Can’t decide between Kemper Stage or Fractal

Speedyone

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Hi all.

I’ve owned the Helix twice, and know what it sounds like. (Sold my 2nd one maybe 6 months ago.)

I’m debating between the Kemper Stage or something from Fractal.

I only use three kinds of tones:

A Fender Bassman or Deluxe Reverb with chorus & delay for cleans

Same amps above with a tube driver for medium gain

Engl, Revv, or Marshall with delay for high gain.

Lastly, I also like ambient tones, so I use a clean amp and chorus/verb/delay for that.

The Helix UI was awesome, but the tones weren’t quite there for me.

I use a pair of FRFR speakers and an orange 2x12 open back cabinet, as well as a TCBAM 250 watt power amp.

Since I don’t NEED a ton of amps, and I only need chorus/verb/delay,
would the Kemper Stage be a good choice, or would something from Fractal (FM9, Axe8, AxeFX3,) be better?

I only care about the most “amp like” sound. I don’t need dual amps or complicated fx routing.

So, can anyone sway me in one direction or the other— Kemper or Fractal?

I’m not being a troll or facetious.

I seriously would like to hear people’s opinions on both these two company’s offerings.

Thanks everyone
 
I’m not being a troll or facetious.

Hahah you don’t need to state that here, no one is going to get in a pissing match. :rofl

Overall, if I think someone would prefer a simpler experience I’d suggest a Kemper. You’re at the mercy of finding profiles you’ll dig, but it’s been in existence long enough I’m sure it wouldn’t take very long to find well made profiles of those exact amps.
 
Do you have a budget? The used Kemper market is crazy cheap. But then again you could get a FM3 for the used Kemper price
 
Thanks everyone for the replies.

For those who like the Fractal gear, can you get a good amp tone WITHOUT tweaking?

I ask because a LONG time ago I was considering a Fractal (maybe an Ultra?) and there were so many threads about how you needed to run a pre-eq, boost this frequency, run a post-eq, use some kind of compressor, etc, etc.

I have no doubt that the Fractal’s effects are killer, but do you HAVE to do a lot of tweaking to make the amps sound good?

I have heard that the Kemper requires you to demo a bunch of profiles, but that once you find the ones you like, you don’t need to do ANY tweaking.

Thoughts about that?
 
I had a Stage prior to the Fractal FM3 (also have owned the FM9) and I think they are both great
units and could work. I just am not a fan of the profile game----and needing to wade through
100 iterations of an amp to find one I liked.

I definitely prefer the Fractal, and never regretted moving from the Kemper to Fractal.

Fractal has also really upped the game on their Factory Presets, in my experience. You can tweak
if you want to, but it is not required. Basic amp tones are righteous!
 
Well, it truly depends upon your tastes you will have to find a profile for the Kemper that suits you perfectly.

Maybe what they have in the Fractal units will suit you perfectly fine without tweaking. Maybe they won't

Which is best for you, will only be up to you and only you can tell. I know that sounds like a cop out, but it's honestly the truth.

I own a Kemper now and I really like it a ton. I also have a couple of Mooer units that are capable of playing their mnrs captures, and they are also very good to my ears. I also bought a Tonex pedal.

For me personally, I get along with the captures much better. I work quicker with them that way then I do trying to build my own to suit me perfectly.
 
I’ve had a Kemper, Helix, and now an FM9 and FM3.

Kemper sounded great. I didn’t care for the “workflow” nor various ways they did things nor searching and searching for captures that were the right fit. (I don’t have many amps that I need to capture myself).

I much prefer the modeling route - pick an Amp and Cab, add a few effects, and you are good to go with Fractal these days. No deep tweaking necessary, but it’s there if you want to play around.
 
Kemper is my go-to but honestly for 99% of use cases both would sound amazing and get the job done.

If it was me I’d buy what is most cost effective, so if you’re UK/Europe Kemper or USA Fractal. If you’re elsewhere then they’ll probably both be expensive. 😂
 
Thanks everyone for the replies.

