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Had Enough Of The Hd500...buying A Kemper


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#41 markcockerill

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 05:40 AM

This is a very interesting thread.

 

Here's my sixpence worth. Like many here, I have been a big exponent of L6 for years and indeed gig every week with the DT-50 and 4x12. I gave up using the HD500 after months and months of messing about trying to make it work for me, I am deliberately leaving out the words - tone and sound.

 

The issues I had included, but not limited to:-

 

Pressing the pedal to engage/disengage wah cuts off the sound temporarily and is a bugger to press.

I found it incredibly difficult to balance volume levels across only 4 patches,

Mod effects would also have an effect on perceived volume.

Trying to work out the signal path and how to use the mixer baffles me to this day.

The list of quirks is really too long when all I want to do is play the guitar instead of meddling. I regard the time it takes to set up an HD500 to be extreme and the results are not worth the effort in time. And don't even get me started on using the L6 link which causes incredibly unmanageable volume increases and what's with dual pre amps when running a mono amp? Surely L6 don't really expect me to buy 2 DT amps. And how does that work live sending out stereo studio direct to the PA, it doesn't, mmm. I could go on all day and some would say there are workarounds for all it's faults, who wants that?

 

I fixed my issues with the HD500 reasonably quickly by buying new gear. I use in front of the DT50, a Crybaby Wah - MXR 10 band EQ

 

In the loop of the amp i use a Zoom G3X to provide no more than Chorus for one song, Delay, reverb and of course the onboard Volume pedal - Carl Martin Boost with 3 band EQ and level trim just for the solos. Hey presto! instant pro quality rig.

 

A channel switch to select between Soldano Clean and Soldano Distortion on the amp.

 

Simple to set up and the important part for me is that the rig is suited to me. I run the amp in full power mode with the master at 2-3 oclock and the channel two volume at around 11 oclock (obviously) dependent on gain setting too which is usually no more that 10 oclock. Sounds great and blows the doors off.

 

As a side note, I have bought a Zoom G5 pedal on the strength of the quality of the G3X and I set the G5 up just for jamming along with my Sessionette 75 SS amp. Within 10 minutes and I was not far away from my full gig sound and and for jamming, that is near enough. Their software interface is incredible. It's not for me to even state the comparisons just to say it is so much easier to get what I want from it. For the really keen price, I would say check it out and give it a whirl.

 

All is not lost with the HD500, I use it at home for recording where it truly excels.


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#42 Jeffsco

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 06:19 AM

I picked up my Kemper yesterday afternoon...took it home and started playing. Next time I looked up 3 hours had passed. Went and made supper. came down....played thru it for another hour.

 

First impressions....very intuitive...easy to move around in. I consulted the manual, perhaps, twice and that was for some obscure deep editing function i was curious about. I was VERY suprised at some unexpected functionality under the hood. Some very cool things there.

 

Sound / Tone?....Incredibley responsive to touch. I've never played anything like it....even when I had my Marshall / Boogie / Randal all tube rigs back in the day. The string to string / note definition is a joy to hear and feel. You can have a crunchy / Chunky / Distorted tone and yet it doesn't turn to mush...you can strum a chord and it still sounds open. The Cleans are CLEAN...no digital distortion / hash / overtones. THE TONE CONTROLS WORK! What I mean is....often times with amps and modellers you turn down the bass controll to remove some "Mud" from the tone but you end up losing your "meat" as well as the mud. The Kemper tonestacks...they way they explain them in the manual...is that they designed the tone stacks to give a player a much greater range of controll than what is actually modelled. So when i turn down the bass control to get rid of a little mud..it does EXACTLY that...it leaves the "meat" or "Body" of my tone intack and gets rid of the mud.

 

The pick attack/ definition is outstandingand....when I back off my volume knob the sound of the patch actually cleans up. When I do that on most Modellers or actual tube amps , (depending on the amp)...not only does the sound "Clean up" , but it also gets thin. The Kemper doesn't do that. It gets clean and says full.

 

The Kemper also balances out volumes between patches. You can change them and make them as loud or as quiet as you want but the basic starting patches are levelled out..no nasty volume jumps.

