• The PRS Forum will be shut down for a large portion of the day on Wednseday Feb 28th while we perform some maintenance.

New Amp -OR- Midpriced modelers -OR- Is anyone here (still) playing a Tonex?

So… Mesa TC. I’d looked at the 50. 100 seems more versatile. Its aspirational at this point.

What makes a Kemper worth 3x to 4x the price of a Tonex? One of the two is pretty likely by some time next year.

Kemper Stage or Profiler Head? I go back and forth. I’ll be standing or sitting in front of desktop monitors or a small cab. I’ll probably never gig, maybe the odd jam session. I don’t like things plugged into my laptop, it’s just another thing to hook up before playing. I don’t mind iPads though. I like knobs (TWSS?). I can envision either working, but maybe the head working better, or not. Thoughts?
 
So… Mesa TC. I’d looked at the 50. 100 seems more versatile. Its aspirational at this point.

What makes a Kemper worth 3x to 4x the price of a Tonex? One of the two is pretty likely by some time next year.

Kemper Stage or Profiler Head? I go back and forth. I’ll be standing or sitting in front of desktop monitors or a small cab. I’ll probably never gig, maybe the odd jam session. I don’t like things plugged into my laptop, it’s just another thing to hook up before playing. I don’t mind iPads though. I like knobs (TWSS?). I can envision either working, but maybe the head working better, or not. Thoughts?
Excellent questions.
Regarding Kemper, I thought about the Stage, and the movie in my head had me bending down to floor level to make adjustments on the fly.
That seemed less than desirable in a gig enviro, so Head and footswitch I went.
The Stage though is newer hardware and has wifi built in for iOS and Android apps. I adapted that though on the head.
If you are not going to gig? Stage if you have desk space, or floor space and don't care about bending over (TWSS).
Head if you want it on the desk and don't care about floor switch. Rack is more compact, but fewer knobs on panel.
If you add a floor switch to the head or rack I'd say it was most flexible, but of course more expensive.

Dayum...
I LOVE my Kemper, but in your situation it's a tough choice. Again, Tonex with a pedalboard will get you there, but you will be possibly constantly pedal chasing.
Kemper on the other hand has it all in one.
 
I can only speak for the Fractal Axe Fx and similar gear, but much of it would hold true for other top modelers like the Kemper. The Tonex is an amp modeler in the sense that it plays models of amps. To actually model an amp requires another box and mic, etc. To use the Tonex pedal as an amp modeler only, you don't need anything but the pedal. It can load models of amps done by other folks, and I hear there are thousands available online. It is an amp modeler only. It does not have effects, nor is it really set up for complicated input/output or routing configurations. Think of it like an amp... in/process sound/out.

An Axe Fx is a whole other beast... hundreds of amp and effects in the box, literally thousands of speaker cabs, super advanced routing and programming options. The in and out routing capabilities, loops available, controller options, really the whole thing, is just another level. For example:

Tonex:
is8eiqp.jpg


Axe FX:
KIpyzfj.jpg

(Axe FX has a headphone out too... on the front)

You can think of it more like the Tonex takes one block in an Axe FX grid and does that part... just that part. If you want drive pedals to turn on or off, you add those externally. Same for delay, reverb, etc. On the Axe FX, it's all there. You can have multiple effects loops, separate sends to monitors, FOH, amps, in ears... you get the point. The Tonex costs 1/8 of what an Axe FX III will set you back, but then it's easily one eighth or less of what an Axe FX III is.

The IMPORTANT part is really what you need from it, so if you want to model an amp, and that only, the Tonex is purpose-built to be just that. A perfect fit. I think it's a great option, enough so that I bought one when I own a Fractal FM9 Turbo and FC 6 already. But it doesn't really compare to the Fractal or Kemper gear as a total package, and it isn't meant to. Think of it more like a great preamp and you'll be right on target.
 
The Kemper Stage Is Nice Due To The Pedalboard Being Part Of The Actual Unit. If You Could Place It On Your Desk It Would Be The Best Value And Ease Of Use For Said Product. No Matter What Kemper Product A Person Chooses, IMO, A Foot Controller Is A Must.
 
Last edited:
First impressions from the Tonex, which arrived this afternoon. Very easy to get it fired up and find a few decent tones. Easy to tweak with the knobs on the front panel. Sounds aren't blowing me away, but then I've been listening to FAS modeling for a long time. The box itself seems well made, and it comes with enough electrical adaptors to play anywhere there's electricity.

The interface on the unit makes the best of the little room it has, giving you a preset number and a six character name. Also tells you if it's an amp and cab model, or just a amp (stomp boxes also seem to light just the amp light, though I'm not in far enough to verify that is right in all cases yet).

