Kemper vs Axe FX: The Ups and Downs of These Digital Modelers

By Monica | News

Dec 02
kempe vs axe fx

Kemper vs Axe FX. If you are familiar with these names, then you have been in the business of playing guitar for quite a time already. Both of these are digital modelers. They have the capabilities that can match the sound quality of authentic tube amps. This feat proves that the processing dynamics of these systems have improved over the years.

Both the Kemper Profiling Amplifier and Axe FX are among the most sought digital processors in the market today. They can fairly contend with names like Helix and Amplifier, which are also great in their own right. There are a countless of times already in where I have met fellow guitar players like me who are stuck between these two digital processors. Since they have reputable identities in the industry, deciding which one of them will work for you is a tad bit arduous.

In this article, I will give you a decent breakdown of these two digital processors. I will provide my fair share of thoughts about these models so that you can decide which one should fit your requirements. Let's get started.


Kemper vs Axe FX: A Complete Breakdown

Fractal Audio Axe FX

If you are looking for high-end modelers, the Axe FX should be on the top of your list. A lot of people would argue that the Line 6 should sit on the throne as it is the one who has the longest tenure in the industry. However, they seemingly forget the fact that it was Fractal that paved the way for the first professional grade digital processors that fit for studio and touring requirements.


In the recent years, people have been observed to lean on Fractal modelers, especially the Axe FX. The biggest reason for this is the ergonomics that their modelers possess. I can confess that the Axe FX itself is very easy to use and doesn't come with a long and winded learning curve. Despite this, its sound quality is still impressive. Renowned players like Misha Mansoor and Stephen Carpenter have been using the Axe FX for most of their performances.

The quality of the Axe FX is due to the presence of two Analog Devices TigerSHARC DSPs. These digital signal processing devices are considered to be among the most powerful that you can on the market today. In fact, a single unit of this DSP can manage two amps simultaneously. It can also handle a lot of effects, which enables you to create dynamic and compelling sounds that have no latencies or delays.

Furthermore, if you are traveling performer, the Fractal Audio Axe FX is the best option that you can get. It is not too bulky, and all of its parts are made for touring. It can provide you flexible controls when it is connected to MIDI, too. Regardless of the setup, its sound quality doesn't change or alter at all.


Of course, with these capabilities, you can expect that the Axe FX comes with a high price tag. The latest version of the Fractal Audio Axe FX is already around $2000 already. This is just a safe estimate as the device could cost even more. On the other hand, its older versions are not cheap either. I think that an old Axe FX doesn't go down to $1000. Honestly, I can't think of any digital processors that are more expensive than this.

Some other limitations are found in this digital modeler. One of the noticeable ones is the amp matching. Specifically, if you want to catch the nuance of classic amps, this device can't provide the right service. For functions like that, I recommend that you should try the Kemper Profiler. It has a better profiling technology than Axe FX.

Kemper Profiler

The Kemper Profiler is among the most reputable brands of digital modelers today. It is built for serious players, but with a price that will never hurt them. It has a great construction with well-engineered components for satisfactory sound delivery.


There is one distinguishing factor that separates the Kemper Profiler to the rest of its counterparts. Unlike its contenders, the Kemper Profiler doesn't employ the standard type of sound modeling. Instead, it uses a different mechanism. Specifically, Kemper profiles authentic tube amps. Because of this, the device can create a high-quality mimicry of real tube amps.

Moreover, there is no need for you to capture your own rig with this device. This modeler allows you download a myriad of profiles from its database. Of course, there is no limit to what you can get, as every sound possible is seemingly available. This is one of the advantages of the Kemper Profiler. Unlike other units that rely only on their default profiles, Kemper does not limit itself.

Most of the effects that you need are on this digital processor already. As long as you got this, you might not need to invest in another digital processor anymore, except if you have some special applications in mind.

The Kemper Profiler also have "powered" models. They can be operated through a 600-watt power amp and can be coursed through various speakers. The purpose of these modelers is for stage monitoring. You could also utilize them as your primary cab out.


Because of the number of profiles that it contains, controlling them is not easy. You cannot just toggle them in quickly unless you are already familiar with the operation of this device. The front panel that it has is seemingly insufficient for you to call it "ergonomic."

However, if you are going to install the Kemper Foot Controller or any compatible MIDI boards, the control becomes a lot easier. All the parameters that come with the device can be accessed through these foot controllers. But take note that they are an additional investment that you have to make.

You can see a few downsides to the Kemper Profiler. Perhaps, you can say that head version of this device is quite too big. Also, you can find any floorboard models for it. As a result, you don't have any choice but to install external floorboards for better sound control and functionality.

Final Verdict

Currently, people still favor the Axe FX because of the quality of its effects. It has a 24b 48kHz processing capability which somehow differs slightly from the 24b 44.1kHz of the Kemper Profiler. When it comes to general sound production, these two digital modelers do not really differ, especially on live applications.

However, it is notable that the Axe FX has more parallel routing choices compared to its counterpart. Meanwhile, the Kemper Profiler can provide flexibility in profiling your rig. If you will ask several guitarists today, there is a good chance that they will favor the Kemper Profiler for its simplicity. But take note that this one doesn't come with an audio path for USBs.

Regardless of what you choose between Kemper vs Axe FX, I can guarantee that both of them are great. For professionals, the Axe FX might be the most optimal choice. But for ordinary players, the Kemper is the gear to get.

How was this article? Which of the two digital processors do you think has the upper hand? Tell me all your answers in the comment section below.


About the Author

Hi everyone! Im Monica and I am an avid lover of guitars and everything in-between. My current profession is not really music-related. It is quite discouraging but I just don't want to drop my zeal--especially not to guitars! I created GuitarTrance.Com so that I can keep up with my hobby. Of course, I want to engage with the community as well! Hope we can all get along!