Price paid: $ 60
Purchased from: Quick Cash Pawn
Features — 8
I'm not sure what year the Peavey Tube Fex was made I'd guess 1992-1997. It features the original Firmware, which is version 1.0. It is your standard 1U rack which on the face plate is 19 inches. The rack being of 17 inches for the rest of the unit. Depth is about 18 inches.
The Tube Fex as the name implies and it describes itself is a tube/valve and effects preamp. It features two 12AX7(ECC83) tubes/valves. The unit is stereo both XLR outputs as well as quarter-inch outputs. It features a buffered stereo effects loop. There is also Midi in, out, and Thru. The Midi in jack can use both a 5 pin midi cable as well as a 8 pin midi cable. The 8 pin serves as a two way communications between the amp and the Peavey FPC 10. As well as, providing that foot controller with power. It has your conventional digital effects: Reverb, modulation, delay, overdrive, distortion, noise gate, Exciter, speaker simulation, coil-tap sim, Envelope filter, compressor, eqs, and pitch shifters. With the effects there is also the spiltter to divide up the signal chain. As well as ways to run effects in series, parallel, or a combination of both.
At the front of the unit going from left to right is a input jack for your guitar, fx send, or etc. Then there are five knobs. Those knobs are as follows, Pregain, Bass, Mid Treble. They operate as the global controls and the preset and tube mode controls. Next, is a two line illuminated display for displaying the user interface, settings and info. Afterwards, there are the buttons for changing presets, settings, modes, and global parameters. There is a ram cartridge that accepts battery backup ram cartridges that were the standard a the time. The finally there is the power switch.
Sound — 10
I suits my eclectic styles, consisting of the many styles of metal, hard rock, Fusion, progressive, Jazz, and experimental genres. I use a random combination of my eleven effects pedals. Check my profile for more info on that. Generally, its just down to two pedals, the DigiTech Whammy, and the Ibanez Weeping Demon Wah. It is not a noisy amp if you use the Noise gate. It has four tube modes Clean, Crunch, Lead, and Ultra. The latter being what I call the 6505 killer. Seriously, pair this thing up with two tube power amps. You can have four cabs from this stereo tube preamp. If I had to chose between the Axe FX, Eleven Rack, and the Tube Fex. You can see what decision I clearly made.
Reliability & Durability — 8
It's 20 years old and working like new. This amp was made for live sound. It was made for a professional guitarist and their techs. Yes the hardware is durable. I would depend on it. I should point out I had to do one major service job to it. That was to replace the static ram and battery backup. I went for a NVSRAM upgrade and removal of the backup battery. Since it had started to leak and I was lucky it didn't take the circuit board with it. The chip installed is the Simtek STK16C88-W45. So now I don't have to deal with a battery dying on me.
Overall Impression — 10
I've been playing for over 10 years. As I stated earlier I have eleven pedals. Though total of pedals I've owned is 16. I've owned four bass guitars. Three acoustic guitars and five electric guitars. The Tube Fex is my forth amp. There wasn't really anything much I didn't ask about the unit. Since, it was in a Pawn Shop and the employees didn't know much about the unit itself. It was a gamble I made and it paid off. I would buy it again if it got lost or stolen. In fact, I need a backup unit because I like this amp so much. So a second one would be a great insurance policy. I doubt it would be practical for me to compare the amp to a ADA, ART, Marshall, Mesa, or Engl tube preamps and effects unit of time of the Tube Fex. Simply, put I chose it because I've owned and plugged into some great Peavey amps. More so because I could get a tube amp for $60. I wish it had modulation algorithms, automation abilities, tap tempo on the effects.
I will say this amp is nor the faint of heart, the luddites, people who do not read the manual, or beginners. This is a professional Tube Preamp. It was used by: Tony Iommi, Jay Yuenger, Micheal Wilton, John Rzeznik, Max Cavalera, Andreas Kisser, Aj Duinning, Richard Patrick, Brian Lisegang, and Kenny Hickey. Just knowing that was enough to blow my mind.