Hey Fellow Kemper Fans,
Almost all our profile packs include two types of profiles – Studio and Merged. Many players don't understand the differences between the two, and often don't understand what a Merged profile really is or how it affects their tone.
I do get annoyed by people who don't understand Merged profiles (or, often, guitar tone in general) and complain to me their setup doesn't sound like our demos. In one case, a customer used a Merged profile from our Led pack and ran the signal into a 2 x 12 cab loaded with Vintage 30s. They complained the tone didn't sound like Jimmy Page. There are so many things wrong with this scenario that it requires its own blog post.
So, what’s the difference between the two, and which should I load into my Kemper?
Studio Profiles include everything you need to have epic guitar tone including the amp, effects (if applicable), speaker cabinet, microphone selection, and microphone recording technique. If you’re using headphones, studio monitors, a FRFR (Full Range, Flat Response) speaker cabinet, or plugging direct into the PA or recording console without a traditional guitar cabinet, you should use the Studio profiles.
Studio profiles are the “purest” profiles and feature the exact tone captured from the source amplifier. They are the most accurate to the original amp and are what most players use.
Merged profiles were developed for players who want to use a traditional guitar cabinet (like a Marshall cabinet with Celestion Vintage 30s, for example) on stage for monitoring purposes but want the tone of the Studio profiles sent to the PA or recording console. To accomplish this, the Merged profiles send a “direct” signal (no cabinet) out the Kemper’s Direct Output and Speaker Output, and the Studio signal (with cabinet) out the Main and Headphone Outputs.
If you want to use a traditional guitar cabinet with traditional guitar speakers as either a stage monitor or as your primary tone, you’ll want to use the Merged profiles. Please keep in mind, using a traditional guitar cabinet greatly affects your guitar tone and will invariably change the tone away from what you hear in our demos. We recommend only using the Merged profiles as a non-critical stage monitor or if you want to create your own tone and don’t want to duplicate the tone heard in our demos.
Is there a Difference in Tone Between Studio and Merged Profiles when Listening Through the Main or Headphone Outputs?
Merged profiles require a two-step profiling process. First, the direct amp tone (before the cabinet) is captured. The cabinet from the Studio profile of the amp is then copied over and “merged” with the captured direct signal, creating the Merged profile. The accuracy of this process depends on the Kemper’s ability to figure out what part of the Studio profile is the amp and what part is the cabinet. The Kemper does an amazingly good job of this, but there can be slight differences in tone from the Studio Profile.
What’s the Bottom Line? Which Should I Load Into My Kemper?
To save space in your Kemper, we recommend loading either the Studio or Merged profiles, but not both. Studio and Merged profiles will sound almost identical through the Main and Headphone Outputs, and differ in the Direct and Speaker Outputs. If you’re never going to use a traditional cab, load the Studio profiles for ultimate accuracy. If you want the flexibility to possibly use a traditional cab, go with the Merged profiles.
Make some noise,
Sounds like you understand which profiles to use where. If the Kemper Kone is operating in an FRFR mode, you’d want to use the studio profiles. If it’s coloring the tone, then use the merged profiles.
What should we use if we’re using Kemper’s own kabinet/speaker? By default, I think it operates as an FRFR cabinet (which would suggest going with the studio profiles), but the Kemper also has the functionality to color the tone using emulations of specific speakers, which makes me think you could treat it as a traditional guitar cabinet (use the merged profiles). I think it would be neat to run your profiles as if they were just the amp head and have the Kemper emulate the speaker of choice. In that case, would the merged profiles be the best option? Thanks!