Price paid: $ 1200
Purchased from: Sam Ash - New
Sound — 8
My band is a heavier melodic/alternative modern rock band and we typically play anywhere from smaller bars to larger clubs and rehearse in a medium sized finished basement. I bought the amp after hours of A/Bing it at the store with a Valveking, trying to justify the doubled price tag, but in the end the raw gain/power, configuration, and channel 1 of the 6505+ won me over. While the heavy gain channels of both heads were killer, the clean/crunch channel of this amp far outshined the same on the Valveking. It has a much brighter, crisper sound to it and comes across as a higher quality amplifier. And the screaming high gain channel on this amp is enough to make any rock/metal player grin when nailing a power chord. One thing I noticed at the store is that this amp seems to push out near maximum volume in the 6 range on the Post knob and doesn't get a ton louder between 6 and 10, not like it does between 3 and 6 anyways. Once deciding on the head, though, I A/Bed it for a couple hours through a few different cabs, spending most of my time on the Peavey XXX cab and the 6505 cab made for this head. In the end, the 6505 cab was much darker and softer, while the XXX cab made the head scream even more with crisper highs and mids. Being the lead guitarist Who needs to cut through the mix from time to time, I opted for the XXX cab. Now after a few months of rehearsing and gigging with this setup, though, there is one major fact/flaw that sticks out in my mind: this head is just too freaking loud. Like any tube head, it sounds great when cranked, but only when cranked. It has absolutely no balls or crunch to it unless played around 3 or higher on the Post knob and the problem is that even in my loud rock band, 3 is just too loud for most venues unless you're playing a huge club or something outside. And forget it at rehearsals; I'm only playing around 1.8-2 at rehearsals typically and at those volumes, the amp really just does not sound that good. And turning up the gain/distortion (Pre knob) at those volumes just gives you an extremely thin distortion with no low end or mids. You really need to crank the tubes in this thing to make it sound good, but that said, when you do have that opportunity, it sounds great. I compromised on this rating of 8 because when if I could play at 3 or higher volumes all the time, it would easily rank a 10 on the scale as it is quite simply the best sounding amp I've ever played through when turned up, but I have to take into consideration the horrible sound at any normal room/club volume, which seriously impairs the usability of this amp. A 50- to 60-watt version of this head would be killer.
Overall Impression — 8
There are two major changes I would make to this head if I could: 1. Add a third channel so I could have separate volume/gain controls for the Clean/Crunch sounds, even if they shared an EQ. 2. Drop the wattage to something realistic, like 50- or 60-watts. Or better yet, make it a 50/100-watt switchable head, and maybe even half them if possible, like the Egnator head does. There is currently a 60-watt combo of the 6505+ available, but a combo doesn't exactly fit the look of a modern rock band on stage, so I'm out of luck. In my honest opinion, this amp is the best sounding head I've ever played through when loud and has some great features to back it up, but there are a few major flaws that I can't overlook, which I mentioned, that unfortunately drop it from a perfect 10 to only a 7.5-8.5 in my book. Give me less power and a third channel and I would never look to buy a different head again, but without them, I must continue my search unless Peavey happens to read this and take note... unlikely.
Reliability & Durability — 7
This is the third one I've had because the first one I bought off of Ebay (new in box) began making loud buzzing noises in the middle of playing after only two months of owning it. I am fairly sure this had something to do with the fact that at one rehearsal I plugged into an 8 ohm amp for about two hours and forgot to Switch it off of the 16 ohm setting - do not do this. Then the second one I picked up from Sam Ash (new in box) had a faulty Channel 1 right from the factory, confirmed by Sam Ash. I swapped it for the current one which has held up so far for a few months without issue (knock on wood), and funny enough is their floor model from 2006 according to the date on the back (the two new ones were from 2008).
Features — 9
I purchased this 120-watt tube head for use in my heavier melodic/alternative modern rock band. The 6505+ features two foot-switchable channels (vs the single channel of the regular 6505), the first of which can be switched between clean and crunch (and also has a bright switch) and the second of which is a high gain channel. Each channel has it's own 3-band EQ, resonance, and presence controls, along with a pre and post knob. The head also has an effects loop, which is a big bonus that helps make up for the lack of a third channel when used properly. The footswitch allows you to Switch between the two channels, the crunch/clean of channel one, and also toggle the effects loop. The head can also be switched between 4 ohms, 8 ohms, and 16 ohms, which is helpful since I'm constantly playing through different cabs at different rehearsal spaces and shows if I can't lug my Peavey XXX cab along. The only thing that kept the Features from being a 10 for me is that they don't offer this head with a third channel. Not having separate volume/gain control for the clean and crunch sounds makes certain songs tricky with my band and it would be a BIG feature upgrade worth big money to someone in my situation.