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June 2017 Giveaway

Peavey ValveKing 20 MH 20/5/1-watt Tube Head Reviews

4.0 stars based on 17 customer reviews
Questions about the Peavey ValveKing 20 MH 20/5/1-watt Tube Head?

Questions about the Peavey ValveKing 20 MH 20/5/1-watt Tube Head?

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  • Ron
    from Orlando, FL December 13, 2016Music Background:
    Experienced Guitar Player

    Great for Jazz Guitar (with a few simple mods)

    This is a great amp for Jazz/Blues guitar if you swap the stock power tubes for Groove Tube EL84's and the stock preamp tube in slot 1 with an Electro-Harmonix 12AY7 gold pin. The tube change adds warmth, harmonic color, and headroom on the Clean channel that really brings out the purity of this amp's sound capabilities. I use a Crate extension cabinet with a 15" Celestion GV15-100 8ohm 100W speaker, and it really delivers the pure jazz sound I'm looking for. If you have a 6 string archtop, or a 7,8 string electric guitar - no problem ... the low end is crystal clear and warm. I've played it next to a Polytone MiniBrute with a 15" speaker and the Peavey/Celestion combo holds it's own against the jazz amp standard.

  • Justin Halvorson
    from Roseau, MN November 30, 2016Music Background:
    live performer. recording. live sound.


    I bought one of these sometime in mid 2015. I've played 50+ shows with it. Each show was at 20 watts and over half volume! This little amp is very light and packs a punch! You can adjust it to go from classic rock to full on metal! The reverb is very nice sounding. I'm very impressed with the "m.s.d.i." feature as well!!! I don't even bother to mic my guitar anymore....just plug an xlr into the back and you'll sound great live! Its sounds very good recorded as well!!! (In my experienced opinion, the msdi sounds much better than all those digital computer software simulations)...I don't foresee this little amp breaking down ever. Its build well and only complete carelessness will kill it. I took a blind chance when I bought this amp.....I had never played through one......(foolish, I know)......but I don't regret my purchase at all! since 2007 ive been playing live with a mesa boogie dual rectifier. I now leave that spendy, American made, hand wired head at home to collect dust.....don't get me wrong, the mesa boogie kicks aXX, but so does this little mini head:) (ignore the wattage difference....20 vs 100 watts.....I never really got to use the mesa's full potential ever) to me, it just made sense to punish this little cheap amp instead of the Mesa! and I don't regret it at all.

    only think I don't like about this amp is that I now want to get the rest of Peavey's MH line! (6505 and classic 30). my ears like the amp. my back loves the amp. and my wallet loves the amp even more. I would buy another if mine got ruined or stolen :)

  • WestyBluz
    from USA July 29, 2015Music Background:
    Blues Fanatic and Music Nerd

    Absolutely Great

    I called my SW rep, Derek Senestraro and asked for suggestions on a versatile valve head that would suit my needs. I play blues, all kinds of blues. We talked about a few options and ended up settling on this Peavey Micro Valve. It's a great head with plenty of fabulous features. Power soak, great EQ, direct out, and compact size. This little head makes some absolutely amazing tone when plugged into my V30 -2x12. Rich textural tones, and just perfect for my playing. Great product, great service. What's not to like?

  • Ernie
    from Siletz, OR June 11, 2014Music Background:
    Long time player, now just play for my own amusement.

    what i've been looking for

    I've had this for more than a month. This gave me features I wanted, variable wattage, effects loop, and headphone output, plus even more. Tried it with different speaker cabs, and finally selected a Blackstar 1x12 and like the result. Amp seems happier with 16 ohm speakers. I would like to thank Joe Milne for his help and advice. Very happy with service at Sweetwater and enjoy my new amp.

  • William Burlew
    from Las Vegas, NV April 22, 2016

    Ditto "Great blues head--almost"

    i'm gonna ditto what "Doc" wrote in his review. I coulnd't express it any better. and yep, i'm a gonna put in the Jan GE 5751 and Russian 12AX7 tubes myself and check out that DIY update. I'm also pushing it through a Peavey 212-c cab and couldn't be happier with it.

    Zach Garrison, mild-mannered super sales engineer, as usual helped out quite a lot with my email questions and getting things shipped on time, as one item, the Cab, wasn't in stock at that time.

    I got the Peavey Item #: 03022920 "Multi-purpose 2-button footswitch with LEDs" though i think i'll look into getting a switch that can switch between "channel-change & on-off boost" or "reverb/loop".

