Price paid: $ 300
Sound — 9
The Butcher, like the VTM, is often compared to a Marshall JCM 800. While this may have been Peavey's answer to the JCM 800, to me it really doesn't sound like one. It just doesn't have that Marshall 'woof' in the bass response. Or the gain. If I had to compare it to other amps, I'd say it's somwhere between a Marshall Plexi and a Fender Bassman. I generally play through it with a Agile Valkyrie w/humbuckers which seem to work really well with this amp. I've tried using a single coil equipped Strat and just found it to be very brittle sounding with that combination. If you really wanted more gain this amp will take pedals well. I play 70s style heavy rock and love this amp for recording.
Overall Impression — 10
The music I play is closer to the sound of older heavy rock bands like Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath and Nazareth. It is the perfect amp for those that play this style and need a good inexpensive tube head. I got a really good deal on mine and got the matching Peavey 412MS cab with Celestions for a mere $300. I think I would replace it if it were stolen because they're cheap to replace. I don't think I could buy a new tube head that is as road worthy as the Butcher for the price these things go for. If you want a solid basic tube head that takes pedals well, and want to avoid buying one of the newer Chinese import heads, the Butchers are well worth seeking out.
Reliability & Durability — 10
It's been said many times, but old Peavey gear is built like a tank and highly dependable. I usually like to take a backup no matter what, but I have used this head without a backup head and didn't worry about it breaking down. The only breakdown I've ever experienced is a blown fuse.
Features — 9
The Peavey Butcher was produced in the mid 1980s before being replaced by the higher gain VTM series. This is a basic single channel rock amp with 3-12AX7 preamp tubes and 4-6L6 power tubes. If you want loud, this thing could make your ears bleed. Has 1 high gain and 1 low gain input. 4 speaker outs but no effects loop. Basic pre and post gain controls, 3 band eq and presence controls. I bought this amp as a backup to my VTM, but has become my main head for recording. I really love the simplicity of this head.