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> Amp Review: Peavey Valveking 100 Head, Number one question about this amp answered
Mudbone
post Dec 2 2010, 06:24 AM
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Peavey Valveking 100 Head

Can it play metal? This has got to be the number one question asked about this amp. If you're a metal head in the market for an entry level full powered tube head, you should be asking yourself this question as well. I'll answer this question in just a moment, but first lets go over the features.

Features

- 100 watts
- 4 Ruby 6L6GCM-STR Power Tubes
- 3 12AX7 JJ Preamp Tubes
- 2 Channels, Clean and Lead - Passive EQ on Both
- Presence and Resonance controls
- Gain Boost
- Volume Boost
- Bright Switch on Clean Channel
- High and Low Gain Inputs
- Master Spring Reverb
- Buffered Effects loop
- Ohm Selector - 4, 8, 16
- Patented Texture Knob - Sweep Between
Simulated Class "A" and Full Power Class "A/B"

Tubes:

This particular amp came equipped with Ruby Tubes 6L6GCM-STR power tubes and JJ 12AX7 preamp tubes. For those who would like to know, "STR" stands for "Special Tube Request". The company Ruby Tubes don't actually manufacture any of their tubes, but instead put their name on tubes that are manufactured for them by other tube manufacturers. The STR tubes in this amp were most likely designed by Ruby Tubes according to specifications provided by Peavey. So why is this important to know? When its time to replace the power tubes, unless you get these same exact tubes, you won't be able to get this amp to sound exactly the same as when it came from the factory. In fact, I don't know where you'll be able to find these same exact tubes on the after market. Personally, I like to try new things all the times, so I don't feel like its an issue. But some people insist on having an amp remain completely stock. The preamp tubes are JJ's, so those can be found all over the internet.

Foot Switch... Or lack thereof

The foot switch was not included with this amp, most likely so it can meet a certain price point. They go for around $40 for an original Peavey foot switch, but you can find aftermarket ones for around $25 on eBay. But, keep in mind the cheap one on eBay doesn't have any lights and you will need a stereo cable as well. The aftermarket one is made of steel, while the Peavey one is made from plastic. If you're concerned about the plastic Peavey footswitch, fear not for they are quite durable. I have one for my Ultra Plus head that is from the 90's and it is still kicking. The foot switch has a channel select and a boost switch, which can be used on either the volume boost or the gain boost, but not both.

Build Quality

Peavey amps have a legendary reputation for being extremely rugged. Many amp techs claim that Peavey and Mesa are the most durable amps out there. However, this reputation is from Peavey's American line of amps, so how does this Chinese manufactured amp stack up? In my opinion, it seems like it is built just as rugged as the American line of amps. The quality of materials and fit and finish is great. I must say though, the amp does look very bland, and thats what gives it its budget look. The faceplate and knobs aren't as nice as on the Ultra Plus I have sitting on top of it. But I'm more concerned with how it performs over the long haul, and this is one of the main reasons I chose this amp over the competition.

Texture Control Knob

This knob changes the amp from simulated class "A" to full power class "A/B". Its located on the back of the amp, which I think is kinda silly, because its pretty useful, and would be much more useful if it was on the front. I think if Peavey ever does a redesign of this amp they should move the effects loop from front panel to the back and bring this knob to the front.

So what exactly does it do? Well I wish I could tell you the difference between class "A" and class "A/B" in plain English, but I still don't fully understand it myself. When I complete my electrical engineering degree in a couple of years I'll come back and explain it, but until then, I'll tell you what it does in terms of practical application and what my ears tell me it sounds like.

When the knob is swept all the way to right to class "A/B" the amp is in full power mode, and this provides a more modern sound. The amp gets louder and the bottom end gets tighter. In this mode the amp is running at a full 100 watts. If you want maximum headroom and maximum flexibility and versatility, this is where you want it. When I play with a band, this is where I usually keep it.