  • "Doc"
    from Mansfield April 8, 2015Music Background:
    Gigging musician

    Great blues head--almost

    My band plays classic rock to red dirt country and some others. I'm an ES 335 man. Yes I play Teles, Strats and LPs. But nothing creams the blues like a 335, and my hands down favorite is an Epiphone 335 Pro. Great pups, thin neck, blocks, single coil pull pots. It's beautiful and can play ANY song. So why am I talking so much about a guitar when I'm reviewing a tube head? I'm saying all this to say, you have to know what you want before you're going to find it. My first amp in '81 was a Peavey. I had a Strat copy and I made noise! Today's Peaveys are geared toward more metal, IMHO. My band doesn't play metal and I was getting back ache from lugging my Traynor YCV40WR (AWESOME combo) to gigs. I've got a 2X12 cab, with wheels, I made with 2 Eminence speakers (Swamp Thang & Texas Heat). Now all I needed was a little head. [Stop that!]

    I picked this Peavey because of its small size and tube configuration. When the MHII arrived I was very happy with the stock configuration. Very responsive to pick attack, but got mstalls too quick. So I dropped a JAN GE 5751 in the V1 and Russian 12AX7s in V2/3. With the new preamp tubes this little jammer oozes Blues. This amp will crunch if I need it. But the harmonic (in a good way) nuances are incredible now. It's seriously like a whole new amp!! Do not pass up on this head! At 20W my 2X12 pushes enough air to easily keep up with a live band. That's a crazy LP lead, full acoustic drum kit, another guitar AND a bassist driving huge sound. I lay out rhythm and lead and I will have this Peavey until I can play no more [dead].

  • David S.
    from Burlington, WA December 29, 2014Music Background:
    Hobbyist/Garage guitar hero

    The Most For Less - By A Mile

    Keeping things in perspective here - it is a value-priced head, but with a variety & flexibility not seen in greater packages. A smartly-conceived unit with an equally-executed build quality; what I expect from a Peavey. Gives a variety of *classic* cleans & overdrive tones - exactly what I was looking for in a low-watt head. This is my first tube-head purchase in the on/off 34 years of playing & owning a slew of combos, so upon treating myself - I made sure to do a decent amount of research beforehand. Note of caution though: while it is footswitchable - you're gonna need to purchase a footswitch. Thanks to my Sales Engineer David Hess for turning me onto the Boss FS-6 & compatible balance cable, which proves to be a quality A/B switcher that enables you to channel change & go on/off boost. These switchers join as well, as a second one is required to undertake the reverb on/off & effects loop on/off, if desired. Used the FedEx Business Saver option & received in two business days! Packaging is expert, and the candy doesn't hurt!!!!

  • Terry M.
    from Jersey City, NJ May 14, 2014

    Pretty Impressive

    I kept reading wonderful things about this head, but I was still skeptical that it would deliver on its promise, especially when I needed something really crunchy and nasty. But it still seemed like the best bang for the buck, and I figured whatever it couldn't do, I could make up for with a pedal. But I find myself VERY impressed with this head, its versatility, AND its ability to deliver a nasty crunch when needed!! The "Boost" option puts it over the top......if you're going to use the Boost, you'll need to back off the Gain a bit.....which is great to have that extra headroom. This is a very impressive head for it's size and power.

  • Terry Murphy
    from Jersey City, NJ April 21, 2014

    Very Impressed - Great Choice

    I researched for over a month, and went back and forth on things and I kept coming back to this amp. I needed something versatile enough to achieve a number of different sounds.......something I could play in my apartment without blowing out the neighbors (and use with headphones).....something I could use at home and for gigging, that could also work as a home recording amplifier......something small enough to tuck out of the way when not in use.....and something with a big enough sound to satisfy my hard rock and metal heart. I finally pulled the trigger on this and couldn't be happier. It does just about EVERYTHING I wanted it to do. Even my most tolerant wife (when she noticed it) said, "oh, that's new", and didn't complain about the growing pile of equipment (standard). It's sound phenomenal and really cranks when you push it. The variable wattage setting is a nice touch, and it looks great sitting on top of my Fender 1x12 cabinet. The ONLY thing I wish it had was a second input or MP3 player input.........but that was the lowest thing on my wish list. No other amp delivered ALL of the above items. At this price point, it's a winner!! I agonized over this decision, but ultimately it was the right one!!!

  • MikeB
    from San Diego March 20, 2017Music Background:
    Rock, metal, blues, non suck

    Great little amp

    I really dig this little amp, decent sound and decent features. When I first got it I ran it through it's paces, and worked it pretty hard to hear its potential and limitations. Clean channel has no super jangly Fender tones, but good headroom with a little bite. As for the lead channel, it rips pretty good. I like the gain structure, it's punchy and crunchy in lower gain settings, and only gets more burly going clock wise with smooth tube saturation. The class A/AB simulator is fun and makes noticeable changes in tone and the feel of the amp. Especially nice is the 1,5,20 watt setting, neighbors appreciate it. Headphone jack, effects loop, speaker ohm adjustable between 8 and 16, midi out, and the speaker defeat are all great perks. I played around with my tube stock and got this girl purring to my liking. The power section loved the NOS Tung-Sols I had with a bit of bias adjustment. As for the preamp tubes, the Ruby's aren't bad with this build, but I'm picky. With most tube amps true tonal change usually comes from a single tube change in the preamp, this Peavey is no different. I ended up using one of my 50's RCA tubes in the V3 that just smoothed everything out. The V1 and V2 spots were replaced with tubestore preferred 12ax7's, and sound great. I will dick around with some circuit changes down the road, but all in all I'm really pleased with this tiny power house.

