I Dislike Merged Profiles. There -- I Said it.

Posted by Jim Humble on

There's nothing which creates more confusion among new and even experienced Kemper users than Merged (or Direct) profiles.

Many people don't understand how Merged profiles work, which leads to unrealistic expectations of what they will sound like when using them. For this reason, I dislike Merged profiles.

Almost all of our packs include both Studio and Merged profiles. If you want more information on the differences between Studio and Merged profiles and which to use, check out one of my other blog posts: Which Should I Use -- the Studio or the Merged Profiles?

All of our demos are created using the Studio profiles, which include the speaker, speaker cabinet, microphone and mic techniques used to capture the tone. These factors have at least as much impact on tone as the guitar amp itself. Most people don't realize this.

When you use a merged profile and substitute your own speaker, speaker cabinet, and sometimes your own amp, the tone of the signal chain you've created is very likely going to be significantly different than what we used to create the Studio version of the profile. When listening in a room, you're also replacing the mic and mic techniques with whatever room you're located in. This also has a huge effect.

The lack of understanding of how significant of an effect the non-amp portions of the signal chain have on tone can create frustrated Kemper Merged profile users. I've been flamed a couple times by some of the more volatile of these users. One of them expected to sound like Jimmy Page when running a Merged profile into a 2x12 cab loaded with Vintage 30 speakers. Sorry, but you're not going to get anywhere close with this setup.

The only good use for Merged profiles (in my opinion) is if you want to create your own tone. Let's say you want to try running Paul Gilbert's Lee Jackson modded Marshall head through the 4x12 cab you've used for years to see what it sounds like. For this application a Merged profile is perfect. It'll sound very close to what it would sound like if you plugged the original amp into your cab. Maybe you'll love the tone, maybe you won't. 

My understanding is that Merged profiles were created to allow use of a traditional guitar cab on stage as a monitor while running the main Kemper signal (Studio profile) direct into the PA. A better solution is to just use the Studio profile and use a wedge or, even better, ear monitors to hear yourself. Ear monitors with a Kemper absolutely rule on stage.

Unless you want to create your own tone, use the Studio profiles.

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