5150 Head 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: 8.6 (65 votes)
Peavey: 5150 Head

Price paid: $ 1100

Purchased from: Daddy's Junky Music

Sound — 9
I use many guitars with this amp, and I use it to Drive a few different cabs depending on the situation. I can go from a smaller 2X12 cab, to a single 4X12 to two 4X12 (1960A/1960B), again depending on the situation. The main guitars going through the amp would be a 05 Les Paul Studio, 95 Ibanez Iceman, and a 90 Ibanez RG550. I own other guitars but these are my main guitars. None have been modified and I use Fender Bullets (9's) or Fender Super Bullets (9's) depending on the guitar. I also use high end cables to connect my effects to the effects loop, connecting the guitar to the head and speaker cables for the cabinets.

Overall Impression — 10
In my opinion, this is the first amp ever that had a huge amount of hype prior to it's release and the 5150 was able to Live up to it's hype. I play all styles of music but when it comes to Rock, or Metal this is the Go To Amp. If something was to happen to this amp I would replace it with the same amp/series. I love everything about this amp, and would not change anything except for the addition of a led in the foot Switch to tell when the amp is using it's effects loop. Prior to this amp I owned a Marshall JCM800 2203, 100 watt head and the Marshall cabs. When I purchased my Marshall I did so as a impulse buy and did not research it as much as I should have. The one thing I hated about the Marshall was the overdrive distortion. I was almost 20 years younger when I purchased the Marshall and I really wanted the tone Randy Rhodes, Eddie V Halen, Ace Freely and Judas Priest to name a few. I found out that my basic Marshall even with swapping out the pre-amp tubes still did not give me the sound going to the hottest pre-amp tubes available. So I purchased a Boss HM pedal and used the pedal to over Drive the head. When Peavey released the 5150 it's one of the few tube amps that has a fantastic tone without using a outboard distortion / overdrive pedal. One really neat trick a friend showed me with this amp, which you should be able to use on any tube amp. Rather than using the pre-amp to boost the distortion, crank the power tubes and use very little pre-amp; it's a really smooth sound. I would compare this amp to a Mesa, or any other Rock / Metal amp. While Peavey might not be known as a leading guitar amp mfg, they hit a serious home run with the 5150. Just a warning for those thinking about with purchasing the 5150 or 6505 Combo, these are easily the heaviest combo amps in production. The 5150 / 505 Head is also very heavy but it's worth it's weight in gold; and that would be $ 1, 047, 124.00 at todays rate of $ 774.50 per ounce.

Reliability & Durability — 10
Since I purchased this amp new when it was released; not one issue at all. I have nothing else to say but the web page will not allow me to post unless I write more here.

Features — 9
My 5150 was the first 5150 sold in the Hartford Ct branch of Daddy's Junky Music, so it's a first edition, first run etc. I have used this amp in a few bands covering mostly rock, alternative and metal. Styles ranging from the early 70's rock to the latest styled music. I do a huge amount of research prior to purchasing anything. Especially a amp. The Eddie involvement and tubes sold me on this head. 120 watts being pumped out of a all tube amp with gain to spare for those who love distortion. I do not use a distortion, overdrive, or any type of gain pedal with this amp. The distortion is really unbelievable, the few pedals I use go through the effects loop as the amp is designed. I also have the amp set up for 8 ohms and run both sides (L and R) at the same time; it's just better for it. The primary channel has a bright Switch and a gain Switch to overdrive the primary channel. I do not use either button, but this is my preference and no way reflects badly towards this amp. This amp also has a really neat feature that most guitar amps should when they are purchased as a head. The power cord of the amp is attached to the amp and attached to the rear of the amp are two plastic hangers so you can roll the cord up and keep it neat with the head, what a great idea. I have attached a small velcro strip to wrap around the power cable once it is coiled to hold it in place. The primary and lead channels share the eq, as they also share the presence and resonance function. I also love the look of the amp with the older chicken styled pointers on the rotary controllers. Also part of this review is supposed to cover if the amp has enough power, lets just say in the entire time I have owned this amp I have yet to go over 4 on the post gain with either channel. The final and most important thing abut the amp is it's dual inputs for your guitar, either use the lower or higher gain inputs. I almost always use the higher gain input, period. My only suggestion with this amp (and I believe the same hold true to the 6505) it would be nice to have a small led light to let you know the amps effects loop is turned on/off. The only way you know is to turn on a effect and listen; again it's the only issue I have with the amp.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I have been to the Peavey engineering department. I talked to chris who is one of the main electrical engineers/technicians. He told me that not one thing was changed electronically between the 5150 and the 6505. When EVH left Peavey, they renamed the 5150 to 6505 in memory or Hartley Peavey's wife. They married in 1965, and she passed away in 2005, hence the name 6505.