Price paid: $ 550
Purchased from: Gutiar Center
Sound — 10
I play on a steinberger usa guitar with dimebucker pickups (similar to EMG 89/85's). I tune my guitar into dropped B so it's very low but it still sounds extremely clear and brutal. I can't get enough of how this amp sounds. I use it in the studio for recording and the tracks that I get sound so raw and heavy with this head. It sounds great with celestion speakers. The amp itself is very quiet depending on what type of cabinet you are using. There can be a little white noise coming from the speakers but you can't hear it when you're playing. You can get ear bleeding razor edge highs with this amp. You can hear this amp, it will cut through anything you put with it. This is a lead head and if you play that style you will stand out. I have put this amp next to Peavey valvekings, and a mesa Triple Rectifier and the people outside the room looked in after I played through the 5150 and said "Wow, that sounds really good". If you use low tunings and play on very high gain this amp will not dissapoint. I have never been able to get this clarity through any other amp. I could barely tune to C# without sounding muddy. Now I can tune to B and get cutting edge clarity and extreme gain. The harmonics you get from this head are insane! You can punch our extreme leads lines and finish them off with a great pinch that will turn heads. I never play on the clean settings ever so I can't comment on that, but it doesnt't matter much for my style of play. The distortion is where this amp is at. When I first got it I just kept hitting the low B string in a power chord for like 10 minutes just appreciating how amazing it sounded. It sounds incredibly raw and awesome! My very favorite part of this amp is the feedback. After you let your low chord ring out and it starts to ring with that great tube amp sound you're in heaven. It adds a lot of depth between songs in your set. This is a pro amp. If you are serious about your music and gigging this is a great investment.
Overall Impression — 9
I have been playing for 3 years, which seems short, but I have dedicated my life to my playing and my equipment. All the money I make goes into my equipment and finding the sound I need. The only thing I asked before buying the head was when it was last retubed. I would surely buy this head again if it were at the price I paid for it. Since this model is no longer made I would be forced to buy used or buy the 6505. I would be willing to spend over a thousand on this head again once I got serious with gigging and recording again but otherwise I would settle with a Crate blue voodoo (greatly underrated amp). You all already know what I love about this amp and if you put this next to a dual or Triple Rectifier (thousands of dollars) set on the Vintage setting the gain sounds very similar. Aside from the mesa's being very noisy heads. This head has a lot of clarity and on the right guitar with the right pickups you can get a great distortion tone. I've heard this amp on a PRS guitar and it sounded pretty muddy and nothing too special. You need the right pickups to do this head justice. I've played it on crappy Schecter Omen 6 guitars with the default pickups and it sounded brutal (the good kind). Great amp that I will use the rest of my life.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I always gig without a backup. I have never had this amp breakdown. I bash this amp around every gig and I leave it in extreme conditions such as below 0 weather and blistering heat. I have never heard a sound difference and there is not a single blemish on the head. My cabinet on the other hand is very scarred but the 5150 remains perfect looking. This thing is tough! You can throw it down a flight of stairs and if the tubes don't break you can still use it! Peavey makes extremely high quality amps. I have owned 3 of them now. I have greatly abused all of them and never had them breakdown.
Features — 8
100% tube, 2 channels, lead and rythme, an effects loop and speaker out, ground lift Switch, and everything else that you'd need on the back of your amp. It's 120 watts power and in the right cabinent can knock picture frames off walls. The front has 2 channels, rythme and lead, the lead has more gain than the rythme of course. The rythme has a crunch and bright Switch. For the style I play it has all the features I need, and that is one channel with extreme gain. I can simply switch the the rythme channel for any softer parts in songs then click back in to the lead. I don't use any pedals (aside from the footswitch) or rack units but it has an effects loop if you needed to. I was looking for something simple that didn't cost 2000 dollars and did the job well and I found the perfect amp. I play 100% hardcore metal. I have owned many amps (B52, Mesa Triple Rectifier, Crate, and other Peavey amps). For the style I play I couldn't have found a more suitable amp. I play shows with my hardcore metal band regularly at venues through a PA and without a PA. I have bashed the head around on walls and left it in freezing temperatures for weeks and it hasn't effect the sound at all. I gig with this head a lot and have never brought a backup head. Full tube amp that sounds simply incredible.