3120 review by Peavey

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.3 (34 votes)
Peavey: 3120
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Price paid: $ 999

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 8
So as for sound...I have too many guitars but I mainly play an ESP with EMGs, Fender Jaguar Special, '92 Jackson Stealth with Duncans and a Conklin Maple 7 with Bartolinis (scored off ebay, hell yeah). Every guitar sounds unique through it and the amp helps bring out some of the subtleties to each. I play metal...lots of different kinds but as long as I have enough gain to make my balls shake, I'm good. The amp really does a great job with high gain and it's still manageable. The lead has more edge than the rhythm channel and I find I use the rhythm channel a lot, there's plenty of chunk to go around. The clean channel is simply clean, nothing fancy and it sounds solid. The damping Switch really offers a lot on all channels. Normally I leave it in the loose position for a much larger sound. One thing I noticed is that even though I like to scoop mids, this amp really sounds good with some mids in the mix. The active EQ is cool because it doesn't take much to get the effect you want and you still have a lot of headroom. As for variety in sound...anything high gain is fine. If you want blues/jazz you may want to look elsewhere. This amp isn't as gainy as a 5150/6505 however I really like this amp better. It can be just as heavy and you can still tame it, with no fizz, hissing or excess noise. Just plug in and play, it'll do the rest. It still has plenty of headroom and for me I run a MXR 10 Band EQ, Tube Screamer and MI Audio Boost'n Buff to a Decimator in front of it and this thing roars. Surprisingly it still maintains all the nuances of the amps sound even with the stuff I run ahead of it which is always good. I haven't had it loud enough to distort the clean channel but I'd imagine it could be done...at least the idea makes sense so I dunno. Concerning sound I give it an 8 because it really does sound awesome, I just wish it was slightly gainier (I bet a tube/cab swap would help) but in all honesty it really does the job. It's one of the few amps I can sit down on, dial something in quick and sound good on.

Overall Impression — 9
I chose this for the metal head in me and it delivers just fine. I've been playing for roughly six years and this is my first tube head. I originally had a Line 6 HD147 and that too was a great amp but I appreciate the simplicity of the 3120, it suits me much, much better. Other gear...pedals as listed above. I have no regrets for purchasing it and I feel it will last me for quite some time. In its price range I don't feel it can be beat. If lost/stolen I would seek justice in the form of a 185 grain jacketed hollow point and get my gear back. No, seriously, I like it a lot and I'd have it replaced ASAP. In short, it delivers, it's simple and it rocks. What more can you ask for? I don't feel I can do any product justice by comparing it, each amp has its own character. I happen to like the character of this, for me. I'd strongly recommend giving it a shot, Peavey did a great job as usual. I feel like I struck gold with this, especially because it's affordable. With this amp I have nothing to lose and so much to gain. Overall I'll give it a 9. Nothing can ever be perfect and there are some things about it I wish were different but so far I have nothing to really complain about. Check it out.

Reliability & Durability — 9
Reliability...it's a Peavey..nuff said. Durability, again...Peavey. In all seriousness it's solid built, gig ready and I don't foresee any issues with it suddenly falling apart or anything like that. It's built to last and the weight should be testament to the fact. I haven't had it more than a few weeks so if it's going to break down on me hopefully it wont be for a while. I'll rate it a 9 because I haven't had it too terribly long and just because I see no issues doesn't mean there couldn't be.

Features — 8
Brand New, 2009 I believe. Three channel, 120 watt all tube with 4 12ax7 preamp (one is a driver) and 4 EL34s poweramp tubes. Clean, rhythm and lead channels. Rhythm and lead channels have separate active EQ, volume and gain. Clean has it's dedicated EQ. Back panel has FX loop with send/return level knobs, line out with level and selectable 4, 8 and 16 ohm for different cabs. The most notable feature is the damping Switch located on the back. It's a three position slider for loose, mid and tight feels and effects all three channels like resonance and contour. Oh and of course master/channel volume and a footswitch. As far as my feelings go on features, it's simple and effective. It has just enough to get the job done, no more, certainly no less. My biggest complaint is the damping Switch. I love having the options but not having the ability to shape each of the positions is not as attractive as having knobs for it. The Switch makes a huge difference but control is cool. Another complaint is that it comes with a Windsor cab. I don't have a problem with the Peavey Windsor...but the Windsor cab clearly belongs with the Windsor Head...go figure. I know the 3120 comes free with the cab but...it doesn't do the head justice. It definitely needs a better cab, no joke. For features I'll rate it an 8 because of lack of true damping control, not a good cab and it really is a barebones amp concerning features.

