#1
I have an old 1980s Peavey Session 500 BW Eqipped (Mark IV Series) with a 15 inch speaker and it's a decent amp. But there are a lot of controls on here that get me thinking. And the tone I'm getting through a regular electric guitar just doesn't seem right. Here's basically all the controls:

Input:
1 and 2

Pedal:
To and From

Pre:
Gain (0-10)

String Effect:
Level (0-10)
Edge (Off, 0-10)

Active Equalization:
Low (-15 - +15)
Paramid (-15 - +15)
Shift (150-1.5K)
High (-15 - +15)
Presence (-12 - +12)

Post:
Gain (0-10)

Phase:
Color (0-10)
Rate- (Off, 0-10)

Master:
Reverb (0-10)
Variable Crossover (50-500)

Someone help me try to find out what these means and get the best tone for this amp. When I sometimes turn the knobs they make loud crackle noises.
1996 Fender Tex Mex Stratocaster
1994 Ibanez Iceman ICB300 Bass
2011 Custom Gibson Les Paul
1984 Morley Power Wah
Squier P Bass
1983 Peavey Session 500
Line 6 POD 2.0.
Various BOSS Pedals
Pearl Forum Series Drums
#2
Quote by Dcat1000
And the tone I'm getting through a regular electric guitar just doesn't seem right.
And why is that exactly?
Quote by Dcat1000
When I sometimes turn the knobs they make loud crackle noises.
Old, scratchy pots.

Two inputs are simply two inputs, they're probably the same if they're only labeled input 1 & 2.

Pedal to and from probably is an fx loop.

Gain is the preamp gain, basically how much signal is going into the "string effect" thing and the EQ.

String effect I don't really know, you should try and see for yourself.

Active equalization is an active EQ with mid frequency control, meaning that you choose the intensity of the middle frequency with the "paramid" knob and you choose the middle frequency with the shift knob.

Post gain is the output gain control, probably right before the power section (or the phase inverter if the thing has a phase inverter).

Phase likely is a phase, of which you control the intensity/depth with the color knob and the rate/speed with the rate knob.

The reverb is how much reverb the thing puts in the signal, and crossover is the crossover frequency.
I don't really know why they would put such a thing on a mono amp, but maybe (though unlikely) the thing is bi-amped.

TL;DR try everything and choose what sounds best to you.
Name's Luca.

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Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
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#3
What sound are you trying to get?
Try starting with everything at zero (except the volume!) and then twiddle each knob all the way from min to max and see how it changes your sound. For the effects you might need to use the rate/level knobs in conjunction to have any effect though.
The only 6 words that can make you a better guitarist:

Learn theory
Practice better
Practice more
#4
Your unsatisfactory tone is perhaps not surprising. The Peavey Session 500 was specifically designed to be a pedal steel guitar amplifier, and so its tone controls, preamp, and effects were designed to produce tones and sounds that pedal steel players crave.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#5
Well I'm going for a rockish tone. I play anything from Pink Floyd to Metallica and Megadeth. But I understand the wiring thing for pedal steel. My setup goes as follows:
96' Fender Strat -> DS1-> CE-2 -> DD-3 -> DD-3 -> RV-5 -> POD 2.0 -> Session 500.
The so called tone issue is it's very grungy sounded when the strings are plucked. And I also have an older Session 400 that I play with also that kills almost way better than the s500 but I think the speaker may have been changed. But any ideas on what to do gents?
1996 Fender Tex Mex Stratocaster
1994 Ibanez Iceman ICB300 Bass
2011 Custom Gibson Les Paul
1984 Morley Power Wah
Squier P Bass
1983 Peavey Session 500
Line 6 POD 2.0.
Various BOSS Pedals
Pearl Forum Series Drums