#HomeTone Thoughts Before Winter NAMM 2020

Winter NAMM is almost here. It’s one of the most high-profile guitars & gear trade shows in the world, and traditionally, many manufacturers use it to announce or launch their major new products of the year.

YouTube is going to be dominated by NAMM show floor coverage for the next few weeks. If you want to see everything that will be displayed at the show, subscribe to one of the YouTube channels I recently recommended.

From a #HomeTone perspective, what are the gaps in the market that I’m hoping to see filled by new products?

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New Arrivals For February

February has been a very strange month for gear.

The Winter NAMM announcements are over, and now we wait for actual stock to appear in the shops. Some items – like Marshall’s new Studio line of heads, combos and cabs – have arrived quickly (and largely sold out just as quickly). Other pieces – not so much.

eBay started slow, but in the middle of the month, there was a lot of great gear up for grabs at surprising prices. I was expecting most people to be waiting for the “free for private sellers” changes coming at the start of March. I was wrong.

Here’s a list of everything I’ve picked up in February, along with my initial impressions. I’ll write up a full article on each of them once I’ve had a bit of time with them.

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How Rabea Makes Kemper Profiles

Rabea Massaad has posted a video showing us all how he makes profiles for his Kemper.

This video is perfect timing for me perfectly. We have a long weekend coming up here in the UK, and I’m planning on spending all three days with my Kemper. Any tips I can get will save me a lot of frustration.

I hope we see Rabea’s Kemper profiles available soon. Is there going to be an official Victory Amps profile pack, I wonder?

Please head over to YouTube to leave a like and a supportive comment.

Kemper vs Tube Amp

Camilo Velandia has posted an interesting comparison video. He’s made a Kemper profile of his Indigo Amps El Mariachi, and then put them side by side for comparison.

Have a listen, and see whether you can hear the differences between the two.

Please head over to YouTube to leave a like and a supportive comment if you enjoyed his video.

AxeFX III Initial Demos

Camilo Velandia has received his Axe FX III, and has posted several videos to show what it can do at launch. A couple in particular are of general interest, whether you own an Axe FX unit or not.

In the first video, Camilo compares quite a few of the stock amp presets from the new AxeFX III vs the older Axe FX II. To my ears, they’re almost identical.

That’s no sleight on the AxeFX III at all. Folks upgrading from the older unit will want reassurance that the tones they know and love are still there.

In the second video, Camilo does a straight shootout of the Axe FX III amp models against highly-respected Kemper profiles. It’s not quite an apples-to-apples comparison, but it does reflect how the two units are used in practice.

The results are a bloodbath.

All the problems of the Kemper’s limited frequency reproduction are front and centre. The Axe FX III has all the body and definition that the Kemper has always lacked. It sounds richer, crisper, and more detailed.

I wonder how many more years Kemper can continue to ship the MK 1 unit? The Kemper’s main defence has always been that you can’t hear most of these differences in a full mix. And, indeed, a recorded Kemper is actually easier to mix that a more accurate tone, in my experience.

Please head over to YouTube to leave likes and supportive comments if you enjoyed Camilo’s videos.

Kemper Profiler Demo

Shane’s been teasing us about the Kemper Profiler that he borrowed from Sky Music of Melbourne … and now we have his thoughts on it.

I’m going to save my thoughts on the Kemper until I’ve had time to sit down and record my own Kemper demos. For now, I agree with what Shane thinks about the Kemper – especially when it comes to pedals – but I have a lot more to share about profiling accuracy soon!

Please head over to YouTube to leave a like and a supportive comment if you enjoyed Shane’s video.

5 Way Amp Recording Shootout

Check this out. Michael Nielsen has posted a video comparing a real mic + cab setup vs 5 different ways to record silently at home. And he’s picked a great way to do it too.

He’s recorded the best sound he could with each approach, and used them in a mix so that you can hear the kind of final results you might be able to get. Best of all: the guitar is soloed to begin with, to give you a taste of what it’s like to simply noodle through each setup.

It isn’t a straight comparison. The real cab has V30s in it, and is mic’d using an SM57. The impulse responses used are of G12M Creambacks with a couple of different mics, and I’d swear that the OX is emulating G12Hs not G12Ms. But that’s kinda the point. He’s gone and done exactly what we’d do ourselves – dial in what he thinks sounds the best.

Do have a read of the comments people have been leaving on his video. It’s clear that not only do people have different tastes, but that different people actually hear different things too.

The other thing that’s interesting? Play it back to back a few times. Once ear fatigue kicks in, just how much difference can you hear any more?

(And just how good does that BE-100 sound?!? Me want …!)

Please head over to YouTube to leave a like and a supportive comment for Michael’s video.

In The Blues Podcast / Vlog: Amp Talk

Over on the In The Blues YouTube Channel, Shane has posted his latest podcast episode in its new format. This one is all about amps that Shane has recently played.

I thought that my own views on the Kemper echo Shane’s: a great studio tool that doesn’t take pedals at all well. I’ll be writing a lot more about the Kemper soon!

He also covers the PRS J-MOD 100, BOSS Katana Artist, and the Line 6 Helix. I’m always interested in what he has to say about amps. He’s played a lot of gear over the years, and he’s a gigging musician to boot.

Please head over to YouTube to leave a like and a supportive comment if you enjoyed Shane’s podcast video.