemy


More from this creator:
Keith Merrow & Andrew Wade weigh in on the Axe FX vs Kemper debate. Check out more:

Andrew Wade (A Day To Remember, The Word Alive, Motionless In White) and Keith Merrow tell you everything you need to know about the Axe FX and Kemper Profiling Amp. For more, check out Andrew's class "Recording Rock Guitars" on CreativeLive:

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