Price paid: $ 179.99
Purchased from: Daddy's Junky Music
Sound — 10
I use a Fender 50's Stratocaster with a SDJBjr in the bridge and a Washburn WI64 Deluxe. I play various types of rock, mainly classic rock and heavy metal, and with the right effects, this thing roars. I first used this through a Behringer 412S, and it sounded terrible without a distortion pedal. There was no bottom end to it, just razor highs. I got tired of the 412S after a couple of months, so I went to my local Daddy's, and they had the right cabinet that went with it. The cabinet was a Peavey 412ms. Through that cabinet, it sounded much better. The distortion from the amplifier is adequate. It has a AC/DC or Thin Lizzy type tone, which to me isn't really a bad thing. I honestly think this amp was meant to have effects used through it. As I mentioned in the features, it has a 8 switch DIP that modifies the tone. I've tried them all out, and I could do without the equilizer switches, but the compression switch really helps the tone. It makes the tone less noisy and adds compression. The gain switches sound different from each other, and it adds alot of gain when both are switched on. The only problem with that is it that it's a little noisy. I use a Boss NS2 after a Dunlop JH1, and after a Boss SD1 and a DOD 250 in that order. With any setup, a noisegate is essential. I use the SD1 for the rhythm and the DOD for the leads. Through those pedals, it sounds great, I mean its not superdistorted, but I think this setup defines warm tube distortion. I give it a 5.
Overall Impression — 10
This was the amp I was looking for. A great sounding amp for very cheap. I tried out a 5150 combo amp before this, and they sound pretty similar. Infact, Eddie Van Halen designed the 5150 amp after the VTM. Anyways, the only thing I wish I had when I bought this was the Boss SD1, to give it more crunch. If it were stolen, I'd track down the theif and give a good beating. Seriously though, I'd probably buy another Peavey tube amp or the same model. I love the tone, through any of my guitars it sounds great. The only thing I don't like about it is that there isn't enough crunch without an overdrive pedal. I'm very satisfied with this head.
Reliability & Durability — 10
When I got it, it had bad power tubes (likely for a 17 year old amp). Being a Peavey, it has a fixed bias, so tube swapping is very easy. I switched the tubes with some Fender Sovtek 5881/6L6 tubes. Like all Peavey Products, it's built like a tank, and I've never had any problems with it, regardless of the fact that it's over 17 years old.
Features — 8
This head was made in 1987-88, it's all tube rated at 60 watts, a little after the JCM 800 was released. It uses 2 6L6GC power tubes and 4 12AX7 or ECC83, this one has 3 12AX7's and one ECC83 preamp tubes. The amp itself is very simple and straightfoward. It's a single channel with two inputs (low gain and high gain), standard equlizer, pre and post volume controls, and presence. The unique feature on this amp is it has 8 switch DIP on the front controling the tone. The switches include gain 1, gain 2, compression, low 1, low 2, mid, high 1, and high 2. For those who don't know what a DIP switch is, this one is a small block of switches about the size of a tic tac top, and you can only switch it by using a flathead screwdriver or a paperclip. Other features include a standby switch, effects loop in the front, mutiple speaker outputs in the back. For what is was made for, its a great setup.