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The KVR community is made up of musicians, live performers, recording engineers, music products developers - Among us we span all music genres, and play all the instruments in the symphony, as well as of course, the computer. So it figures that KVR should be one of the best resources available for anyone trying to make a decision about which products to buy and to use.
There are two kinds of product reviews that I find useful. There are the professional reviews done by people that review products for a living. These are the most useful for specifications and comparisons with other products in the marketplace. However, with professional reviewers, you have to consider that it can be the time of month or week or day that could determine the frame of mind for the reviewer. Also, unless they adopt the product, it goes back to the manufacturer when the review is done. They generally don't take it to a gig.
The best user reviews answer the following questions:
- Is the product easy to learn and to use?
- Does it sound good?
- Does it help a person make music?
Personally I like to stay away from talking about the value of a given product, especially in this day of overly discounted software. Bottom line is - a product is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.
Some thoughts on format:
- It doesn't hurt to put some description of what you do and how you used the product somewhere in the review.
- There is no point in slagging someone because they have an opinion and are willing to put it out there. The way KVR works is that people can judge for themselves how useful a review is and the best reviewers will be followed.
- Rather than just saying a certain feature exists, why not say how that particular feature was useful for you...
- A little background about the vendor and the specs of the product doesn't hurt. It shows you've done your homework and makes the review more credible. Opinions are subjective and there may be only one person who agrees with you.
So, here goes with a product review I have written for KVR. It's about the Kemper Profiling amplifier, a piece of hardware. The unit reviewed was a The specifications can be found here.
I am a guitar player who plays computer. I have seen and used a lot of products over the years and read a lot of product reviews. I prefer to record directly into the computer and use plug-ins for additional processing after the fact.
- The user interface is one of the best I have experienced in a hardware product. It's easy to look at and the most important functionality is immediately at your fingertips. I opened the manual once to get the right analog connections and since then I have been able to do just about anything I wanted to do just by intuition.
- The case is very solid and unique. Some people might not like the slightly art-deco look, but I do.
- The sound is great to my ears. I can't comment on how close the modeled sounds are to the amps they were sampled.
- There's an extensive collection of presets. Many of them sound really good to my ears, and in addition to the ones stored on the unit, there are thousands online to choose from. The preset library can be set up to audition the patches by 'Name', 'Author', Date, 'Amp/Cab', or 'Gain.' It can be a little cumbersome to get through them because the memory holds quite a few.
- There is lots of I/O. Probably anything one could imagine needing.
- The amp can be easily synced to an external device (like your computer).
- Kemper appears to be committed to the product. Since I have owned it the OS has been updated several times. There's USB (for OS updates).
- It would be nice if there were a software editing application that I could use alongside my DAW.
- There are so many different presets it is a daunting task to go through all of them when they are listed in alphabetical order.
- There is software that allows a user to store and recall sounds from their computer, but it's only available on the PC at the moment.
I think these guys really did their homework, both in the specification process and the implementation. It's not cheap, but when I factored in the value of all the things it does, it was a bargain for me.
OK I've offered my opinions for judgement, like many in our community. Let's continue to grow KVR as the #1 resource for information about technology products.
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