Price paid: $ 1199
Purchased from: Gorby's Music
Sound — 9
This is definitely one of the better amp heads for metal that you'll ever set your sights on. You'll probably see the smallest of local bands to the biggest of metal bands playing these amps. 6505s tend to be "mid-focused" so trying to crank the mids on this amp might not be the greatest idea. The low response on this amp is pretty sweet as well. Hit the note hard enough and it picks up that low note twang that Engl is known for. Of course it's not gonna be the Engl twang, but the 6505+ definitely has a lovely bass response. Finding the balance of all of these factors are probably the most difficult task of any amp you get. I had troubles with the highs and presence for a while, but after being able to talk to someone who knew WAY more than I did, he was able to help me get it sorted out. The rhythm channel is truly a hidden gem. I always wondered why I saw artists running the rhythm channel with the crunch switch engaged, the gain cranked up, and using it as their main distorted channel. It's because if you can get the EQ right, not only does it offer a great distorted tone, but it's extremely punchier and slightly more articulate than the lead channel. The lead channel is great for distortion as well, don't get me wrong. The lead channel just gives you a more saturated tone than the rhythm channel. Both are great channels and I use them equally. The clean tone on this amp is also underestimated. As I will explain in the next paragraph(s), the cab makes a MONUMENTAL difference in tone and clarity. I'm actually able to get an AMAZING clean tone on my 6505+. It's no Fender of course, but I truly mean an AMAZING clean tone. The bright switch comes in for that amazingly. As for a cab, I was playing through a B-52 ST-412 w/ Vintage 30s. For a while, I always had trouble finding my right tone. Everything always just sounded wrong to me. Turns out, it was the cab; mainly the Vintage 30s (fanboys don't piss and moan because you'd be surprised how bad not only those speakers are, but how flawed the 4x12 design is in general). I am actually playing through a custom Omega Enclosure (if you haven't heard of these guys yet, go to their website NOW) 4x12 w/ 1x15 speaker (I'm going to do a review on this cab within the next month or two; I'll go more into depth why V30s are not as good as you think they are and why most cab companies out there don't make very good cabs in general) which DRASTICALLY improved my tone. People really tend to take the cabinet for granted because, after talking to Mike and getting the whole cab planned out, being able to hear how clearly the new cab affected my tone was astonishing. Before, with the B-52, I ran a TS9 in front of the head to try to tighten the tone up. Now the only effect I run is my noise gate. The tone of the 6505+ is truly amazing if you can run it through a quality cab like an Omega Enclosures cab. Talk to Mike at Omega Enclosures, he'll really change your perspective if you have an open mind about it. And don't think that these cabs are completely unaffordable. I picked up mine for around $1170, which is just slightly more than a standard Mesa/Marshall/etc. 4x12, and I GUARANTEE you that none of those companies will put forth as much attention and effort into your cab as Omega Enclosures will. I wish I could give 9.5 because it's almost my perfect tone. It would've been probably about a 7-8 with the Vintage 30s, but the Omega Enclosures cab really really really saved the day on this one.
Overall Impression — 9
I have concluded that I am actually very pleased with the amp, although I did have to wait almost 5 months to receive it (Peavey's fault). Even though there are wiring flaws, at the moment I believe them to be ultimately harmless yet still a nuisance. All of that aside, the amp definitely is a keeper. The tone I get from it as I said before, almost perfect (I'm a sucker for Engls). For the price, I really don't think you're gonna find a better tube head for metal. The 6505+ not only has a great distortion, but a very versatile distortion. I'm still discovering all of the other possibilities with this amp and I have no intention in parting with this amp until it just completely breaks down. BUT REMEMBER PEOPLE. CABS MAKE A DIFFERENCE. AND DON'T GET SUCKED INTO THE V30 HYPE BECAUSE THEY AREN'T AS GOOD AS THEY SEEM. Your tone can be achieved much more easily and much less costly than you believe it to be. Effects like delay, pitch, reverb, etc are cool and all but purely from a tone stand point, buying a Mesa/Orange Cab and then having a rack full of ODs, EQs, and Sonic Maximizers is NOT the answer. Talk to Mike Smith at Omega Enclosures and he'll get you straightened out real quick.
Reliability & Durability — 7
Well, when I was in my previous band, this amp made it to a few shows. It definitely never fell apart so that's nice. The exterior components (handle, rubber feet, power cable) seem to be pretty sturdy. I don't understand why Peavey didn't allow for a detachable power cable though. Rubber feet are nice and solid and I've had no problem with the amp falling off from my cab. I've read that most 6505+s have this issue with the standby/power switches, but mine does it a little with the channels. Trying to switch the channel while the amp hasn't been played for at least good 20-30 minutes results in a little popping noise that comes from the amp. It seems to be beyond the switches as well because the sound still occurs even when I switch with the footswitch. Also, switching the power off after switching the standby off will result in a little popping noise as well. I'll have to take it in to the shop because I'd hate to destroy this thing while trying to do it myself. Fortunately, I'm more of a studio musician/home-producer so I don't really have to worry much about this amp being put into any serious peril. I am looking to get it modded soon, though, with parts that will benefit the overall life of the head itself.
Features — 8
- 120 Watts - Two channels: Rhythm/Lead - Two 3-band EQs (Rhythm and Lead separate) - Pre gain and Post gain on both channels - Independent Resonance and Presence controls for each channel - Rhythm Channel: Bright and Crunch switches - Lead: no special buttons - Four 6L6 power tubes - Six 12AX7 Preamp tubes - Preamp output - Effects loop - Bias test point - Footswitch included (2011 footswitch is all metal, unlike the plastic P.O.S you got before) - Made in U.S.A