From jack.zucke–(at)–b.com Tue Apr 25 14:29:47 CDT 1995
Article: 48869 of rec.music.makers.guitar
From: jack.zucke–(at)–b.com (Jack A. Zucker)
Subject: Peavey Transtube Review
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 95 12:52:05
Organization: ESP Music
X-Newsreader: WinVN 0.93.6
Well, I spent 45 minutes trying one out today. It was the 100 watt 1×12
combo with 2 channels, reverb, sheffield speaker, etc. The store (not
known for it’s good deals) was selling the amp for $269.
(I played a PRS CE Bolt-on with 2 humbucks through the amp)
I’ve been playing guitar for 22 years. I’ve studied with Pat Martino,
Dennis Sandole, etc. I majored in Studio Music and Jazz at the University
of Miami. I’ve been playing in jazz groups for 15 years and am active in
the Cleveland jazz and blues scene. My tastes run from Wes Montgomery in
jazz to Joe Satriani in rock, to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robbin Ford, etc. in
The clean channel is very poor. It’s extremely peaky and sounds very much
like a transistor amp. This channel has no master volume. When the
channel is cranked, it yields a slightly distorted tone that does not
even come close to a real tube amp such as a Marshall or Fender.
Furthermore, the clean channel has no “glassiness” to it. Trying to play
Hendrix’ Little Wing or Castles Made of Sand is very unsatisfying. I
tried in vain to get a Tower of Power groove going but it’s too peaky.
Getting a jazz guitar sound was impossible. Conclusion: Clean channel
would be useless for my tastes. In fact, it did not sound significantly
different than other (non Transtube) solid state Peavey’s I’ve tried.
The lead channel is a different story. With the preamp around 2 O’Clock,
the amp really screams. Right away you feel the connection between the
amp and the guitar and yourself ! This is the elusive thing that Mesa
Boogie is always claiming about their amps. When you bend a note, the
note screams and then increases in volume as you wiggle the string.
Continued wiggling addes harmonics and apparent feedback…But wait…
This even happens at extremely low volumes ! The reason ? Apparently a
built in compressor simulates a loud amp even at low volumes. It
additionally adds the upper partial harmonics that a tube amp running at
high gain would do. I was able to get literally infinite sustain at
extremely low volumes. The way the amp adds the upper harmonics
simulating feedback reminded me a little of the Boss Feedbacker pedal I
tried a few years ago. So while, the lead channel does succeed at
simulating a screaming tube amp, it only captures the one facet of the
tube amps behavior. Turning down the preamp gain to 9 O’Clock confirmed
my suspicion. Thin and wimpy, with a gain structure similar to the first
channel. The slightly distorted tones in this channel were very weak.
Conclusion: Lead channel would be perfect for scream Holdsworth or
Satriani or even Robbin Ford stuff. Very poor for SRV or vintagey blues
Overall, I had mixed fealings about the amp. Unfortunately, like the
Mosvalve, not enough research was put into getting a good clean tone.
Every always talks about even and odd harmonics and such, but nothing,
and I mean NOTHING beats my ’66 Twin or ’66 Pro for clean tones. On the
other hand, I would highly recommend this amp to someone looking for that
ONE screaming tone. It does that as good if not better than any other
transistor amp I’ve ever heard and better than many tube amps too.
I hope they come out with a pedal version or at least a rack version
because I couldn’t use one as is…