Price paid: $ 510.57
Purchased from: www.Gak.co.uk
Sound — 8
I am using the amp with a Jackson DK2M Dinky guitar with Seymour Duncan pickups. I think that it suits my style of playing very well, though my tone still leaves something to be desired, and I will be changing the pickups in the near future. I play metal, progressive, shred and blues in the main, and I feel that the amp covers these genres quite well in the way I have it set up, but that is not stock. I have recently replaced the "Custom Voiced ValveKing speaker with a Celestion Vintage 30, as the stock speaker really let the amp's tone down. When I first got the amp, it sounded muddy and uncontrollable in high gain situations. I found this to be the speaker's fault, as when I replaced it it sounded amazing. Epic Tone! Covers anything up to Dream Theater gain wise, although nu-metal/death metal and other ultra-high gain genres may go wanting. The amp is noisy at home, but that is due to the bad wiring of my house, as when I play it at gigs with a proper power conditioner it is dead quiet. Stock, this amp has the capability of covering hard and modern rock quite easily on the lead channel, and the clean channel is good stock anyway. I feel that to turn this into a metal amp requires a speaker change, and in my case the cleans went from good but slightly sterile to warm, rich and responsive, while my lead channel went from average to absolutely insane. I'm being honest when I tell you that I prefer my tricked out ValveKing to any tone I have got out of a Peavey 5150, though if you don't use cleans as often as I do then that may be the way you wish to go. Now, to look at the clean channel in more detail. When I first played the amp, the speaker was so muddy that I had to keep the bright Switch engaged at all times in order to retain some clarity, but now that I have the new speaker I only use it for the percussive twangy country music that I occasionally play. It stays clean for a good amount of time (depending on your EQ and pickups), and on my guitar it usually gets to about 6 before starting to dirty up. This is loud. Vibrating the walls of your house loud.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, I believe this amp has great potential. I believe that what keeps it at the price it is is not simple quality of components but the lack of a decent speaker. If you have enough of a budget to get the amplifier and a new speaker, that is what I recommend. I love that it is so versatile, and that it can keep up with my rapidly changing musical moods (one moment I might be playing Metallica, the next I'll wind down with a bit of Oasis). I don't like that it runs so hot, or that the reverb is virtually unusable past 5. My favourite feature has to be the Gain Boost, it's the difference between rock and metal in a button (which is also footswitchable). When considering buying this amp I played a Randall RG50TC, a Peavey 5150 and a Mesa F-50. The Mesa was too expensive (although better than this amp), and the other two simply did not have a usable enough clean channel for my needs. If it were stolen I would probably buy the head model to have a little more tweakability (resonance and presence knobs), but that's it. I wish it had a half power mode, as it's a little loud for home use.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This is a reliable amplifier. Very forgiving OT, I accidentally mismtched the speaker twice in this amp, with no adverse effect. It's never broken down on me except for a new set of power valves, but that's part and parcel of owning an all valve amp. I've owned the amp for about 8 months now, and held off writing a review to see if there was a reliability issue. There isn't, and the few queries I have had with the amp were dealt with within a week by Peavey Tehnical support.
Features — 8
It's pretty feature-laden. I generally do not use the reverb, or vary the texture control, though there are some perceptible differences when using the texture control. Class A sounds slightly more vintage, while class A/B is a more modern sound. I seriously doubt that the amp can actually run at true class A however. The resonance Switch on my amp is always set to tight, as I find the loose setting is unable to tame the gain boost, which I also use a lot.