Opinions on Kemper, line 6 helix ,axe fx ECT

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BarneyBarney Frets: 343
I'm not really in the right place to try these and even so would rather have opinions of somebody who has tried these in a band situation

Are these comparable to amps ..which one sounds best ...Im just really looking for opinions cos I have never tried any of these modellers but do have some fairly good valve amps so just wondering how they compare 

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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 16307
    Axe fx is the best, Kemper is excellent but some old school guitarists (not wishing to mention them by name) think it complicated whilst the Helix is a compromise between the other two but is cheaper.

    I've not tried a Axe fx. I have played with a Kemper and was impressed and I didn't like the Helix.
    My pump-action drivel gun is smoking hot today!
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  • BeexterBeexter Frets: 298
    I bought an AX8 just over a year ago and it is my main gigging rig. Most ive ever spent on a bit of music kit but i have no regrets. I have tried all sorts over the years but not a Kemper or Helix.
    I also have a Mesa Express 5:25+ head and a 1x12 cab with some great pedals but it's the AX8 I take to gigs. To me, it sounds terrific and is capable of so many things. I find it just as easy to tweak tones at a gig as it is with a conventional rig. However, setting up tones/ patches initially can take a bit of time. It's quite straightforward using the software editor on a PC but the sounds are worth it. The interface on the Helix is universally praised but for me, I prefer the sound of the Fractal.
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  • sweepysweepy Frets: 1713
    edited May 10
    Pretty much what has been posted before, as with any modelling setup, the amplification and monitoring is the thorny subject, I switched from an Axe-Fx after having 2 Helix units, to a Bad Cat 30r and a Princeton with an FX8, just suits my tastes more
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  • KrisGeeKrisGee Frets: 370
    Kemper for me. As close to a real amp sound and control over it as possible. 
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  • simonksimonk Frets: 1119
    Fretwired said:
    Axe fx is the best....

    ...

    I've not tried a Axe fx...
    Love it!
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  • RandallFlaggRandallFlagg Frets: 5459
    Of those you list I like the ECT the best...
    Michael Fish is God
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  • WazmeisterWazmeister Frets: 3744
    edited May 11
    For me, with ALL digital and modelling gear, it’s not ironically primarily about the sound...


    1.  Its about the workflow. How easy it is to use ? 

    2.  How steep is the learnig curve ?

    3.  Does it inspire, or fundamentally frustrate me ?

    4.  It is more hassle than its worth ?


    Ive tried em (and owned em) all... the learning curve and vocabulary on some stuff is just frustrating and tedious. The Kemper, for example, seemed to have multiple volume options.
    The Kemper is very impressive at sounding like an amp, but always lacked the feel for me personally.

    I loved the FX8 but not the drives.

    I actually have currently only got the Helix HX. Simplest and easiest to use, with awesome routing options. Couple it with 2 awesome amps... Ramber amd Redplate, and Im sorted.

    The most important overriding factor for me; can you plug it in and get ‘unity’ volume, without studying at degree level for 3 years...

    FX8 - yes
    Helix HX - yes

    The rest - no
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  • PC_DavePC_Dave Frets: 1344
    I bought a Kemper a couple of months ago having never tried any modelling rigs before, and I absolutely adore it. It’s easy to use (although not as intuitive as I would have liked....) and it sounds sublime to my ears.
    This week's procrastination forum might be moved to sometime next week.
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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 11604
    The question of "which modeller sounds the best" is pretty similar to the "which amp sounds the best?" question - it depends on your own preference. Personally, I don't like the sounds that the AxeFX makes, and much prefer the Kemper (if it's profiled properly) and the Helix.

    The workflow of the Helix sets it apart from the others for me, though. The four signal paths make all sorts of things possible that you can't do with the others, and the snapshot functionality is something I couldn't live without now.
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • paulmapp8306paulmapp8306 Frets: 478
    edited May 11
    There all good - which is better is subjective.   The AFX for instance has more routing an FX options than the rest, kemper sounds like a "specific" amp better while the AFX lets you create YOUR take on a real amp.  The Helix is capable but not up to those two - still very good though.

    As has been stated - amplification is the issue NOT the use it for live work. Are you playing via your PA, in which case how are you monitoring onstage?  Can you get used to the "recorded" tone live?  If not - are you using a real cab with power amp?  if so your compromising on available tones as the cab is the biggest part of the tone - and your only using one.  If you DO go this way.. Solid state amp or valve one.  Both have pros and cons.

    For recording, and practice with headphones these modellers are FANTASTIC.  For low volume home practice they also shine (even with a real cab set up).  For Jams and live gigs there harder to integrate unless your on a maga stage where everything is mic'd up  and the audience doesnt hear much from the actual state.

