Hey guys -- I promise this is the last "what new amp" thread from me (for at least a year, hehe). Unless a used Peavey Classic 30 head pops up in the next 3-4 days somewhere in the U.S., I'm planning to order a used Valveking of some variety.

I have played both the 20 watt Valveking II combo and the older versions, but it's been quite some time.

I really want a head, but I'd be willing to go for one of the older combos. Anyway, I've found the micro-heads used on GC for $300, but there's a lot of the Mk 1 112 combos for $200.

Basically, what I want to know is whether or not the Valveking "II" series has any legitimate improvements on tone over the older models. I want this amp primarily for its cleans, and part of me thinks that the older 112 combo with its two 6L6 power tubes will have a lot more headroom and sound cleaner. But one advantage of the 20 watt MH is that maybe I can push it into power tube breakup and get some nicer classic rock crunch without giving myself tinnitus quite as soon. With the combo, I'd likely convert it into a head anyway, so that desire is covered either way.

TL/DR: For those of you that have played or owned the VK "II" series vs. the older models -- is there any real difference in tone (**especially on cleans), besides the 6L6 PTs vs. EL 84s? I should mention, also, that I won't be needing this amp to do "modern metal" at all. I have a 6505. I want excellent cleans as a priority, and nice crunch/hard rock levels of gain; maybe up to thrash if boosted with my OD. I have a nice assortment of reverb, delay, EQ, and OD pedals to hit this thing with.
i don't own both but have tried the new version several times. honestly i didn't hear any real difference tone wise. the new version has a couple of bells and whistles but didn't really sound any better to my ears. the clean channel is really good. you'd have to turn up even the 20 watt version pretty loud to get power amp distortion worth getting excited about.
For cleans and classic rock I'd be looking at a Bugera V55, Blues Junior, homebrew Champs and the like. Not a Valveking of any stripe.

On the other hand, $200 is pretty cheap so that's not a bad idea. Haven't tried the new version yet.
The VK I have, a 1st series 112 50w 6L6, is meh in comparison to what it copies. Good for sub $300 USD though, of course (and you've found some for $200?). The cleans are okay but there are no master/preamp controls to get break-up; and the break-up you can get is usable but not too pleasing. The drive channel is a bit better but can be fizzy and/or farty. With some eq and tone-chasing, you can get the amp sounding fairly nice though.

I tried one of the 2nd series 112's for a short time and thought it was mostly the same, maybe a bit more refined. I am not sure if I was playing on the 20w (EL84) or the 50w (6L6) model though. I think I prefer EL84's over 6L6 anyway. The clean channel on my amp starts to break up pretty early for me, too, around 2 o'clock with a dummy jack. Without the dummy jack it just does not have that much volume. It probably needs some new tubes soon, though.

Really I think this amp is a "jack of all trades, master of none." If you want more pleasing, boostable crunch, I would think the MH would be able to do it better. Of course you will have less clean headroom as a result, but you should have plenty of volume to do recording and mic'ed gigs. Same for the 50w.

And you would use either in a head format, good. The stock VK speakers are garbage. And the 112 housing can hold it back, too. So a 212 or a 412 would help out as well.

Also if you are wondering what the vari-class/texture doo-hick does sonically, here is what I hear: Towards the right on A/B, it sounds cleaner with more pronounced bass. In the middle it sounds like it sags, a tad bit grimier with less bass. On the left to A, the bass is back in but it breaks up a bit easier. Useful for the clean channel and to help get maybe a variac-like sound on the lead channel.
Last edited by Will Lane at Feb 18, 2016,
I should have stated I don't really want "breakup" on the clean channel. I want it clean -- to be used with heaps of reverb and delay for ambient playing. I like warm, darker cleans. From the time I've spent with Valvekings, they seem to be criminally underrated in that regard (warm, smooth cleans).

When I say "classic rock" I'm referring to harder gain sounds as well. So more like late-70s and eighties marshally type gain. I have an MXR M77 that I'd be boosting it with, plus would run one of my MXR 10-bands in the loop.

I can play as loud as I want any time, so getting power tube distortion isn't a problem, as long as the amp can do it. My 6505 can't really get PT distortion at all, not that it's designed for it anyway. I've tried though, and it still doesn't do it even at ear-bleed volumes.

I would buy a Classic 30 head but I cannot find one for sale anywhere...

I won't buy a Bugera either. I'm starting to think a decent amp can't be bought in my budget range...
Last edited by KailM at Feb 18, 2016,
I haven't tried the mk2 versions, so I won't comment on that. But, I have a Mk1 112 combo sitting in the corner right now. If you you know you like the cleans on that, I'd say go for the mk1 combo and use the difference in price to upgrade the speaker. You can get some pretty nice low gain sounds out of the dirty channel.
Though I will say, for warm, dark cleans my Carvin V3 is fantastic and imo, better than the VK at it. However, the VK probably wins for low/mid gain settings.
i still wouldn't recommend a VK. i had the 100 watt V1 model. its just OK. not really noteworthy.

be patient and get a classic 30. they are (IMO) superior to the VK's, especially the cleans (which should be obvious).
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The VK II (I think I played 50 watt head) seemed a bit more focused sounding as whereas the older one was a bit looser, more spongy sounding. I think they improved it a touch. The QC seemed a bit better as well, the Mk I seems to have a bit of flimsiness/play on all the controls, the Mk II doesn't. They have a few other bells an whistles thrown in (don't remember now) but I felt it was a better product. I still liked the Mk I quite a bit for the price if it weren't for the QC seeming just a touch iffy. Mind me, not Behringer iffy, I'd say more Egnater iffy
Well, I tried an older VK 212 combo yesterday (100 watts I believe; w/ 6L6 power tubes). Cleans were good -- quite good. OD was meh. I realize it's got crap speakers. I'd be running a Valveking through a 412 cab with Emi Governors/Swamp Thangs. Anyway, the OD channel was underwhelming, though I didn't have any pedals nor was I cranking it. Still on the fence about the VK series...

I also tried an Orange Tiny Terror. Beautiful overdrive, but man, I'm glad I didn't just order one of those blindly. It really struggled to get cleans. I was finally able to get some cleans by running the volume waaaay up and the gain at almost zero AND dialing back the volume on the guitar -- but IMO that's too much effort to get usable cleans.

Finally, on a whim, I tried a Fender Super Champ X2 combo. Gorgeous cleans! I realize it's not a full tube amp -- but I'll take tone where I can get it. It's got only one preamp tube and 6v6 power tubes for 15 watts. The mid gain "British" type tones seemed pretty good too. I see that they make a head version as well. I'm thinking strongly about this amp...

Your thoughts?