For those who like the Fractal gear, can you get a good amp tone WITHOUT tweaking?

I ask because a LONG time ago I was considering a Fractal (maybe an Ultra?) and there were so many threads about how you needed to run a pre-eq, boost this frequency, run a post-eq, use some kind of compressor, etc, etc.

I have no doubt that the Fractal’s effects are killer, but do you HAVE to do a lot of tweaking to make the amps sound good?

I have heard that the Kemper requires you to demo a bunch of profiles, but that once you find the ones you like, you don’t need to do ANY tweaking.

Thoughts about that?

Since several firmware revisions ago, yes. You can get a tone that is as good as the real amp, or even better, without tweaking nothing but the gain and tone controls to your taste (and choosing the right IR for your purpose. There are more than enough top quality Cab/Mike combinations for all styles at the factory IRs).

With the advantage that you can dig deeper if you want. And that is something that you cannot do with profiles or captures.
 
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I will be going with a FM9 I'm not into profiling at all, I currently own a Helix and its a wonderful unit, but I have to work real hard to get the tones i want, I'm basing my decision to go the Fractal route on the research i have done, and the general consensus is its much easier to dial in a tone with the fractal, but if you really want to dig deep and optimize your tone/chain the Fractal allows you to do so.
Also there are always constant firmware upgrades coming from Cliff, the next major one I assume will also be big, revamping the cab block that will be another great firmware update no doubts
 
Thanks everyone for the replies.

For those who like the Fractal gear, can you get a good amp tone WITHOUT tweaking?

I ask because a LONG time ago I was considering a Fractal (maybe an Ultra?) and there were so many threads about how you needed to run a pre-eq, boost this frequency, run a post-eq, use some kind of compressor, etc, etc.

I have no doubt that the Fractal’s effects are killer, but do you HAVE to do a lot of tweaking to make the amps sound good?

I have heard that the Kemper requires you to demo a bunch of profiles, but that once you find the ones you like, you don’t need to do ANY tweaking.

Thoughts about that?
Absolutely. I used Fractal gear for years when they first came out. Today I'm using Helix - longer story, not important.

Unlike the Helix, the Fractal tones you want are there when you drop the amp block into the chain the majority of the time, with Helix I have to dial it a little, to a bit more to get the amp tone I hear in my head.

Amp tones and effects are fantastic in Fractal land you don't have to deep menu dive at all, but it's an option if you want to.
 
Thanks everyone for the replies.

For those who like the Fractal gear, can you get a good amp tone WITHOUT tweaking?

I ask because a LONG time ago I was considering a Fractal (maybe an Ultra?) and there were so many threads about how you needed to run a pre-eq, boost this frequency, run a post-eq, use some kind of compressor, etc, etc.

I have no doubt that the Fractal’s effects are killer, but do you HAVE to do a lot of tweaking to make the amps sound good?

I have heard that the Kemper requires you to demo a bunch of profiles, but that once you find the ones you like, you don’t need to do ANY tweaking.

Thoughts about that?

Most of my Fractal presets are Drive/Amp/Cab. I used to add a lot of PEQ’s and multi-band comps but Cygnus removed that necessity and at this point, I’m rarely moving beyond the Authentic (actual amp knobs) page, unless it’s a Mesa Mark amp, which requires the 5-band EQ. The biggest thing is finding the right IR before you go on a tweak fest. I strongly feel people pick an IR that isn’t a perfect match and when they can’t dial in what they’re going for from the main amp knobs they’re on a tweaking expedition.

In general, I keep the amp knobs at noon, find an IR that’s 90% in the ballpark and use the amp knobs for the final 10%. Some people argue against this, but I’d argue I spend far less time tweaking than they do. ;) If you’re spending more than 10 minutes getting the base tone figured out, that’s about 5 minutes longer than I usually spend. After a while you end up knowing which IR’s work best for which amps and you can save them as blocks for easy access.
 
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