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Kemper & OX hardware ...vs... VSTs?

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Kemper & OX hardware ...vs... VSTs?

Postby Elephone » Sat Jun 08, 2019 11:04 pm

Hello. I'm just wondering why amp modeling hardware would be better than VSTs like BIAS, Line 6 Helix, S-Gear, etc... as so many people seem to say.

Surely it's just a computer doing the main work in there?

Could it be simply that the actual amp is designed to be as transparent as possible to convey the modeled behavior, rather than because the actual modeling techniques are better? Could it be some kind of control interface between the modeled sound and the basic amp settings?

I presume you'd have to play both the modeled amp and the Kemper amp through the same cab to hear how similar they are?

Also, how well do Kemper and OX model the more extreme sounds of say a Fender Bassman, with feedback and all the rest? Does everything really behave the same way?

Are any VST amps actually designed to be physically re-amp'd, I mean say for live performance, (with specific cabs in mind perhaps) or are they all intended to be cab'ed ITB to play through studio monitors?

Thanks.
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Re: Kemper & OX hardware ...vs... VSTs?

Postby Music Wolf » Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:13 am

OK, I have both the Kemper and the Helix. I've also owned modellers such as the Marshall JMP-1 pre amp, Sanamp, Vox ToneLab, Blackstar ID and of course 'real' amps with glowing glassware. In the box I've tried a few VST's including Helix Native.

If you put aside arguments about whether or not any of these modelling techniques are equal to a real amp / cab (in my opinion they are close enough for my needs) and focus on your question 'why the hardware would be better than VSTs?' then it all comes down to practicalities. Comparing the Helix with Helix Native - there is no difference in the sound.

Before purchasing the Helix I tried a demo version of Native. To do this I had to drop the buffer size on my music PC, I had problems with it locking up and I couldn't change patches whilst playing - but it sounded fine. What I needed was a PC optimised for low latency and some foot switches. Then I needed it all in a convenient package that I could take to practice / gigs and set up quickly, in other words - The Helix floor unit.

Of my modellers the Kemper is different because it 'profiles' rather than 'models'. For me it is the best of the lot it terms of getting closest to a real mic'd amp / cab but it lacks the flexibility, 'tweakability' and compactness of the Helix which is my justification for having both (and absolutely nothing to do with GAS :shh: ). I don't see any reason why this approach could not be adopted as a VST in the future since convolution reverbs have been using IRs for years but right now there is no Kemper Native available to make a comparison.
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Re: Kemper & OX hardware ...vs... VSTs?

Postby John Egan » Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:18 am

Elephone wrote:Hello. I'm just wondering why amp modeling hardware would be better than VSTs like BIAS, Line 6 Helix, S-Gear, etc... as so many people seem to say.

Surely it's just a computer doing the main work in there?


It's mainly a question of not having to worry about latency. However, it does also force me to commit to a sound early, which always works better for me. It also mimics the way I work if I mike up a cab.
Re-amping doesn't work for me. Using a substantially different sound would make me play differently and the result of re-amping rarely sounds right.
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Re: Kemper & OX hardware ...vs... VSTs?

Postby Dave B » Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:04 pm

Music Wolf wrote:OK, I have both the Kemper and the Helix. I've also owned modellers such as the Marshall JMP-1 pre amp, Sanamp, Vox ToneLab, Blackstar ID and of course 'real' amps with glowing glassware

Erm... I'm fairly sure that the JMP-1 was pre-modelling and had 4 discreet voicings (clean1,2, OD1,2). It had an emulated speaker output, but I wouldn't class that as modelling...

(I still have one somewhere along with a Boss GX700 for effects - great rig)
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Re: Kemper & OX hardware ...vs... VSTs?

Postby Music Wolf » Sun Jun 09, 2019 4:12 pm

Dave B wrote:
Music Wolf wrote:OK, I have both the Kemper and the Helix. I've also owned modellers such as the Marshall JMP-1 pre amp, Sanamp, Vox ToneLab, Blackstar ID and of course 'real' amps with glowing glassware

Erm... I'm fairly sure that the JMP-1 was pre-modelling and had 4 discreet voicings (clean1,2, OD1,2). It had an emulated speaker output, but I wouldn't class that as modelling...

(I still have one somewhere along with a Boss GX700 for effects - great rig)

True. The JMP-1 was a digitally controlled analogue pre-amp with speaker emulated outputs. I think that the Sansamp was also an analogue device, so not possible to make a direct comparison with VSTs as you can with Helix / Helix Native (both the JMP-1 and the Sansamp are both excellent bits of kit by the way).
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Re: Kemper & OX hardware ...vs... VSTs?

Postby CS70 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:02 pm

Elephone wrote:Hello. I'm just wondering why amp modeling hardware would be better than VSTs like BIAS, Line 6 Helix, S-Gear, etc... as so many people seem to say.

I would hate if I had to monitor the guitar (or anything) thru the interface. The guitar's responsiveness is a lot the playing feel and without direct monitoring that's just a no go.

In hardware, the full chain is optimized for one thing and often the physical controls are as well. You have knobs and whatsnot which are dedicated to what the guitar does. You want more level, there's the volume knob. You want more trebles, there's the treble knob (well, apart the Axe Fx of course.

How much that's important is of course dependent on your previous experience (how much cutting tape is important for people grown up with DAWs? Nada..)

But many guitarists start the old way, a crappy guitar and a crappy amp and since that's what they learn with, that's what they prefer..

Otherwise, yeah - the only difference between the various emulations are the algorithms used, no more no less.
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Re: Kemper & OX hardware ...vs... VSTs?

Postby ore_terra » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:38 am

Elephone wrote:Hello. I'm just wondering why amp modeling hardware would be better than VSTs like BIAS, Line 6 Helix, S-Gear, etc... as so many people seem to say.


As said, it’s more an interface (and experience) difference rather than purely sound or tone difference.

I presume you'd have to play both the modeled amp and the Kemper amp through the same cab to hear how similar they are?
Must say the when I’ve profiled my amps (I got the heads profiled and use it with cabs from other profiles) I could not tell any difference when comparing the “real” amps with the profiled one, as this comparison is part of the profiling thing.

Also, how well do Kemper and OX model the more extreme sounds of say a Fender Bassman, with feedback and all the rest? Does everything really behave the same way?

They do feedback if you have the monitors loud enough. In terms of “feeling”, if you’re use to the physical sensation of having a 4x12” pumping behind you, you will miss that. If you (like me) are used to the sound of a mic’ed amp (I never play too loud, I use IEM live so I am), you will enjoy playing these things. When I got the OX I spent 3 h playing with headphones, thing that I had not done in years :lol:
Are any VST amps actually designed to be physically re-amp'd, I mean say for live performance, (with specific cabs in mind perhaps) or are they all intended to be cab'ed ITB to play through studio monitors?

Thanks.
Didn’t get what you mean here. Sometimes I’ve done a recording session DI’ing the guitars and just placing a BIAS vst in an insert slot for the guitar players to record and I would re amp it later. I also know a couple of guys touring live with an iPAd with BIAS with no further reamping or anything.
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