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PEAVEY Mark III vs Mark IV

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by RobbieNuke, Dec 24, 2014.

  1. I also have a MKIII with the 400BH power amp section.
    Over the years it's been my experience that on the older PVs the comp was much more of a limiter to save speakers when the amp is pushed really hard versus a more musical soft-knee compressor. It seems to be after the EQs and post-gains, but before the crossover and power amp--but I haven't looked at the schematic in a few years--could be mistaken.
    Really a "try it and see" kind of thing, depending on your usual stage volume.

    I love my MKIII but wouldn't hesitate to trade up to a newer version.
    On the other hand, I have zero interest in the older models even though they are bulletproof and didn't suffer when compared to the other amps made around the same time.
  2. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    It's long been my contention that the reason for DDT is because Peavey power amplifiers have absolutely no dynamic headroom. So either way the amp craps out; you just get to choose whether that crap is manifested by horrendous clipping (and the potential to fry drivers) or horrendously inappropriate gain reduction.
  3. Not sure what you mean by dynamic headroom. IME they get loud, louder, and then no more. I've played whole shows with the DDT lit up without any horrendous or inappropriate results.
  4. Old thread but since I used a Peavey Mark IV from 1984 through 2009 I will chime in here. Never any failure of any kind, always worked as well as the day I bought it. Was always used through either a single 15" Silver Jubilee Marshall cab loaded with its factory 8ohm 250w celestion sidewinder or a custom cab (that almost killed me once) loaded with a single ev 8ohm 200w 15". Bass was a 82 57 reissue precision and I never got anything but compliments on the rig. I loked the way it sounded but sold when I bought 2 Fender Studio Bass combos (they are really nice too) and only regret is getting rid of the old rig, would rather have kept it as an option...; (
    geosnake and lesliegl like this.
  5. Pulex


    Apr 13, 2009
    Again old thread, but I'm thinking of getting a cheap Mark IV head. I wonder if you can push the amp and get some distortion out of it (I know it's a solid state amp but I like the overdrive you can get from some older solid state heads)?
    What do the users think? In this thread it was mentioned that it's a rather clean amp but I'd like to get some more opinions. Thanks!
  6. Scottkarch


    Sep 11, 2012
    Yes you can. but I don't think you should. I don't think it sounds that good as a grindy distortion amp. That being said, i'd often use both channels, one clean and one distorted, lots of highs no lows, and use the volume controls on both channels to get a balance where you'd mostly hear the clean chunking bass, but just behind that was the distortion. That worked pretty well... and id use the foot switch to combine both channels on and off for that. The amp may get brought out this weekend at a local town festival where we're supplying the backline for the band before us. 300 watts into 2 ohms, 115 and 210s is still pretty loud.
  7. Pulex


    Apr 13, 2009
    Alright, thanks. So if I can get it cheap, I will give it a try. Otherwise I'll look out for an older Peavey 400 Bass Series or a Century 200 which both have a dedicated distortion control. Probably this might suit my needs better.
  8. jthisdell


    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    I had a Mark IV and 215 back in the early 80's. For these ss units to still be working 30 years later says quite a bit. I loved that amp, lots of power, lots of tone control, did use the bi-amp occasionally, ALWAYS ran the limiter/comp to protect the speakers and did not notice any ill tone effects from it. No experience with a mark III or the footswitch but would love to try one of these again.
    lesliegl likes this.
  9. This Youtube clip has some bloke pushing a MKIV into distortsion...never been mine sound tho'..just reminds me of someone playing some really crap gear...

    RobbieNuke likes this.
  10. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    Old thread, but I would love to get another Peavey Mark. Those 400BH III and IV are classics.
  11. Pulex


    Apr 13, 2009
    I already watched this video. However, I don't think that this is the amp's distortion sound. Sounds much more like the microphone input getting overdriven by the signal. Also if you have a look at the gain setting: it's always fairly low. I don't think you'll get such a distorted sound from the amp at this setting.
    lesliegl likes this.
  12. tlc1976


    Aug 2, 2016
    I like my Mark IV and still use it. I rarely push it into clip (I consider clipping a warning), but it does clip easily if I happen to not hook up the cabs in the correct order. Since I can adjust the pre and post gain to give it a little dirt, based on my experience it's the dirty amp. But very versatile and powerful. (My idea of clean sound is the Ampeg, super sparkly clean with zero coloring. It was more like a sound system amp than a bass amp.) But everybody I knew and their brothers and sons had Peaveys. The older ones like this were built to last. I've heard some newer ones are built overseas and are not as good anymore.
  13. PawleeP


    Oct 8, 2012
    East Coast
    yea, i saw that jumper on the mark IV/BH400 board before.. rekon that takes the place of a switch, like on my mark VI.
    Tried a MXR compressor a few times, didn't have a good truly progressive ratio function, if i remember correctly.. took it back where i got it.. think it only had a few preset ratios.. may get the dbx160 hooked up eventually..
  14. Jimbowhit7


    Mar 5, 2018
    Old thread, but I was wondering if you could still use the foot switch on a mark III if you had cables running into the independent inputs for each channel. I've ordered a mark III that has a "mix" input, but I was wanting to run my bass into both channels and use one for distortion (would be using a Rat). Would the foot switch still work if I didn't use the mixed input?
  15. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    The footswitch just does selector/combiner, like a built in ABY box. The last Peavey I had with an Automix input was my VTX Classic. I foggily remember the selector/combiner not working when plugged into the direct to channel inputs.
    PawleeP likes this.
  16. PawleeP


    Oct 8, 2012
    East Coast
    i think someone makes a footswitch for the mark IV
  17. Westerlies


    Mar 5, 2018
    Edmonton, AB
    Just thought I would weigh in on this thread. Local pawn shop was closing out, so I scored this Peavey Mark III Centurion head (and Ampeg HLF cab) for cheap. Punchy solid state tones for days. I use a Compressor and OD pedal for more grit & girth. Due to this pedal combination, I find that a healthy amount of preamp gain is a must for avoiding high-end fizz.


    Attached Files:

    dax21 likes this.
  18. dax21


    Nov 26, 2011
    I used the Centurion MK3 before, it's old and it's way too damn big and heavy but it sounded pretty okay for its declared power that was around ~130 watts if I recall right. It can do smaller shows well enough.
    Good thing about it are the two channels that can be ran at the same time, which means that you can run your dirt pedals into channel 1 and take a tuner parallel out to channel 2 and be able to blend them, with separate EQ for both.
    RobbieNuke and Westerlies like this.
  19. Jimbowhit7


    Mar 5, 2018
    You can also crank the gain up on one channel to overdrive it, and run a dirt pedal into the "mix" input for a really beefy tone. That's what I use mine for, at times.
  20. donahue

    donahue Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2015
    Picked up a MK3 400BH today. It needs some service but it's in pretty clean shape. I'll report back when it's out of the shop.

    I read the manual and it has some sneaky good features. Did you know that you can jumper from the bi-amp high out to the power amp in and use the crossover frequency control to adjust the rolloff point? Essentially a built in HPF? So that's about 40 years ahead of its time. Built-in HPF in '78. Not bad.
    Heavy Blue, RobbieNuke and Giffro like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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