Price paid: $ 179
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
The Peavey Classic 130 is styled somewhat after the Roland JC 120 (the original godfather of all solid state amps), so it's perfect for jazz, clean tone classic rock and new age/punk/post punk. If you like the guitar tones you hear on albums by The Doors, The Beatles (post-'66), The Police, or Joy Division, this amp will make you happy; if you're into high-gain Marshall tones (AC/DC, Led Zeppelin), then look elsewhere. The clean channel is gorgeous - while the amp is JC120-esque, the clean channel voicing reminds me (and a lot of other players) of a Fender clean channel. Everything is crisp, clear, immaculate. The EQ knobs cover a very wide range (from a 12 decibel cut to 12 decibel boost on bass, mid, treble and presence), so there's a lot you can do on this amp tonally speaking. As for the chorus and vibrato, they cover a wide range of depth and speed. You can even blend the two effects together to create a nearly infinite tonal range. The reverb - what can I say? It's an old-fashioned twangy spring reverb tank, and I love it. As mentioned previously, the high gain settings aren't this amp's strong point. However, this amp is perfect for the lean, sharp, low- to medium-gain OD sounds you hear on a lot of '80s records. Also, since this is a 130-watt solid state amp, it is the perfect pedal platform. I can even put distortion pedals in the effects loop and it will make me more than happy. While I mentioned this in the features section, I also want to point out again that because the channel, chorus/vibrato, and reverb functions are all controlled by the footswitch, you can switch back and forth between many different sounds effortlessly - even in mid song.
Overall Impression — 10
I've been playing guitar for 12 years, and currently use an '06 Epiphone Les Paul Custom along with a platoon of fuzz pedals. My favorite guitarist is Andy Gill from the band Gang Of Four, and this amp perfectly captures that lean, sharp post-punkish sound. If you like raw, garage-y new wave tones, or if you simply want a good clean jazz tone, then look no further - the Classic Chorus 130 give you everything and more. Before purchasing this amp, I had looked at the Roland JC 120, the Fender Frontman, the Egnater Tweaker and even the Fender Twin. I picked this amp, though, because it had the best clean channel out of the lot. If this amp were stolen, I'd replace it in a heartbeat - and given that this and similar models are around for under $200, why not?
Reliability & Durability — 9
Peavey's old solid state amps - and this is one of them - really put the "solid" in solid state. This is the second Peavey I've owned, and these things will never break on you. The only drawback, of course, is that they're a bit heavy (though this one's not too bad at the 50-55 lb range). Since this is an old model that's been out of production for almost twenty years at the time that I write this, I will advise you to go ahead and spray some contact cleaner on the backs of the pots from inside the chassis - you can expect a little scratchiness to develop over a couple decades. As long as you use the amp regularly, though, you shouldn't see this issue resurface for another twenty years.
Features — 10
Peavey's literature suggests that this solid state amp was built from '86 until around '93 or '94, when they started making the Classic Chorus 212; my particular amplifier was built in the US in 1988. It comes with two channels: "Normal" (clean) and "Lead" (distortion, with Pre Gain, Saturation, and Post Gain controls). There's also spring reverb, along with chorus and vibrato (each of which comes with its own rate and depth controls). As the name suggests, this 2x12 combo packs 130 watts through two very powerful, very efficient, very loud Scorpion speaker. You're not likely to ever come across a venue that this amp isn't loud enough for; I have a hard time cranking the volume knob past 2 of 10. Unlike the first reviewer, I do have the footswitch for this amp. Reverb, channel, and chorus/vibrato are all separately footswitchable, thus severely cutting down on the number of pedals you need. As for pedals, this amp IS in stereo, so it comes with two effects loops. I can't really think of any other features I'd want that this amp doesn't have already. Delay, maybe? But the only amps I know of that are more feature-laden tend to be digital/modelling amps; I've yet to find any all-analog amp that offers more than the Classic Chorus 130. Here's the manual.