  • Doug99
    from Wichita May 18, 2016Music Background:
    Pro player forever

    Great amp!

    I have used this amp for two years. I play 2 to 3 nights a month in a cover band playing music from Michael Jackson to Rage Against the Machine and in between. This amp has never given me 1 problem in that time. I love this amp all the way from the sound to the weight. I play clean and distorted tunes. Imitating an acoustic for Sublime songs to good Marshall style distortion for RATM and The Darkness to in between funk sounds of RHCP. I use single coil pickups as well as humbuckers. Just a great amp. Plus it is 20watts with the dual El-84s so I can run it on 5 or 6 all night which opens it up so it gets a good power section overdrive going. Sweet. Home run for me!

  • Gio
    from Los Angeles December 15, 2015Music Background:
    Profesional musician - Jazz/Fusion

    This is a good amp

    This is a good amp, full of great and useful features. The tone is good, the clean ch. is good, the distorted ch. is superb if you're a Metal player, I'm not, I mostly play R&B, Jazz/Fusion so I had to tame it. I'm not an expert but an 5751 in V1 did the trick for me. It's solid built, light, easy to carry around. I haven't tried the line output yet in a recording session but you should know that you have two options, one with a convenient speaker defeat. I will probably mike the speaker for recording, I'm not expecting miracles from this line output but it's always good to have it. My ONLY complain is about the VOLUME, I so wished they added at least 5 more watts, so, PAEVEY if you're reading this, why don't you throw a bit more power in there ?

  • Customer
    from TEXAS August 20, 2015Music Background:

    Great Sounding Amp

    IMO Peavy really did a great job with this amp. Great clean and crunch the only deal breaker for me was that it was not quite loud enough which kinda surprised me with a 20 watt power rating. My Marshall DSL 15h at 15watts worked better for gigging. Still, for recording and home practice you can't go wrong. I returned it but not because it was a bad amp, IMO a bump to 25 or 30 watts and you wouldn't need much else. It's big brother may be the better choice if you wanna gig with it.

  • Mark
    from Anderson April 21, 2014Music Background:
    27 years of playing.

    Lot of bang for the buck

    Ok, the good and the bad.
    The Good…….Lots of bang for the buck here. Tube tone, recording output (seems to work great), can run direct to the PA (tried it, not bad) small size, effects loop and light weight. It has two footswitch inputs. One will turn the boost on/off and switch the channel from dirty to clean. The other input turns the reverb on/off and turns on/off the effects loop. Yes it requires to footswitches, but that’s a lot of control. It really is a nice amp for what I want. I have a 1X12 cabinet with a The Governor in it that I use to go to jams. Guitar in a gig bag on my back, amp in one hand and the cab in the other, I walk in and I’m ready to rock. I’ve also plugged this into a cab with 4 12’ Greenbacks and it can rock that too. The lower 1w setting allows me to retain some of that great tube tone without waking the entire house.

    The Bad….. When you plug a footswitch into the Boost/Channel input, it cuts the volume of the amp (and in my opinion some mids as well). I talked to Sweetwaters Tech’s and looked in at the Peavey message boards and this seems to be normal. Normal and Boosted volume with the pedal in, is approximately the same volume as the normal unboosted volume with the footswitch not plugged in. In my case, (at the 20 W setting) to get it back to start normal volume, after I plugged the footswitch in, I had to raise the volume from 2 up to 3/4 and increase the mids some.

    To try and make it a bit clearer, I’ll use some amp volume numbers to give a basic idea,

    20W setting, gain on 6, master volume on 4

    “No footswitch”
    Amp on 4, reach over and push boost button with finger, brings volume to up 6.

    “Plug in footswitch”
    Amp volume reduced to 2, step on pedal to engage boost, volume back up to 4, disengage boost at pedal, back to 2
    “Raise volume on face up to 6” (this gets you the volume of 4 with no footswitch).
    Engage boost at footswitch again and it kicks it back up two notches. However this is still down 2 numbers from where you would be with no footswitch. In essence, it seems like you would be at 8, but you really are at 6. Pull the footswitch and push the boost in with your finger, and you’ll have the 8.
    Footswitch will also boost clean volume, which the button will not do.

