5150 Head review by Peavey

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.6 (65 votes)
Peavey: 5150 Head

Price paid: A$ 1000

Purchased from: A Friend.

Sound — 9
The guitars that I use with this amp are both my Epiphone LP w/EMGs and my Ibanez RGR421, with EMG design pups, and both guitars sound great through this head. For a metal tone, there's really not too much you could want. The current settings I have on it are: Gain at 3 o'clock, bass at 3 o'clock, mid at 9 o'clock, treble at 2.30, resonance at 10 o'clock, and presense at 2.30. At these settings, the sound is brilliant, although a touch noisy at higher volumes, with feedback when you turn up around half way. But cutting back on the Gain a tad helps that. The amp does emmit a fair bit of noise, that sounds almost like rain, and this happens in all environments. A noise reducer would definately fix this problem, but I don't seem to be able to get rid of it on the Lead channel. The Clean/Rhythm channel holds up well at all volumes though, either with or without low levels of gain. As previously stated, the amp has a medium variety of sounds that it can produce, but it is best suited to Hard Rock and Metal, due to the immensely satisying distortion tones at your disposal.

Overall Impression — 10
I play mainly heavy metal, and this amp plus metal is a match made in heaven. I've been playing for about 6 years now, and this is the best amp I've owned, others being a Fender, and Ashton, both Solid States. I wish I had asked more about the tubes, seeing as I have little experience with them, but I can always learn through the wonders of the intewebz. Should this amp be stolen, god forbid, if I found a Peavey 6505 in my price range, I would probably go for one of those, simply because they're newer, and they're generally the same amp. I absolutely love the sound I get from the amp, I also quite dig the look of it. The only thing I hate about it, is the rain-like noise at high volume and distortion levels. My favourite features are both the sound of the amp, and the "5150" marking in the centre of the amp, love that marking. I compared this to a Randall V2, which I had the chance to buy, from the same owner. I chose the 5150 because it had more attitude, and generally seemed to be better than the Randall. For heavier sounds, this is all you need.

Reliability & Durability — 9
Durability doesn't seem like an issue with this baby. It's built solid, and meant to take a beating [it also weighs a freakin tonne]. I've used this at 2 gigs in the 2 weeks I've owned it, without a backup, and it's run fine on both occasions, as well as rehearsals and home use. There's been no breakdowns this far, and if you carry spare tubes around with you, you'll never have a problem.

Features — 8
I don't know which year the amp was made, but it's an original 5150, so I would guess between 1990 and 1995? it's quite a versatile amp, but performs best in Hard Rock and Metal applications, without a doubt. The gain can be set for an older style, AC/DC style gain, to a balls to the wall New-metal tone. The clean isn't the best, but it does the job quite well, and if you throw some effects at it, it does the job quite well indeed. there's 2 Channels, a Rhythm [clean/low gain] and Lead [High Gain, both work with a High Gain / Low Gain configuration. Channel Switching is available, though mine did not come with a footswitch. It also has an Effects Loop in and out, at the rear panel of the head. To me, there's really nothing else I could want at this point. It has everything I need [I had a spare footswitch lying around that I use to Switch channels]. I don't use the clean channel all that much. This amp gets use at home, in a rehearsal space and at gigs. I have had it for 2 weeks now, and it's been lugged around at least 5 times out of the house. It came outfitted with 5 Sovtek 12Ax7 LPS Preamp tubes, and 4 Electro-Harmonix 6L6GC Power Amp tubes. I can't compare the tube's sound as this is my first tube amp.

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Just incase some of you didnt know... 5150 is police code for an insane, reckless person.
    Everyone thinks these are metal only amps. I used to own a 5150 II Head/ Marshall 1960A and played in a side band that did a lot of Pink Floyd covers. I used the clean from the 5150 II with effects in the front and loop for all the gigs. I even used the gain from the 5150 II to get some of Gilmour's different dirty sounds. All played with a '57 Fender Strat loaded with EMG SA's. Guess what... it sounded very good. Maybe not dead-on Gilmour, but it worked very well. So, these are more versatile than you might think!
    I've been playing on this Amp for about 2yrs now, and I've yet to be disappointed. I play Death Metal/Hardcore/Melodic styles and it works amazingly. The only thing i dont like about the amp is the clean channel sounds a lil hollow and sterile. But a Chorus pedal fixed that. Oh and a Noise Gate is a must with this beast. All in all its an amazing amp with an amazing versatile sound.
    Awesome amp. Best amp for metal in its price range other than the Engl Screamer.
    ive been unhappy with mine for a while..until i tried an old speaker that was PROPERLY worn in. It totally took all the harsh fuzz and brittleness off it. totally satisfied with it now.
    lol, in the first review
    I guarantee you that leaving a 5150's gain dial on 5 will destroy any Marshall, Crate, Vox, Orange, or Fender amp -- modified to be dialed to 11
    Most Fenders go to 12, so it would be modding it to go to 13!
    A Certain Death
    SOADriff wrote: Just incase some of you didnt know... 5150 is police code for an insane, reckless person.
    its also one of Van Halen's album names
    The 5150 II has two eq's so im sure you can dial in a much better clean tone but after reading all of these reviews i just put my bid down on ebay This amp is a gamble for me but i honestly think its worth it (I play killswitch, AILD, Dethklok, BFMV, etc ) Cant wait to get it =)