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> V-SAM Suggestions
post Jan 1 2008, 04:03 PM
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After two years of owning a V-SAM, I consider it a completely indispensable practicing tool; it's in use every day. And there is nothing particularly comparable on the market.

That said, it's not without its flaws. First off, it's huge (especially when the boot is on), it can be quite heavy (again, when the boot is on), and it breaks easily. When the boot is removed, it becomes clear how flimsy the plastic housing is - it can crack with even a moderate jolt. Even with the boot on, the selection knob can come off, or snap off, quite easily. While the functions included on the tuner are great, they're not perfect.
The device as a whole is good, but could be fantastic if a few improvements were made.

I believe these changes would catapult the V-SAM from good to fantastic:

1. Size/Construction
The size of the V-SAM is larger than most any other 'portable' tuner out there on the market, it's unwieldy, unattractive, heavy; in short, a pain to carry around. Looking inside the V-SAM, I see that there is an awful lot of empty space - there is just a circuit board and a battery housing surrounded by void.
If the V-SAM was more compact (say, like iPod sized), and built with a sturdier enclosure (aluminum, solid acrylic, zirconia, etc. - even if that meant sacrificing some weight loss) this would be a tremendous bonus. It would truly be portable; something that could fit in an instrument case or a pocket. Since people like me carry these around all day for sessions and practice, this is important.

Furthermore, it needs to be something that feels like it will last. These tuners are an investment, they should feel like they've got a considerable amount of longevity. I've already sent mine in twice for repair - that's not a good thing.

Large knobs sticking out are not a good idea. They are easily broken off, and they make devices difficult to travel with. Make the buttons flush.

2. Features
I bought the V-SAM mainly for its multi-temperment strobe tuner capacity. Instantaneously seeing each played pitch with absolute accuracy is the most important thing Peterson tuners provide. However, the metronome and tone generator were also extremely important to me. Things that would make these better:

I. Allow the metronome and tone generator/strobe tuner to run simultaneously. This allows musicians (particularly string players working on intonation) the ability to set the fundamental/tonic of a given exercise or piece while maintaining rhythmic accuracy. Currently, I have to bring out another metronome to do this while I use my V-SAM.

II. Add some additional helpful features, like a clock! While this might seem silly, it's not infrequent for some of us to spend four, five, or even six hours in a practice room, or even lose track of time while practicing, having the time displayed on metronome would be a smart addition, and it's really not difficult to integrate.

III. Clarity. The display should show pertinent info clearly. It should be large enough to see from a reasonable distance.

IV. Volume control. I appreciate loud metronomes and tone generators - in my mind, they could always be louder - because in ensemble settings (i.e. string quartets, etc.) a loud metronome can be essential to establish initial rhythmic integrity. But we don't always want our metronome drowning out everything. A large number of metronomes now have volume control, and it's great.

3. Aesthetics
Aesthetics are important. Aesthetics make a product desirable and more fun to use. Right now, aesthetics aren't Peterson's strong suit. Something that looks refined and professional will encourage refined professional people (or those who want to be) to use your product. I feel that the V-SAM is a great product that should be in every musician's possession, but until it looks professional and extremely desirable and compact, musicians won't justify the price tag. If it looked the part, and had the above features, I'd consider it a steal at $350, rather than the current $250.

I am extremely pleased that I own a V-SAM, it was one of the better musical purchases I've made. But as I look at mine right now, I wonder how much longer it will last in one piece, and long for the features I wish it had.
If we might find a V-SAM on the market that incorporated the above suggestions,
I (and I think much of the musical community - much more than we see now) would run out eagerly to buy them.

Your customer,

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post Jan 1 2008, 06:53 PM
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Why not have it make coffee too!tongue.gif

you know late nite tuning adjustments.:0)
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post Jan 2 2008, 07:21 AM
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Hi James,

Thanks for your well thought out and presented feedback. We will keep your suggestions in mind when we update the V-Sam design in the future. I would be happy to discuss your ideas in more depth if you would like to call me. The number is 708-388-3311.


Pat Bovenizer
Vice President
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