VTM 60Recently reviewed by: Wuztastic, on december 22, 2014 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 380
Purchased from: Used - Ebay
Features: Designed during the '80s, the Peavey VTM-60 and 120 were made in a way to emulate the ever-so-famous Marshall JCM800. The two amps were so similar, Peavey stopped production of the VTMs not way too long after starting due to concerns over being sued. This amp is it's own beast, however, and it has it's own unique sound and features that separate it from the JCM800.
Let's get to the boring features first; this is a 60 watt tube amplifier that you can get from anywhere from $150-400 bucks. On the back you have 4 cabinet inputs, 16 ohm, 8 ohm, 4 ohm, and a "not used" input (which is for using four 16 ohm enclosures with independent cables for each enclosure).
The front is where things get interesting. There are two inputs; high gain and low gain. Low gain is good for cleans or for really hot pickups that would make the high gain channel turn to absolute noise. High gain is good for getting a solid distorted tone out of most guitars although rolling back the volume knob on your guitar lets you get a decent clean tone as well (I'll touch more on this in the next section). Then there's two gain knobs, pre-gain and post-gain. Pre=gain is what would be just "gain" on your normal and amp and post-gain is basically volume. Then there's your average low, mid, and high EQ knobs.
Then there's the most unique feature on this amp; the dip-switches. There's a total of eight. They are: Gain 1, Gain 2, Compressor, Low 1, Low 2, Mid, High 1, and High 2. They are somewhat self explanatory (two different extra gain stages, a comp, two low modulators, a mid modulator, and two high modulators.) Again, I'll touch more on how these affect tone in the next section.
Then there's a presence knob. I'm not entirely sure what this does (the manual says it boosts the extreme high frequencies by 6 dB) but it sounds good. Then you have your standard effects loop, a power switch, and a standby switch.
There's no feature that will blow you away but the presence control and the dip switches give you very nice tone shaping tools. The effects loop is nice for those with a fat, healthy pedal board (and really should be on any decent amp head). The features help it stand out among other hot-vintage sounding amps but it doesn't overwhelm you with weird features out the wazoo. // 8
Sound: This amp fits in the same ballpark as old Mesa Boogie and Marshall amps; getting a "vintage-hot" tone. It's nice, warm, bright and crisp but has just enough gain to give your granny a heart attack. It's somewhat versatile as well; I can get a decent post-hardcore tone out of it and play a bit of Minerals and then turn around a play fun hardcore punk tunes like "Rise Above" and "Bikage." I think this is where this amp excels; punk. It's very solid for metal; you can get a good Metallica, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Slayer, or hell, even a great sludge or stoner tone out of this, but it feels right at home when playing stuff within the vein of Black Flag, Bad Brains, and other '80s hardcore punk bands.
I toyed around for a good several hours on the amp and found out how to get what noises from where on the thing. Here's how each of the features affect the tone. I'll use a ton of subjective terms that may or may not make sense but tone is pretty subjective anyways. I used an old, cheap Stagg SG-style guitar and a Peavey Rotor EXP straight into the amp with no effects. My cabinet is a home built cab with two Celestion G-10 Vintage speakers.
- Low-Gain Input - This channel sounds a tad stale. It's nice and warm but it lacks girth. I don't think it's creamy or sweet enough. It's very much loud though, and a decent neck pickup combined with a nice clean boost would let you get a solid clean out of this. I've yet to experiment with different effects such as reverb, delay, or phaser to see if I could get some nice psychedelic tones out of it, but I imagine it'd sound just fine. I could see myself playing a bit of post-rock on there with a solid reverb or something cranked all the way up.
- High-Gain Input - I feel like this is what the majority of the people who get this amp are going to be using this for. This is the more versatile channel I feel when it comes to playing without pedals. If you roll your volume knob on your guitar back to two or three, you can get a lightly distorted, crisp, smooth bluesy sound, perfect for jamming to classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin. Turn it all the way to 10 and you'll get a nice 80s crunch that screams both Metallica and Acid Bath at the same time. The distortion on here is definitely very vintage sounding; more modern metal such as Animals as Leaders or Meshuggah would sound very off on this amp (if you're looking for those tones, may I recommend the 5150?). My main complaint with this channel is that the distortion is too buzzy. It's easily fixable when you mess around with the EQ and dip switches (which I'll get to soon) but it still ends up sounding like there's at least a bee or two having the time of their life inside the tubes. This buzz could be fairly easily fixed with a noise gate or some sort of overdrive to tighten up the signal (which I recommend you do).
