Transtube Bandit 112 review by Peavey

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.2 (157 votes)
Peavey: Transtube Bandit 112

Price paid: € 249

Purchased from: eBay

Sound — 9
I use this amp with my Hagstrom Swede, a Les Paul copy. The clean channel is ok but not amazing, but the distortion is really, really good. The TransTube technology seems to work well because I have never heard a better distortion on a solid state amp. I use the modern mode and it has a very warm, rich and full sound and every note rings clear even with the highest gain. By the way, there is enough gain to play just about anything, and if you wonder whether it's loud enough for a gig... It definitely is! I use it at 25W at home and it's louder than my old Roland Cube 60 (I can't turn the post gain past 2). My only complain would be the noise: there are some buzzes and feedbacks, at least compared to the Cube which was a very silent amp.

Overall Impression — 9
This amp is almost perfect for me: amazing sound, great for pratice and loud enough for gigs. Compared to my old Roland Cube 60 it may be a little less versatile (no built-in effects but reverb), but it sounds more natural and less digital. I would buy it again if stolen or lost because you can't beat its features and sound for the price. I still can't believe it's just 249.

Reliability & Durability — 8
The Bandit is a well buildt amp and I would definitely gig with it without a backup. It may be a little more fragile than the tipical "tank" combo amp because it has an open back, but I don't think it's a big problem. It has never let me down and I totally rely on it.

Features — 9
The Peavey Bandit 112 is a solid state combo amp with the following features: - 100W switchable to 50 or 25 through a swtich on the back - High and low gain inputs - Clean channel with vintage, classic and warm mode - Distorted channel with classic, modern and high gain mode - TransTube technology to emulate the classic tube amp sound - Separate EQ for each channel - Integrated reverb - Optional footswitch to change channel and activate volume boost These are really good features for the price. It's a very versatile amp because each channel has 3 separate modes that sound diffenrent but still natural. I play mostly rock and metal, but the Bandit is totally suitable for blues, jazz and other genres.

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    People who say that the "metal" tone is unachievable on this amp are probably the ones that try to have their favorite artist's studio sound in a live situation. Guitars are the "middle" instruments in a mix. If you want to be heard over a drum and a bass, back the bass and treble and ****in' CRANK the mids. Also, fiddle with the presence pot and resonance switch (although I keep it on "tight" since the "loose" one has way too many bass). Also, people who say that distortion pedals sound better than the amp's drive don't care that much about harmonic response and dynamics or have never tried a good overdrive pedal (on the clean channel or a boost on the dirty one). I've been playing for 12 years (strictly metal) and I own a Peavey 5150, and few other SS heads + a few cabs, and 7 or 8 guitars (more pedals than I could count). This amp can't compete with 5150 in terms of brutality, but is a good substitute when you can't use the big guy (small clubs, not enough space in a car... once I couldn't take my own cab to a venue, and they didn't have one, so they gave me a Roland JC120 whose drive channel can't be mended even with modded TS9, and distortion in a clean channel plainly sucks and is not acceptable if you want a good ballsy sound that 5150 has, but couldn't deliver due to described problem). To end my rant - this amp (red stripe bandit) has the volume, serviceable drive (stay away from "modern" setting though, it cuts the mids to joy of those who like to sound like a mosquito, and to my horror), and a very good clean. Never broke down, nor I think that it ever will. Lightweight and easily transportable. It is a blues man's choice, but a metalhead can easily achieve good tone + it's dirt cheap, even for people from my country (new one costs as an average pay in Serbia).
    This amp can be loud, the clean bass can be a bit muddy compared to my Crate tube amp but it holds its own for quality. When I fitted a bottom end bass cut on the guitar for a workaround. Cleans are nice (though oddly cleans on the Peavey Express 112 are nicer) but the transtube modelling does give damn fine job while offering the robustness and reliability of a (relatively) portable package.