    Thats not to say it CANT work.  Ive used AFX rigs for over a decade now.  I cant work with FRFR outside of a studio, so run a Fryette Power Station into a 2x12 cab (though I can send a signal with a cab ir to a desk if I need to).  Its a compromise BUT I never wanted to "clone" amps  - I wanted the tones in my head that I couldnt get in an amp (or rather couldnt get them all from one amp).  My AFX rig lets me do that and Ive never really looked back.
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  • FiftyshadesofjayFiftyshadesofjay Frets: 474
    edited May 11
    Fretwired said:
    Axe fx is the best, Kemper is excellent but some old school guitarists (not wishing to mention them by name) think it complicated whilst the Helix is a compromise between the other two but is cheaper.

    I've not tried a Axe fx. I have played with a Kemper and was impressed and I didn't like the Helix.
    Beware the dangers of seeking advice from the internet!

    I’ve owned all three, they’re all massively capable. It just comes down to workflow really. In fact I changed modellers purely based on my needs at the time. Any will be able to get a decent tone but it’s only after you’ve lived with them for a while will you k ow if it’s right for you.

    As has been mentioned, the real issue is amplification. Will they sound like a real amp? If you’re running them through a power amp and cab then yes. If you’re running them through monitors then yes, but It’ll sound like a real amp micd up in isolation then fed through to monitors as you would in a studio which is a different thing that some people can’t get used to.

    It depends on what you’re aiming for and what you’re expecting.
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  • StuartMac290StuartMac290 Frets: 566
    edited May 11
    I have an AX8 and an FX8 along with a collection of amps. I'm still far from sold on the modelling thing but I've been using the AX8 live recently with an artist that likes a very quiet, controlled stage, and it works well for that.

    Live, I still prefer my FX8 into a real amp or two by a fair margin, though. Personally I'd never use the AX8 for recording unless it was just home demos.
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  • joeyowenjoeyowen Frets: 3083
    I've only used the Kemper, partly because when I got it, I had no desire to try anything else.

    It can be complicated, but it can be as simple as you want for the most part.

    I love it, it's amazing
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  • CabicularCabicular Frets: 2171
    I have all three
    the AxeFX gets the least use, The Kemper sounds great but is fiddly to use
    I gig with the Helix
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  • joeyowenjoeyowen Frets: 3083
    Cabicular said:
    I have all three




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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 11604
    Cabicular said:
    I have all three
    the AxeFX gets the least use, The Kemper sounds great but is fiddly to use
    I gig with the Helix
    I concur (having tried all three quite a bit and bought the Helix), but what's your logic there?
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • simonksimonk Frets: 1119
    I’ve had: FX8, AX8, Kemper and Helix.

    I enjoyed the FX8 and integrating it with my amps, although I too felt the drives let it down. The AX8 was fine, but didn’t blow me away. I like the Kemper a lot but find the effects a bit hit and miss and couldn’t imagine gigging it. I’ve stuck my flag firmly in the Helix camp and have gigged nothing else for the last 9 months or so... and I love it. It just seems to get better with each subsequent update and the community is good too.
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  • David5150David5150 Frets: 114

    Can only speak for Kemper and Fractal as the wife would kick me out if I got the Line 6 part of the modelling trilogy.

    Both are great but I'd say from my experience that the Kemper is better suited to the studio than live as I never got it to play nicely with power amps / PA rigs. Sound in the studio is just amazing - even more so if you profile your own amps. Downside was it sounded a bit naff as soon as you played with the gain or EQ controls. Key point here is one profile for clean, another for breakup, another for crunch...etc  etc...Effects were OK in isolation but pants compared to Fractal.

    Fractal (AX8 and Axe FX2) was a revelation for me. Plug in, dial up an amp and fiddle. Everything sounds amazing and editing on the Axe Edit on the laptop make life so much easier than the Kemper. Effects are the bomb

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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 6907
    edited May 11
    I have an Axe FX2  and Helix Native.

    I’d like a Kemper but only if I also had my own amps to profile. I don’t fancy going through loads of profiles looking for something when I already know what I want. I haven’t used one though so I might be overestimating how hard it is to find the right profiles.

    I personally prefer the Axe FX sounds vs Helix, and tweaking the Axe FX is not difficult, it just involves a bunch of button pressing. It is very logical how it works, but perhaps offers too much control/options for some people’s tastes.

