Get To Know Your Profiler
First of all: read the manuals!!
You can download them from the Kemper site (see the left side column for references). Your Profiler is really easy to use. You just got to breath and forget the amount of buttons there are: it’s really just a plug and play system. Nevertheless, the most frustration (and the less useful questions on the Profiler forum) come from newbies stuck with trivial tasks or not being able to get this or that sound or effect because they – really! – don’t know which button to press to get a preset list. Help yourself: your Profiler experience will be much more exciting!
Don’t be afraid of turning the knobs!
Now, let’s proceed :)
The profiles are created by sending a few test tones through your setup. The test tones are generated by the Profiler. After creating a profile, you can then swap out the cabinet and use any other cabinet stored in the Profiler. More info about the profiling process can be found here.
A profile is like a mic’ed amp dialled in a specific way. This means that a single, untweaked profile won’t probably sound good with different guitars and/or pickups. Although the guitar doesn't matter for the creation of the profile, each profile really does sound best with a particular guitar/pickup. This is easy to understand, since the people who profiled an amp most likely set it the way they liked it played with their instrument of the moment. So, to have several flavours of an amp create more profiles with different settings.
Using the Profiler, you’ll really come to appreciate the difference in tone between different guitars and pickups.
Here's an example of what one profile on the Profiler can do if your guitar playing skills are up to it. The forum member Djemass uses one profile in the entire medley.
Also, see Profiles vs. Rigs.
Is the Profiler overkill if I don’t plan to profile amps ?
A: Not at all! I haven’t profiled an amp and don’t intend to any time soon, there’s no need. The profile quality keeps getting better from the rig exchange to even think about micing an amp.
A: Simple answer, no. This is what make the strength of the product, anybody in the world can profile anything and share it. The on-line library is already huge, but if there is an amp you stumble across that you absolutely want the tone and that isn't available you know you will be able to profile it.
Is the sound of my Profiler going to change after FW updates/upgrades?
Not at all: a profile’s sound will generally remain the same regardless the FW version you play it through, so there’s no need to (re)tweak your rigs every time you switch to a different FW version. One thing that could change for the better with future FW versions is the quality of the profiling process, leading to new profiles sounding better that they would have if taken with an older FW. But this won’t change the way existing profiles sound, so you’ll be sure to keep your sound consistent in the time.
In a guitar rig the cab plays a critic role in determining the overall sound. If you play several amps through the same cab differences might be least, but if you swap several cabs differences are huge. Here’re some - demonstrative videos showing this.
Using the Profiler with a guitar cab will give all your rigs the cab's sound signature. In case you prefer to use one anyway, it's advisable to exclude the cab simulation on the Profiler. You can disable the cab by pressing the Cab button off. To change a cab instead, hold it for longer than a second and then use the Browse knob again to select different cabs.
The way to really unleash the Profiler’s power and versatility is by using an excellent full-range, flat-response, high-dynamic, transparent cab such as the Atomic CLR. This because all the differences among the different (profiled) cabs are already taken care of in software; adding a further colouration by a guitar cab won’t translate well in terms of sound accuracy. It's my personal POW that those who have been unsatisfied by using such kind of cabs with a digital modeller were using a bad modeller, badly dialled patches or bad cabs.
Anyway, put as much time and effort into selecting an output system as you did choosing your Profiler. The whole digital experience may change drastically using different cabs and amps for amplifying your Profiler.
The Profiler takes the pedals extremely well. As the first 4 stomp locations in the signal chain are basically mono stomp boxes, the pedals into the front of the Profiler work as extensions to the stomp locations. You even have the option to run the pedals into the loop of the Profiler and then place the loop in one of the stomp locations for mono or effects locations for stereo operation... quite a bit of flexibility. Another option is to split your pedalboard where pre-amp-effects go direct in and post-amp-effects use the loop.
So many rigs…
...Using one rig only !
With a wah-pedal-booster at the end of the Stomp section I am fine with one single rig. It works cool from clean to crunch and way beyond.
The profile file format is a proprietary .kipr. This is not a file a computer’s OS can manage, so no surprise if yours report an error such as “unable to open/manage the file”. You’re supposed to copy the profile file(s) onto an USB stick in order to move the files into your Profiler. See next chapter.
The Profiler comes with hundreds factory presets, but there are plenty of good profiles to be had everywhere else. All you need is an USB stick (NOTE: The USB stick will be formatted to 3 GB regardless a higher size).
- There are two USB connections on the Profiler’s back, at the moment only one is functional. Put the USB stick into the working connector: the Profiler will format the drive automatically and create folders it will recognize (now it will have an empty Shared folder on it).
- Register on the Kemper site. Go to the Rig Exchange page, and download the profiles and/or cabs you want to try.
- Remove the USB stick from the Profiler and plug it into your computer’s USB slot. It will show up on your desktop.
- Put downloaded profiles and cabinet files in the Shared folder.
- Properly remove USB from your computer.
- Plug it back into Profiler. In a few seconds you will see external storage show up on your display at the top.
- Hit the button above that. Import (everything will be imported into your Profiler).
- Remove the USB stick… And pretty much you’re good to go.
Now, let's say tomorrow you want to download more profiles or cabs. Download them and copy and paste them back into the same "Shared" folder. The Profiler will only Import the new profiles you added, it recognizes the existing profiles/files already on the USB stick and doesn't import them again.
If you want to save all the profile files on your PC, plug the USB into your PC, open the Shared folder, copy and paste all the files into a new folder you create on your PC. If you have a backup file or firmware update on your USB stick copy them as well onto your PC.