- EQ - The amp is naturally bright and warm sounding so rolling off a bit of the highs might be okay. Otherwise, I can't say much about the EQ. Just toy around with it for a good while till you find the tone you're looking for.
- Dip Switches - There's 8 dip switches on here that all shape your tone in both subtle and major ways. This is easily my favorite feature on the entire amp.
- Gain 1 & 2 - Gain 1 adds a very subtle, somewhat thin and vintage-y level of distortion to the amp. I'm personally not a huge fan of this; it makes the tone slightly brittle and weak sounding. The user manual seems to imply that this is best used at lower gain setting in order to drive a clean signal into a slightly more distorted and creamy tone. I can see it doing this but I think you're better off with a clean boost. This is just my personal opinion though. Gain 2 is the opposite of Gain 1. Gain 2 has a more pronounced mid and low end bump to it as well as slightly more gain than the other gain switch. This makes it very good for metal as it helps add some much needed fatness to the tone when playing heavy riffs. I personally use Gain 2 for my typical distorted tone but I can see some use of Gain 1 for clean boosts.
- Compressor - This compressor is the most noticeable effect on this amp. With a flick of a switch, your tone is instantly changed. Despite being compressed, it sounds like it very slightly reduces gain and it significantly reduces volume, requiring your to turn your post-gain in order to reach the same level of volume. It makes your tone much smoother sounding and tightens up the sound quite a bit. It also gives a bit more kick. Sadly, I think it chokes out too much of the dynamics in the tone for my taste. I can see this being used with Gain 1 for a better clean tone, but this just isn't for me.
- Low 1&2, Mid, and High 1&2 - These settings are quite self explanatory; Low 1&2 boost the low end, Mid boosts your midrange, and High 1&2 give your treble a bit more edge. I personally like to leave these all on. They help give the guitar sound some weight and pulls the signal together, making everything sound more consistent (although in a different way than the compressor). Surprisingly, both low switches on doesn't result in a muddy distorted mess and as long as you have decent EQ, the high switches don't result in a brittle, razor sharp tone. The Mid boost is the more subtle of effects and like the Low, helps give an extra level of girth to the tone, although in a more "natural" and subtle way.
- Presence - According to the user manual, this boosts the extreme high frequencies by 6 dB but I think there's slightly more wizardry here than just that. It gives the tone more attack and gain than just your average high boost would and in a weird way acts like a compressor, tightening up your tone. I personally like to leave this at 10 but if you're looking for a smoother sound and want less attack, leaving it at a lower setting sounds fine.
