Other Amps

Old Peavey solid state amps…..hmm

26

I bought a 1x12 Peavey Special 65W back in the 80's but it was too clean for me,i traded it for a solid state 1x12 Carlton which was warmer ,i then traded that for a solid state 1x12 Dean Markley which is the warmest sounding non valve amp i've ever heard.

I'd love to hear one of those Randall's though.

27

Peavey,, because if 50 Watts is good, 100 Watts has got to be better.

28

Tim, along the same thinking as the Japanese car lines, I've often wondered how the market would have responded to a line of top-shelf PTP "Meridian" or "Hartley" amps.

You know, these days most people don't even know a Lexus is a tarted-up Toyota.

29

I bought a 1x12 Peavey Special 65W back in the 80's but it was too clean for me,i traded it for a solid state 1x12 Carlton which was warmer ,i then traded that for a solid state 1x12 Dean Markley which is the warmest sounding non valve amp i've ever heard.

I'd love to hear one of those Randall's though.

– JCHiggy

As far as the 80's SS Randall goes, Google either "Dexter Romweber" or "Flat Duo Jets". Dex has been using an old, beat-up SS Randall for so long, it's hard to remember when he used anything else. The guy has some incredible "tone".

30

My first-ever guitar amp was a pre-owned Meridian-made Peavey Backstage 30 which I purchased in 1985. Not fancy by any stretch, but I was a total novice at the time. It would get pretty darn loud, though. I gave it to my son in 2008, and the darn thing just. won't. die.

I've had way more experience with Peavey PA gear. Still own and gig with a pair of late-80's Black Widow-loaded SP-2A cabs-- heavy and cumbersome but I purchased them used, and I've owned them for almost 25 years. Have never, ever blown a horn driver, but did replace one of the BW 15" baskets. Even the internal passive crossovers are in great shape. Another example of Peavey gear that just keeps on ticking. Also used to have a CS-400 PA power amp that weighed as much as an English Mastiff and was twice as nasty. That thing lasted for almost 30 years before I finally got tired of lugging it around. In fact, I've always thought of Peavey as the TIMEX of the gear world-- unremarkable in appearance, but reliable as hell.

I also still own a somewhat rare Peavey T-45 Bass (not to be confused with the ubiquitous T-40 model), which is probably the most lethal piece of gear I own in terms of bar-room brawl weapons. Weighs a freakin' ton, but has a unique voice somewhere between a Gibson Ripper and a Ric 4001-- largely due to the position of the split-coil humbucking pickup combined with the unusual 2-knob factory tone control circuit.

31

I've often wondered how the market would have responded to a line of top-shelf PTP "Meridian" or "Hartley" amps.

I actually think it would be receptive. There's a case to be made that HP (and his people) know as much as (and probably more than) anybody about amp circuit design, and anybody who'd had positive experiences with Peavey gear would be receptive to it.

Curiously, though, if Hartley's telling the whole truth in interviews, I don't know that he'd be up for it. He quite explicitly says that people who think they get more when they pay more are often disappointed when they realize they haven't - or deluded when they believe they have. That conversation was in the specific context of 2,000.00 combo amps; I think he really believes his 700.00 amps are as good as or better than most combo amps, which (as he rightly notes) are either direct clones or slight mods of "classic" Fender (or other) designs.

Without explicitly knocking the Fender amps of the 50s and early 60s (which were, after all, his inspiration and starting point), he says several times that many of the designs were perhaps not all they might have been - that it's been possible to significantly improve on them, and why perpetuate the notion that those amps were as good as it was ever going to get?

Agree with that line of thinking or not, he and his team have clearly acted on it, and have always intended not just to build stuff cheaper, but to improve and perfect the art of amp design. Peavey holds around 180 patents (and more in process all the time), so no one can suggest he/they haven't been busy, or have rested on their laurels.

Also, for such a large MI company (2,400 employees), the amp line is surprisingly compact - a few series with a few members each, from all-tube to hybrids to modelers (to plug-ins, for that matter). Fewer, seemingly, than some boutique companies "offer" (or will build for you if you order it). That suggests to me Peavey has honed in on a few key technologies they think are the essential building blocks of amplification, and are in a continual process of refining those.

And HP shows absolutely no interest in re-visiting anything the company has done in the past. To him making "reissues" is to admit you can't do anything new, you can't advance the state of the art - that your best days are behind you. It would be repudiating all the "progress" you believe you've made since. That kind of talk is nonsense coming from Henry J of Gibson - because none of his progress has actually been progress, and he's nearly broken a great company pursuing it. But Peavey's track record is just the opposite.

