Opinions on Kemper, line 6 helix ,axe fx ECT

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  • 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,
    Again, this is internet hyperbole. Please link to said reviews. Because, in the two or three years I've been interested in digital gear and researching it, I've never, yes never, seen, heard or read and review thats said it's better than the other two or "the best".

    It's such a subjective thing that no one dares to say it and its almost always left at "it's a great unit and comes down to what you need as a musician...FX, amp tones etc" or words to that effect.
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  • sweepysweepy Frets: 1863
    Having owned the Axe-Fx 2, Helix and spent time with a Kemper I have to agree with @Jonathanthomas83  inasmuch that they are all very good and really does come down to personal preference, mine was the Fractal path which eventually led to the FX8 and a BadCat as I still prefer the feel of a Valve amp under my fingers
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  • DominicDominic Frets: 3705
    Helix is certainly the best design and User friendly as well as the easiest to tweak on the fly....the pedalboard set up was copied by Axe FX because they could see it was the way to go.
    Soundwise they are all great and as others have said there is no brand /concept better than the other -just their own sound and operational differences.
    FWIW -I loved the Kemper but found I could not get it to lose the Digital "plink" in the same way I could dial it out on Helix
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  • Digital plink, how do you mean?
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  • DominicDominic Frets: 3705
    a metallic sounding high pitched trail particularly noticeable when using even small amounts of reverb
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  • Can't say I've ever noticed that. Sounds very realistic, to me. I put gobs of reverb on everything I do, so that would annoy me immensely, if I could hear symptoms of that.
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 16962
    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,
    Again, this is internet hyperbole. Please link to said reviews. Because, in the two or three years I've been interested in digital gear and researching it, I've never, yes never, seen, heard or read and review thats said it's better than the other two or "the best".

    It's such a subjective thing that no one dares to say it and its almost always left at "it's a great unit and comes down to what you need as a musician...FX, amp tones etc" or words to that effect.
    Hyperbole .. nonsense.

    The Helix sounds fine and is probably better value for money but guitar pros tend to use the Axe fx ... Mark Tremonti, Steve Vai, Devin Townsend, Dean Parks, Adrian Belew, Ty Tabor, Misha Mansoor, Robert Fripp, Marty Friedman, Guthrie Govan, Vernon Reid, Paul Landers, Greg Howe, John Petrucci, Metallica, Phil Collen, Bumblefoot, Alex Lifeson, Dave Mustaine, The Edge, Dweezil Zappa etc.... why don't they use a Helix?


    And here you go ....

    https://blog.andertons.co.uk/learn/axe-fx-vs-helix-vs-kemper-vs-amplifire


    Conclusions:

    Axe fx - pro grade tones, amp matching .. downside expensive.

    Helix - intuitive to use, great sounding HX models .. downside poor presets, no amp matching.

    Go onto forums and you'll find a typical comment being the Axe sounds more realistic but isn't worth the cash .. a pro guitarist friend of mine borrowed and compared a Helix rack and an Axe fx .. he's currently recording a new album with the Axe ..

    If you're happy with a Helix then great .. I didn't say it was crap. I didn't like it and that's from someone who was accused of being a Line 6 fanboy on this forum.





    My pump-action drivel gun is smoking hot today!
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  • Jonathanthomas83Jonathanthomas83 Frets: 951
    edited May 13
    Not nonsense at all, @Fretwired. You specifically said that it's the best based on reviews. The review you linked to doesn't say it's the best.

    Let's quote the last few paragraphs...

    The Fractal Audio Axe FX is arguably the most powerful and all-encompassing processor. With almost endless wiring options, the Axe FX is easy to integrate into practically any setup. Its professional-grade tones and incredible selection of effects justify its expensive price-tag – but that is indeed the only downside.

    The Line 6 Helix units, rack-mounted and floor-based, offer the best user experience. With an easy to navigate and intuitive user interface, you can experiment with different amp models and the effects signal chain. Those tones are fantastic, however they aren’t quite as legitimate as the ones offered by the Axe FX or Kemper Profilers. The amp-matching technology is a feature that is missing from the Helix too, but it’s not a deal-breaker as there is so much variety within this powerful unit.

    There’s a reason why Kemper are so loved in the guitar world. And that’s because their profiled tones are so close to their real-world counterparts, that it can be incredibly difficult to even tell them apart. Just ask Chappers and the Captain!

