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The new Peavey Classic 50 2×12 combo amp offers up the best of British and American sounds in one (attractive) box.
With that vintage tweed and chrome control panel, it looks like it just came off the line in a certain 1950s California factory, but the control layout is much more familiar to a modern amp, with a master volume, as well as pre & post gain controls. Even more modern is the detachable IEC power cable, and fx loop. With (3) 12AX7 preamp and (4) EL84 power tubes and Celestion Speakers, there’s no unusual configurations there – a classic (no pun intended), bulletproof setup for so many amps.
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Using the normal (clean) channel, it’s got everything you’d expect a tweed amp to have: plenty of sparkle and chime, but dig into it with a humbucker and it can break up a bit. For slightly more overdrive, applying a simple boost pedal can get that clean-ish breakup sound; the normal channel clearly plants it foot on that side of the sonics.
The lead channel, however, is where all the dirty goodness lies. The pre & post gain controls really define the level of drive and distortion, as well as its volume output. It can get great tube saturation at lower volumes, but it really opens up and breathes when let off the chain! The reverb is super sweet as well, and certainly fills out the sound. With the EL84 tubes, it lives more in the “British” neighborhood of tube amps, and belies its tweed covering. There’s plenty of grind, grit and sustain for pretty much any kind of music, short of “super scooped metal.”
Classic rock, blues, rockabilly, even solid ’70s/’80s hard rock tones reside here. And for modern country clean, it’s a great choice. With single coils it responds nicely, and the EQ is very flexible to dial everything in, tone-wise. Humbucker guitars really pack a punch through the Classic 50 and maintain clarity without getting too dark. Honestly, it’s tough to get a bad tone out of it. For players looking for that British/black tolex sound, this shouldn’t be overlooked because of its tweed stylings. It’s hard to find a combo that does the best of the tweed and the best of the Brits in one unit.
Its $899 street price isn’t too out there in comparison to other amps with these features, but the “made in China” stamp is odd, given Peavey’s history and heritage of being American made. Thad said, there’s really not a lot of options for a USA-made 2×12 combo under $900, though, and the sound and build quality that Peavey has staked their reputation on is still there, regardless. So don’t let the country of origin dissuade you from giving this a test-drive.
Great tonal combo of British and American sounds.
Might get overlooked because of the vintage tweed appearance.
Power: 50W (tube)
Tubes: Four EL84 (power amp); three 12AX7 (preamp)
Normal and bright inputs
Pre- and post-gain controls on lead channel
3-band passive EQ (bass, middle, treble)
External speaker capability
Recently Peavey launched the redesigned Classic Series featuring improved internal construction while maintaining the original tone of their legacy models. With changes resulting from customer input over the past 20 plus years, these versatile all-tube amplifiers span the tonal landscape from vintage to contemporary with ease.
The redesign includes internal improvements such as fewer electrical interconnects, improved power supply capacitors, more robust transformers, higher power resistors, ceramic tube sockets, and improved cooling. The iconic classic tweed covering and chrome-plated chassis remain with pre and post gain controls on lead channels, two channel preamp, three band passive EQ (bass, middle, treble), and the new footswitch with selectable channel switching, reverb, and boost. The amps are also equipped with effects loop, three 12AX7 pre amp tubes, four EL84 power tubes, and an external speaker jack.
Classic Series models include the Classic 30 112, Classic 50 212, Classic 50 410, Delta Blues 115 Tweed, and the Delta Blues 210 Tweed. The Classic 30 and both Delta Blues amplifiers have an added standby switch, jeweled point lens, an external main fuse, and 30 watts of power into 16 or 8 ohms. The Classic 30 features a 12-inch Steven’s Trusonic speaker while the Delta Blues amps have a 15-inch Celestion Fullback speaker and two 10-inch Blue Marvel speakers in the 115 and 210 respectively. The two Classic 50s are both 50 watts into 16 or 8 ohms and fan cooled with two 12-inch Blue Marvel speakers in the 212 and four 10-inch Blue Marvel speakers in the 410.