Peavey Classic 30 Combo Review

Discussion in 'Guitar & Gear Reviews' started by cybermgk, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. cybermgk

    cybermgk Synchromatic

    872
    Jan 4, 2012
    Grayslake, Il
    I have now had some time with the Peavey Classic 30 Combo Amp I just received via trade. NAD Thread here, Pics too

    I will post some quick clips late tonight with several different pup types ran through the amp.

    First the Specs:
    30 watts (RMS) into 16 or 8 ohms
    Four EL84s and three 12AX7s
    12" Blue Marvel speaker
    2-channel preamp
    Pre- and post-gain controls on lead channel
    Normal volume control on clean channel
    3-band passive EQ (bass, middle, treble)
    Boost switch
    Reverb level control
    Effects loop
    Footswitch selectable channel switching and reverb
    External speaker capability
    Chrome-plated chassis
    Made in the USA

    Mine is an older one. Peavey lost it's serial number DB a few years back, so dating is sketchy. But, considering when they stopped the older design like mine and introduced the current design with the 'codpiece' front and Peavey emblem of of the grill AND when the Blue Marvel speakers sported the full magnet covered sticker, min is an 04-05 ish. Newer ones with that codpiece are 'Model 2s'.

    Mine is completely stock with the Sovtek new issue tube set (not the OEM Sovteks that many amps use stock, but the after market Sovteks). BTW, the newer/current C30s have full JJ tubes.

    LOOK: 9.5
    Really like the vintage, tweed, Fender-like look of the older C30s like mine. Nice, classic, vintage look.

    Fit and Finish: 9.5
    This is built like a tank. Extremely well made cabinet. Heard stories of the C30s falling down stairs to no ill-effect. I can believe it. Pots are smooth and quiet. Handle is VERY well made and strong.

    Weight: 7.5
    It is heavy for it's size, but not so much in grand scheme. See above about being built like a tank. Can still be lugged around though.

    Reliability: 9
    Going by reports of those that have owned for awhile. The Classic series are reported to last and last and last. I can believe it from what I have seen.

    Features: 8
    It's not feature laden. But then, it has all the basics that you need, clean and lead channels, spring reverb (albeit SS driven), FX loop, pre and post vol on lead ch (i.e. gain and master vol), 3 knob passive eq.

    Versatility: 8.5
    The 2 Channels and Boost allow for 4 distinct tones, each with some tweakability.

    Pedals: 9
    I've tried all of my pedals in front of the amp. Loved every pedal but one. No problems with Jeckyl and Hyde OD/Dist, Tinebone Hot Brit Distortion, JCA Guitar Slinger OD, TC Electronics Chorus, Reverb and Delay, Marshall VibroTrem. And the Danelectro Cool Cat Fuzz AND Moen Fuzz Moo sound AMAZING on the C30. This Amp is a great pedal platform, specially dirt pedals.

    Also ran the usuals through the loop (verb, Chorus, Delay). No problems, sounded awesome.

    The ONE pedal that did not work well, immediately with the C30 was my Nocturne Dyno Brain. I had to tweak the pedal's tone adjustment to the extreme, else tha amp was just way too bright, even harsh on the highs. That said, I believe this can be fixed (see Tone section below).

    Tone and Playability: Stock 8, potential 9.5

    The older C30s, stock are a Humbucker Guitar's dream. I say that because, stock the amp is definately bright. I will get to that more when I talk about the speaker. If you have a darker, even muddier HB guitar, with this amp you will be surpised at how clear and articulate it can become.

    The amp is very responsive and expressive to pick attack. Same applies to volume adjustments at the guitar.

    Clean tones are very clear, with both chime and warmth. Distorted tones are extremely well controlled imho. Definate Marshall bent. BUT, not completely Marshall. In fact, in my opinion, the C30 has aspects of a Fender Tone, aspects of a Marshall tone, and Aspects of a Vox tone. It's a little of all of those, yet not as well.

    Can get a bright clean with sparkle, through a warm bluesy clean, to a slightly driven tone all the way to some fairly heavy distortion with the lead channel and the boost engaged. Not death metal, but pretty much anything else. Personally I think it excels when dialed in for a warmer, just shy of breakup tone, with the pups at about 6 or 7 of 10 volume.

