The Kemper Profiler Stage would be Kemper’s flagship product, if Kemper weren’t so vehemently committed to retaining and continuing to support every customer they’ve picked up along the way. Even the earliest incarnations of their ‘toaster’ head units are still easily updated with the latest firmware and software, whereas some competitors continue to produce subsequent products that supersede their last product, and further drive their older products towards redundancy.
Where some working professionals, whether playing, recording, producing or even as front of house for bands, there isn’t always time to adapt and learn new processes when you’re busy trying to make records or live music. The Kemper Profiler Stage packs all the features of their widely used heads and rack units into a ruggedly constructed floorboard unit about the size of your current pedalboard, but with all the amps, cabinets, effects and processing of a full-fledged Kemper. This unit is built more specifically with a live bass player or guitarist in mind, housed in a super rugged, iconically green unit with well-laid out switches, controls, dials and knobs.
Powering up the unit reveals some pre-installed ‘rigs’, combinations of effects, amps and/or cabinet emulations, that are instantly usable no matter your style. They respond like real amps, and clean up at lower volumes, and are input dependant, meaning the tones respond like an amp would to your dynamics and feel. While the rigs are instantly usable, there’s a few important dials that instantly alter the rigs for tweaking tones on the fly, depending on the room or space you’re playing in, or the mood you’re in. These instantly changeable controls are things such as Gain, a tap tempo footswitch and a master volume. The unit connects to your sound source, whether that be recording direct, direct to FOH or to a power amplifier to use the unit with a cabinet, via stereo main XLR outputs or stereo 1/4” jacks for more conventional connections. The unit features a single 1/4” jack input, a stereo send and two sets of stereo returns, or four mono returns. Up to four pedals can be added for extra expression and SPDIF in and out complete the unit’s I/O. MIDI is available, and the Kemper Profiler Stage can be connected to a Mac or PC via either USB 2.0 or USB 1.0. Finally, there’s a power plug and latch for a lock to keep the unit secure.
‘Rigs’ are scrolled through as normal, i.e. like on the Kemper Profiler Rack and Head, so current Kemper users looking to move across to the Profiler Stage will feel right at home. Amps and cabs can be switched on and off for external processing, i.e. using your own impulse responses, or plugins for pre-amp processing with the Kemper impulses and cabinets. All of this can be toggled on and off from the front of the unit if it’s required on the fly. Effects and rigs are accessible via a massive ten footswitches, also featuring the ability to toggle effects on and off within rigs, as a universal effect, or tap tempos for modulation, delay and space effects. Finally there’s a dedicated tuner switch, as that’s always a necessary option. A looper is also independent from the rigs, so it’s always accessible for whatever you may need it for. Get creative.
Measuring just 47 cm (w) x 26 cm (d) x 8.5 cm (h), the Profiler will fit easily into a hardcase for travel, or gig bag for smaller commutes. While built specifically for life on the road, the unit weighs a mere 4.6kg, so won’t weigh down your touring van or push your checked baggage into the red when touring. What’s more, the Kemper Profiler Stage combines the Kemper Profiler and Profiler remote into one sleek, well-designed and laid out package, so there’s no need for extra amps, cabinets or gear. You have your entire rig, in fact multiple rigs, within the Profiler Stage. The display for tweaking tones is large and well-lit, designed specifically with sunlight in mind for day shows or festivals where visibility may be an issue. What’s more, the buttons and knobs are all clearly backlit for the other end of the spectrum; more common darkened stages.
Overall, the Kemper Profiler Stage makes the amazing sounds from Kemper even more accessible. As if the heads and racks weren’t enough, they’ve released the Kemper Profile Remote, and now the Kemper Profiler Stage combines every feature of both units into one practical, super-rugged and well-designed unit. It’s all designed with gigging in mind, from a clear display and buttons that are easily read on dark stages and in sunlight alike, and even saved rigs can be easily tweaked on the fly, because no room responds the same. The rigs are easily recallable, but your most-used effects can be programmed to be universally applied to existing rigs, rather than having the save effects into rigs. In this sense, it plays like a pedalboard would, and that makes the Profiler Stage a cut above the rest. There’s plenty of routing options, for either your four expression pedals or four returns. The unit is built entirely for the musician, and couldn’t have been designed better. It features features that you didn’t know you needed until you perused this review, but it all makes sense. It looks inconspicuous, acts professionally and can be relied on, allowing you to do your thing with the most stellar sounds you’ve played to date.
Hits and Misses
Phenomenally well laid-out unit
Lots of routing options
Not a damn thing!