I have been looking at the new Kemper "bundles", with the foot controller - it's a fair bit more than $500 vs $2000...You gotta remember the HD500x is a foot controller and processor all in one.
The Kemper "bundle" on Sweetwater is $2,579.
That being said, I have totally been drooling over those things for a while now. I am not in the band wagon of "this gear vs that gear" so much; I tend to be a bit of a gear hoarder, and only get rid of stuff when I am in need of the $$, or some other plausible way to justify spending too much $$ on gear that I use 100% in a hobby sense. I love my band, we're working on a five song EP right now, and then we're going to do some gigs this Spring and Summer. Not counting on it for income though; I work full time, and I enjoy being able to do music for the sake of music, rather than gigging to pay rent.
So, when it comes to gear, there is really no justification I can offer other than "I want it!!!"....I've got an HD500, a HD500x, an ElevenRack, a whole pedalboard of analog Keeley pedals, and of course I want a Kemper too!!!!
I think the HD500 series does some great stuff with the amp modeling, and though I rarely use all of it's functionality, I am at a point where I am comfortable knowing how to make it sound good. I lean heavily on the DT amps to "get me there", and to take out some of the extra tweaking tendency.
I think the Kemper is a totally DIFFERENT approach to this idea of replacing actual amps with amp emulations, models, profiles - whatever you want to call them.
The Line6 approach, for one, relies on their design engine to produce new amp models, and with the upcoming model packs, cost additional $$ to get them. With Kemper, because the device itself is designed to CREATE those amp models, the end use of the amp models comes in part from the time invested in mic'ing up a real world amp, in as ideal set of conditions as possible, so that imprint can be adjusted and dialed up later.
Rather than embed the alterations to the tone in digital programming, it seems like the Kemper allows users to populate amp audio data into a set of preconfigured slots so to speak. Otherwise, you would be just playing samples or something unrelated to the Kemper's perception of the amp and it's speaker and it's tones.
I haven't read any of the Kemper manuals, so I don't really know what the process is. I can imagine becoming a Kemper profiling expert will be a "job" for people who are good at making amps, mics, rooms and cabinets sound good. I mean, you can buy Kemper profiles, you can download some for free, and you can create your own.
One thing that speaks for itself, is the shear quantity of amps and cabs that come loaded on it from the start - not to mention all that you can add. I mean; this list is INSANE!!!
For direct comparison in value between the HD500 series and the Kemper, take into consideration the upcoming HD model pack expansion. It's $100; you get approximately ten new HD amps? And the series already has 28 or something - so less than 50 total. By comparison, the total # of amp models available on Kemper is at least four times that, just for the initial price - and the total number of amp models available is virtually limitless.
That notion completely reinvents the game. You are not sharing patches, or tones within a limited set of parameters, you have now opened the Pandora's box of speculative tone searching.
To a certain extent, in support of the Line6 HD gear; the Line6 approach is still quite nuanced, as you can change cabinets and mic models on individual amp models, because the data is still able to be reconfigured on the fly, to a certain extent. And, as far as the Line6Link integration between the DT amps and the HD units, nothing else out there is doing that.
How much of what the Kemper hears is audio, how much is data, and how it's programmed to interpret all of that to a useable tone machine, is what makes it a unique entry. Since the profile experience involves a mic hearing an amp cabinet combination, it's still a bit simpler I would guess, in terms of how it - in their word - "hears the DNA of your amp".
It's always been easy to compare Axe-FX to POD, because despite the price and country of manufacture difference, they are basically comparable.
The Kemper is in it's own league at the moment, and quite frankly, $2,000 is a bargain. Consider the notion that non-Kemper equipment could come along that is compatible with the Kemper profiles. Where does the amp "live"? Is it embedded in the physical unit itself? Clearly not, you can share the profiles. So what about the merging of the profiles with the Kemper hardware and programming make it unique?
I can imagine at some point you will be able to load Kemper Profiles into ProTools as a plugin for re-amping.
As much as there are experts who build and repair amps, there will be experts who build Kemper Profiles of amps.
What's the going rate for a Kemper profiling studio session? That little thing made JOBS for people!
It's that you can take that thing to the ends of the Earth, and bring home amps that otherwise would never be available to anyone other than their owners.
I can see a Kemper Studio's release.. Something like, the worlds best Kemper profiler experts bring a host of amazing gear to Abbey Road, and Electric Ladyland, or any number of other famous rooms - the Grand Ole Oprey, Red Rocks, etc. And profile the amps there at Abbey Road in optimal conditions..
To a certain extent, they are already doing that..
The shear volume of expansion options is unprecedented with Kemper. I don't envy the marketing, R&D teams of the competition. It's like they combined dropping the mic with throwing down the gauntlet all in one move!
All that aside, I am quite at home with my Line6 gear, and I don't have any immediate plans to change all that around just to try something new. It is what it is, not everything will give you every option. I can see the allure of the Kemper; even the DT25 is a heavy amp, and when your tones are dependent on lifting heavy gear, it can get tiresome.
Plus, Kemper is just scratching the surface with what can be profiled. It's more than just amps, I would imagine...
The Kemper Effects Profilers! Plug that vintage MuTron in, and now you have a Kemper profile of a MuTron which you can digitally "repair" to remove any flaws of age, design, or damage.
Their exact quote on that concept is:
"The PROFILER can only accurately profile preamp stomp boxes such as overdrive and distortion pedals, Eqs and filters, tube preamp pedals, and so on."
All pure speculation here, but it does appear the future will be fun!