When the knob is swept all the way to the left to class "A" the amps power drops down to almost 40 watts. The tone gets a little looser but also seem to get a little richer. When I'm playing at home at low volumes I usually have it in this position, it just seems to sound sweeter and more manageable than when in class "A/B". However, if you like to play palm muted pedal low E notes, you may want to put the knob to "A/B". Cleans sound more textured and richer when the knob is in class "A".

Presence and Resonance Controls

The presence knob is an incredibly useful knob, especially if you're rocking out with a drummer in a concrete room with no carpeting. Whenever I play in such a room, I turn the presence all the way off, and all of a sudden the amp just sings over the symbals the drummer is banging on. I wish more live bands would do the same thing, because most live bands I see have way too much high end coming from the guitars. The guitar is a midrange instrument, remember that. The Resonance knob makes the bottom end tighter or looser, depending on which way you turn it obviously. I usually keep it at around 1 o'clock - not to tight, nor too loose, but just right.

Ok Mudbone, enough yapping, tell me about the tone dammit

Clean channel

The clean channel is supposedly an almost exact ripoff of the clean channel found on Fender amps, which ain't a bad amp to copy from. I always play with the bright switch on, simply because I like the crispness it provides. Whenever I play the clean channel on any amp, I use the neck pickup almost exclusively. I've played an EMG 85, EMG 60 and Tonerider City Limits single coil pickups through this amp. It is a very rich sounding channel, you can play higher notes over a ringing bass note. It could use a bit more clarity at higher volumes, but this really isn't that much of an issue. Actually, I think I just need to tweak the knobs a little more, as I really don't play on the clean channel that much. This channel does have plenty of headroom, and when in class "A/B" it won't break up.

Lead Channel

The lead channel on this amp is supposedly a copy of a JCM 800, save for a few capacitor values. Like a JCM 800, it is very midrangy, and cuts through the mix. It doesn't sound exactly like a JCM 800, probably because of the 6L6 power section. This channel is really a channel and a half, as the gain boost button adds more gain, which under certain applications could be used as another channel. The gain boost adds another stage of gain, but it is diode gain, not another tube stage, so the "all tube" moniker is somewhat misleading. Now before you knock it for having a diode gain boost, Slashes Silver Jubilee had a diode gain stage. So too does Kerry Kings signature JCM 800. In fact many famous 80's high gain amps tones had diode gain stages. At the time it was a cheap way to add more gain, and it also has a more aggressive sound than a pure tube gain stage would. It sounds good to my ears, and to me thats all that matters.

There is also a volume boost for when you need your screaming solo to stand out. When playing at low volumes, the volume boost doesn't seem to have any effect.

When the gain boost isn't engaged, the gain on tap is perfect for classic rock. If you turn down the gain and roll back the volume knob on your guitar, it does clean up somewhat, but still has some dirt on it.

So, the million dollar question... can it play metal?

I am glad to report that yes, this amp can play metal. However, I must say, if you're expecting a huge Mesa Dual Rectifier sound, you will not find it here. I think this is why some people say it can't play metal. Also, it doesn't have as much gain as a 5150, but then again, hardly any amp has as much gain as the 5150. You can pull off heavy, detuned chugging riffing with this amp, but there are better amps for such styles of playing, However, such amps cost a lot more than this amp does.

This amps works perfectly for classic Metallica and Megadeth. Like I said earlier, this amp is very midrangy, and is suited to metal styles that use plenty of midrange. On a side note, in my humble opinion, I think scooping the mids is foolish, its like castrating your tone. If you want to get a good idea of what this amp sounds like, other than youtube demos, listen to the Shadows Fall album "Threads of Life" (I think its their best album). You can get the sound on that album with this amp. Another type of metal sound it is good at doing is the sound of bands like Hammerfall and Firewind.

A good speaker cab to go with amp is the Marshall 1960, it really brings it to life. I've never played the Valveking cab, but I heard it sucks. Choosing a good speaker cab is something you should never overlook, it is really huge component in your tone.