    Can get good tone at practice/home levels. But, the amp can also get nice and loud. By itself I can see this doing small to medium venues, no problems. With an ext CAB, even better. So, definately can be practice and gigging amp.

    Now the not as goods. First, as mentioned, the Amp, stock is very bright. It also lacks a little in the lows, in my opinion, too shallow and compressed. The brightness can even tend towards the harsh and ice picky with the wrong EQ settings (i.e. too high mids and high settings) for brighter pups, specially when doing driven tones. I did find ONE EQ setting that worked, a sweet spot, for both channels. But, stock, did find I had to tweak a little for different guitars, either at the amp, or on the guitar.

    That said, imho the majority of that is due to the stock speaker, with a little bit due to the stock pre-amp tubes. Newer C30s, with the JJs will likely solve a little of that.

    I had read/known about the above 'issues'. From research, there are two preferred pre-amp tube sets. One is Mullard in V1 and Sovtek in V2 and V3. The other is Tung Sol in V1, JJ large plate ECC803S in V2 and the Sovtek 12AX7LPS large plate spiral filimant in the v3 PI. Well I had the Tung Sol and JJ in other Amps, and the Sovtek was already in the amp. FYI, on this amp the V1 is used ONLY on the Normal/clean channel, V2 for the Lead Ch. THis is why, different tube manufacturers for each.

    Definate improvement. Really improved the Lead Channel distortion tones, removing any trace of fizziness and harshness. Added some more, deeper bottom end as well.

    I also did some testing with what the speaker was contributing. First ran the amp facing the wall. This definately reduced the harshness of the top end. Had read about this 'mod'. I had also read that the amp really likes using the 8 ohm tap of the Transformer. To do this, just need to attach a 16 ohm CAB to the ext speaker.

    So, I did, attaching my Tweaker CAB with it's Celestion G12H30. Went back to the stock tubes. Definately helped the high end harshness on the Stock Blue Marvel. But, OMG the tone from the G12H30. It was GLORIOUS. That speaker was MADE for this amp. All the issues above, gone. Top end was now clear, articulate, with a bit of chimeand sparkle (when the pup had it) and smooth, rich and complex. Bottem end was now open, deep and full. Issues with the Dyno Brain, gone.

    In fact, from research, listening to clips and vids, you can really make the C30 fit your particular, or a particular tone with a myriad of different speakers. The stock Blue Marvel is a so-so speaker, but ANY quality speaker can really make the amp come alive AND hit a lot of different tones.

    I now have a WGS Reaper (their G12H30 replacement/improvement) coming. The WGS ET65 (their G12-65 rep) and Veteren 30 (Greenback replacement) also work well with the C30.

    Bottom line and in conclusion:
    This is a good amp. For it's price used, its a very good amp. It's solid, fairly versatile, that can work and work for years. It's also a great pedal palette. But, it also has the potential to become a great, even awesome amp with some simple changes. Typical used price is $300-350, with an occasional bargain at $250. With an additional $35-40 for tubes, and $70-$140 for the speaker (or just the speaker for the newer model), you can have a great, tonefull, versatile amp that will last you a long while.

    color=#FF0000]Quick Sound Clips[/color]
    Was able to get time to MIC it stock. SM57 offcenter on stock speaker. Amp is set to the best EQ setting I have found for the stock amp (deemphasizing highs and upper mids). Also, these are done at fairly low 'bedroom' volumes. Ch2 sounds much better when cranked a bit more.

    Used the Neck pickup from 4 guitars. In order: Agile AL3200 TV Jones Classic, Gretsch G5135PS Mega'Tron, Schecter Tempest Seymour Duncan 59, Agile AL3000M Seymour Duncan Seth Lover

    Did not change EQ settings for Ch 2, just engaged, same for boost. With stock setup, many find a need to change the EQ between the two Ch's. I kind of agree.

