Coming Full Circle with Gear

After almost 2 years of playing live with my Kemper Profiling Amp and using IEMs (in ear monitors), I recently made the switch back to my trusty Marshall DSL100 and a new pedalboard. Before this becomes a war about modellers, the Kemper is one of the BEST pieces of gear I've ever purchased. For recording, I can't find anything that will beat it. I used it on about 40% of my CD, Voiceless. It sounds great live as well. I ran it through a guitar cab and through an Alto 112 at various times...hell I even put it through a Marshall Haze combo when I didn't have a choice. I think my issue was more the IEMs than the Kemper though. The feeling of being boxed in and not hearing or feeling the amp breath was getting to me so much that my playing took a huge step backwards. My vocals got better but my playing really suffered.

I have decent custom IEMs from Alien Ears but I just could not get used to hearing a guitar tone pressed against my ear drum. That space that we all love (the space between you and the guitar amp/cab) was missing and it really became uninspiring to me. I made more fumbles/mistakes in the last year on my guitar than I probably did the previous 5 years. I found myself trying to compensate for what I thought I was or wasn't hearing in my ears. For example, when I would sustain notes sometimes, the sound would fade in my IEMs which caused me to think that's what everyone else was hearing...that wasn't the case. I ran a test and found that the note was usually still ringing through the FOH or speaker...the IEMs were just playing tricks on me. I tried a few different brands and also a couple of different systems. They all did the same thing to me. I used my amp for my last 3 shows and got back to really enjoying being on stage and hearing what I was actually playing. Adding 2 Eventide H9s to my board just elevated my tone like never before.

For the time being, I'm hanging on to my Kemper with the hopes I may do more recording, even though I don't have time to breathe these days. I have toyed with the idea of selling it though, paying down some bills and possible picking up another axe, knowing if I get serious about recording again, I can always grab another.

In years past, when I had a couple of Axe-Fx's, I had sold my amp/rig to fund them. I'm so glad that this time, I kept most of my old rig when I bought my Kemper...even if it really hit me hard in the wallet. I keep going back to the Marshall DSL each time...I guess you could say that it's my sound. I read so many articles/posts/threads online about some of the things I just mentioned and I don't blame anyone for doing what I did. Sometimes you gotta try all different angles (especially being a guitar player with all this awesome gear that's available) to realize what's best for you and your situation. Excuse me now while I go shake my house with my rig.

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