Why you should get this amp over its competitors

Reliability, ruggedness, and uniqueness. When I was shopping for an entry level full powered tube amp head, I was also looking at Bugeras and B-52's. I really liked the Bugera 6262, since it is an exact copy of the Peavey 5150 II/ 6505+, but the build quality on it wasn't that great, it looked really shoddy. I was also looking at the Bugera 1990, but that was also shoddy looking. Also, at the time, Bugeras were new and hadn't proved themselves. I didn't want to risk it and went with the Valveking. To me, reliability trumps everything, if it doesn't work, its not worth a damn, no matter how good it sounds when its actually working.

This amp also has a very unique sound, it really cuts through the mix. And it is actually very versatile, you can use it for many styles. If you want your guitar sound to stand out, this is definitely an amp to consider.

Peavey ValveKing Series Manual












If you need a boost you can jump the effects loop. The loop is buffered, so the signal from the preamp is boosted when the loop is used.








These tubes glow much brighter than the tubes on my Ultra Plus. This leads me to believe the tubes in the Ultra Plus are really old, maybe even the original ones from when the amp was manufactured in the 90's.




Mmmm..... electrons....

This post has been edited by Mudbone: Dec 2 2010, 08:42 AM


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audiopaal
post Dec 2 2010, 09:26 AM
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Wow, great review mate smile.gif
Well written and good pictures!

Thanks for sharing smile.gif
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Fran
post Dec 2 2010, 09:40 AM
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Wow, your reviews are killer man. I love those gowing hot tubes in your pics cool.gif


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Mudbone
post Dec 2 2010, 09:56 AM
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QUOTE (audiopaal @ Dec 2 2010, 03:26 AM) *
Wow, great review mate smile.gif
Well written and good pictures!

Thanks for sharing smile.gif


Thanks dude, much appreciated smile.gif

QUOTE (Fran @ Dec 2 2010, 03:40 AM) *
Wow, your reviews are killer man. I love those gowing hot tubes in your pics cool.gif


Thanks Fran smile.gif This amp was played at the same volume as the Ultra Plus, but these tubes glowed A LOT brighter. I'm probably gonna change the tubes in the Ultra Plus sometime soon, so expect some more glowing tube pics in the future. My favorite part of doing amp reviews is taking pictures of glowing tubes cool.gif

This post has been edited by Mudbone: Dec 2 2010, 09:57 AM


--------------------


He who laughs last thinks slowest.

"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens


Gear:

Guitars: Uncle Rufus' Twanger Classic
Amps: Mississippi Boom Box
Mojo: Hammer of Odin and a pair of Ox gonads
Inspiration: Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Zero to Hero: 1,387/10,000

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kaznie_NL
post Dec 2 2010, 10:06 PM
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cool review smile.gif Why do you connect your FX return and send with the patch cable??


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Mudbone
post Dec 3 2010, 02:02 AM
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QUOTE (kaznie_NL @ Dec 2 2010, 04:06 PM) *
cool review smile.gif Why do you connect your FX return and send with the patch cable??


The effects loop is buffered, meaning the send is slightly boosted, so if you're running a bunch of pedals in the loop your signal won't be diminished. When no pedals are in the loop it acts as a preamp boost, and gives you a little gain boost and a bit more clarity, at least thats the way it sounds to my ears biggrin.gif


--------------------


He who laughs last thinks slowest.

"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens


Gear:

Guitars: Uncle Rufus' Twanger Classic
Amps: Mississippi Boom Box
Mojo: Hammer of Odin and a pair of Ox gonads
Inspiration: Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Zero to Hero: 1,387/10,000

Go to the top of the page
 
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Shime
post Dec 3 2010, 10:51 AM
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Now that's interesting to know, will try it on my 6505!

