Boss Katana

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  • SanchoSancho Posts: 18,678
    Our other guitar player got a Kemper. We haven't rehearsed together since, but I'm quite ready to blow him away with my 5153 lunchbox...
    He thinks getting the Mustaine profiles will give him Mustaine's sound.

    There's a reason nobody hangs onto his Kemper.
  • SanchoSancho Posts: 18,678
    Let me add I find the whole idea of profiling your own amp collection in order to get good sounds preposterous.
    I'll just use my amp then, thanks...
  • Andy GAndy G Posts: 1,122
    Sancho said:
    Let me add I find the whole idea of profiling your own amp collection in order to get good sounds preposterous.
    I'll just use my amp then, thanks...


    Well I can see the attraction if you have (as with Rob Chapman) multiple amp heads and cabs and you're touring abroad without limitless funds. Being able to get a good approximation of your tone whilst saving a heck of a lot of money by just having a device that fits in your hand luggage makes good sense (assuming you're able to profile your gear well).

    Or maybe if your best mate owned a boutique amp store with all manner of amps that you can't afford but you can borrow to make profiles from. Then that would be a good opportunity.

    But I'm not spending $2000 on an amp that doesn't sound as good as my $500 Laney (and has double the latency). And when their solution to that is (seriously) "make a profile of your own amp".... Errr... WTF? 
    "Practice cures most tone issues"
    - John Suhr
  • Seven MoonsSeven Moons Posts: 8,955
    Sancho said:
    Let me add I find the whole idea of profiling your own amp collection in order to get good sounds preposterous.
    It's probably very convenient for someone who travels/tours a lot and wants to have the equivalent of his beloved full stacks in a small suitcase, ready to plug.   

    These days when I go to concerts and I can't see the amps, I wonder what's hidden behind the backline. I saw a Kemper proudly displayed only once: it was Jeff Loomis with Arch Enemy. Compared with Amott's old school rig, he sounded thin, but I can't tell if it was  the Kemper's fault, or the mix. 

    As Andy said, I guess the Kemper is just as good as the profiles you feed him with. That's why listening to Wolf Hoffmann's killer tone, which has certainly involved a lot of work and expert trickery, probably won't give a realistic idea of the Kemper's possibilities for a more standard user...  
  • Andy GAndy G Posts: 1,122
    edited March 2017
    As Andy said, I guess the Kemper is just as good as the profiles you feed him with. That's why listening to Wolf Hoffmann's killer tone, which has certainly involved a lot of work and expert trickery, probably won't give a realistic idea of the Kemper's possibilities for a more standard user...  
    Very much so. Worse still - even if Kemper had released those profiles that Wolf Hoffman and Michael Wagener had created in the best studio in the world for metal tones... It still won't sound exactly right unless your pick attack and approach is the same as Wolf's. And if you use any techniques he didn't use when profiling it - the Kemper will interpret it it's own way (and not the way Wolf's Wizard/Marshall would).
    Post edited by Andy G on
    "Practice cures most tone issues"
    - John Suhr
  • Dr NickDr Nick Posts: 3,715
    That sounds like a potential nightmare for a developing musician. So if you change you technique, or learn some new stuff, the Kemper might (mis)interpret your playing and produce something very different to what a tube amp would. 

    Whereas something like the Katana is a more straightforward modelling amp, like Line 6 stuff. 

    Reads like someone with a technical head is trying to be too clever. 
  • whoopass1whoopass1 Posts: 1,395
    Andy G said:

    Like many things, you could get used to it. I've been playing through it all evening and it's sounding better. Then of course I had to go and plug my Laney back in... And the illusion was gone. There's great versatility with the Katana and just like the Kemper or a Rockman or Pod, if you're prepared to tailor your playing accordingly, you could be happy with it, I'm quite sure.