When the next firmware update arrives you can take the same USB stick, plug into the Profiler, format it and no worries, everything you had on the USB stick is already saved on your PC.
Approaching a new profile
Do not be scared to try the Profiler’s controls and see how they affect the sound. If you are insecure about their behaviour don’t forget to learn what they do in advance, so you’ll have the highest satisfaction! Some controls may have a strong impact over the sound, some others a more subtle one. Other controls might have a more noticeable effect when tweaked in conjunction with others… you will learn it. If a control’s impact over the sound seems at first irrelevant or too subtle to you, just wait until you’ll become more expert or you learn something through other users.
I generally use all the parameters available to make a good sounding rig a great sounding one (to my ear/taste), not because I have to but because I like to. I think the guitar amp is part of my instrument and I want to know it like I know my guitar. The Profiler is something completely new so I want to know how it works. I mean not the bits and bytes of the programming behind it but I want to know how the different settings influence the sound. Especially the new ones that you don't find on your tube amp. What I almost certainly do when I meet a new profile:
- adapt the input ( clean sens and especially distorted sens);
- turn down the noise gate;
- set the power sagging to where I like it;
- switch off the reverb and delays.
What I am dealing with right now when I decide to use a profile more seriously:
- EQ before the amp (in the stomp section);
- EQ after the amp (in the X slot);
- The latter, and especially the High Shift parameter in the Cab section, can change so incredibly much on a sound…
When you want gain, choose a profile with gain. When you want crunch, choose a profile with crunch. Or, add a stomp in front of the Amp section or, add EQ in the X block to tame the top-end a bit. Usually, just adding gain (via the gain control) to an existing clean profile is sub-optimum... you can add a bit, but more than a bit can get gritty/fizzy. Cleaning up a distorted profile works much better.
In order to improve the crunch sounds, make sure your Clean sens and Distorted sens are dialled in to your guitar: these can make a big difference in your tone. Visit the cab controls section, where a good bit of difference can be made just by changing the cab EQ.
Plan on spending some time auditioning the many existing profiles on the Exchange. You can pretty quickly find profiles that match what your ear wants to hear.
If you’re not satisfied, better than tweaking a profile that just doesn't have what you are looking for, I'd choose a different profile or use a different cab. Try the profiles of a S. Mehl and Siggi Mehl amp for a start and save off all cabs of the various profiles. It's a Greenback cab you will definitely want for crunch sounds. Try that cab with the various Marshalls from the rig exchange. There is a Golub Marshall profile that is the godfather of crunch when you pair it with that Siggi Mehl Greenback cab. I just recorded a song with a Green Day vibe and that Golub Marshall was just "the" sound.
There are also many other great crunch profiles. Try Pete Turley's Marshalls, they sound fantastic and save off his cabs either. They are vintage Marshall cabs with original Pulsonic cones, you can't get much better than that.
Also try the various free packs from The Amp Factory (many come with the stock presets). They have a great WEM Dominator profile that can be paired with the Greenback as well for a great 18-Watt-Marshall-like crunch.
I’m still disappointed… :(
Q: I'm still disappointed. Everything seems to sound the same with just different gain, fx and EQ settings. I've tweaked and tried commercial rigs (all of which sounded way better on the web sites than they do when I play them)... and I'm using pro level guitars.
A: First step, disable all your fx except at most some reverb until you are totally comfortable with the amp in question. You bought the Profiler for amp tones, keep it at that. Next step, tweak your monitoring situation, a modeller is only as good as the speakers it's going through. And don't forget to adjust your sens settings and maybe disable the noise gate (until you lock them these are stored per rig, so be aware that they will switch back on/change settings as you switch rigs otherwise).
If you can borrow someone’s real amp and profile it, record some stuff with the amp and then record the same stuff with the Profiler, learn how to use the reverb to bring back the "room" sound and "air", the verb in the Profiler is more complex than your average pedal so it may take a little while.
Restrict yourself down to just one or two profiles, and work with them as you would a real amp. If you keep on jumping through many amps you'll never get to the magic because you'll be comparing amps against other amps, and recorded amps do tend to all sound the same, it's just different guitarists that sound different.
Which leads on to technique, it's hard to measure up against really great playing, you will always sound like yourself no matter what kit you use, so if you want to start hearing variation then you need to start practising different techniques and playing different styles yourself. The Profiler is also incredibly reactive to different picking techniques and of course different pickup combinations, remember that the most compressed and similar sounding tones come from the bridge pickup, the neck is where it's at for more organic tones. Once you're comfortable with a rig try sticking a Green Screamer or treble booster in front and playing with compressions. Whatever you do, remember you must contend with your own fingers.
It may just be that you're fatigued with guitar and need a break and to play some other instruments, I get like that sometimes, there's only so much guitar you can take.
Until I sat down and actually played the Pod HD next to the Profiler trying to get the Pod HD to match even one of the basic patches in sound I was convinced it was a pretty weak upgrade, too trebly, not significantly better. Once I did the comparison my eyes were opened, the HD was muddy middle fizz, I could never get the fidelity, the responsiveness to the neck pickup, the clarity, the dynamics, I had thought the Profiler was barely any better, but in my fumbling hands the difference was night and day, and I'm pretty good at tweaking this stuff. Anyway keep at it, if it's not for you then don’t feel bad about it, there's no rule about loving every piece of kit out there, especially not just because it's more expensive.
Generally speaking, reading through this document might give you nice tips and hints for improving your experience with the Profiler.