The software and registering is... ponderous. Let me say that you can use the Tonex as it comes with no computer stuff at all, but you'd be stuck with what's in the box, and with all of the models available for free, that seems a bad move. You have to make an account with IK Multimedia to register, and then download and install the IK Multimedia Product Manager, along with a driver if you happen to be on a Windows machine. I downloaded and downloaded. The Tonex showed it was Authorized, but I couldn't find the Tonex Librarian the manual kept referring to on my machine. After much looking, I saw it (oddly) authorized with them, but didn't install unless you tell it to do so... silly when you wouldn't be authorizing it if you weren't going to use it. Anyway, I could go on and on, but I'll just say it isn't as intuitive as, say, an FM9.

Banks are arranged in sets of three, as that's how many buttons you have on the Tonex. Another oddity... stepping on a button selects that preset (as expected) but stepping on the same button again bypasses that preset... you just get direct guitar. I hope that can be changed, because it would be a real bummer to accidentally step on the wrong button and go from raging Recto to direct guitar with no amp sound. I'll look into this more. It's a great feature if you're running into an amp and just using stomp box models, but not for traditional modeler use.

I love the knobs on the front panel probably better than anything so far. Super quick tone adjustments, always available. there are 7 of them, each with two functions so it's a lot of control in a small space. Amp guys will like this a lot.

So, VERY early impressions:

1. Sounds are ok, and I think you can get some good tones out of it,
2. Software implementation is a lot like Protools or similar, and that blows. Be prepared to spend some time getting that how you want it.
3. The weird bypass function has got to go. I'll need to sort that one quickly.
4. Control surface is very cool, and offers a lot of direct control.
5. The only effects are drive based and built in, so I think your fave OD, Chorus, Delay, and Reverb are necessary adds. Think of it like a barebones amp and cab.

Overall, easily worth the price and should be more so in time. It's really only ever going to be a backup for me, so it offers all I need to get through a gig comfortably attached to a couple of basic pedals. I'll play more tomorrow and over the weekend and update with a more educated viewpoint! You can tell by my structure here I’m a little cross eyed by this point. :)
 
Last edited:
First impressions from the Tonex, which arrived this afternoon. Very easy to get it fired up and find a few decent tones. Easy to tweak with the knobs on the front panel. Sounds aren't blowing me away, but then I've been listening to FAS modeling for a long time. The box itself seems well made, and it comes with enough electrical adaptors to play anywhere there's electricity.

The interface on the unit makes the best of the little room it has, giving you a preset number and a six character name. Also tells you if it's an amp and cab model, or just a amp (stomp boxes also seem to light just the amp light, though I'm not in far enough to verify that is right in all cases yet).

The software and registering is... ponderous. Let me say that you can use the Tonex as it comes with no computer stuff at all, but you'd be stuck with what's in the box, and with all of the models available for free, that seems a bad move. You have to make an account with IK Multimedia to register, and then download and install the IK Multimedia Product Manager, along with a driver if you happen to be on a Windows machine. I downloaded and downloaded. The Tonex showed it was Authorized, but I couldn't find the Tonex Librarian the manual kept referring to on my machine. After much looking, I saw it (oddly) authorized with them, but didn't install unless you tell it to do so... silly when you wouldn't be authorizing it if you weren't going to use it. Anyway, I could go on and on, but I'll just say it isn't as intuitive as, say, an FM9.

Banks are arranged in sets of three, as that's how many buttons you have on the Tonex. Another oddity... stepping on a button selects that preset (as expected) but stepping on the same button again bypasses that preset... you just get direct guitar. I hope that can be changed, because it would be a real bummer to accidentally step on the wrong button and go from raging Recto to direct guitar with no amp sound. I'll look into this more. It's a great feature if you're running into an amp and just using stomp box models, but not for traditional modeler use.

I love the knobs on the front panel probably better than anything so far. Super quick tone adjustments, always available. there are 7 of them, each with two functions so it's a lot of control in a small space. Amp guys will like this a lot.

So, VERY early impressions:

1. Sounds are ok, and I think you can get some good tones out of it,
2. Software implementation is a lot like Protools or similar, and that blows. Be prepared to spend some time getting that how you want it.
3. The weird bypass function has got to go. I'll need to sort that one quickly.
4. Control surface is very cool, and offers a lot of direct control.
5. The only effects are drive based and built in, so I think your fave OD, Chorus, Delay, and Reverb are necessary adds. Think of it like a barebones amp and cab.

Overall, easily worth the price and should be more so in time. It's really only ever going to be a backup for me, so it offers all I need to get through a gig comfortably attached to a couple of basic pedals. I'll play more tomorrow and over the weekend and update with a more educated viewpoint! You can tell by my structure here I’m a little cross eyed by this point. :)
Excellent observations! Do you have any desire to use it to capture your amps?
 
