Max 158 review by Peavey

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  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 6.4 (14 votes)
Peavey: Max 158

Price paid: £ 85

Purchased from: GAK Brighton

Sound — 7
I am using Fender 2010 American Special as standard with Twin Jazz pickups and the Greasebucket tone circuit. I play mainly: Funk, Rock, Grunge, reggae and pop. Does it suit: Funk: some, it will suit funk with a very bassy bass line such as bootsy Collins but requires ALOT of Eq to get a reasonable RHCP/Incubus style sound. Something like bass reduced by 50% and rest increased a lot. Rock: Fine, if not a little muddy but its ok if I have to put it into words those who own Ashdown amps, its got the same bassy qualities as the large amps but a big lack of note definition. That being said I can still make out individual notes. Grunge: Works lovely for this due to the minor distortion problem adding to the effect, also I personally find it easier to get note definition at Drop tunings Reggae: Fine, the muffled bassy sound makes this a lovely amp for me to play with for the slower songs, on the faster riddems I have to roll tone on a bit more and some more bridge to increase clarity. Pop: this is fine as no one really minds my tone when playing pop its all about the catch lines... It has large distortion starting at about 2 and getting annoying at around 4 and up, however playing at 4 means you are being obnoxiously loud if you live in anything but a detached house in which case I would get a larger amp for practice as you can have rehearsal sessions at home. For a 15 watt amp it is really quite loud.

Overall Impression — 9
Nice amp, nice full bass sound compared to the Hartke 15 watt bass combo I tried alongside. It can throw out anything I want it to. I have been playing bass for 1.5 years and I played guitar for 2 years previously and have owned, cheap 20watt electric guitar amps, Roland Micro Cube, Crate 210 combo for guitar, 10 watt bass practice amp Gear4 own brand I think, Ashdown Electric Blue 180 12 Inch Version and this. For basses I own: Peavey Zodiac BXP and Fender American Special Jazz Bass. If it were stolen or lost I would like to try out the Ampeg 108 however if that wasn't satisfactory this is the best practice amp I have tried ever which is no accolade as it is only better then a Gear4, Hartke and a HiWatt. I love the very bassy tone which I couldn't find without EQ on other practice amps which allows me to play the music I want to such as grunge and reggae without having to bring a larger combo to my uni flat.

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Reliability & Durability — 10
It seems solid and well built I would depends on it for years as a home amp. If I was practicing/trying to gig with a small acoustic group or practice with a electric drummer (I stress not a live drummer) I would say it should survive well as long as you don't crank it. I would never take this to an outside gig or a gig with a drummer or a loud audience as it is simply a practice amp at heart and isn't powerful enough for a gig. If you regularly play past 6-8 I have this feeling you are gradually coning the amp and it will become a horrible muddy mess. Remember just because it can go JUST loud enough for a drummer practice doesn't mean it should.

Features — 8
Ok features, this amp has a basic 3 band EQ, bass mid and treble and works much like any other EQ you will have come across, twist left and you reduce the amplitude of the selected frequencies and turn right and the amplitude is increased. This works perfectly fine and is a basic staple in the combo industry, I personally like having a 5 band eq like on the Ashdown EB series but this is a Practice amp AND VERY CHEAP so I honestly don't expect a 5 band EQ or need one for bedroom practice, this is never going to get gigged out. The only feature worth mentioning is the different 'voicing' option, this when calibrated can be a useful tool if you are going to town practicing as the 'vintage' voicing sounds a bit more scooped so thus if you work it out nicely you can have two separate tones for example one for rock and one for reggae with a switch instead of having to re eq. I am going to give this a decent rating as it has the basics and a voicing option, a distortion effect would be nice but I find on bass its not needed for practice like it is on a guitar (imo).

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