Kemper KPA Inputs and Outputs
- 1 Physical Inputs
- 2 Input Settings
- 3 Physical Outputs
- 4 Output Settings
- 5 Effects Loop (Profiling Send/Receive)
- 6 Other Connectors
The front input acts like a standard guitar amp/pedalboard input. When the input is set to SPDIF, this input can still function to output a DI (unprocessed) signal for overdubs, depending on the output mode selected.
This can function like the front input, but it's on the back of the unit, allowing for a cleaner setup. It also functions as part of a stereo return for the effects loop. According to the Kemper manual, this input is slightly noisier than the front input.
The return input is designed for the return signal from the effects loop or from the profiling process.
The SPDIF input can be used to connect digital gear, mainly used for reamping.
The Input block allows you to select the active input as well as adjust overall gain and clean/distorted volume balance.
I recommend locking input, so that it is the same for every rig. Then you can change settings when you switch guitars, or switch from playing guitar to reamping. The only exception is where you have a more-complicated-than-usual setup and need to vary what inputs are used per rig. If you need to vary the Noise Gate settings, it may be easier to set the Noise Gate on the input low, then add a 2:1 or 4:1 Gate to a stomp block in your rigs as needed for higher-gain patches.
This selects the active input used to feed the KPA's signal chain. Choices are Front, Alternate, or SPDIF Reamp. In SPDIF Reamp mode, the Front input is still active, able to record DI tracks.
While this setting is not visible in the Input block, it is actually part of it - it locks with it and it stored and loaded in Input presets.
The "Noise Gate" on the input is not a traditional expander, but a kind of noise remover. Normally, I am wary of such things, but it works well here - it can lower the noise considerably without hurting the tone or changing any dynamics. Still, it can leave noticeable artifacts in the tone if set too high. It also can make the noise you expect to hear from a high-gain amplifier sound a little strange.
Clean Sense controls the volume balance between low and high gain settings for a particular rig. The KPA has a somewhat unusual way of handling a clean tone, which can be confusing. The KPA can only capture a profile at a certain gain setting but allows editing the gain on the resulting rig, all the way from completely clean to fully-saturated, mushy distortion. To do this, each amp profile contains a kind of parallel pair of clean and distorted profiles. From about 4 and below on the Gain knob, the profiles are blended inversely, and these can have a radically different volume level depending on how hot the pickups you use are. Clean Sense can be adjusted to make these roughly equal.
Note: Clean Sense should not be used to try to volume-level different rigs (use the Volume Knob instead), and it does not impact changes in gain other than changing the Gain setting on the KPA. If for instance you are using a volume pedal or using the guitar's volume knob, Clean Sense will not affect the sound.
Many people get (rightfully) very confused about this setting and clipping. At gain settings above ~4, this setting has absolutely no effect on the tone. If you're sure you're getting input clipping in a distorted tone, adjusting here won't help anything - you will want to make sure the distortion you think is input clipping is not output clipping or the profile itself or a rogue setting on a Distortion effect (or a strange combination of multiple distortions). Some of the distortion effects will distort slightly even with Gain at 0%.
The way I like to set Clean Sense is to take a clean profile I actually use, set the Gain all the way to 0 if it's saved at like 1-2, then strum about as hard as I ever would with the bridge humbucker active. With Clean Sense set dead center (0 db), I usually get clipping (I use high-output pickups). First I'm going to turn down Volume to make sure the clipping is occurring at the Input, not Output - the Output LED should be completely green, not red. You may have to turn up Master or your external monitor to hear the tone clearly. Then I like to lower Clean Sense until the clipping is gone.
I don't adjust the gain parameter for the profile on the fly (I use the guitar's volume knob instead), so I don't need to worry about balancing the volume of clean vs. distorted within the same rig. If you do want to change the rig's Gain parameter, such as by an expression pedal or MIDI, then you should check both for input clipping (as explained above) as well as using Clean Sense to level the volume between the rig with gain at 0 vs. 4. If these things are in contention, you'll have to make a compromise.
Distortion Sense functions as a gain level adjustment. When Input is locked, Distortion Sense allows quick adjustments from guitar to guitar to get a similar gain level (when desired). It's also useful if you find a profile pack where you'd like to demo the profiles quickly at different gain settings.
