Using my KPA for recording, why does my friends Helix sound so much better?

  • Friend sent me some tracks to add my guitar parts to and for the life of me I can't get even close to how good his guitar sounds are.

    I'm running my KPA into UA Arrow using Logic Pro. I'm definitely having a very low output problem from the Kemper and have to run the volume pretty high in comparison to my usual (Powered Atomic speaker cab). Either way I'm thinking my KPA should be running circles around that Helix. Grrr.

  • Sounds strange that you are having such low output. I normally have to bring the output levels down rather than bump them up.

    What outs are you using? Are going analog or SPDIF?

    What profiles are you using?

    Are you tracking just the Stack section or FX too?

    There is no reason why your Kemper should sound significantly better or worse than the Helix. They are both excellent just different.

  • I'm using analog, 1/4" jack to my UA Arrow. I'm using MBritt profiles which are the best IMO. For this application just to get a sound, I'm running FX too.

    It has to be user error because my Kemper has sounded great in the past. Not sure what I'm doing wrong.

  • Balanced or unbalanced cable?

    Try a mono source like a synth instead of the KPA. Check the input gain level in the Console 2 app. If there is a large difference between the synth and the KPA, the problem could be the output level from the KPA.

    I'm using analog, 1/4" jack to my UA Arrow.

    I'm definitely having a very low output problem from the Kemper and have to run the volume pretty high in comparison to my usual (Powered Atomic speaker cab).

    If you get a satisfactory level without the Arrow (ie. KPA --> powered Atomic cab) then there is likely a gain staging problem. Make sure that the Arrow expects a line level input. This is done in the UA Console app.

    See this UA support article:…tions-Explained

  • I haven’t used any UA stuff so these are just a few ideas which you have probably already tried anyway but .........

    I notce the arrow has combination TS/XLR inputs. The TS out from the Kemper is unbalanced which is a lower output than a balanced XLR cable. Have you tried an XLR. I don’t know of the Arrow shuts off it’s mic pres when using TS. again, might be worth trying an XLR.

    I notice the Arrow has a pad button. I don’t suppose it’s accidentally engaged?

    Do you have the -12db option ticked on the Kemper Main Outs?

    You mentioned that you are using some FX. The Stomps and FX often have a level of their own. Have you tried turning off everything except the Stack block to rule this out?

    I agree the MBritt profiles sound great so they aren’t the problem :)

    I’m sure you’ll find the cause and will have a facepalm moment when you figure it out - at leadt that what I usually do ^^

    Good luck.

  • I have my KPA about 2 feet away from my Helix, and tone wise for me both sound pretty good. They are both running into the same Freidman ASM-12 pair, and I have adjusted them both to fit the room they stay in volume wise. I have no output issues from either one.

    If you use FRFR the benefit of a merged profile is that the cabinet is totally separated in the profile.

    For my edification only... ;) Kemper/Axe-FX III/ Quad Cortex user

  • There’s lots of possibilities from needing to reset your Kemper output settings, to the difference between stereo and mono output, to that your friend has had the opportunity to mix and adjust his tone in the DAW with effects and compression, dual tracking etc, to using the wrong profiles.

    You don’t really say how the tone is better than what you’re getting with the Kemper, so it’s completely up in the air. Is it just louder or is there something else?

  • If I play something and then hand heat same guitar to someone else, it often sounds COMPLETELY different.

    The only answer to the original question is that EVERYTHING is different; the player, the guitar, the strings, the pick, the ‘amp’ modeler/profiler, (likely) the preamp and A-D conversion, andmpossibly the post in the mix processing.


  • any gear is only as good as the person programming it, no offense intended,at all,, but owning a studio for over 40 years, Ive seen it all, and just buying high end gear is not a sure fire way to have great tone, its in the ears,, not the gear,,

    I bought a mooer GE200 for a fly date,( no room for Kemper on plane)and was going to return it, couldn't get a decent tone at all, bought some ownhammer IR's loaded one up, HOLY shit,, great tone, You have to spend quality time on U Tube, read everything you can, see what other folks are doing,I had a helix and spent two weeks with it, every high gain tone I came up with had digital FIZZ,, cleans were beautiful, sold it,you have to find what works for you, My 2-cents,,

  • I spent 4-5months tweaking my reverb/delay before i cut out my T.C. Electronics G-Force! I am still not happy.. but try to keep things simple! What is good sounding is very personaly.. some guitarists can make shitty guitars and cheap amps sound fantastic.. some with expensive guitars and amps like their favourite artist sounds shit.. Its all in our fingers and how our ears consider good tone/sounds. I can talk for my self and try to get out warm tubeamp like tones. You need to tweak a lot and match your guitar and reference speaker. I have tryed hundreds of profiles, but only had found 4-5 that i realy like and use. I play mainly 95% live

    I choosed Kemper cause i can use it just like an amp with knobs.. i dont use RM!

    The most importen thing is to make your rigs at gig volume!! bassy growling sounds can be very cool at low volume.. when you turn it up it sounds realy away from regular guitarsounds..and dont cut trough mix at all..

  • AS Morty said,,

    "The most important thing is to make your rigs at gig volume!! bassy growling sounds can be very cool at low volume.. when you turn it up it sounds really away from regular guitar sounds..and dont cut trough mix at all.""

    100% TRUE,, it solved all my live problems,,

  • Too many people make the mistake of trying to get that full bodied amp in the room sound in a mix and it simply does not work that way. We have bass players for the low end! Put a high pass filter on the tracks and you will get the sound you are looking for!

    My guess is you have guitar tracks that are eating up way too much space!

  • Would love to hear side by side comparisons of what you're heading. Any way you can get the Kemper and Helix in the same room and record yourself playing through both with the same guitar? Or even profile a Helix setting you like and compare those?