Basic 40 review by Peavey

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 5.9 (9 votes)
Peavey: Basic 40

Sound — 8
I use this with a number of different basses, mainly a Squier MB-5 with DiMarzio Ultra-Jazz pickups installed. It's mostly used for praise and worship music, which is something it does very well. It's not typically noisy at all, being designed as a studio amp, but like most amps it's not entirely immune to RF interference. The sound is fairly transparent. It's not bright, but it's not muddy either. It has a stereotypical bass sound that sits well in most any situation, sort of like a P-bass in amp form. It's not a tone monster by any means, but it gets the job done. The sound stays fairly even until about 75% volume, where it becomes a bit boxy due to the DDT compression circuit mentioned earlier. Clipping is virtually non-existent, both from the pre/power amp and the speaker. It struggles a bit with the low B, but even in dropped tunings will not fart out.

Overall Impression — 9
I've been playing for about four years, and also own a Carvin BX600 and a Hartke A25. I play lots of different styles, an mentioned earlier, and this fits them all quite well. If this were stolen or lost, I would without a doubt try and find a similar one, though the exact model might be difficult to locate. My favorite thing about it has to be the way that the DDT circuit works. Short of plugging an active bass into the high gain input and maxing the volume, it's nearly impossible to make this thing clip. I think that counts as my favorite feature too. What I don't like about it is that it only has a two-prong power cord. It'll give you a nice shock if you plug it in upside-down. As mentioned before, an XLR-out would be useful, though it does have a 1/4" line out if needed. Overall, this amp is a solid workhorse that, will keep on working through conditions that would damage or destroy many other amps. It may not have a lot of character to it's tone, and it may not have a whole lot of features, but it does it's job well and will continue to do so for quite a few years to come.

Reliability & Durability — 10
The build quality on old Peavey stuff like this is amazing. It's made from 3/4" thick plywood, has very strong steel hardware, and is covered with a fabric-reinforced vinyl covering that feels a bit like that Rhino Lining stuff they put in truck beds. I get The Feeling that I could drop this off of the back of a speeding truck and it would just laugh and enjoy the ride. Of course, it does weigh over 50lbs, but that's a small price to pay for durability like this. I would absolutely gig this without a backup. It's never broken down on me, even after a full week of doing 3 hours of music a day at a youth camp at nearly maximum volume. This thing has been through hell and back, and though I regret doing that to it, it's not been damaged and I don't expect it to quit on me anytime soon. It might even outlive me. Honestly, 10 is not enough here.

Features — 8
Mid 80's model, I believe, but I could be wrong. My dad had it for quite a while before passing it to me. It's a solid state, 40W, 112 combo. I play things ranging anywhere from blues-rock to metal, and some jazz-fusion here and there. My band is Christan rock. This amp fits it all fairly well. It's not the most versatile thing ever, having only one channel and a 4-band preamp, but it's fairly easy to at least get into the ballpark of the tone you want. The "bright" Switch, which is +6Db@6KHz, helps a bit. It has a pre out/power in, via a stereo jack, so a stereo cable is needed to use it as an effects loop, but a mono cable can be used as a line out or headphone jack. Pushing a mono cable in to the first contact leaves the power amp on, while inserting it all the way disables it. An XLR out would be nice, but a mic has always worked fine with it. It also has high and low gain inputs, with low gain being a 6dB pad. I used it for three years playing church gigs. It's louder than any other amp this size I've ever seen, and is the only sub-50W amp I've ever known to keep up with a drummer in a Live situation, though I was really pushing it. Part of this ability comes from the DDT circuit, which is a compressor that all-but eliminates clipping unless the amp is nearly maxed out. This cannot be turned off or down. Overall, for a combo made in the 80's, I'd say it's fairly well-endowed in the features department. Nothing extravagant, but it does what you need it to do.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Couldn't agree more. I bought mine in 1983. Still going strong, never failed me. Weighs a ton. Mine has original three-prong cord. Maybe Peavey changed cords. Don't have a bass; use it with my Fender Stratocaster with good results.
    Mutant Corn
    ^I just opened mine up, and it appears that the power cord has been changed at some point...doesn't look like a factory job. I guess it did come with a 3-prong originally.