    No matter how you play with it, the footswitch costs you some volume. However, if you don’t need it, or will just switch it with your finger, there’s no problem.
    After some thought, I don’t consider the loss of volume a deal breaker unless you feel that you need to run this amp on 10 and get every last once of volume out of it. With a simple turn of the volume knob, you can restore everything. However, if you need every bit of volume you can get, then it might be a deal breaker, because you will never be able to get max volume out of this with a footswitch for the boost/clean/dirty, channel plugged in. Then again, if you need that much, you might need a bigger amp.

  • Mitch
    from Winona, MN March 13, 2014Music Background:
    Skilled musician

    Valveking II MH20

    This amp kick *** for 429.99! I love the tones you can get out of. It is extremely versatile and emulates a beautiful warm tube sound. I honestly have no problem achieving any type of tone that I want, whether its blues, rock, hard rock, or straight up metal, this thing can do it all! I love the multi-watt switch, which is perfect for someone who lives in an apartment, like me. At 9A.M I can have the master volume at 6, on the 1-watt setting, really pushing the tubes hard and getting its true tone. 20W starts to give you a lot more head room adding character to your tone.

    Overall, you should try it if you’re thinking about getting something to practice or rehearse with. Tone wise it’s not the best, but as I state earlier it is actually really good 429.99. BY any means you are not going to get a Mesa, ENGL, or Diezel tone, but it has its own scale of depth that really stands out to me. BUT you wont be disappointed either, give it a try!

  • Steve
    from California Central Coast September 15, 2016Music Background:
    Good average musician

    Ear phone distortion

    The clean channel sounds muddy and gritty through the headphones
    The clean channel sounds good without headphones
    The dirty channel to me is bad with headphones or not it's too fuzzy
    I hear no difference between the a and ab amp settings
    Reverb need some work it's OK at lower settings
    I have yet to try out any of the other bells and whistles USB connection midi connection I'm hoping for the best Customer service at Sweetwater is five stars

  • Stephen Lederle
    from St Robert, MO February 3, 2016

    Defective and a Waste

    I was so excited when I heard about this amp. I watched all the videos and read as many review as I could find online and everything I could find show a lot of promise. So I bought one. Then I returned the Peavey Valveking 20 MH because (from talking to the Sweetwater amp Tech) the pre-amp section is defective. Well not 2 hours ago I received shipment of the replacement Valveking and the foot switchable boost function no longer works on the lead channel but is always on, on the clean channel. This makes the SECOND Peavey Valveking in the last 22 days to show up to my door malfunctioning. I cannot recommend this amp to anyone. If one out of every 500 malfunction straight out of the box MAYBE that would be seen as an acceptable margin of error, but when TWO are, from the factory, defective then there's a quality control problem. These amps are, in my opinion and experience, not reliable for anyone, whether you're gigging or just jamming at home.


  • Mitch Gallagher

    My first real amp was a 2 x 12" Peavey Classic -- the old-school late-'70s original with the aluminum side panels on the grille. Ah, the good old days! I played that amp for years, followed by several other Peaveys, and they never let me down. But time marches on, and Peavey has kept up with the times with a steady stream of really cool amplifiers (including a new line of tweed-covered Classic amps launched in the early '90s). The latest from Peavey is the ValveKing II, a feature-laden amp that's perfect for stage or studio.

    The ValveKing II combo that I checked out uses three 12AX7 preamp tubes and two EL84 power tubes to deliver 20 watts, switchable down to 5 watts or even 1 watt for home use. (There also is a head version of this amp, a 50-/12-/2-watt combo, and a 100-/25-/5-watt head.) It has clean (with bright switch) and dirty (with switchable boost and high gain) channels, each with 3-band EQ, and a master reverb. A master Damping control blends presence and resonance shaping under one knob, while the Vari-Class control can continuously shift the power tubes from Class A operation to Class AB. That's a ton of tone-shaping control and a lot of versatility, from chiming British clean to rich American clean, crunchy UK chunk to singing U.S. sustain. The front panel also features tube monitoring LEDs, which keep you apprised as to the health of your EL84s.

    Around back, you've got a footswitchable effects loop and an MSDI (Mic Simulated Direct Interface) XLR jack for feeding the amp's output -- with mic and speaker emulation -- to a live sound console or a recorder. There's an accompanying switch for turning off the speaker for silent recording. There's also a USB output that can likewise deliver a mic-/speaker-emulated signal straight into your computer DAW.

    This really is one amp that can do it all for you, from clean to high gain, at bedroom volume or stage volume -- and who needs to mess with microphones? Recording and live sound are super easy with this amp.

    Check any of the ValveKing II amps out. They all deliver killer tube tones and more versatility and practical usefulness than just about any other amp on the market.

Questions about the Peavey ValveKing 20 MH 20/5/1-watt Tube Head?

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