    However it’s really tough to beat the price of Helix. It wasn’t an option when I bought my Axe FX, if I was deciding now I might well have only gone with a Helix.
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  • DominicDominic Frets: 3489
    Depends on the music you play.....
    I feel they can all do heavy Rock or metal or any highly processed guitar sound very well indeed .
    Kemper and Helix will both do extremely good Clean Fender type sounds almost indiscernibly.
    Where they all fall down is that organic edge of break up sound IMO
    I found Helix could be made to sound better than Kemper
    I have no AXE FX experience.
    If you play in a band alongside Drums,bass,vocals or keys you will never tell the difference.
    Very hard to tell difference if you record.
    I f you play in a room/studio alone you will notice very tiny difference but I find it is mainly adding in Reverb that can leave a slightly digital zing on the tail of notes/chords.
    You will notice with Helix and Kemper that some amp models sound more realistic than others no matter how much you tweak them.
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  • CabicularCabicular Frets: 2171
    joeyowen said:
    Cabicular said:
    I have all three




    You should see my guitar collection peasant!
    ;)
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  • sweepysweepy Frets: 1713
    I actually don’t mind the drives on the FX8, then I am a bit odd ;)
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  • John_AJohn_A Frets: 1342
    Think the Helix 'organic, on the edge sounds, are really good, as is everything else on it. For gigging it's superb, 5 minutes to set up and sounds consistently brilliant and I can get to the bar much quicker 
    Do me a favour and like this:

    https://www.facebook.com/MarkedCoversBand
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  • mr-macmr-mac Frets: 188
    edited May 12
    For me in order...
    Axe (esspecially if take time tweaking some of deeper settings)
    GSP1101 (c63)
    Kemper
    other modern options
    older options
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  • Jonathanthomas83Jonathanthomas83 Frets: 701
    edited May 12
    Fretwired said:
    Axe fx is the best, Kemper is excellent but some old school guitarists (not wishing to mention them by name) think it complicated whilst the Helix is a compromise between the other two but is cheaper.
    Disagree, I think Axe FX is way more complicated than the Kemper.

    I've not commented much since I sold my Axe FX 2 (with the aim of buying a 3) and bought a Kemper, im hoping to put together a review/blog about it.

    But, I love it. The sounds are great, sounds more authentic to my ears. Its easy to use and the FX arent as bad as people say. I prefer chorus, phaser, flanger, vibe and most importantly, delay on the Kemper to the Axe FX... they're more immediate and satisfying to my ears and deliver the sounds I presonally look for. 

    Overall, it's sounding fantastic for my needs, and I don't regret not waiting for the Axe 3. I prefer Kemper to my old Axe FX. YMMV.

    @guitarfishbay, I found the profiles I needed very quickly and would be happy to point you in the right direction if you ever got one.
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  • ruomaruoma Frets: 59
    edited May 12
    Of the kemper and helix, kemper all the way. But I sold it and now have a universal ox box to go with my amp, as I don’t need a gazillion different amp profiles. The ox is very impressive!
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 16307
    edited May 12
    simonk said:
    Fretwired said:
    Axe fx is the best....

    ...

    I've not tried a Axe fx...
    Love it!
    The Axe Fx is clearly the best on the basis of independent reviews, the pros that use it and the mob on here that threatened to kill you if you think otherwise. It seems everyone raves about the Helix but to my ears it sounds like a classic Line 6 unit .. IMHO it's overpriced and doesn't sound very good. It's shit.
    My pump-action drivel gun is smoking hot today!
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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 11604
    Personally, I'm convinced that the only one of the three which actually sounds exactly like the amp it's "modelling" is the Kemper. If sounding precisely like a specific amp is what you're after, that's the only one to go for.

    I don't need that, though; I'm happy to just make the sounds I want, which it seems that no amp can deliver (no amp that I've tried, anyway). I've come to the conclusion that precisely emulating an amp is actually nothing to do with making the sounds I want, even though it's largely just distortion and delay with a bit of modulation here and there.

    I don't particularly like any sound I've had from any Fractal gear, and I can easily make it work with the Helix. On top of that, the Helix's workflow is second to none - it fits exactly what I want to do, and it's trivial achieve that. The fact that it's also the cheapest by a massive margin (well, the LT I have is) is an absolute bonus.
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • firepaulmusicfirepaulmusic Frets: 208
    AX8 is my current rig. Direct to PA but with a 1x10 active PA cab behind me. Sounds and feels fabulous. 
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  • simonksimonk Frets: 1119
    Fretwired said:
    simonk said:
    Fretwired said:
    Axe fx is the best....

    ...

    I've not tried a Axe fx...
    Love it!
    The Axe Fx is clearly the best on the basis of independent reviews, the pros that use it and the mob on here that threatened to kill you if you think otherwise. It seems everyone raves about the Helix but to my ears it sounds like a classic Line 6 unit .. IMHO it's overpriced and doesn't sound very good. It's shit.
    You’re completely entitled to your opinion chum... that’s cool.

    I dare say there are a fair few on here that would disagree with your last couple of sentences though...

    I’ve just got back from a gig: I used my Helix and the other guitar player used his aging Boss GT100. Both guitars sounded superb and we got plenty of favorable comments at the end. I think almost anything can be dialed in to sound good, and by the same token, bits of top flight gear can be made to sound terrible quite easily.

    When did you last try a Helix by the way? It’s improved a lot to my ears with the last few firmware updates.
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