My journey for THE rig started 4 months ago when I sold my tried and 11 year tour-tested Ampeg SVT-CL/Ampeg 810 cab to a friend. I needed something smaller as I had no need for the SPL of a full blown tour rig and I thought I could easily convert to the lightweight, hyper-portable hybrid rig fad. It didn't take me long however to realize that for me, there was no substitute for tube power in my sound.
I purchased a Fender TV-Fifteen combo after I had played it many weeks consecutively at a local music store. I loved the tone, but getting it out of the store and turning it up to full band volume in rehearsal showed me its inadequacy. There was a ton of inherent cabinet vibration and resonance at high volume and I found it unusable, tonally superb, but lacking, from what i believe to be poor cabinet design.
After much research here on talkbass and going back and forth about returning to Ampeg SVT glory, I decided to pull the trigger on the Peavey VB
-2, sight unseen and sound unheard.
Things work out sometimes.
I picked up my Peavey this morning and fellow nerd taiwright and I set out on our quest to finally showcase the Peavey to all the music store employees in the Twin Cities and to find its perfect cabinet bedmate. We walked in the door of American Guitar and Band in Maple Grove, Mn and instantly un-boxed it...
The Peavey's fit and finish was exceptional, completely exceeding both of our expectations. All of the TalkBass reviews are completely dead-on. All the features and tone of the classic tube bass amp staples, but with a ton of modern features. The one drawback with this head like all the reviewers have mentioned, is that through any and every cab, the drive channel was found to be unusable out of the box.
65 Amps Apollo 115 cab
Tech 21 410
SWR Henry 8x8
Nearly all the cabs were usable, they all worked with the head in different ways but it just seemed like the head wasn't being shown in its true colors, something just wasn't clicking. The requirements were within confines of portability of a gigging/session bassist in 4-6 projects at a time, aesthetics conducive with the VB2 look, and accurate vintage P bass reproduction.
Enter the Guitar Center clearance section where we stumbled on a $225 scratch and dent Peavey Tour 115 Neo cab. Game, Set, Match.
It BLEW us away, it was THE cab we had been searching for. For the money and for the Peavey head, there was not another cab we tried that could compare. The Peavey Rig together in all its glory was operating on another level then we found by mixing and matching it with other cabs.
Just out of sheer curiosity, we A/B'd the Peavey VB
-2 and the Ampeg SVT-CL though the Ampeg 610HLF. The Peavey is every single bit the Ampeg slayer we thought it could have been. Aesthetically, yes the Ampeg has that intangible LOOK that is undeniable, but the Peavey just plain sounds every bit equal and better. Ampeg is not doing anything the Peavey can't easily do, and for half the price... NO CONTEST.
Let the career suicide begin, as I'm about to roll my full Peavey rig onto many a stage in front of many a gear snob.
A true Ampeg slayer.