Price paid: $ 250
Purchased from: Craigslist South Fla.
Features — 9
This 2002 Mississippi-made hand wired 30 watt tube amp one of the best amps I've found for under $1000.00. The Peavey Classic Series is very highly esteemed by working musicians. It comes with two channels, much better clean headroom than comparable Fenders, and a rich, harmonic dirty channel. Classic blue tweed is cool, speakers are not a drawback, but some guys swap them out. Don't we all? This is one LOUD 30 watt amp, with a warm clean channel, not glassy clean like a Fender, but that's not a bad thing. Changed the standard Sovteks EL84s for a Quad set of JJ Goldpins and the clarity just blossomed. Almost like taking a blanket off of the amp. The real spring Reverb is lush, and the Tremolo I found to be very useable, but you have to take the time to tweak it, or the volume fluctuates too much. Two channels, sharing the same High, Mid, and Bass EQ, Mid boost, Reverb & Tremolo. Footswitch controls Channel select and Tremolo. I wish it had separate EQ for each channel, but it cost me 250.00 bucks! It's simplicity is it's strength.
Sound — 10
This beast is a LOUD 30 watts, way louder than you would imagine it would be. There is an extension out jack in the back and I'm planning on adding on an Avatar 112 w/ a Celestion Hellatone 60. The DB 210 can not only nail the Blues, but it can do Classic Rock, Jazz, R&B, Pop, but may need pedals for Hi-gain Metal (Pantera?). It has a fantastically sensuously warm clean channel, not a glassy Fender clean, but it has it's own warmer character, which is not a bad thing, actually. It chimes with a bell-like clarity with my PRS w/ P90 pups and even more when I play my Strat. The overdrive is Marshall-like, richer and warmer than any Fender under 1 grand. True, the overdrive mode can get a somewhat harsh, fizzy kind of breakup when the pregain is set over, say 10, but I'm thinking of swapping the stock EH V2 preamp tube for JJs. I've heard they or a Tungsol 12AT7 are a major improvement. The stock 10" Blue Marvel speakers are not a bad fit. They're made by Eminence, and are punchy with mids and lows, yet articulate, not ice-picky, with the treble range. IMHO, the DB 210 beats out the ANY MIM Fender Deville and H.R. Deluxe - hands down - in overall sound, and those amps cost two times more used. Again, the clean channel with reverb set at 4-5 is warm, full, semi-dark, and sweet as brown sugar. Classic and Hard Rock, as well as Blues is the DBs undeniable forte, but Jazz players, you have to give this amp a try. It will keep up with any Rock and Country amp under a grand, too. With a change in preamp tubes, (I went with a matched quad set of JJs), I'm giving the sound rating a "10".
Reliability & Durability — 10
It's a Peavey. It will survive the Apocalypse. I will use a back up because it's a combo tube amp, and when you have tubes being blasted that close by sound waves, you want to play it safe. The tolex covering looks super cool, and is a breeze to keep clean. Kind of a retro look to the old Fender Bassmans. Every thing in this amp is American made and looks to last. Real leather handle, too. It's a Peavey... It's a "brickhouse" to quote from the Commodores. I installed a Tube Guard from eBay for $30.00 because honestly the amp design left the 7 tubes too exposed for my liking. The newer models-2005 and on - come with a Tube Screen installed. Also, I put in a Tube Tamer (again eBay-$25.00) to keep the four EL84 power tubes from rattling at higher levels. This is a quirky thing with these older DBs 210 and DB 115s, and any of the Peavey Classic amp line. Finally, I installed a stand-by switch, for which an amp tech I know charged me $40.00. A good investment. A stand-by switch really extends tube life and it enhances the sound to have warm tubes before you try to play.
Overall Impression — 9
This amp is perfect for my style. I've played for over 30 years, through Fenders, Marshalls, Music Man, and I stand by the claim I made earlier: this "little" 30 watt gem is the most underrated, best bang for your buck, diverse sounding tube amp you can find under a grand. I picked it up for $250.00, put in another 200.00 in up grades, and I have all I need.Love the relative light weight and sound. I wish it had Reverb controlled footswitch. I compare it to the Fender Blues Junior, except it's louder, fuller, has Tremolo, and two tube driven channels, and it just blows the BJ out of the water.