Excellent observations! Do you have any desire to use it to capture your amps?
I’ve thought about it, eventually. I don’t have the modeling box, but it’s cheaper than the pedal if I want to go that route. At one point, I thought I’d model all of them then sell them off. It appears I’m a little more attached to that glowing glass than I thought, even though I use the FAS gear pretty much exclusively these days for gigging.

I’m going to focus on learning that pedal first!
 
This is brand new to the market and is already generating a ton of buzz. The videos I have seen of it have been pretty good. This thing does everything that I purchased the Two Notes C.A.B. M+ for and is $100 less money. Not sure if this fits the needs but to me, is worth a look.

 
It Sounds Like You Are Coming Around To A Conclusion In Your Mind Which Is Good! You Need To Sort Things Out In Your Head And Be At Peace About Things. I Really Have Genuinely Thought Of Everything You Have Said Over Time In This Thread And Played Out All Kinds Of Scenarios, Different Perspectives And Directions Regarding Your Use And How You May Use Things In The Future And Here Is What I Have Come To For All Of Your Mentioned Wants And Needs.

1 Amp Could Technically Do The Trick For You
2. The Right Pedal With Said Amp Could Be Your "Second Amp" Sound
3. Kemper Handles A Lot Of Options Sonically And Fills A Lot Of Holes/Needs For Recording, Overall Use, Etc.

If You Had The Three Above Pieces Of Gear I Genuinely Feel You Would Have All Your Expressed Wants And Needs Met And More. The Question Is Which Amp And Which Pedal?

Let's Talk About The Amp. I Like Mesa And I Like The Archon 1. You Already Have The Mesa So That Is Why I Have Leaned In The Direction Of Using It If You Like It (Which You Seem To Do) So You Aren't Doing Any Circular Buying And Can Use It Since You Already Have It. I Admit The Archon Is Easier To Dial In Quicker. If Dialing Things In Quick Is Important And You Want A Easier To Dial Solution Then You May Want To Move The Mesa For An Archon 1. I Personally Wouldn't Let The Mesa Go For An Archon 2. You Could Easily Use The Archon 1 Clean Channel And Add A Marshall Style Pedal To The Archon 1 And Be In Business.

A Consideration For Further Mental Torment - If You Want A Great Solution Based On All The Wants And Needs You Have Expressed That Can Cover All That Ground And Be Loud And Quiet And Sound Amazing Doing It Then You May Want To Consider A Mesa Triple Crown 100 (Not The 50). It Has The Built In Attenuator And Does High Gain, Crunch And Cleans Very Well. I Love Mine And Out Of Everything It Does I Was Most Pleasantly Surprised With The Crunch Tones It Does. If You Had To Go One Amp And No Pedals That Would Be My #1 Suggestion For You. That Amp And A Kemper Would Have You Set For Life Sonically And For Recording And All That IMO.

Think About Everything I Have Said And If You Are Not Truly In Love With Your Mesa You Already Have And Don't Have A White Knuckle Hold On It Then The Two Solutions I Listed Could Be Your Ticket. :) I Hope I Helped And Didn't Further Confuse. :)






I've enjoyed every demo I've heard with that amp, and these demos are terrific sounding as well. Seems there isn't much it can't do.

People talk a lot about the Mark series, and they're great, no doubt. But this amp has a lot of character. Good call!
 
I've enjoyed every demo I've heard with that amp, and these demos are terrific sounding as well. Seems there isn't much it can't do.

People talk a lot about the Mark series, and they're great, no doubt. But this amp has a lot of character. Good call!
IMO, It Is One Of The Best Amps For All Around Versatility Ever Made By Any Brand. If It Said "Mark" Or "Recto" On It I Imagine It Would Sell 10 Times More Than It Currently Does. If A Person Is Wanting/Needing Multiple Sound Types And Multiple Channels It Has To Be A Consideration IMO. It Holds A Special Place In My Heart As I Got It For One Thing And It Does 5 Other Things In Excellence That I Never Imagined It Could Do So I Have Been Incredibly Surprised And Beyond Satisfied With Mine.
 
IMO, It Is One Of The Best Amps For All Around Versatility Ever Made By Any Brand. If It Said "Mark" Or "Recto" On It I Imagine It Would Sell 10 Times More Than It Currently Does. If A Person Is Wanting/Needing Multiple Sound Types And Multiple Channels It Has To Be A Consideration IMO. It Holds A Special Place In My Heart As I Got It For One Thing And It Does 5 Other Things In Excellence That I Never Imagined It Could Do So I Have Been Incredibly Surprised And Beyond Satisfied With Mine.
I need to spend more time with one, for sure.
 
Sigh. It seems like it would seem that amp would cover all my, and many folks’ bases. Especially with the broad range of power scaling from whisper to HOLY WTF! volumes and a serviceable direct out. It’s twice what I want to spend used, and is darn near 50 lb. Stays aspirational for me, for now.
 