 

All in all...I could have taken the unit and walked onstage last night...dialed in a dozen stock tones to cover the full range of material our cover band performs..and started playing. I found it to be that easy. I'm really looking forward to digging in deep to this thing. I'll post a more detailed comparision of the HD500 and the Kemper next week after I've had a chance to play with it some more. There are couple of things I noticed about the functionality of the HD500 that the Kemper doesn't have. I think people woould appreciate knowing that.

 

So...the criticism has been asked...is it worth it paying $2,000.00 for the Kemper compared to $600.00 for the HD500? It's a valid point... does the Kemper sound THAT much better to warrant the cost difference?

 

The answer to that is as individual as each person reading this. It's going to depend on what you value. Screaming metal band with 2 guitars pounding out at 115 db? Maybe not. Playing guitar behind a 4 piece horn section, lead vocalist and 3 backup singers? Maybe not....But for what I do, playing in a Cover band and recording in the studio, both situations where quality and nuance of tone as well as  the ability to dial in sounds fast are the main criteria? ...Let's just say....I am not regretting my choice.


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#43 toneman2121

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 06:39 AM

the man said he's getting rid of his hd because he can't get what he wants out of it. i said here we go again. he asked me why i said it. i said i wasn't going to argue. my point is how the lollipop can you compare a $400 unit to a $2000 unit.

 

check it-lollipop for the expletive. cool. i'll probably get a warning point for that 


Edited by toneman2121, 14 May 2013 - 06:41 AM.

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#44 DeanDinosaur

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 08:13 AM

 

 can you compare a $400 unit to a $2000 unit.

I know what you're saying, but at the end of the day, I say sure, let's compare. If someone bonds with the $400, they will get pretty damn good result that will render the 2000 unit irrelevant. I've heard pretty damn good clips from POD HD, that rival those of AXE II and Kemper. Steve Howe from Yes uses the POD HD 500 and many other working musicians. If you bond with the HD and know how to dial it to a point where you're happy with it and are inspired to play, you're golden. Many folks have done that, but if you struggle with it, then maybe it's not for you; and that's fine. If someone has the money and they can afford a tool that will make it easier for them, I say go for it, but that says nothing about the quality of the sounds that can be gotten out of the HD series.


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#45 Jeffsco

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 08:31 AM

 

I know what you're saying, but at the end of the day, I say sure, let's compare. If someone bonds with the $400, they will get pretty damn good result that will render the 2000 unit irrelevant. I've heard pretty damn good clips from POD HD, that rival those of AXE II and Kemper. Steve Howe from Yes uses the POD HD 500 and many other working musicians. If you bond with the HD and know how to dial it to a point where you're happy with it and are inspired to play, you're golden. Many folks have done that, but if you struggle with it, then maybe it's not for you; and that's fine. If someone has the money and they can afford a tool that will make it easier for them, I say go for it, but that says nothing about the quality of the sounds that can be gotten out of the HD series.

Dean has hit it on the head...The HD is a viable tool. It sounds good. I've got several setLists worth of patches saved up and ballparked close to the final tone I require of them. They all need tweaking to become stellar. The main issue I have is that the "Tweaking" part takes far to long in comparision to what i achieved with my XTLive. I need to get my tones down..and move on. That's why the Kemper appealed to me...and I'm happy to report that it has lived up to that peformance specification.

 

The other issue is cost. I haven't invested large dollars in an amp rig for a long, long time. My investment has been in my Live mixing rig and my Studio setup. I had the opportunity to sell off a lot of gear that I was no longer using in order to purchase the Kemper.

 

In my day job, I own a cabinet shop. I can spend $15,000.00 + on a table saw.....or I can spend $3000.00. Both will cut the material I need. Is the $15K saw the same as the $3K? No...it will do things the $3K can't. But does that mean the $3k saw is crap? On the contrary..the $3k saw allows me to earn my living. It's a great tool. Would i upgrade to the $15k saw? If I had the money and felt the advantages it would give me were worth it...yes.

 

In this case..The Kemper has done this for me. If I didn't have the financing for the Kemper...i'd be accepting and working thru the issues with the HD500. It's not a slam against the unit....simply a choice i've made.


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#46 DeanDinosaur

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 10:53 AM

Dean has hit it on the head...The HD is a viable tool. It sounds good. I've got several setLists worth of patches saved up and ballparked close to the final tone I require of them. They all need tweaking to become stellar. The main issue I have is that the "Tweaking" part takes far to long in comparision to what i achieved with my XTLive. I need to get my tones down..and move on. That's why the Kemper appealed to me...and I'm happy to report that it has lived up to that peformance specification.