Overall I love the sounds I can get out of this. It has great tone shaping tools and they don't take too long to get accustomed to. The gain and sound overall is somewhat brittle, buzzy, and flubby, but the amp's built in tone shaping tools help fix that and any other remaining issues can be fixed by your standard tube-screamer and/or noise gate. // 8
Reliability & Durability: For an amp older than I am, it certainly looks better. I haven't gigged or brought this thing around anywhere aside from my living room to my bedroom and back a couple of times, but if it's survived this long and is still in great shape, it's certainly durable enough for regular use. Only issue is that it's a tube amp and, of course, tube amps have the issue of tubes being easily breakable, burning out, getting old, etc. but if you've owned tube amps before this isn't much of an issue. It's solid (and heavy as hell!) and feels like a tank. I wouldn't drop it down a stairwell or anything but yeah, it's durable. // 9
Overall Impression: I've only played with this thing for, say, 8 hours or so and I love it. It sounds great, is durable, somewhat versatile, and has tons of great tone shaping tools. I've played for a little over two years now and I've toyed around with several different amps in the past looking for a decent, cheap tube amp and this was one of the best options I found. For metal and punk, this amp is great and for. And if some sick bastard stole this thing from me, I'd kill him, but if I couldn't, I'd buy a new one. // 9
bullseyestrat, on september 03, 2005 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 179.99
Purchased from: Daddy's Junky Music
Features: This head was made in 1987-88, it's all tube rated at 60 watts, a little after the JCM 800 was released. It uses 2 6L6GC power tubes and 4 12AX7 or ECC83, this one has 3 12AX7's and one ECC83 preamp tubes. The amp itself is very simple and straightfoward. It's a single channel with two inputs (low gain and high gain), standard equlizer, pre and post volume controls, and presence. The unique feature on this amp is it has 8 switch DIP on the front controling the tone. The switches include gain 1, gain 2, compression, low 1, low 2, mid, high 1, and high 2. For those who don't know what a DIP switch is, this one is a small block of switches about the size of a tic tac top, and you can only switch it by using a flathead screwdriver or a paperclip. Other features include a standby switch, effects loop in the front, mutiple speaker outputs in the back. For what is was made for, its a great setup. // 8
Sound: I use a Fender 50's Stratocaster with a SDJBjr in the bridge and a Washburn WI64 Deluxe. I play various types of rock, mainly classic rock and heavy metal, and with the right effects, this thing roars. I first used this through a Behringer 412S, and it sounded terrible without a distortion pedal. There was no bottom end to it, just razor highs. I got tired of the 412S after a couple of months, so I went to my local Daddy's, and they had the right cabinet that went with it. The cabinet was a Peavey 412ms. Through that cabinet, it sounded much better. The distortion from the amplifier is adequate. It has a AC/DC or Thin Lizzy type tone, which to me isn't really a bad thing. I honestly think this amp was meant to have effects used through it. As I mentioned in the features, it has a 8 switch DIP that modifies the tone. I've tried them all out, and I could do without the equilizer switches, but the compression switch really helps the tone. It makes the tone less noisy and adds compression. The gain switches sound different from each other, and it adds alot of gain when both are switched on. The only problem with that is it that it's a little noisy. I use a Boss NS2 after a Dunlop JH1, and after a Boss SD1 and a DOD 250 in that order. With any setup, a noisegate is essential. I use the SD1 for the rhythm and the DOD for the leads. Through those pedals, it sounds great, I mean its not superdistorted, but I think this setup defines warm tube distortion. I give it a 5. // 10
Reliability & Durability: When I got it, it had bad power tubes (likely for a 17 year old amp). Being a Peavey, it has a fixed bias, so tube swapping is very easy. I switched the tubes with some Fender Sovtek 5881/6L6 tubes. Like all Peavey Products, it's built like a tank, and I've never had any problems with it, regardless of the fact that it's over 17 years old. // 10
Overall Impression: This was the amp I was looking for. A great sounding amp for very cheap. I tried out a 5150 combo amp before this, and they sound pretty similar. Infact, Eddie Van Halen designed the 5150 amp after the VTM. Anyways, the only thing I wish I had when I bought this was the Boss SD1, to give it more crunch. If it were stolen, I'd track down the theif and give a good beating. Seriously though, I'd probably buy another Peavey tube amp or the same model. I love the tone, through any of my guitars it sounds great. The only thing I don't like about it is that there isn't enough crunch without an overdrive pedal. I'm very satisfied with this head. // 10
unregistered, on january 05, 2008 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 395
Purchased from: Gilbert Guitars