It can probably be argued that Peavey's guitar amps are the best they've ever been (though many are aimed at genres I'm no qualified to judge) - but I don't think there would be any argument that Peavey's audio gear - from weekend-band PAs to massive digitally-controlled installations - is better in every way than at any time in the past.

I guess it's heartening that a 75-year-old engineer is still deep in the trenches, is up to date in pursuing modern tech while preserving and perfecting the best of the old, and still believes the best is yet to come. He's the head of an MI company which has operated and grown continuously since 1965, enjoying pretty well unbroken market success, and is still strong and vital - a 50-plus year track record that's really better than Leo's.

I'm not sure he thinks there's even anything Peavey could do with a guitar amp that would justify charging boutique prices. Back to car terms, I think he's a guy who thinks an Impala is as good a car as can be built, and the extra you pay for a Cadillac is mostly profit for the builder.

32

Which is probably right, at least functionality, and I love the engineering mind that rejects the extra-frou-frou and cost. But I also agree with you, if he were interested in a second, "higher-end" line a la Lexus, Infiniti, and Acura, I think he'd find a lot of eager buyers.

Peaveys are workingman amps. That's not a slam on them, it's high praise. They're a good pickup, performing well with little fuss, year after year. But you know, underneath it all an Escalade is still a Chevy truck. I think Hartley has an untapped Cadillac market, but I think you make a persuasive case he druther drive a truck.

33

I could envision a few meaningful deluxifying features, at least on my C30s and Delta Blues (which are about the lowest-tech stuff Peavey makes). (Meaning that I assume their highly-featured amps have everything I could possibly think of, and then more.) To wit: something to secure the tubes and insulate them from the vibration of the speaker cab which accelerates their developing microphonic noise.

Tom's Tube Tamer (pictured) is a delightfully agricultural bit of home-shop ingenuity, and not for the world would I deprive Tom of the rightful pittance he makes on it (I think mine was 10 bucks) - but even it just slows the process a bit. You can get by with replacing the tubes every 18 months, not 9 months. The tube sockets are still loosening all the while.

So a more positive suspension system would improve the amp marginally. A better reverb pan. (Hartley has no respect for Hammond/Accutronics, who haven't improved their product in 40 years, saying they have more trouble with reverb pans than anything else in the amps - and would incline toward putting digital 'verb in, anathema to tube guys.)

Guys don't like the Blue Marvel speaker; I have the BM in one of mine and Cannabis Rex in the other. Don't hear much difference. But, OK, a more premium speaker. A powdog/mugsy-quality finger-jointed boutique cabinet. No doubt the Peavicians could think of things to deluxe it up. Make it a 1,200.00 amp.

But I don't know what would make it sound better. I guess my Matchless Lightning Reverb is of a similar sonic type, and in a side-by-side blind taste test might prevail in sparkle, transparency, 3D depth. There are probably ears that could pick the difference apart in a small combo performance in a room with great acoustics, but I doubt I could. Certainly guitar, pedal, and player differences swamp the difference between the amps.

And I don't know why - but the Lightning is 10 feet away from the Peaveys in my playroom, and I almost always plug into the C30. Maybe I should move the Lightning closer.

34

Well, at the risk of stretching this analogy ever-thinner, what do any of these luxury brands do better than their badge-engineered brethren. They may be nicer but the specs are pretty close to the same -- and sometimes inferior. On the other hand, people will pay a bundle for that difficult-to-quantify nicer.

All kind of moot though, cause you're right, Hartley's just not interested in bedazzling.

35

On the other hand, people will pay a bundle for that difficult-to-quantify nicer.

This is true. I had no idea it had this "feature" when I bought it, but the tolex on my Lightning seems thicker and deeper than on most amps. It's almost spongy to the touch. I'm pretty sure this contributes nothing to the tone (though I suppose in marketing mode I could imagine it "dampens stray enharmonic resonant nodes in the cabinet, facilitating a fuller frequency response without comb filtering or unintended resonant peaks").

But it makes it seem like a more expensive amp.

Hey! It IS a more expensive amp!

36

"It would be like Volkswagen marketing a Rolls-killer under the VW brand name. Who'd take it seriously?"

Actually, they tried it. A device they called the "Phaeton".

Nobody bought one. Okay, a few folks did. Less than 120 in the first two years in Canada.

37

I vaguely remembered that. Peavey should make their Boutique line more distinctive in appearance. And not call it Phaeton.

"PV Plus"? Certainly not.

"Peabody." For the Peabody hotel in Memphis, where the Delta begins. Actually, I like Bax's suggestion of "Meridian."