Otherwise: I'm speechless man, great review biggrin.gif

QUOTE (Mudbone @ Dec 3 2010, 02:02 AM) *
The effects loop is buffered, meaning the send is slightly boosted, so if you're running a bunch of pedals in the loop your signal won't be diminished. When no pedals are in the loop it acts as a preamp boost, and gives you a little gain boost and a bit more clarity, at least thats the way it sounds to my ears biggrin.gif
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Fran
post Dec 3 2010, 01:38 PM
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Here's the review in the knowledge base smile.gif

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/wiki/inde...100_Head_Review


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Todd Simpson
post Dec 3 2010, 05:50 PM
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I've read this review twice now and and I'm really leaning toward getting one of these amps. It would be a total reversal from my current method of modeling processor/clean amp, but the more I read about it and the more I hear tones from it (tons on youtube) this thing just RAWKS.
Todd


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Jerry Arcidiacon...
post Dec 3 2010, 06:20 PM
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Wow! Great review e and great pics! Thanks for sharing. I will try this amp in the future.


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Mudbone
post Dec 3 2010, 07:12 PM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Dec 3 2010, 11:50 AM) *
I've read this review twice now and and I'm really leaning toward getting one of these amps. It would be a total reversal from my current method of modeling processor/clean amp, but the more I read about it and the more I hear tones from it (tons on youtube) this thing just RAWKS.
Todd


If you want to buy it new, Guitar Center might have a sale on it sometime soon. I got this one a little after Christmas in 2009 and it was listed for $410 brand new, subtract $120 I got for a trade in, and I ended up paying less than $300 for a brand new tube amp. This amp usually retails for $549.00, so keep your eyes open and you might find a good deal. If not, they usually go for around $350 used.

QUOTE (Jerry Arcidiacono @ Dec 3 2010, 12:20 PM) *
Wow! Great review e and great pics! Thanks for sharing. I will try this amp in the future.


Thanks Jerry biggrin.gif


--------------------


He who laughs last thinks slowest.

"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens


Gear:

Guitars: Uncle Rufus' Twanger Classic
Amps: Mississippi Boom Box
Mojo: Hammer of Odin and a pair of Ox gonads
Inspiration: Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Zero to Hero: 1,387/10,000

Go to the top of the page
 
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Mudbone
post Dec 4 2010, 08:15 AM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Dec 3 2010, 11:50 AM) *
I've read this review twice now and and I'm really leaning toward getting one of these amps. It would be a total reversal from my current method of modeling processor/clean amp, but the more I read about it and the more I hear tones from it (tons on youtube) this thing just RAWKS.
Todd


This is just a sample of what it sounds like when it is recorded, I found it when I was looking for a sound sample to put up on the wiki entry. Fran, if you're reading this, feel free to add this if i don't figure out how to do it myself biggrin.gif



--------------------


He who laughs last thinks slowest.

"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens


Gear:

Guitars: Uncle Rufus' Twanger Classic
Amps: Mississippi Boom Box
Mojo: Hammer of Odin and a pair of Ox gonads
Inspiration: Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Zero to Hero: 1,387/10,000

Go to the top of the page
 
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Fran
post Dec 4 2010, 02:20 PM
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QUOTE (Mudbone @ Dec 4 2010, 08:15 AM) *
This is just a sample of what it sounds like when it is recorded, I found it when I was looking for a sound sample to put up on the wiki entry. Fran, if you're reading this, feel free to add this if i don't figure out how to do it myself biggrin.gif



Added wink.gif


--------------------
Guitars:
Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster, Ibanez RG2570MZ, Epiphone SG G-400
Amp:
Vox AC4TVH head + V112TV cab
Effects:
Vox Satchurator, Vox Time Machine, Dunlop CryBaby, Boss MT-2, Boss CE-5, Boss TU-2, Boss ME-70
Recording:
Line-6 POD X3 + FBV-Express, Pandora PX5D

GMC wants YOU to take part in our Guitar-Wikipedia!
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Ivan Milenkovic
post Dec 12 2010, 12:13 AM
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Wow, that's a nice and valuable review man, excellent job. I played several times on Valveking and like it everytime, nice rocking amp! smile.gif


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