3120 review by Peavey

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.3 (34 votes)
Peavey: 3120
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Price paid: $ 700

Purchased from: Craigslist

Sound — 9
At this point in time, I play both a Jackson SL3MG with SD Blackouts and a Jackson RR5 with the stock SD JB/Jazz set through this amp (I used to run an ESP/LTD H1000 w/ EMGs, but I traded it for the RR5). It took me a little while to dial in the sounds I like because this thing has so much gain I had to find the sweet spot where it was just enough not to sound fizzy in a live setting. After a lot of gigs and some trial and error, I found it. The trick I learned is that, because of the amount of gain on tap, to keep the gain level relatively low. Honestly, playing metal, I have the rhythm channel gain set to about 10 o' clock and its pretty much perfect. Also what I discovered is that this amp sounds way better with the mids boosted rather than scooped. A lot of people don't realize that mids are important, since that's where most of the guitar's sound comes from. With the lead channel, I set the treble slightly higher, the gain no higher than 12 o' clock, and the mids around 2 or 3 o' clock and its good to go. In all honesty, its hardest to work with the clean channel, which may just be me. It took me the longest to EQ that one where I want it, and there's still room for improvement. The only problem for me was finding the area where it wasn't too boomy, but still received the full attack without being shrill. I got there eventually, by keeping everything just under flat, but it stays clean at relatively high volumes, which isn't quite as common with high gain amps. But since it is a high gain amp, there's gonna be some hiss. Just run even a very basic gate in front and its no problem at all.

Overall Impression — 10
Metal or hard rock is what this amp is made for and it sure as hell delivers. Good for some clean passages, but if you play jazz, blues, funk, whatever, then look elsewhere. Being a high gain monster, it does everything it needs to. I've been playing for a little more than 5 years, I used to own a Mesa Rect-O-Verb head that I sold in order to get this one. It was a good decision, because I like the EL34 sound better than the 6L6s that were in the Mesa, plus the 3-channel design was what I wanted. If it were stolen, I'd either seek unholy vengeance upon the soul of whatever stupid bastard decided to steal my gear, but if worse were to come to worse, I'd honestly probably get something different because I like to experiment. Were I to get something else, I'd try out the Peavey 6534+, the new Egnater Vengeance, or go all out and get an Engl Fireball. Of course, these amps cost more than a 3120, so for the money you can't get much better than the a. I've owned this amp for about a year, and at no point have I regretted buying it.

Reliability & Durability — 10
I've gigged the hell out of this amp, and it hasn't failed me yet. There was a point where I did a gig every weekend over the summer and it held up with no problems at all. Peavey makes some really durable stuff, and this is no exception. I can take this on any gig anywhere without a backup and not have to worry about any break downs or risk of damaging it. My cab has fallen on this thing (my cab weighs an easy 90lbs) and it didn't hurt it at all. I'd never need a backup, which is good because I don't really have the cash to be carrying around 2 midranged to higher end amps everywhere I go. I can confidently say I've used this enough to judge whether its reliable to gig out regularly, and it definitely is.

Features — 9
As most people know, this amp more or less phased out the Peavey XXX head, as its basically the same thing with a new chassis and stock with EL34 tubes, which I prefer anyway. The biggest feature that made me decide to get this was that its a 3-channel amp, with separate EQs for each channel, as well as a master volume that applies to all 3 channels. The lead and rhythm channels have an active 3 band EQ, a gain and a volume control, where the clean channel has a passive 3 band EQ and a volume control, all footswitchable on the footswitch (no duh), with a parallel FX loop with independent send/return levels, which is also footswitchable. If you aren't running anything in the FX loop, then it can be used as a volume boost if you think you need it. At 120 watts, you most likely won't. Plenty of power with this amp. I play a lot of heavy metal, progressive hard rock and the like, so this amp is perfect for me. The only thing that would've been perfect would be footswitchable spring reverb or something, but its not that big of a deal. On the back, you can switch the output between 4, 8, and 16 ohms, depending on how your cab is wired. Also on the back is the unique damping switch, which you can select between loose, mid, and tight. From what I gather from Peavey is that its a combined presence/resonance switch. I think it sounds best in the loose position, as its a good deal louder than mid or tight, and it just sounds more natural to me. It could've been more responsive, but it does what I need it to.

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