Short Review: I needed a practice amp that I wouldnít feel bad recording with as far as sound/tone was concerned. It was in my price range and it is plenty loud, has more gain than Iíll ever need, and for the two months or so Iíve had it has been solid. I do have some minor complaints about it; if you wish to read those, refer to the long review. Overall, Iím very pleased, have no buyerís remorse, think it sounds great and would recommend one to a friend should they have the same needs I had, and of course Iíd recommend it through Sweetwater. Itís so refreshing to get the support you get here as opposed to every other place Iíve shopped at.
Long Review: Ok, cards on the table -- Iím primarily a drummer. I couldnít tell you which pups someone was using just by listening to them. I havenít spent countless hours honing in a tone on an amp or processor. Iím a drummer who composes tunes on guitar and I had just bought a new, nice electric and needed a good, solid practice amp that I could record with. Also, I play primarily metal and experimental stuff. I do know I much prefer the sound of tube distortion to that of solid state, so a tube amp was one of my requirements. I didnít want to spend more than $600-800 either. Amongst my guitar playing friends, I have access to high quality amps ranging from Marshalls, a Mesa triple rec, and even a DAR-FBM, so I didnít want to duplicate anything they had. Enter the Peavey 6505+ 112!
To be honest, I did consider the 212: made in America and with two speakers, but the price was prohibitive. Also, itís heavy. Iím not gigging and prefer to jam at home or in the studio, but the idea of lugging that around was not a good one. So, for the price range and what I wanted, it seemed the 6505+ 112 was the way to go.
Iíll start with my gripes.
1.) The knobs. I think theyíre called chicken head style. I do not like these and would prefer simple round knobs. The reason being that if the tails or heads are pointing towards one another, the space between them gets tight and itís very easy to bump an adjacent knob when tweaking another. I guess if itís dark on stage it might be hard to see a little white line on a round knob, but Iíd rather have the round, traditional knob.
2.) The Presence knob seems kinda useless below 7.5. Again, Iím not a guitar player, but I canít hear it doing anything until it gets to around 7.5. I usually keep it around 9 when jamming with distortion.
3.) Very, very minor gripe, but I believe it was advertised to provide a control for the light on the front, so you could turn it off or dial it down or up if you wanted. Yeah, thatís not there, and from what I could gather on forums, it was removed at the last minute because it caused humming or noise or something. So, if for some weird reason the tipping point on pulling the trigger for purchasing this amp for you was a dial to control the light, beware.
4.) Once more, Iím not a guitar player, but I find the clean tones a little lacking. However, I play primarily with distortion on electrics and use the acoustic for cleans. Also, Iíd probably slap a few effects in the loop if I was gonna use clean tones when recording.
Now what I like about the amp.
It has great, warm distortion tones! I play much more guitar now that I have a good amp to play through. Iíve recorded a little bit with it, using a Heil PR-30 and have been very pleased. I have not used the direct XLR output that simulates a Sure SM57 off-axis yet, so I canít comment on that. I tried the built in reverb once and never touched it again, so I canít comment on that either.
The gain is ridiculous on this thing. I couldnít see me ever turning it all the way up, even for an over-the-top effect. On my seven string I keep it between 4.5-6 and for my six string I might bring it up to 8, but usually just under. Iím guessing itís the pickup differences? Not sure, but Iíve found those gain settings to work for me with those two guitars.
Iím not sure itíd be loud enough for a full on band rehearsal on its own. For the stage though, micíd up, no problem. Iíve yet to turn it past 3.5 on the volume. Itís plenty loud and since I use it mainly for practicing, I keep it civil with the volume. Iíve read some people complain about the speaker that comes with it. I have to say I like it just fine, but did hear a noticeable improvement when I ran the output from the amp to a Marshall half stack cabinet and to a Mesa half stack cabinet. So if you have access to high quality, external speakers, youíll have some options.
Looking over the review, I see it seems I have more gripes than compliments, but this thing really is solid. It sounds great (best, if you ask me, after warming up for 10-15 minutes). For the money Iím hard pressed to see what else you could get if youíre a metal jammer. My guitar playing friends spend this much and more on just effects processors, so I donít think itís too much money for what Iím getting, and theyíve all been impressed with the tones it produces when they checked it out.
So, for what itís worth, this drummer/basic guitarist really likes it. I have no regrets with the purchase and would highly recommend it to anyone with the same needs, desires, and budget.