V-CLASS: IN THE STUDIO
Evaluating guitars, especially acoustics, isn’t always easy. You’re not really hearing what your audience hears, and as the reviewer, we know it’s supposed to be‘better’, which can sway what we perceive. What if we levelled the playing field and recorded each guitar without telling the player which one was which?
We asked pro-acoustic and electric guitarist Isobel Kimberly and studio owner, producer and engineer Mike Westergaard to be our guinea pigs. Both are Taylor players. Isobel brought along her wellgigged 510e as a reference and played that along with our two 914ces (the first one X-braced, the other with V-Class) and our reviewed K14ce Builder’s Edition.
Both the 510e and X-braced 914ce had a slightly lower, output.The V-Class 914ce was definitely kicking out more power – noticeable both on the picked and strummed recordings.The K14ce was slightly lower powered, but we all commented on its tonal balance.The key comparison here was, of course, the two 914ces.There’s nothing wrong at all with the X-brace version, but as Mike stated the V-Class version sounded like he’d done a little postrecording tweaking to enhance the initial recording, cleaning up the lower midrange and enhancing the highs.
To that end Mike would be happier to work with either V-Class guitar, preferring the K14ce; likewise, Isobel stated it“pleased me most as a player – the balance, the refinement are both very encouraging and pleasing to my ears. I really like the satin finish too, it gives a more papery texture to percussive taps.”
It was a simple but hugely effective test: to our collective ears, the V-Class sound better.