Sunday, October 2, 2016

REVIEW: Behringer V-Amp 3

Hello and welcome to this week's article!
Today we will review a guitar amp simulator, clone of the Line6 Pod: the Behringer V-amp 3.

Someone asked me: why are you reviewing so many Behringer products?
The answer is easy: it is the less expensive company for audio equipment, therefore many amateur musicians on a tight budget often are interested in these products, plus all the units I review are products that I have personally spent some time in trying, whether they were mine or they were lent to me by some friend to write the review: basically I review what I can can get my hands on for a reasonable amount of time, and this company happens to be one of the easiest to find among the people I know.

Moving to the review, this is one of the countless guitar amp / effect simulators that have flooded the market after the digital revolution created in the early 2000 by Line 6, which has changed the paradigm about digital amplifiers bringing it to the masses, and features 32 guitar amp models, 15 speaker cabinets, a wide array of effects and can be used, like the Pod (which shares even an almost identical shape and colour), as an audio interface to record and mix straight into the pc via Usb.

Tonally this unit (which is a slight evolution from the popular V-Amp 2, clone of the legendary Pod 2.0 and which was sold also as combo version with the name V-Ampire) is really, really similar to the old Pod: the simulations are not in line with the latest (and extremely expensive) guitar amp modelers as Axe Fx, Kemper, Bias or even the recent Line6 Helix, but it can still achieve sounds surprisingly usable, especially in a live environment (in studio the most trained listeners can still find the lack of harmonic richness, which was also a problem of almost all the simulator and that only the newest ones are finding a way to overcome) or for playing at home-rehearsing, therefore under this point of view the unit passes brilliantly the test the same way the old Pod would; the downside unfortunately is the same one of all Behringer products: Build quality.

This unit falls short in terms of build quality, there is not much more to add; this is where Behringer really economizes, but this in the long run is the biggest issue with all the products of this manufacturer.
I have heard countless times about pots falling off, I have even seen on my V-ampire combo that just a sligh hit of the hull on a hard corner made most of the pots fall off, and this building problem is the same for the combo version, the rack version and the desktop version, appearently also this V-amp 3 seems to suffer the same problem.

As for other products of the same company that I have already reviewed, the final judgement comes to what is the use you intend to do with this unit: do you need it for touring, rehearsing, carrying it around? Look somewhere else, these products are too easy to break (and surprisingly expensive to fix).
Do you need it just to keep it on your desk, plug and play with the computer? At a street price of 90€ more or less (c.a. 100$), this unit can still provide some good tone and versatility, so in that case you can give it a shot.

Specs taken from the website:

- 4 all-new plus 28 improved amp models multiplied by 15 speaker cabinet simulations give you a total of 480 virtual combos

- USB audio interface included, featuring stereo I/O, optical S/PDIF out, direct monitoring and separate control for phones out

- No-latency guitar-to-PC recording—edit and monitor your sound on your V-AMP 3 and record straight to your PC

- Studio quality multi-effects including reverb, chorus, flanger, phaser, rotary, auto-wah, echo, delay, compressor and various effects combinations

- 125 memory locations pre-arranged for many popular styles and embedded in the acclaimed intuitive V-AMP user interface

- Tap-tempo function and many other parameters directly accessible on the unit

- Presence control adjusts a high-frequency filter, simulating the negative feedback of tube amps

- Preamp bypass function allows use as a stereo effects processor without amp modeling

- Stereo Aux input lets you play along to a cue from your PC, CD, MP3 or drum computer for practice, teaching and home-recording applications

- Balanced stereo Line output can be configured for many recording and live applications

- Adjustable auto-chromatic tuner plus effective global configurations and equalization easily adopts the V-AMP 3 to any situation outside your home studio

- MIDI implementation includes program changes, control changes and SysEx, allowing complete MIDI remote control or automation with your preferred DAW

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