Hey Kemper users @Bogner @dmatthews others - Kemper’s website says to use SS amps, NOT tubes as a power amp when amping into a cabinet. Any reason other than tube model over tubes? I was thinking the Fryette PS2 that has a 50 watt 6V6 amp would work. Any reason it wouldn’t?
 
Hey Kemper users @Bogner @dmatthews others - Kemper’s website says to use SS amps, NOT tubes as a power amp when amping into a cabinet. Any reason other than tube model over tubes? I was thinking the Fryette PS2 that has a 50 watt 6V6 amp would work. Any reason it wouldn’t?
I think we're into more of a subjective... erm... subject regarding power amp choice.
The reason Kemper suggests SS is because they are (if done correctly) flat/no colour. This helps the rigs/profiles stay more true to the way they were created.
Most all tube based amps have some sort of colouration, and that can be a positive or a negative with rigs, be they Kemper, Helix, AxeFX, or any device like that.
Then of course the speaker choice is a big part of the equation. Some say the biggest part.
For these reasons I ended up with SS amps (Seymour Duncan and Camplifier) and the Kemper Kabinets. This in order to preserve as much of the originally intended rigs/profiles as possible.
I've tried running Kemper through my Custom 50 effects return, an older Fender PA, a Yamaha DXR10, a XiTone MBritt powered speaker, a Bose L1, and finally the Kabinet with SS amp.
Many players use a tube amp and regular guitar speaker. That takes some of the versatility away, but if that's the tone you love there is no wrong choice. Just turn the speaker block off and away you go!
The powered Kemper head uses a SS module made by IcePower. I chose the SD 700 because it uses the same IcePower modules.
Rambling thoughts... :)
 
I think we're into more of a subjective... erm... subject regarding power amp choice.
The reason Kemper suggests SS is because they are (if done correctly) flat/no colour. This helps the rigs/profiles stay more true to the way they were created.
Most all tube based amps have some sort of colouration, and that can be a positive or a negative with rigs, be they Kemper, Helix, AxeFX, or any device like that.
Then of course the speaker choice is a big part of the equation. Some say the biggest part.
For these reasons I ended up with SS amps (Seymour Duncan and Camplifier) and the Kemper Kabinets. This in order to preserve as much of the originally intended rigs/profiles as possible.
I've tried running Kemper through my Custom 50 effects return, an older Fender PA, a Yamaha DXR10, a XiTone MBritt powered speaker, a Bose L1, and finally the Kabinet with SS amp.
Many players use a tube amp and regular guitar speaker. That takes some of the versatility away, but if that's the tone you love there is no wrong choice. Just turn the speaker block off and away you go!
The powered Kemper head uses a SS module made by IcePower. I chose the SD 700 because it uses the same IcePower modules.
Rambling thoughts... :)
All pretty much what I thought / hoped. The Fryette is pretty transparent at “reasonable” volumes. That leaves my options open to stage, powered or unpowered heads. Kone or powered Kone in the future.

Oh, and for the record, powered monitors or the fryette and a cab for the near future.
 
Last edited:
All pretty much what I thought / hoped. The Fryette is pretty transparent at “reasonable” volumes. That leaves my options open to stage, powered or unpowered heads. Kone or powered Kone in the future.

Oh, and for the record, powered monitors or the fryette and a cab for the near future.
Do you have the Fryette already? If not I have a stereo ISP Stealth pro available.
 
As Was Said Above And Why I Said Earlier What I Said About "That' Being Another Conversation. Kemper Wishes To Stay As Neutral As Possible So The Profile The Player Chooses Is The Color. Everything In The Chain Colors Things To Some Degree And That May Not Be A Bad Thing. If You Wish To Truly Buy Into The Full Kemper Philosophy Then You Want Neutral And Powered To Minimize Outside Coloration. That Is Not To Say That There Aren't Work Arounds Or Other Ways To Go About The Final Sound And That It Won't Sound Good If You Do It Differently. I Have Two Powered Units And One Unpowered Unit And Two Unpowered Kabs. I Power My Unpowered Unit With A Fryette LXII. Many Use The Kemper As A PreAmp And Power It Via An Amp. There Are Many Ways To Use It And Likely Benefits To Each. :)
 
Sigh. It seems like it would seem that amp would cover all my, and many folks’ bases. Especially with the broad range of power scaling from whisper to HOLY WTF! volumes and a serviceable direct out. It’s twice what I want to spend used, and is darn near 50 lb. Stays aspirational for me, for now.
You Can Always Sell Everything You Own Gear Wise...Take Out A Second On The House And Title Pawn Your Vehicle And Get A TC-100 And A Kemper And Live The Good Life...LOL. ;)
 
Back
Top