When using the SPDIF Reamp input source, this parameter replaces the Clean and Distorted Sense parameters. It is simply a level adjustment to the DI track and works similarly to Distortion Sense.
The Main Outputs can be sent as dual 1/4" or dual XLR, carrying a full stereo signal. They can be connected to a DAW or PA, as well as the effects loop return of a guitar amp, or the input of a dedicated power amp.
Monitor Out is similar to the Main Outs, but it is a single 1/4" connection, capable of only carrying mono audio. It can be used to connect to a stage monitor, or it can carry a different tone than the Main Outs by changing the output settings. It also has an option to disable the Cab block, which lets you use this output through a guitar amp and cab.
The SPDIF output is useful to connect to a DAW. It avoids unnecessary additional D>A and A>D conversions, potentially improving tone and latency.
The KPA's SPDIF I/O must operate with the KPA as the master (or clock source), and is limited to 44.1 kHZ (although 48 kHZ may be in the works).
The Headphones output is on the front of the unit. It is similar to the Main Outs but designed for headphone levels. There is also a Headphone Space setting that only applies to it, intended to add a reverb/reflection type effect that may feel lacking when using headphones compared to open air speakers.
The Direct Out/Send output is a 1/4" out whose function depends on rig settings. It can function as a direct out (DO) for making a DI track for reamping. Or it can be used as the effects loop send. Or in Profiling Mode, it is used to feed the real amp's input.
Each physical output can be assigned to operate in one of the following modes. These typically
- Git - The raw guitar signal, straight from the input
- Git Analog - Direct tap from the input with no A>D conversion, instrument-level
- Git + Processing - Includes Input block processing, instrument-level
- Git Studio - Same as "+ Processing" but with line level
- Stack - The mono output from the end of the Stack section
- Mod - The stereo output from the end of the Mod block
- Master - The stereo output from the end of the signal chain
- Delay/Reverb Wet - The stereo output of only the wet portions of the Delay and Reverb blocks
Mod and Master also have Left/Right/Mono/Stereo variants when a stereo signal is being mixed down to mono. Left/Right takes only the left or right half of the signal. Mono mixes down both the left and right signals into a single mono signal. For some Mod or Delay/Reverb settings, Left/Right may be preferable to Mono, or vice versa. Stereo is only available on stereo outputs and retains stereo separation from effects.
|Git + Processing||x||x||x||x|
The Monitor and Main Outs have global EQ that can be applied to them on pages 3 and 4 of the Output block. These can be used for venue-level adjustments.
Link and Levels
On page 2 of the Output block (and page 5 for SPDIF), you can manually set the levels of the different outputs. The "link" check boxes above link the output's level to the Master Volume knob, allowing them to be changed on the fly but retaining the relative differences in levels between linked outputs.
There are two "Aux In" options used to blend the auxiliary input (which depends on the input source selected) with the KPA processed signal. This can be used to adjust the volume balance when jamming over backing tracks.
Constant Latency is useful for reamping. Unchecked the KPA attempts to use the least amount of lag in the signal given the effects choices selected, which is normally a good thing. However, when reamping, different latency from the same DI can introduce some serious phase issues. When reamping, it's definitely recommended to check Constant Latency. The KPA latency is in most cases around 3ms for variable latency and 4.9ms when using Constant Latency.
The Headphone Space check box determines if the Space setting applies only to Headphones or to all outputs. When checked, the Space setting changes to "Headph. Space".
Effects Loop (Profiling Send/Receive)
The KPA contains 3 Loop effects - Distortion, Mono, and Stereo Loop. These can be applied to Stomps A-D, X, and Mod. They send the signal at that block in the chain out the Direct Out/Send output. The signal returns through the Return input, as well as the Alternate Input when using the Stereo Loop.
The same connectors are used to send and receive the test tone used during the profiling process.
The square-shaped USB connector on the KPA is used to connect the KPA to a computer, in order to use the Rig Manager software.
The rectangular USB connector is used to connect a USB flashdrive, which can be used to create backups or import rigs/presets.
Network Port (RJ-45)
This port is used to connect to the Kemper Remote.
The KPA features MIDI in, out, and through. For more on what the KPA is capable of doing via MIDI, see External Control.
You can connect two switches or expression pedals up to the KPA via the Switch/Pedal inputs. For more see External Control.