Choice: PF-350 vs MiniMax

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Orpheus55, Jul 22, 2016.

  1. Hard to really compare these two, as I know the PF-500 would be the closer match to the MiniMax. Unfortunately the PF-500 I had died--apparently the line has been improved since. I did love the sound and portability, but I'm very attracted to the new Peavey MiniMax, though some of the comments about the fan being noisy are slightly concerning. The combo jacks, tuner, apparent solidity and EQ features are all a plus, but I likely don't need the full 500 watts (I have an Avatar 115 4 ohm cab), as I always have PA support. I've sold my LH500, which, with its rack case, was just too heavy for my needs right now. The PF has a track record, albeit spotty, and the MiniMax is still building one, so I'm debating.
  2. waveman


    Sep 25, 2008
    If you play live, the fan is not an issue. I actually have a small powered PA that has a louder fan. BTW, my drummer who set our PA said the DI sounds better than my Markbass, Fender Rumble, and GK MB500. I have played a couple of gigs with mine, and I am really happy with the MiniMax so far
    Orpheus55 likes this.
  3. I haven't used the MiniMax yet, but I did own a PF-350 that never impressed me during the years that I had it - tone was ok, output was bordering on just adequate. I'd be inclined to try the MiniMax even though I'm not a fan of added complexity like an onboard tuner. I think the portability factor is slightly better with the MiniMax.
  4. Leaning toward the Minimax. The speakon capability is important to me. The thing I like about an onboard tuner is my band members are always borrowing my clip-on tuners and not returning them;)
    Shannon and Bugeyed Earl like this.
  5. Was a power cord included? That may sound stupid, but half the heads I have bought came without one.
  6. waveman


    Sep 25, 2008
    Umm, I don't know. I got mine used. I think it had one. I have several power chords that are longer that I get for free and use since we don't use the ones that come with the machines they come with at work.
  7. Mini Max it is then. I will review once I put it through its paces here in hot, humid, Florida
  8. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    So what do you think of the MiniMax at this point? Is it hurricane-proof? Seriously, good luck with the weather!
  9. It has been great; very sturdy, light, and powerful. The fan noise is only audible in small-room practice environment by oneself. I do not use any of the push-button effects, and the controls are smoothly graduated. Personally, I love the tuner. It is spot on accurate and lets me get away from those ugly tuning clips.
    sleepyEDB and wave rider like this.
  10. Our regular sound guy also liked the DI very much; he's used it both pre and post depending on the venue and said it was a lot cleaner than the DI in my old LH500--which wasn't bad at all.
    sleepyEDB likes this.
  11. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Good to hear! I gave a MegaMini a brief fling, but being the cheapskate I am, went for the "blem" discount. ...turned out the amp didn't work, so I returned it hassle-free to the vendor. After further thought about what I really would need 1,000 watts for, I decided to spring for a brand new Mini-Max instead, less $$ net. Tonight will be it's first time out in a small club with lots of glass. I have to say my first at home impression didn't suggest a dark tone at all - and not that far from my beloved GK MBF500 as I was prepared for, but the gig will tell for sure. There's certainly plenty of volume, seemed on a par with my MBF. I do think I can use the TT/Boost button as intended, to get a boost with a little grind with a button - it sounded pretty good in the headphones. One minor gripe buttons on a black face below the knobs - it's a bit hard to tell if they're pushed in or not. I'm not sure it's a real problem. I'll share my impressions tomorrow. Thanks for the report.

    Oh, and yes the fan's loud, but I don't expect I'll here it live. When the MBF fan gets going (it's not full-time like the Peavey) it makes a pretty good racket too, but I rarely notice it.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2016
  12. WoodyJ


    Jul 29, 2008
    Atlanta GA suburb
    My PF-350 sounds like maybe 150 watts, not 350 to my ears. Mine is presently on consignment at a local music store.

    It is a really good practice amp, though. Great tone, just not a lot of volume considering it's rated wattage.
  13. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    The MiniMax was a big hit last night. Plenty of power, on a par with my GK MBF500, my basis for comparison and my revered gigging amp of 5 years now. Both give me plenty of headroom. I didn't hear the Peavey's cooling fan in the live setting, which sounded outrageously loud at home - perhaps because it's always on, unlike the GK, that's equally loud but thermally activated (and oddly seems to run more when muted than when wailing?).

    It was dead simple to get a good sound with the MMax - I chose to roll off the bass a click and up the treble a click (been playing GK a long time ;)). In spite of that, I found the mid-shift to around 250 useful to boost the low-mids a bit (and higher up than the 100 of the punch button), perhaps because I was playing a G&L L1500, which can be a bit shy on lows in general. I then boosted the mids a click above flat. All in all a great basic tone, a little more midrange focused than the GK, but more similar than different. I think the MBF still has the edge in harmonic richness, but a lot of that subtlety is lost on the gig, and the Mini's mid-voice cuts through the mix very well. They both put adequate weight behind the note - even the guitarist said so!

    The Boost switch did exactly what I hoped on one or two tunes - a very slight volume boost and a tiny bit of hair with the input set to 4 (11:00). This was a trio in a small club (but not a quiet trio) and I ended up with volume at about 3 - 4 as well. I didn't use the bright or Psycho-acoustic button (save it for 5-string gigs maybe). Obviously all of those settings will be somewhat dependent on the gig, the band and the bass, but I was very pleased.

    It's worth noting that between bass rotary control, and the boost, punch, and psycho-acoustic buttons, this head gives you four different ways to shape the low end. I don't know that I'll use them all very much, but they provide interesting combinations of options for those who want that capability.

    I thought the tuner seemed a little hokey when I ordered the amp, but I sure didn't miss the Snark hanging off my headstock, to be honest.

    And as for the fan, which I couldn't hear at all in that setting, the amp remained astonishingly cool all night - no noticeable warmth, especially after hitting it especially hard on the last couple of numbers. Call it a very effective cooling design, as long as you're not buying it for your living room.

    Very happy so far, and no complaints, from me or my band mates - the MiniMax exceeded my expectations. I'll continue to try it out in different live settings. The Mini-Max is a lot of amp for $350.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2016
    sleepyEDB and deathness like this.
  14. I owned a PF500 that never died but I was never happy with, so I traded it for a GB Shuttle 6.0 straight across. I now own a Minimega and I love it and think it's a great little amp. I will have to vote for the Minimax. I haven't played it but I'm guessing it's very much in the vein of its big brother. And bonus it comes with a built in tuner, not sure why the mega didn't. I felt that you could only get an Ampeg baked in tone out of the PF and I think the MM is a neutral sounding amp that is much more versatile. Just my 2c worth.
    TomB likes this.
  15. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Somewhere here I've seen that the MiniMax is basically a scaled-down MiniMega from the power side of things, with a simpler set of features. I agree it's got a neutral voice, sort of in the Peavey tradition. I've only ever used the PF500, not the 350, but the MMax would be my vote as well. Of course, I think the OP decided a while ago :)