    This is a good amp. Quite amazing for the money. Seems well made too. If I can get some good lead tones from it, I'll let you guys know, but so far I can't see it being a keeper. Massive respect to Boss though!
    The weird thing is, I don't think that I'm changing anything in my technique when I'm playing through the amp. I just play like I normally would. Now, does the Katana Head sound as good to me as my Bray Modded 50 Watt Marshall Head? Of course not. But for what it does, and at the price, I'm really happy with it. It's also nice to know that in some respects, you found it to be more amp-like than the Kemper. Because now I don't feel like I need to blow 2K to try one out. I'll just stick with this $349.00 head and keep enjoying what I'm getting out of it:-)


  • yngwie666yngwie666 Posts: 6,557
    edited March 2017
    Andy,
    I don't think you actually need to play through your amp to make a profile on the Kemper, there just an impulse response (kind of a signal sweeping all frequencies) applied to your rig and recorded and it takes only 1mn, so your playing style is not involved at all in this process (at least this is the case in Axe Fx). However there are a few issues:
    1. This is a recording made with a microphone on your cab: so Michael Wagener is probably better at doing this, than me slapping a SM57 at random distance on my cab. In addition, I bet he knows the tricks applied to recording that will make your profile better (more realistic).
    2. Kemper of Katana rendering the "nuances" in your playing: the technology isn't there yet, because the algorithm is emulating the overall response,  but probably cannot at that point handle the "transcient" events caused by "aggressive" playing. Some other aspects that are beyond the theoretical electronic schematic are not there yet: for example my tube amp sounds better after 10-15mn: that is something inherent to the tubes that cannot be  modeled during a 1mn profiling session. I know you can profile the amp when it is warmed up, but you see my point: not every aspect of the tube amp is modeled 100%.
    3. Rendering: after the processing unit has done the digital work, you need to rely on a "real" amplifier and a "real" speaker to hear the sound out of the Kemper. There you're are stuck with the same limitations/defaults that the simulation is supposed to overcome.
    Post edited by yngwie666 on
  • Andy GAndy G Posts: 1,122
    yngwie666 said:
    Andy,
    I don't think you actually need to play through your amp to make a profile on the Kemper, there just an impulse response (kind of a signal sweeping all frequencies) applied to your rig and recorded and it takes only 1mn, so your playing style is not involved at all in this process (at least this is the case in Axe Fx). However there are a few issues:
    1. This is a recording made with a microphone on your cab: so Michael Wagener is probably better at doing this, than me slapping a SM57 at random distance on my cab. In addition, I bet he knows the tricks applied to recording that will make your profile better (more realistic).
    2. Kemper of Katana rendering the "nuances" in your playing: the technology isn't there yet, because the algorithm is emulating the overall response,  but probably cannot at that point handle the "transcient" events caused by "aggressive" playing. Some other aspects that are beyond the theoretical electronic schematic are not there yet: for example my tube amp sounds better after 10-15mn: that is something inherent to the tubes that cannot be  modeled during a 1mn profiling session. I know you can profile the amp when it is warmed up, but you see my point: not every aspect of the tube amp is modeled 100%.
    3. Rendering: after the processing unit has done the digital work, you need to rely on a "real" amplifier and a "real" speaker to hear the sound out of the Kemper. There you're are stuck with the same limitations/defaults that the simulation is supposed to overcome.
    Whilst the Kemper sends its own info through your rig to make the profile, but you also (or so my KPA friend told me) make some adjustments to it by playing through it. There is little (if any) information on what to do - as I said, it's a bit of a "dark art", and that's coming from a dedicated Kemper fanboy and tech head. From what he tells me, the really crucial stuff happens with that last stage, of feeding it information with your own playing. Otherwise, the procedure is straightforward.

    The Kemper is supposed to be played through full range speakers - though you can switch off the cab portion of the profile, and play it through an amp. Either way, it's a whole new stage added to the procedure - which is going to colour the sound in some way. When I saw Wolf live, he had a separate power amp feeding a 4x12, which was then mic'd. His sounds wasn't bad, but it wasn't what you hear on Stalingrad. Which technically, he should have been able to reproduce verbatim if he'd gone direct to the PA and was using the same profiles as he did on the album.

    I have a mate in the UK who has been using an Atomic Amplifire for recording and recently started using it live - he has a ton of good valve amps, but he swears he can get a much better tone going direct with the Amplifire. He gigs regularly and is a very good player - but frequently butts heads with the sound engineers because he's too loud with his valve heads. He told me that he's going to sell his amps. I know that's what the theory was for a lot of Kemper users, but I don't know many (any) that actually did replace their amps (even if they profiled them first). But the Amplifire is newer technology and a different approach. Rob Chapman played through one and compared it directly to the Kemper, saying the KPA was "almost there", but the Amplifire really does feel like a real amp. We shall see... Hopefully I will be able to find out for myself, as I should be getting one to try out today :) 
    "Practice cures most tone issues"
    - John Suhr
  • SanchoSancho Posts: 18,678
    Had the chance to play the Katana combo at home. It's an OK practice amp I guess.

