MeAmBobbo's Quick Start Guide
Here's a set of tips that anyone just getting started should read through. I tried to make these as brief as possible. They are not comprehensive.
- Set Clean/Distorted Sense appropriately. Setting Input Sensitivity
- Learn about the Lock feature. Make sure your "Input" section is locked. Make sure your Noise Gate setting is just high enough to eliminate most noise when your guitar is muted. For me, this is always < 2.0. If you need more gating, use the 2:1 or 4:1 gate effects.
- Buy a USB stick (or two for emergencies). The KPA will format it with a maximum size of 3 GB, so there's no reason to get a more expensive drive that has a larger storage size. But don't skimp and buy the cheapest one out there, or a really small thumbnail size one. These may not potentially work with the KPA (or a computer). Connect it to a computer first and make sure the drive is completely empty. Then insert it into the KPA. You should be prompted to format it. Do so, and now you can use it to backup the entire profiler, restore a backup, or export/import individual rigs or presets. See USB Thumbdrive and Rig/Preset Management
- Update: As of FW v4.0.0, this is no longer the case. If you are keen on using a Tube Screamer in front of amps as a boost, keep in mind the KPA Green Scream's tone knob is a bit confusing. Any setting >= 50% mark on the Green Scream is = 100% tone on a real Tube Screamer. So really only 0 - 50% change the tone.
- Watch out for rigs that are too hot and clip output. There are many of these in the rig exchange. If something doesn't sound right, trying lowering Volume and seeing if the tone cleans up. There are lots of places to boost the signal in the rig, including most effects Volume parameter, Cabinet Volume on the Cabinet profile, EQ effects boosting, the tonestack EQ in the Stack section boosting frequencies, and the Output section volume and EQ settings.
- Learn about the Amp profile parameters. Usually you can leave these at defaults (Signal Chain Stack Parameters), but a little tweak to Definition and Compressor might help.
- If above tweaks to Definition or Compressor get things going in the right direction but not all the way, try using an EQ effect in front of the amp for more control over the distortion character (pre-eq). Placing the Compressor effect before or after the amp can also help get that thicker tone without needing to add too much distortion. You get control not only over the placement of the effect, but all the additional parameters it features. I find increasing Attack a bit can make it more transparent. See MeAmBobbo's High-Gain Tone Guide for more info.
- Gain experience with the Cab profile parameters. High/Low Shift can particularly alter the tone - use very small tweaks here.
As you find more and more profiles you like, find the ones that tend to sound the best, and save the Cabinet profile as a preset. You can do this by holding the Cabinet button to edit the Cabinet profile prarameters, then press Store. You'll get options to save the full rig or just the Cabinet. Save the cabinet. Give it a name that reflects either the cab/speakers/mic used if you know what they are, or the name of the rig you're pulling it from. Now, anytime you try out a new profile and it doesn't sound as nice as you'd like, try changing the cabinet to one of the presets you've saved. You can even lock the cabinet and try a bunch of different profiles which can help isolate the differences in the amp profiles vs the amp and cab profiles.
- My high-gain tone guide (MeAmBobbo's High-Gain Tone Guide) but it applies to most guitar tones. This contains lots of info about pre-EQ, post-EQ, common pitfalls, and other misc. advice.
- Learn to backup. Rig/Preset files are very small. I believe the KPA formats your USB stick to be 3 GB max regardless of its actual size. You can store lots and lots of backups there, and they are automatically dated. If you are ever unsure if some operation is going to wipe out your rigs, just do a backup first.
- Once you do your first backup, open the USB stick on a computer and copy the .kpabackup file. Open up the copy using 7-zip or winzip or some other archive software. The archive will have the KPA's familiar folder layout. Open the Rigs folder. Delete all the .kipr files from here. Save the .kpabackup file. Now you have a 0-rig backup file. Rename it to "blank.kpabackup" - this is the name that will appear in your list of backup files when you are restoring from backup. You can restore from this backup to essentially clear out your profiler. This is useful for house-keeping, or if you are about to do a large import and don't want the new rigs to get mixed in with the old ones.
- Learn to use the filter and order buttons for viewing rigs in the Browser mode. You can filter by last imported, which is very handy. And you can order by author, last modification date, and other useful items.
- Whenever I modify a rig, I choose Store As and append "MAB" for meambobbo on the end of the rig name. Now I know whether any rig is unmodified and identical to the same rig others would download from the Rig Exchange, etc. or if I've made changes. I can also use the Tag Editor to load my backup, then search for all the rigs with "MAB" in the name.
- Check out Maurizio's backup - he has smart sets of naming conventions for rigs and presets that will help keep you organized, and his backup has this convention applied to all the Factory Rigs and Presets; plus he volume-leveled them.
- You can favorite (and unfavorite) rigs by holding the rig button. I believe you can filter on this tag, as well as delete all non-favorites. This is handy for importing a bunch of rigs, favoriting the subset you like, then deleting the rest.
- Another good suggestion is to prepend some text code on the front of your favorite rigs. For example, you could use "!!!" to indicate awesome patches. Now when your rigs are ordered by name, all your favorites will be at the front of the list, rather than spread throughout.
- Adding rigs to performance mode is easy, but keep in mind that performance mode is a separate copy of the rig, not a reference. So if you add rig "SomeRig" to performance slot 1A, then go back into Browser mode and edit "SomeRig", your changes won't be present on Performance 1A. You'll have to re-add the rig to Performance 1A or re-apply your changes to that copy.