Or I could just glue fake fur on one of my Classics and call it done.

38

"It would be like Volkswagen marketing a Rolls-killer under the VW brand name. Who'd take it seriously?"

Actually, they tried it. A device they called the "Phaeton".

Nobody bought one. Okay, a few folks did. Less than 120 in the first two years in Canada.

– Kevin Frye

But then there's the entire Audi line-up, isn't there?

The problem with the Phaeton wasn't the car, it's that they already had the A7 and A8, which both sell very nicely.

39

Volkswagen owns Rolls-Royce Autos. The British government only bailed out the aerospace section of Rolls. They bought the name to the long gone Bugatti as well. Even tho Minis are built in England, they're actually part of BMW.

Remember when Cadillac stuck their emblems on a tiny Chevy econobox? Didn't sell then, either.

40

Volkswagen owns Rolls-Royce Autos. The British government only bailed out the aerospace section of Rolls. They bought the name to the long gone Bugatti as well. Even tho Minis are built in England, they're actually part of BMW.

Remember when Cadillac stuck their emblems on a tiny Chevy econobox? Didn't sell then, either.

– wabash slim

Yep- Dad test drove one of Cadillacs early attempts at a smaller car, a 1975 "Seville". When he came home to show it to the family, I looked out of my bedroom window and said something like "Neat, a new Nova!".

He wound up with a new Buick.

The first Sevilles barely differed from their Nova base platform, but after some serious work, they caught on and became quite popular. Not so much the Cavalier-derived "Cimmaron" of the 80's, offered in one memorable commercial as "the Caddy that zigs!"

41

Cimmaron---that's the POS. I-4 with plastic Caddy badges. That's right after GM's attempt at converting a gas V-8 to diesel.

42

Cimmaron---that's the POS. I-4 with plastic Caddy badges. That's right after GM's attempt at converting a gas V-8 to diesel.

– wabash slim

And let us not forget the great V4-V6-V8 experiment of the early 80s!

43

In deference to Cadillac's long and storied history, I think we should.

44

Cimmaron---that's the POS. I-4 with plastic Caddy badges. That's right after GM's attempt at converting a gas V-8 to diesel.

– wabash slim

The Chevy Cavalier with alot of lipstick and shiney shit on it. I remember it well.

45

Back to Peavey...Word is that most production has been outsourced to the PRC-a move probably necessitated by economic pressure,but not well received by the consumer.

46

Matchless "Tolex" is thicker and softer because it's upholstery vinyl, not amp covering. It also scuffs and tears easilly. For that matter, all modern amp covering is crap because nobody makes the real thing anymore. You'd be appalled by the difference if you saw and felt it before it was glued to the cabinet.
Peaveys are "built cheap" as in I always cringed whenever one came in for repair. They're good value for the money, but no Randall. Randall was the only company that ever got solid-state guitar amps right. They were the only ones who ever understood why transistors sounded different from tubes, and how to make them not sound different.

47

Matchless "Tolex" is thicker and softer because it's upholstery vinyl, not amp covering. It also scuffs and tears easilly. For that matter, all modern amp covering is crap because nobody makes the real thing anymore. You'd be appalled by the difference if you saw and felt it before it was glued to the cabinet.
Peaveys are "built cheap" as in I always cringed whenever one came in for repair. They're good value for the money, but no Randall. Randall was the only company that ever got solid-state guitar amps right. They were the only ones who ever understood why transistors sounded different from tubes, and how to make them not sound different.

– Billy Zoom

I had a Randall in the early eighties. I can’t remember that much. I think I played a Musicman and sold the Randall for the HD 130 head I still have today. I started with a Pacer. That was $99 I’m sure. Does everybody know that The Peavey was built by Mississippi inmates? Back in the 70s 80s? Here in Jacksonville Peavey dominated the live music market. Including the PA systems.

48

I always liked the Randall amps that Doug Hoffman was involved in.

49

I have a Peavey Studio Pro 40 that I have never tried. Are they any good?

50

Matchless "Tolex" ... scuffs and tears easily.

Yep. I can attest to this. When I was putting the tubes in mine after it was shipped to me, before I even got to hear it, it tipped forward about 8" and bumped the coffee table. Tore a 1/2" chunk of covering free on the top front lip. Made me cuss.

I glued it back, and it's a virtually invisible repair, but still.

The WORST amp covering I've come across is on the Tech21 Trademark 60. It does't have much texture, so you know it can't be very thick material, but I think it's actually thinner than a sheet of 24lb paper stock. Doesn't need much of an excuse to peel off.


BZ, I sent you an email. I think it's the account you rarely check.


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