Price paid: £ 400
Purchased from: AD-LIB MUSIC
Sound — 7
This is billed as a metal/hard rock amp and that description is pretty much accurate. I modded and upgraded mine from the off and got some trusted techs to pull it apart and really snoop around inside to see what they could find before I would take it out to gig. I have a load of nice tube preamps that I like so I was happy to use the amp as a power amp and cab if need be and use my other gear and run into the fx return. When I first got it and played around with it I thought that both channels were ridiculously over gained. I have read a range of reviews and some folk claimed that they couldn't get a nice clean sound out of it and others saying they could. From my experience at least I found that on the clean/rhythm channel you were getting break up at anything past 1/2. I'm talking half of 1 here not half way round the pot on 5. Also the sound was very shrill and toppy. Too much in the high mids. I had the presence, treble and mids set down at 2 to take the edge off the top end. I know that some folk will love that aggressive sound and they advertise the amp as an aggressive sounding metal amp but I feel if they reeled in the gain and top end a bit then it would broaden the flexibility of the amp a bit more. It could be pushed into metal territory but it could be toned down for classic rock sounds as well. I did get some nice sounds out of it after a bit of tweaking but I found the clean channel on crunch boost served me better for rock type sounds with a distortion pedal before it with the tone control set very low. I swapped the V1 tube for a 5751 tube to cut the gain and it really helped to tame the top end a lot. The techs also installed and eminence swamp tang speaker and swapped the 5751 tube for a 12AY7 and that improved things again and helped to darked down the sound a bit more. There will be absolutely no shortage of cut or edge in your sound with this amp I can assure you.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall this is a keenly priced tube amp for the money and it is easy on the eye. If you can be fair and objective in your outlook and get past the made in china badge and get a tech to rebias you will still end up with a nice amp at a good price with a good brand name on it. I have got in touch with Peavey with tech queries and they always get back to you pretty quickly which is a good start on customer service really. If heavy rock and metal are your thing then this amp will do you fine and it will punch above a live drummer in rehearsal no problem. If you can afford a new V1 tube like a 12AY7 then try it out as you might find it helps to take that edge and fizz out the gain and top end without removing all the bite. This amp isn't going to be the best for clean sounds so if you really need that from the amps preamp then I would look at other options before this. I found that if I ran it in a basic 4 cable setup and used the amps preamp for dirty sounds and a modelled clean on a pedal board running into the fx return of the combo I could get everything I wanted/needed tone wise.
Reliability & Durability — 8
As I said I got techs to pretty much dismantle mine and they spent a day pulling it apart. It's a luxury not afforded to many but here is what they found and told me. First of all they struggled to get the back off the amp where the speaker enclosure was. The glue for the tolex hadn't dried before they moved to the next stage of assembly so these things are being put together quite quickly. Not bad in itself - but there are aspects of production that shouldn't be rushed through. The techs also found residue on one of the boards that might have been caused by contamination on the line or condensation in storage. It cleaned up fine and there was no evidence of corrosion as a result which was lucky. The biggest worry was that the bias was set ridiculously high in the factory. The bias current was nearly twice as high as it should have been. The tubes were going to die off very very quickly if the amp hadn't been worked on. Possibly in a gig situation. Now I imagine that the bulk of these amps are leaving the factory with the same bias as mine. That would be a worry. Many of the parts of the amp were linked internally via spade connectors or similar. Obviously this aids quick production I plan to remove these and have them hard soldered down to make the connections a bit more robust and gig worthy. After getting the amp worked on I am now sure it is gig worthy. In stock set up it would have failed at some point with the dodgy bias. I would say that if you get one of these get the bias looked at pronto. That aside the overall construction seems pretty good elsewhere and I am sure it will last for a few years now. I will give the amp an 8 for this now I know it has been scrutinised and it has been given a clean bill of health. In shop condition it would have been a 6 prob with the bias issue and pcb residue.
Features — 8
60 W tube combo with 1x12 sheffield speaker in closed back enclosure. Two channels operated via footswitch with crunch boost for rhythm channel. Individual eq, resonance and presence controls for both channels. Spring reverb. Back panel includes ext speaker send and optional impedance switching. Serial effects loop with standard send and return connections. Mic simulated DI send with ground lift switch. Backlit Peavey logo on front fascia. Usa design, manufactured in china. I would have included a footswitch with the amp as almost everybody will want to track one down after they buy the amp so that is a nuisance. Apart from that it is a bread and butter feature set at a v good price. Midi switching would have been nice but this would have added to the cost of the amp so not a big deal.