Krampera Review – Tom Kent

As the proud owner of one of the UK’s very first Krampera KVB Bass Amplification Systems, up-and-coming session musician Tom Kent has reviewed the rig at his blog on http://tomkentmusic.wordpress.com/

Anyone who attended the Musikmesse ’11 in Frankfurt will have seen Tom demonstrating the system on the Krampera stand and he could also be regularly seen at the London Bass Guitar Show ’11.

Below is the text from his review. The review on his blog features accompanying images, images of the Krampera rig out-and-about as well as Tom’s in-dept review of his experiences with Krampera at the Musikmesse show in Frankfurt.

Tom Kent – Krampera KVB Bass Amplification System Review

There are countless features on this amp which are useful and innovative from top to bottom. From the cool lights on the front to the pedal adaptor on the footboard!

Brilliant effects loop

The effects loop allows you to mix exactly how much of the effected sound you want – also unlike many other amp brands it allows you to decide if you then want the direct sound of the effects, or if you want it to run via the preamp again. Many of the amps I’ve used (Trace, Ashdown etc) didn’t have this nice feature. In some cases they didn’t even have a simple effects loop (on £2000 amps!).

Strong compression.. compressor!

I’ll always be one to say I love my outboard effects – especially my EBS MultiComp, however the inbuilt compressor on this is very good. It also allows decent ‘tube’ distortion very easily (great if you want to try some Muse’y type tracks without a footpedal). It’s also very simple to sus out and gives you great dynamic range when not on full.

Subtle but effective contour

I’ve noticed a lot of amps with a contour setting but.. no real choice of where you want it only how much you want of the pre determined level. The contour on this amp is set to sweep from 0 to -40 around the 500hz mark, but while doing that you can also choose how much of the sweep is put in the mix (more control!).

Perfect EQ

With many of the other amps I’ve played, to get the sound of my bass I’ve had to change the EQ a lot – I really do mean a lot. In the time I’ve spent with this amp, I’ve never once had to change the EQ from flat. What you put in you really do get back out. However, if you happen to put a really bad bass through, the EQ is more than capable of fixing any frequency problems effortlessly.

Good range speakers

The range possibilities on the B1T is literally astounding. It uses a 12” Trans-Coil woofer and a 1” tweeter that can be adjusted (0db, -3db & -6db). The driver is made by Eighteen Sound!

The B1 is, shape wise, like many 12” bottom cabs. Sound wise, though, it’s completely different. The definition on the bottom end is stunning, although not as deep as the B1B, it’s equally as good. It’s also lighter, so for a lightweight system goer – this is what you’ll want!

Finally (my favourite) the B1B – probably the best bottom cab I’ve ever run through. It uses a 15” low inductance lightweight woofer, and while being quite tall (32.68”) it’s still very light (29kgs). The bass possibilities made by this unit is absolutely breath taking, when playing the full system at full volume I was really taken away by it!

Handy footboard with.. extras

So you’ve got a TU1000 and some other floor toys but nothing to plug it into..?

The board that comes with the KVB800 head allows you to not only select what you want ‘on’ on the amp, but it allows you to distribute the power from the head (via the XLR cable for the pedal) to any standard floor pedals. No need for adaptors, it can be run easily and conveniently from the amp!

Build Quality

Remember the good old days when amps didn’t fall apart? Well, they’re here – to stay! The casing of all the speaker cabinets is made from Baltic Birch wood with a polymer coating. Everything feels solid and (having now used this on one gig with techies treating it like a.. work horse) it withstands a lot of abuse without showing any signs of damage (I mean the techies really didn’t realise the damage they could’ve been doing).

Finally

The KVB800 head has two 2Ω outputs and one 4Ω output.

The whole signal path is displayed on the top of the KVB800 head, bit geeky but I love it.

The DI has a VHD (very high definition) line driver created by KV2 audio – as you’ll be able to tell from this audio demo – it’s an amazingly warm sound with no eq’ing needed (the EQ on the amp was flat too – all I used was an EBSMultiVerb and the onboard compressor).

I also dare anyone to try and (on a standard active bass) peak the input of the KVB800 – I tried EVERYTHING.. just couldn’t do it! I think I put the Electro-Harmonix 12ax7 to work. ;)

Cons

Like any amp there has to be a few, but unlike most I’ve used, this has.. well none.

I literally had to look hard to find faults for this system – even then only finding such minor details they could only be things to improve later models.. so let’s call it..

..Potential improvements

More handles?

The B1T cab has one handle at the top of the unit, none of the side. While this is a very lightweight cab it’s still nice to have some on the side (the B1B has one on the left and right of it).

Smaller casing?

The 1” tweeter on the B1T seems to have a lot of casing around it – aesthetically I’d prefer it with slightly less, maybe a color scheme on the casing like the head unit?

Finally

After being sat in a local studio with it I found in a really quiet room the fan for the head was a little wurr happy – but that’s being very petty, I wouldn’t have even noticed it if I hadn’t been in a sound proofed room.

—————————

My general thoughts for this amp is, wow. I’ve never played through such a versatile, astounding and nice system. At first I thought the features were like any other amp, but they’re really not. The compressor is better, the contour is more adjustable, the EQ is stunning and the effects loop is refined and very handy. What I put in I got out, no tint to the sound what-so-ever. It is also an amazingly dynamic system which is very lightweight.