    With near-unlimited tonal opportunities and a powered iteration of the Profiler available, this unit is made for live and studio use. The size of the head version may be an issue for those looking to downsize their rigs, and it can be difficult to integrate the Kemper into an analogue amp setup, but its sheer amount of versatility and quality is unparalleled.

    Last but not least, Atomic’s AmpliFIRE processors are incredible value for money. There would be absolutely no shame in picking up one of these stellar units, as the fabulous sound of the amp models and effects are professional-grade. The main advantage of these, especially the standard model and the AmpliFIRE 6, is that they are so portable and easy to add to your rig that no one would struggle to use them. It may not be the easiest unit to programme due to its small screen, but there’s a reason why we love them so much here at Andertons Music Co!

    We're not just talking about Axe FX vs Helix, if that's what your first statement in this thread was referring to.

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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 16962
    edited May 13
    Not nonsense at all, @Fretwired. You specifically said that it's the best based on reviews. The review you linked to doesn't say it's the best.

    Let's quote the last few paragraphs...

    The Fractal Audio Axe FX is arguably the most powerful and all-encompassing processor. With almost endless wiring options, the Axe FX is easy to integrate into practically any setup. Its professional-grade tones and incredible selection of effects justify its expensive price-tag – but that is indeed the only downside.

    The Line 6 Helix units, rack-mounted and floor-based, offer the best user experience. With an easy to navigate and intuitive user interface, you can experiment with different amp models and the effects signal chain. Those tones are fantastic, however they aren’t quite as legitimate as the ones offered by the Axe FX or Kemper Profilers. The amp-matching technology is a feature that is missing from the Helix too, but it’s not a deal-breaker as there is so much variety within this powerful unit.

    There’s a reason why Kemper are so loved in the guitar world. And that’s because their profiled tones are so close to their real-world counterparts, that it can be incredibly difficult to even tell them apart. Just ask Chappers and the Captain!

    With near-unlimited tonal opportunities and a powered iteration of the Profiler available, this unit is made for live and studio use. The size of the head version may be an issue for those looking to downsize their rigs, and it can be difficult to integrate the Kemper into an analogue amp setup, but its sheer amount of versatility and quality is unparalleled.

    Last but not least, Atomic’s AmpliFIRE processors are incredible value for money. There would be absolutely no shame in picking up one of these stellar units, as the fabulous sound of the amp models and effects are professional-grade. The main advantage of these, especially the standard model and the AmpliFIRE 6, is that they are so portable and easy to add to your rig that no one would struggle to use them. It may not be the easiest unit to programme due to its small screen, but there’s a reason why we love them so much here at Andertons Music Co!

    We're not just talking about Axe FX vs Helix, if that's what your first statement in this thread was referring to.

    I deliberately chose Andertons as they don't sell the Axe fx so they have an axe to grind. I have read mag reviews which still state the Axe fx is the better unit - for example it has amp matching. We have a pro guitarist on this forum who uses the Axe fx live.

    Did I say the Helix is rubbish? No. I still use an early red Line 6 POD 2 bean to record. Can I get a decent tone? Yes.

    And not everyone has £2k + to spend on an Axe. The Helix offers better value for money - it sounds good and is easy to use but I stand by the statement which you'll find in other places that the Axe sounds better.

    At the end of the day it's all irrelevant. It's a point of view.
    My pump-action drivel gun is smoking hot today!
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  • @Fretwired ;You're missing the point. We're not just talking about Axe FX v Helix.

    And best at what? Workflow, UI, sound, FX, tone?

    Axe FX is good in many ways, IMO...tweakability, depth, options, delays and reverbs. Helix has a fantastic UI and endless routing options. Kemper has great tone matching to real amps and the effects are good.
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 16962
    edited May 13
    @Fretwired ;;You're missing the point. We're not just talking about Axe FX v Helix.

    And best at what? Workflow, UI, sound, FX, tone?

    Axe FX is good in many ways, IMO...tweakability, depth, options, delays and reverbs. Helix has a fantastic UI and endless routing options. Kemper has great tone matching to real amps and the effects are good.
    I think you're missing the point mate. They are just tools. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. I'm simply into making music so for me what something sounds like is the most important thing. I'll learn to live with the 'workflow and UI' .. I'm still using units made 15 years ago and getting great tones. There's a whole Emperors new clothes about this .. I wished I hadn't joined in now.

    I will still say Axe fx, Kemper and Helix. In that order ..

    Please give me more lols .. it really makes my day. Thanks.


