K rampera is part of KV2 Audio, a company founded by George Krampera and Marcelo Vercelli that originally specialised in high-quality PA systems. This 500W head, matched with three cabs, is their first foray into bass amplification. For this review we’ve plugged into the 300W KVB B1T cab with a single 12" driver and a 1" tweeter.
The sleek stainless steel KVB 800 is 77mm high, 522mm wide and 345mm deep and weighs 12.7kg/28lbs. It’s finished in black, with two side handles (there’s also a rackmount version) and it sits on four rubber feet.
The front panel contains 13 controls which are divided into labelled sections; three of these sections are illuminated by red, blue or green LEDs when active. The Input Gain section has an input jack and Gain control (there’s a 12AX7 tube at this stage). Next comes a four-band EQ with /-15dB at 40Hz (Low), 300Hz (Low Mid), 1kHz (Hi Mid) and 6kHz (Hi), while the Contour section with its Level control allows you to cut at 500Hz by up to 40dB.
In the Effect section you can adjust the FX loop output, connect the loop in parallel or series, and alter the global output level. The Compression section allows control over Gain and Threshold and lets you induce edgy distortion. Finally, you can pull out the Master Volume for ‘tube-like’ tone softening. On the back panel is an FX loop, speaker outs, tuner and headphone socket plus XLR DI, and the included footswitch activates Contour, Effect, Compression and Mute.
When you get past prodding the footswitch to create an LED lightshow and focus on sound, the KVB 800 is really rather good. Without tweaking, it reproduces the natural tone of your bass: nothing cold or clinical here. While the panel looks busy, the EQ section is straightforward, giving easy access to powerful, rumbling width, snappy punch and lots of upfront presence. Tweaking the higher mids gives a subtle brightening of note edges whereas ramping up the top end means head-slicing cut and bite. If you want woolly scooped mids, that’s easy – just use the Contour section – but there are more subtle variations to be had from varying the dB’s you cut and emphasising this via the Level control. The only disappointment is the compressor: the distorted sound is reasonable but the actual compression sounds squashed even with Drive set at a very low levels.
Though the Krampera is laden with features, it offers a no-nonsense reproduction of your bass sound. It looks a bit complicated, but the EQ is musical and easy to use; we found the compression a little over-enthusiastic, but many will think it just perfect. Our only concern is the price, which is steep relative to the similarly-spec’ed competition, especially as most will have more established names. It’s well worth a look, though