    The clean channel sounds good, but the volume drop was ridiculous. Don't try to edge it into gentle breakup. It's not a nice sound.
    Crunch channel was a pleasant surprise, that sounded fairly musical for riffing, a bit thin for leads.
    Lead channel is a horrid, buzzy mess.
    Brown is just a different voicing of Crunch. And not a better one.

    The louder we set it, the worse the sounds became.

    Would I buy one? No. I'd rather spend a bit more and have something more satisfying.
    Could you do a lot worse for a budget amp? Yes.
    Take it for what it's worth, I only spent about 30 minutes with it.
  • yngwie666yngwie666 Posts: 6,557
    edited March 2017
    Andy G said:

    He told me that he's going to sell his amps. I know that's what the theory was for a lot of Kemper users, but I don't know many (any) that actually did replace their amps (even if they profiled them first). But the Amplifire is newer technology and a different approach. Rob Chapman played through one and compared it directly to the Kemper, saying the KPA was "almost there", but the Amplifire really does feel like a real amp. We shall see... Hopefully I will be able to find out for myself, as I should be getting one to try out today :) 
    Amplifire looks like a competitor to the Axe8, but it still uses IR for speakers so I don't think there is a "revolution" in the modeling. Seems that they're trying to get away with the millions of parameters available in the AxeFx/Kemper by putting "real" knobs on a pedalboard shaped device.
    If you have a good amp at home (like an old Marshall, SLO, Mesa, Bogner,,,) it will be worth something in a few years (even if digital technology render them useless, collectors/nostalgia will buy them). On the other hand as soon as the next version of any modeler is out, the old version value will decrease very quickly, especially as the firmware will not to be upgraded for too long. 
    Post edited by yngwie666 on
  • yngwie666yngwie666 Posts: 6,557
    Sancho said:
    Had the chance to play the Katana combo at home. It's an OK practice amp I guess.
    I only spent about 30 minutes with it.
    My rule is no more than 10 minutes to find a sound I like on an (analog) amp, otherwise I'll move on. Might be longer on a digital one with more parameters.
  • Andy GAndy G Posts: 1,122
    yngwie666 said:
    Amplifire looks like a competitor to the Axe8, but it still uses IR for speakers so I don't think there is a "revolution" in the modeling. Seems that they're trying to get away with the millions of parameters available in the AxeFx/Kemper by putting "real" knobs on a pedalboard shaped device.
    If you have a good amp at home (like an old Marshall, SLO, Mesa, Bogner,,,) it will be worth something in a few years (even if digital technology render them useless, collectors/nostalgia will buy them). On the other hand as soon as the next version of any modeler is out, the old version value will decrease very quickly, especially as the firmware will not to be upgraded for too long. 
    The Amplifire does use IRs in the cab portion - if you're recording, or playing through a full range system, so no, it's no revolution. And I don't think anybody buys digital gear as an investment - but neither are they buying a 100 watt Marshall, SLO, Mesa or Bogner and putting it through a 4x12 to mic up and record in their apartment. Or anywhere other than a professional studio or isolated environment.

    Using speaker impulse responses in place of a cab is not where the weaknesses in modelling lies. You might be surprised to know how many professionals are using IRs instead of mic'ing cabs these days - both with modellers and with their valve heads ;)
    "Practice cures most tone issues"
    - John Suhr
  • SanchoSancho Posts: 18,678
    yngwie666 said:
    My rule is no more than 10 minutes to find a sound I like on an (analog) amp, otherwise I'll move on. Might be longer on a digital one with more parameters.
    It barely has any parameters. A couple of buttons to turn. Dialing it in takes no time at all.
    But I like to spend some time with gear to get to know the tone.

    The worst part : it seems you can choose between either a boost or modulation and can't have both together. Which is totally bogus because you really need the boost to get it to sound decent.
    To my surprise it coped with EMGs really well though, I'll give it that.
  • Seven MoonsSeven Moons Posts: 8,955
    Sancho said:

    The louder we set it, the worse the sounds became.

    This. I haven't tried the Katana, but through the years I've owned several digital amps (Boss Cube, Vox, and now Yamaha THR10X), and they ALL have the same behaviour: the louder you set them, the tinnier and harsher they become. I assume the power section of these solid state machines is more or less linear, so I don't know why this happens. For a practice amp, it's not a real issue, but I would never buy one of the bigger versions. They must be awful when you have to compete with bass and drums...  
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