    My pump-action drivel gun is smoking hot today!
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  • I think you're getting the lol's because you are literally saying this... 
    Fretwired said:

    I will still say Axe fx, Kemper and Helix. In that order ..
    And this...
    Fretwired said:

    I've not tried a Axe fx. I have played with a Kemper and was impressed and I didn't like the Helix. 
    Just trying to encourage informed debate. It's all good and no hard feelings, mate.
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  • peteripeteri Frets: 855
    Ok, played a Kemper, owned a Helix, own an AX8 (and have the III on 'order').

    Kemper I've tried sounds great, enjoyed it.

    Helix I was able to get good sounds out of, the UI is really good and it has a lot of DSP

    What I didn't like about it was for me, it still had a 'Line 6' sound - some will like that, I did get good sounds out of it - but it kind of felt a little bit like working around it for me - changing settings I wouldn't change in the real world, controls in different places, signal chain 'different'. But all do-able.

    The pedals do interact really well these days.

    AX8/Fractal - UI is 'challenging', but the Axe-Edit on a computer is superb and works well.

    But what won me over was the sounds - pull up an amp, and it sounded and interacted like I expected the amp to do.

    I sold all my pedals and amp and couldn't be happier with my sounds, using a DXR-10 speaker.

    If I had a gig where I just needed a JCM800 (say), and I could play it at appropriate volumes and didn't have to carry the thing. I'd have the real thing.

    But none of those are true!  And the differences are so subtle I don't notice them, and care even less.


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  • SporkySporky Frets: 13745
    Indeed - I've only had a very brief play through an AxeFX and have never used a Kemper, so while I'm happy with my Helix I'm not about to make any claims for it versus the others in this context.

    Particularly in a thread where the OP asked for opinions from people who've actually gigged them. If you haven't then any comment is just noise.
    Be your own evil twin. 
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  • drwiddlydrwiddly Frets: 336
    I've had an Axe fx Ultra for about 8 years, a Kemper for about 5 years and an Axe fx II for around 3 years. Not tried a Helix. I use all of them for both gigs and studio work and, as has been said, they each have their strengths and weaknesses.

    Leaving the Ultra out of it, the Axe 2 is very powerful, has great amp models that are tweakable to an almost microscopic level. Since the advent of Quantum firmware, the amp models sound very good without much tweaking. The effects are stellar.

    The Kemper with well chosen profiles, has even better sounding amp simulations than the Axe. It's not night and day but it is noticeable in a side by side comparison. The effects are ok but not really on a par with the Axe. For everyday gigging they're more than good enough. Kemper upgraded the delay section a while ago and the delays are now on a par with the Axe.

    I've used all these units with guitar cabs and frfr speakers. I'm happy with the sound of either but, for live work, I prefer the punch of a guitar cab on stage. I also prefer a valve power amp for a more 3D sound. Just my experience.
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  • I deliberately chose Andertons as they don't sell the Axe fx so they have an axe to grind. I have read mag reviews which still state the Axe fx is the better unit - for example it has amp matching. We have a pro guitarist on this forum who uses the Axe fx live.

    Did I say the Helix is rubbish? No. I still use an early red Line 6 POD 2 bean to record. Can I get a decent tone? Yes.

    And not everyone has £2k + to spend on an Axe. The Helix offers better value for money - it sounds good and is easy to use but I stand by the statement which you'll find in other places that the Axe sounds better.

    At the end of the day it's all irrelevant. It's a point of view.
    I'm a pro guitarist and I prefer Kemper to Axe FX so where does that leave things?

    Nothing wrong with preferring one to the other, everyone has different requirements.

    However stating the Axe FX is the best without ever using one is inevitably going to come across as pretty silly and isn't particularly helpful to people trying to make in informed purchase.


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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2014
    The key thing here is that we have several organisations competing, and challenging each other to keep improving.

    “Best” depends on your criteria. Mine are not whether xyz amp model sounds indistinguishable from the original, or can be tweaked to the Nth degree. I’m primarily interested in the live workflow. Can I switch FX, amp settings, and lighting cues without detracting from my playing?

    I use an AxeFX because that’s what I’ve got. I bought it before the Kemper was useable, and before the Helix was conceived. It does all of the above, and it gives me an acoustic guitar simulation too. 
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 7022
    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.
    Thanks, also glad to hear you found something that works for you.

    Honestly with all these things I think the killer thing is the workflow.  Most of them can get ballpark of a sound to a usable level if you know how - it just depends how long that will take you and whether that workflow works with the way your own brain works.
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  • WazmeisterWazmeister Frets: 3914

    Thanks, also glad to hear you found something that works for you.