Features: This amp so I am told was built sometime during the '80s and seemed unscathed. The amp is versatile for a single channel amp low gain can get you clean tones up to some moderate overdrive and hi-gain starts where low gain left off and goes all the way up to joe Satriani-esq tones it's a lot of gain but it's not like a mesa cranked to 10. The amp has an effects loop but I have never used it, no headphone jack either, however it has a ground Switch that can get rid of some buzz. For me this amp is just fine how it is I suppose it would be nice to be able to swap the 6l6's for El34's just for the hell of it and Switch between low and hi gain channels but you can do much of this gain adjusting from your guitars volume pot. This amp has a great deal of power definetly enough for me you can power 4 4x12 cabs off of it, I have it hooked up to a Traynor cab with Vintage '30s and it's beautiful it can sooth your soul or rip your head clean off, very loud. This amp has on the front panel 8 dip switches that allow you further tone sculpting and the presence knob don't turn that past like 4 it can get a bit ugly. The amp may not be a recto but it shure screams, mine was retubed with mesa 6l6's when I bought it, great amp for your first foray into tubes or half/full stacks. // 8
Sound: I run a PRS Santana SE and a modded Squier Strat with a Dimarzio X2N in the bridge and a Floyd Rose, though the amp is single channel my paul reed can get decent cleans and some feirce leads, the amp is very sensitive to how you pick and what your volume/tone pot is at. I play blues up to Progressive metal and the amp does these sounds very well however jangly clean I leave to my other amp which is a Fender solid state. Other than very very clean and massivly saturated distortion this amp has done it all. It can be a little noisy with the squire but that may be the wiring job for that guitar. My current setting for the amp is pre gain at 7 post at 2 cause I don't want to piss off the faces across the street my EQ low and mid are at 11 o clock and high is at 12 o clock the gain switches are ingaged actually all are but the compressor and one of the lows system presence is at 2.5 and at this when I grab 10 on the volume pot it sounds nice to my ears. // 9
Reliability & Durability: This thing is a tank I'm pretty shure you could kill someone with it however I would bring a backup for gigs cause there's a chance that someone may drop it and break a tube but I think that would be like the only thing you could break maybe a knob off the front but nothing has happened to it yet. The guy who brough it into the shop had never even changed the tubes and now that it's got new ones I'm pretty shure it'll out last me alsong as I don't chuck it off a high place like 12 feet. // 10
Overall Impression: This is my first tube amp and my first halfstack and I love it yeah I wish it had a few more flashy details but you know what it's like person that never lets you down and dosnt ask for recognition. I've been playin for about 4 years and for me it's perfect, my other amp is a Fender FM212R which is a nice amp but not the same warm sound as the tubes and as mentioned hither to a prs sntana se and a Squier Strat that's been modded by myself. I wish I would have bought the amp as soon as I saw it rather than wait a few days is my only gripe. If it were stolen or lost I would hunt down another because it's vintage and cheaper than a new head and it's just better than the other used heads I tried out. I love the fact o can take the Peavey name off of it so people do not know what I'm playing and the sound range is just awesome for a single channel amp in my expirience anyway, I compared this to a mesa rect o verbe and a solo 50 and ended up getting it bacue it was cheaper and offered close to that range of sounds. If this had a channel switch I'd be a little happier but I'll figure out something to fix that. Great amp for 500 bucks and from the 80's man! // 8
unregistered, on february 16, 2009 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 450
Purchased from: R.I.T. music
Features: the amp was made in 1982 and it's aged like wine. peaple don't usually go for Peavey amps but if you get some of the old ones like this gem you will know the mistake people are making. it's an all tube 60 watt amp that has a matching 4-12" cab. I use the amp in my tiny room and it's more than enough for a stadium. I put it up to two and it shook my whole house. I love the dip switches they instantly change the tone every time you Switch even one of them. basic eq and it's a single channel but I turned my guitar down to two or so and it was crystal clear when strummed normally then if you whale on it a little it gives some Vintage gain sound. that's even with the pre amp all the way up. // 10
Sound: I use two les pauls and one has a Seymour Duncan SH-6 distortion for the bridge and a DiMarzio "the breed" in the neck and the other has 496R and 500T ceramic magnet pickups. my les paul with the r&t pickups sounds just incredible.has just about any tone you want out of it. // 10
Reliability & Durability: The reliability & durability are awesome it's made in the U.S. I would trust it with my life. It has never been broken it has the original tubes and sounds prestine. I plan on buying some new ones but haven't decided wich ones will do this amp any justice. // 10
Overall Impression: I've used a valve king a Peavey windsor and a JCM2000 TSL that my uncle owns and this thing beats all of them exept the Marshall is a tie. I just wish it had two channels but if you are fast enough you can just use your volume knob. I play a lot of randy rhoads stuff by the way as well as angus young and Metallica. // 10