The entire Peavey Classic series is superb, no matter what style of music you play.
When I first heard one of Peavey’s Classic series amps, I was blown away. I was at an old friend’s house and he had just gotten two new guitars and wanted to show them off. I hadn’t seen him in a while, so I had no idea what the knee-high tweed amp was in the corner. The guitars were both pretty cool, but the amp blew my hat right off! As it turned out, it was a Classic 50 2×12″. It must have been fate that I kept seeing various members of the Classic series around after that – at other friends’ houses and being used by a handful of touring bands I saw – because I fell in love.
After doing some research I finally bought the Classic 50 4×10″. Now, I am a hard man to please when it comes to amps. I like to play a variety of different styles, so finding one amp to suit all of my needs was something I had given up on. I was amazed that the Classic 50 could pull off detuned metal riffs with my Jackson just as well as it could pull off a drop-dead Byrds imitation with my 12-string electric. All of the controls on this amp are pretty standard among it’s competitors, but in name alone. The bass, mid, and high tone controls command just the right frequencies, and never make anything too harsh on the top end or too muddy on the bottom end. And the Presence knob has range of good things to add to your tone – more functional than most amps I have used. The reverb is warm, lush, and springy. In this day and age of incredible digital reverbs, I think people tend to forget that springs can sound nice in the right setting.
In addition to the tone controls, I found the sound of the normal channel played cleanly is pretty transparent. I don’t mean that quite in the recording sense; I mean that it shows off whatever guitar you are playing in front of it. It has a nice breakup as you turn it up. And then you can switch to… the LEAD channel! It was nice to find a set of pre and post gain controls, usually found in high-gain amp heads. That’s a nice feature to include in an open-backed combo amp; well done Peavey. So, what can I say about the lead channel? It can pull off anything from classic-rock creamy to crunchy riffing, with none of the harshness that made me sell the last few amps I’ve owned. Just by randomly tweaking both knobs back and forth for about 5 minutes, you can hone in on several different sounds you like.
This guitar amp would find a great home in somebody’s bedroom (like mine). I almost forgot to mention the Master Volume switch – that comes in real handy when your newborn has just gone to sleep for the night. I have seen the Classic 30, the Classic 50 2×12″, and the Classic 50 4×10″ all played live before, and they sound phenomenal. In addition to that, I have found that depending on the material, the Classic 50 4×10″ records well, too. One caveat to recording is that both Classic 50 models have a cooling fan that is always on. It it is surprisingly quiet, but could probably be heard on quieter tracks or when using a condenser mic. The fan is really the only drawback to this amp that I can find, though that’s only about half of the time. The other half of the time it keeps the three 12AX7 and four EL84 tubes under the hood from getting too hot.
All told, the entire Peavey Classic series is superb, no matter what style of music you play. I happen to prefer the 4×10″ arrangement, and it has treated me well.