Old meets New: Pairing the MP-1 with my Kemper

Recently I was reconnected with the ADA MP-1. It sounds great running through the loop of my Naylor Duel 60, but at the time of writing this, I’m preferring it with the Kemper. This magic little toaster has just about everything to create the perfect rig with this preamp.

After playing with this MP-1 for a while, I found myself dreaming of an FX processor and power amp to accompany it. I spent longer than I’d like to admit searching Reverb and Craigslist for TC G-Major, Alexsis Quadraverb, Rocktron Intellifex, etc. There are a bunch of good options available for a great price. That’s not really the case for power amps though. The old Mesa 20/20 would be perfect for what I need, albeit I would prefer to have something that’s mono. Unfortunately for me, these are still holding their value really well. As I’m writing this there’s only one available on Ebay and it’s almost $700. Peavey also made some great options in this space that are more affordable, but I realized that my little $100 preamp experiment can easily grow into several grand worth of gear to compliment it if I’m not careful.

Having been down this road before, I have a pretty good idea of where it ends too. Basically once all the kinks are worked out and I get everything is dialed in perfectly, my tastes will change (or evolve to put a positive spin on it) and then it’s preset hell and/or swapping rack units. Rinse & Repeat. Coming to this realization was when I noticed I basically already owned the answer and it was staring me in the face. The Kemper provides the following:

  • Foot switching (via the Kemper Remote) – Simple MIDI in/out connection. A perfect solution using performance mode
  • Effects – I’m not very big on effects, but like most guitarist, I enjoy a little delay and reverb. I’ve seen a lot of complaints about the onboard fx in this unit, but they sound great.
  • Power-amp “profiling” – Great results can be achieved by skipping this and just running the MP-1 into some speaker emulation or IR. I originally tried various combinations of bypassing the “amp”, “EQ”, and or “Cab” blocks of profiles I use and this didn’t yield great results. I found some generic power amp profiles on the forums too, but I didn’t care for how those sounded either. That’s when I got the idea to create my own profile using the Naylor’s power section & cab.
  • 300 watts of Class D, solid state power – Plenty of volume on tap!
  • Optional speaker/cabinet emulation when going direct or recording

Yeah, I cringe at the thought of solid state amplification, but I figured the Kemper sounds so good that if I can get the power amp profile working that the non-tube part of this won’t bother me. …and I was right. Basically instead of running the kemper into the input of the amp to capture the profile, run it into the return of the amp. Next, set the master & presence to the desired levels and capture it. I never really used the built-in amp much, but now I’m really glad I bought this version.

One of the reasons I’m enjoying this setup so much is it’s trivial to switch between my Amp, Kemper, or use the MP-1 in front. It’s not as slick as Tim Pierce’s rig, but hey, I’m not Tim Pierce. I also made a half-a$$ed video to attempt to capture the in the room sound. I love it.

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