ValveKing 212 review by Peavey

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.3 (107 votes)
Peavey: ValveKing 212

Price paid: $ 550

Purchased from: local shop

Sound — 7
I have a large guitar collection but any decent pickup will sound great through this amp. Its great for jazz, country, hard rock, and classic metal but can't quite hang with the other shred machines Peavey makes but good news if you have a good distortion box your there. Bottom line use this amp as a good introduction to the tube world if you have a good multi effect pedal use the clean channel and your favorite settings to make this one last a long time. I've had it 5 years and I'm only now thinking of upgrading to a Marshall JVM but this amp will always be a reliable backup.

Overall Impression — 9
If you love tube tone but lack serious funds this is your amp but as you start playing up against Mesa's and Marshall's you'll notice your lacking something but you'll never get rid of this it will serve as a backup if you upgrade or you'll upgrade it for the money you can't go wrong with a valve king and even your buddies with big name gear will give it respect. For a first tube amp this is great but be warned your next amp will be much more expensive it sets the bar high. Overall it gets a 9 even though I rated alot of this at 7 that is only because I think its a honest rating but for overall price has to come into consideration.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I have giged without a backup for years with this thing I don't recommend that but I never had a back up luckly never needed one. It also needs to be said that the stock tubes lack I upgraded to Groove tubes 6L6GE and it was my best upgrade I did look into a fargon transformer may be a good Idea if you want to keep this one. Built like a tank and as heavy as one too but you get that with 212's.

Features — 7
I bought this amp when they first came out in 2005 it was my first tube amp and what a good choice I made for my first.this amp covers alot of ground and can stand up to Marshall's and Mesa's in a practice mind you it's not a 6505 plus but it gets a lot of gain but you'll need a good pedal to get that metal crunch. this is a 2 channel amp with rever bright Switch on the clean channel and footswichable gain boost and a volume boost on the od channel. It also has a cool class a / ab knob on the back that makes this model stand out and resonance and presence knob. I wish it came with a footswitch and a multi watt switch. And it would be cool to have a 6l6 el34 Switch

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Michael Paul
    Peavey American made magic. Just got one used for dirt cheap and the tone is amazing. If you cant get a decent tone out of a tube amplifier you might just need to let your ears age a bit. I don't understand the complaints about feedback at high volumes or squealing when you have the gain all the way up or a combo of both. I recommend you do a bit of research on the net or in a book about how the technology works. Most groups who you listen to don't actually crank the volume or gain to ten anyways but it sounds heavy in the mix of things. A little understanding on the workings of the tone stack and basic electronics circuitry as it applies to amplifiers can go a long way. Poor tone and fuzz, crackling, noise in general can happen anywhere along your signal path starting at the guts of your guitar all the way to the physical speaker cone. A deep exploration of your instruments of sound creation is a worthy pursuit that will continually make your tone evolve for the better and you will discover new and usable tones and techniques along the way to help make you a better more knowledgeable player. This amp rocks as well as any. The right tool in the wrong hands is always useless.
    You can find used ValveKing212s all over the 'net for well under $400 - new the street price was under $800 so I don't know why people are paying $900+ if you did you got ripped. But anyway, I defy you to tell me the difference between the sound of this $400 amp and many of the $4000 "boutique" amps out there. Obviously, for the money it's not going to be hand-wired, but Peavey has always made good solid stuff for working musicians. I've played everything from $80 Bandits to the VKs for years - all good stuff. I currently run a valve king for my "dirt" and an old LA 400 - a Peavey solid state amp built for country pickers and steel players for my clean sound - switch with an A/B box. One big fat killer sound for under a grand total invested. Bottom line- if you can score a used VK212 you're going to have a 'giggable" amp you can use for years - all the advantages of the A/AB tube "sag" and crunch - great feature-set - for very little money. Grab it and go.
    Oh, BTW - for those who are complaining about 'squealing' - what you've got there friend is a microphonic tube. Tube amps use tubes, and tubes, like their poor country cousins the lowly light bulb - don't last forever. They wear out and need to be replaced. And one of the first signs that you've got a bad one is when it starts squealing. Another bit of knowledge - you can't just replace single tubes, or at least you shouldn't. Power amp tubes need to be replaced in pairs and re-biased when you do. Pre-amp tubes - it depends, but not all new tubes are made equal - I've had plenty of bad ones right out of the box. Sometimes just switching them around will help or at least get you through a gig. When I was gigging nightly I re-tubed my amps twice a year. So if you score your VK212 for $200 - plan on dropping another $200 on a new set of tubes.