16 comments sorted by best / new / date

    TechnicolorType
    againsteternity wrote: I'm a bass player just to start out and when I was looking at the amp head and on the top row it say "lead" and on the bottom it says "rhythm" what different things can you do on both rows
    Just two different channels for lead and rhythm. Even if you're a bass player you should know what the different between playing lead and rhythm is. So tired of all these bass/ electric guitar newbies like you.
    fairycake92
    TechnicolorType wrote: againsteternity wrote: I'm a bass player just to start out and when I was looking at the amp head and on the top row it say "lead" and on the bottom it says "rhythm" what different things can you do on both rows Just two different channels for lead and rhythm. Even if you're a bass player you should know what the different between playing lead and rhythm is. So tired of all these bass/ electric guitar newbies like you.
    and im tired of elitists like you... but anyway, sounds like a fairly decent amp might check it out when shop orders it in
    ProgFolk12
    Good Review, but you keep saying it's simple: 3 channels, 120 watts and separate active EQ's doesn't sound like what I call simple
    s1stem
    if you compare the peavey with the line 6 hd147, than this is amp IS simple
    celticstorm84
    I see what you mean. My previous amp had one EQ section for everything which had ups and downs. With this, what you see is what you get and once you dial in the channels all you do is stomp away on the foot switch...it's more intuitive. I'm not the brightest crayon in the box and it works great for me, I haven't touched any knob except volume in almost two weeks.
    celticstorm84
    s1stem : if you compare the peavey with the line 6 hd147, than this is amp IS simple
    Haha, couldn't agree more.
    bjovi400
    From experience with these, this is just a warmer XXX with EL34's. These are actually phasing out the XXX's. Peavey took them off the site and added the 3120
    againsteternity
    I'm a bass player just to start out and when I was looking at the amp head and on the top row it say "lead" and on the bottom it says "rhythm" what different things can you do on both rows
    celticstorm84
    As far as circuitry goes, I have no idea what's going on. However, the rhythm channel is just for that. It has a tad less gain and is thicker with more bottom response than the lead channel which is a bit brighter, has more edge and a little more gain. It's just enough to cut through the mix for lead playing. Personally I use the rhythm channel a lot, I find that since I'm not the shred type that it works good for my rhythm game.
    J.J.G.
    I was looking forward for a XXX but i guess ill give tis one a try. i guess the diference is in the tubes. If this one sounds warmer i might get it instead...
    justinb904
    bjovi400 wrote: From experience with these, this is just a warmer XXX with EL34's. These are actually phasing out the XXX's. Peavey took them off the site and added the 3120
    I was wondering why Peavey put out this amp beings they have both the 6505 and XXX for high gain along with the JSX but if it's going to replace the XXX then that makes more since I guess. I've always wanted to hear a Peavey with EL34's so I'll have togive this a try.
    Shinozoku
    ProgFolk12 wrote: Good Review, but you keep saying it's simple: 3 channels, 120 watts and separate active EQ's doesn't sound like what I call simple
    How does a wattage rating effect how simple an amp is in the LEAST? And 3 channels with individual EQ IS simple. It's just additions of reverb, presence/density, contour knobs, and various other buttons and switches that makes an amp not simple. Example: Mesa Mark IV or V, and Mesa Road King.
    Aftertime
    sounds like it's the non signature model of a jsx head. looks interesting :\
    ProgFolk12
    ^ I spose I just think stuff like Blues Junior's are simple. I guess that's just me, I like single channel amps.
    Sam Wotrey
    metal4ever6328 : Jackson + Peavey = win
    +9000.1 This man speaks the truth. (Jackson players FTMFW.)