 

The other issue is cost. I haven't invested large dollars in an amp rig for a long, long time. My investment has been in my Live mixing rig and my Studio setup. I had the opportunity to sell off a lot of gear that I was no longer using in order to purchase the Kemper.

 

In my day job, I own a cabinet shop. I can spend $15,000.00 + on a table saw.....or I can spend $3000.00. Both will cut the material I need. Is the $15K saw the same as the $3K? No...it will do things the $3K can't. But that does not mean the $3k saw is crap? On the contrary..the $3k saw allows me to earn my living. It's a great tool. Would i upgrade to the $15k saw? If I had the money and felt the advantages it would give me were worth it...yes.

 

In this case..The Kemper has done this for me. If I didn't have the financing for the Kemper...i'd be accepting and working thru the issues with the HD500. It's not a slam against the unit....simply a choice i've made.

Please remember to come back and post about your experience. I think line6 can use the knowledge also. Interestingly enough when you mentioned about how the dynamic response is better in the Kemper than the actual real amp, I remember specifically that Kemper himself mentioned that he put a compressor in the Amp block to get that effect. Later the AXE FX II makers adopted the same idea of a compressor in the amp block. I'm waiting for line6 to do that also.


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#47 Jeffsco

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 12:51 PM

Back up a little and read Post #42...that is my first impression from last night. I'll post again in a week after some time with the unit.


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#48 toneman2121

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 02:08 PM

i drive a 2000 f150 with 225,000 miles. i'll go rent a 2013 caddy. i'll let you know which one i like better


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#49 bjnette

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 04:27 PM

I'd love a Kemper, no doubt about it, in the meantime I got my HD500 which I love too.

There are many variables with the 500 for gain staging and it is an issue. It would be great if there was an auto make up gain global setting that compensated for Amp and FX gain changes. This is a must have.

As there are so many variables the liability of using the presets or customtones is that the varying degrees of how the gain is set up with different users is variable, different. This is an issue.

My solution is to remove one variable. Going into an Amp gain match it guitar to amp direct to guitar to 500 in tuner mode.
Get that level which is full on the Master volume and perhaps a mixer volume adjust.

If you have a SPL meter this will help. Dont change your actual Amp monitor setting. You can download a SPL app to your phone if you haven't got a radio shack one.

That becomes your invariable gain match. Imagine there was never a Master Volume and you got one less variable to gain match patches. Now if your going into a tube Amp you might want to increase the gain into it and that is fine you can add a little extra.

Next I found is naming patches by the guitar I am using, if you have several you will know some output different levels.

Next is gain matching patches by the mixer output level rather than the Amp settings as compensating with those will alter your tone and you could soon loose faith with your unit. Dont' forget to save the gain matched settings.

What you want is a reasonably matched gain stage between your quieter cleaner amp patches to your more gain driven Amps.

Next, the on off FX in a patch then can be adjusted individually and this is where the auto make up gain would be nice but as mobo and others have mentioned in other threads the EQs can be used for boost where needed.

Lastly, going from a patch with all FX on to a patch with most FX off, depends on how you work and some like a bank of the same Amp with FX in the remaining slots and this works well using the mixer to get a realistic gain change.

Cycle thru and hopefully your only fine tuning your patches.

Again I think the trick is to remove the variables from patch to patch and we have all done it adjust the Amp vol while keeping the master the same. Dive into the mixer instead and don't forget to save.

Hopefully this will help some because the gain staging is an issue.

And until we can all afford a Kemper might as well make the HD work.


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#50 DeanDinosaur

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 04:51 PM

I think another major problem is line6 don't respond as much to the concerns on their own company's message board as much as they do on other message boards which I find baffling. I see Line 6 employees address and post in the gear page about topics that they completely ignore on this message board. Also How hard is it provide EQ frequency and Q information?  

 

They made an announcement in NAMM January 2013 about an upcoming update to the JTV that I was considering, it's mid may already :blink:.  Also where is POD HD plugin? It can't be in the making! They must be waiting for Revalver to come out or digitech to answer . My eleven Rack  comes with the Eleven Plugin. I think line 6 should really start listening seriously.


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