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HD500 vs Kemper
by popofages on 2013-02-18 08:47:54.6640

I've never been that happy with my HD500 until now, it was always fine in the studio but as I use it 95% of the time direct to PA for gigs I always felt it was still lacking in depth of tone and response and not that much fun to play.

Anyway I borrowed a Kemper profiler for a week, the guy had loaded in 100s of profiles including the stock presets, I found a couple of amp profiles that sounded and felt amazing and just ran the thing through a flat response keyboard amp (so it was like a PA)  I then hooked up my HD500 in the same way. I then spent a few hours trying to emulate a couple of basic tones I liked from the Kemper and make the HD sound and feel as close to the Kemper as possible, to be honest I didn't think the HD would be up to the job but to my surprise I ended up with a couple of presets that while not quite as good as the Kemper IMO are very very close and 100% better than any other amp tones I'd set up before. No black magic going on here or complicated tips and tricks just very good tones for me and more importantly the feel was right. Having a great tone from the Kemper as a reference amp was the key here plus you need to be setting live tones up at volume, around 85db is about right (I know this has been said before but its vital for live sound to avoid too much bottom, top end or mush!)

I tried these new presets last weekend direct to PA at my gigs and all the guys in the band said it was the best sound I'd ever got using the HD, lots of happy faces on stage with the biggest smile being me, a real eureka moment!

If you can justify the cost of a Kemper then its without doubt the best digital amp sim / profiler in the world right now IMO, trust me this thing is incredible, the new rackmonted version looks interesting too and with any midi controller (inc the HD) it could be hooked up to for live use, this would be my dream rig!  BUT with work the HD can get pretty close and is of course a third of the price (I also use a few stomps in my set up which help too)

So, my advice is keep it simple and borrow either something like a Kemper or better still the real thing as a reference amp you like then dial your tones at volume in that way, it worked for me and I'm back in love with the HD500!

Here is a pic of my current live set up for those interested...

2012-08-03 00.55.22.jpg

Re: HD500 vs Kemper
by bjnette on 2013-02-19 00:35:45.4800

Really good to know popofages!

There is alot of hype surrounding the Kemper, most of it well deserved.

I got the HD500 not long before discovering the Kemper, but it is out of my price range for a while at least.

I have been happy with the HD. It has replaced ny software sims and it is just a great versatile peice of kit.

I've had mine for near 6 months now and it never ceases to amaze me in getting good tone and the HD has alot of good tones and even the FX are acceptible. And it is a good overall description of the unit. Acceptible!

Now like anything in the tone dept, after a while it gets stale and that has occured for a few users, especially those who upgrade to real hardware replacements there is a tonal improvement. I think the HD is a good place to discover the pedal hardware you'd like to actually incorporate into your board and rig.

I been experiementing with getting as good a funky guitar tones (old school and modern) as I can.

I'll try against a real life example as you suggest to match tones to.

If you got any of those in your patches from emulating a real or profiled tone I'd be happy to try it out.

Re: HD500 vs Kemper
by popofages on 2013-02-19 08:42:44.5870

Hi bjnette

Yep I agree about all the Kemper hype but its well deserved. If the Kemper guys are smart they should bring out a dumbed down version for live work that does not profile but just has the amp and fx profiles incorporated into a pedal board (a bit like the HD or XT) then half the price and Line 6 will be in big trouble...I somehow doubt they will do this tho!

Adding a few quality stomps helps me too, one of my favs is a valve driven Tonebone Hot British, really good for that classic Marshall tone when used in front of a clean HD amp sim, I can dig in and get the feel and pick attack far better IMO using this pedal than the HD sims alone.

I also use a modded Crybaby, the wahs are acceptable on the HD but again not as good as the real deal IMO and the exp footswitch is horrible to use live so that's another reason. I also added a Korg tuner on the board as again the HD one is not great and I've upgraded the power supply. Just simple stuff that improves on a few of the HD weaknesses and makes the package a bit more pro for gigs.

For funky tones I use a Strat on the neck pickup and my fav clean sim the AC30 (this is one I modeled from the Kemper), I always use a little compression on the front end and a splash of reverb and the 421 dynamic mic and adjust the gain to taste for old school / modern tones. Less is more as far as the HD is concerned I think.

I'll be doing the dull task of tweaking a few tones this week in the studio with my band and may well upload a few of my live patches in the near future.

Re: HD500 vs Kemper
by bjnette on 2013-02-19 16:47:43.4610

A Kemper without the profiling is another amp modeler to me and while the tones could be better you still need midi footswitching.

I'd still go with the HD 500 as more bang for your buck.

I'd also say that there is a good chance the HDs will get further supported firmware as Line 6's dream rig gets enhanced.

Re: HD500 vs Kemper
by matisq on 2013-02-23 05:56:14.7330

So maybe you can share with us this great presets?

Re: HD500 vs Kemper
by popofages on 2013-03-08 09:20:23.8980

Hi there, I could post a few of my presets but thinking about it now its a bit pointless really because they will sound very different with your set up, guitar, playing style etc...A buddy of mine guitar techs for Larry Carton when he's in the UK and has played his guitar with Dumble amps, FX etc..the guitar tech is an excellent player but I can assure you even using LCs gear and playing some of his tunes at soundcheck he sounds nothing like Larry! (and you will sound nothing like me with my presets which is probably a good thing - lol) 

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