    Honestly with all these things I think the killer thing is the workflow.  Most of them can get ballpark of a sound to a usable level if you know how - it just depends how long that will take you and whether that workflow works with the way your own brain works.
    Here is the wisdom.

    I've ended up in the Helix stable, simply because the work flow is best for me.
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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 3821

    I've got a Kemper, which I got before the Helix was available.  It's great.

    If I was buying now, I'd definitely try the Helix before making a decision about which to go for.  The Axe FX is a lot more money, and seems to score on effects, which isn't something that I'm that bothered about.

    I've used the Kemper live a couple of times with a monitor wedge on the floor.  It's not like using a real amp, but the sound guys say it sounds better front of house - which is ultimately what is most important.  I want to sort out some better monitoring, and at that point, I'll probably start using the Kemper live on a regular basis.

    Referring to whoever it was above who talked about what pro guitarists use, plenty of pros use Kempers.  In the limited amounts of gigs I've been to, I've seen a pro using a Kemper live, but never an Axe FX.  Both are used by pros, and I'm sure that there are pros using Helixes as well.  I know of one or two pros who still use Pod 2s.

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  • BlueingreenBlueingreen Frets: 713
    Isiah Sharkey used a Helix in his recent tour with John Mayer. 

    But it's inevitable more pros will be using Kemper or Axe FX, because they've been around longer.  If you're a pro and minded to use a modeller you probably had one of these before the Helix came out.  Much of the attraction with the Helix is it's cheaper and more user friendly.  Those are big attractions to someone new to modelling, but no so much to someone who already owns one of the older units and is familiar with the workflow.
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wise people so full of doubts.” Bertrand Russell

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  • jimificationjimification Frets: 68
    edited May 14
    It's a trick question - they're all good! Just depends what you want, what your taste is and how good you are at tweaking. I remember thinking my Pod X3 didn't sound so good, then watching a demo of a guy setting one up on youtube and sounding fantastic. (can't remember his name but it was the christian fella with the thumbpick!) After being used to the Kemper for a year I plugged into my old Eleven rack the other day too and was really surprised at how good it still sounds.
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  • SporkySporky Frets: 13745
    The whole "it's what the pros use" argument is ridiculous anyway.

    Otherwise we'd all drive vans, black cabs, or articulated lorries. 
    Be your own evil twin. 
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 7022
    It’s not ridiculous if they’re choosing to buy them as opposed to choosing to play based on certain deals - but in all honesty I have no data on that.

    IIRC at one point Fractal said they didn’t do free gear for artists. Don’t know if this is still the case
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15712
    Sporky said:
    The whole "it's what the pros use" argument is ridiculous anyway.

    Otherwise we'd all drive vans, black cabs, or articulated lorries. 
    And I doubt I’d get my weekly shop into a F1 car
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  • SporkySporky Frets: 13745
    It’s not ridiculous if they’re choosing to buy them as opposed to choosing to play based on certain deals - but in all honesty I have no data on that.
    The thing is, it's near impossible to tell why a given pro chose a given bit of kit. Some are very fussy about gear, some aren't. Some will have tried lots of alternatives, some will have found the first thing that did the things that they wanted and then gotten on with playing. 
    Be your own evil twin. 
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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 11902
    Sporky said:
    It’s not ridiculous if they’re choosing to buy them as opposed to choosing to play based on certain deals - but in all honesty I have no data on that.
    The thing is, it's near impossible to tell why a given pro chose a given bit of kit. Some are very fussy about gear, some aren't. Some will have tried lots of alternatives, some will have found the first thing that did the things that they wanted and then gotten on with playing. 
    Far more pros use valve amps than modellers, so by the "it's what the pros use" argument nobody should be using modellers.

    Very few pros use Thorpy's pedals, that doesn't stop loads of people on here enjoying them.

    The vast majority of pros don't go anywhere near boutique pedals, but TGP exists.

    It's just a meaningless argument ;)
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • sweepysweepy Frets: 1863
    More Pro’s use modellers than you’d imagine, reduced freight costs and consistency mean a lot, Metallica anyone ?  in no way a favourite band of mine but they are purely Axe Fx now
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  • joeyowenjoeyowen Frets: 3143
    Yeah, well John Mayer uses a Kemper and his tone is best so yeah.  And he gets women with it too


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  • DominicDominic Frets: 3705
    can somebody tell me what "amp matching "is please ?
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