    Clean Ch 1
    Ch 2 OD
    Ch2 OD with boost

    One thinh I noticed in doing these, is that as you move away from the speaker, it gets brighter (and clearer). Will try to do some tonight mic'ed from the room, same with the G12H30 cab in the mix.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2012
  2. Tony65x55

    Tony65x55 Gretschified

    Age:
    65
    Sep 23, 2011
    The 'Shwa, Ontario, Canada
    Great review. Thanks!
     
  3. sligo ray

    sligo ray Synchromatic

    501
    Jun 17, 2011
    New Zealand
    That's a great review, really considered and thorough. I have the Delta Blues, which is basically the same amp with the addition of a tremolo (limited) and runs a single 15" speaker instead of the two 12s. Mine doesn't lack for bottom end, perhaps because of the 15". Everything else rings a bell, although I found that between the tone controls on the amp and guitar, I got a sweet spot pretty quickly. I have found placement of this amp in different rooms, and even relative to the wall can change the sound markedly. At some point I'll probably make the upgrade to a Celestion equivalent 15", or even cut it down to a head and go to 2x12s.

    Still, it is a great amp for the price point and the build.

    I would disagree about one thing, though... My Strat sounds amazing through it, especially when scooped in the tone controls and going at full volume for a Bassman "clean overdrive" type tone.

    And never, never use that "boost" switch.
     
  4. beep.click

    beep.click Country Gent

    Apr 30, 2009
    California
    I wish mine were. I currently have a combo AND a head version, and it doesn't matter what speakers I try -- these amps are just nowhere near bright enough for my needs.
     
  5. cybermgk

    cybermgk Synchromatic

    872
    Jan 4, 2012
    Grayslake, Il
    Not sure what to tell you. Here is a quick clip of Neck pups on 4 guitars, TVJ Classic, MegaTron, SD 59, SD Seth Lover. THis is the stock amp WITH the EQ set to deemphasize the high end, remove some brightness and it's still pretty bright.

    C30 Stock Clean

    Course, got to ask, if it wasn't bright enough why get both the combo and head?
     
  6. cybermgk

    cybermgk Synchromatic

    872
    Jan 4, 2012
    Grayslake, Il
    Yes, it doies seem to be very suceptible to room dynamics. Did a little test last night, Micing right at the speaker and a few feet away. Quite a tonal difference.

    Never said anything about single coils good or bad :D Just said it loves Humbuckers.
     
  7. cybermgk

    cybermgk Synchromatic

    872
    Jan 4, 2012
    Grayslake, Il
    Quick Sound Clips
    Was able to get time to MIC it stock. SM57 offcenter on stock speaker. Amp is set to the best EQ setting I have found for the stock amp (deemphasizing highs and upper mids). Also, these are done at fairly low 'bedroom' volumes. Ch2 sounds much better when cranked a bit more.

    Used the Neck pickup from 4 guitars. In order: Agile AL3200 TV Jones Classic, Gretsch G5135PS Mega'Tron, Schecter Tempest Seymour Duncan 59, Agile AL3000M Seymour Duncan Seth Lover

    Did not change EQ settings for Ch 2, just engaged, same for boost. With stock setup, many find a need to change the EQ between the two Ch's. I kind of agree.

    Clean Ch 1
    Ch 2 OD
    Ch2 OD with boost

    One thinh I noticed in doing these, is that as you move away from the speaker, it gets brighter (and clearer). Will try to do some tonight mic'ed from the room, same with the G12H30 cab in the mix.
     
  8. The Marlin

    The Marlin Friend of Fred

    Feb 2, 2011
    London...ish
    Swap out the stock speaker for a good Celestian or Weber. The speaker is the only weak point These are great amps, and benefit greatly from that one tweak. That should sort your Nocturne issue too. Also get a tube guard, the early models didn't have one, and the tubes could rattle at volume. These are excellent gigging amps I head a band playing a Setzer Hot Rod through a Classic 30. That's what made me sell my pointy guitars, and take the path of Gretsch.

    Marlin
     
  9. cybermgk

    cybermgk Synchromatic

    872
    Jan 4, 2012
    Grayslake, Il
    Already en progresse. Have a 'Tube Tamer' *Guy makes them, spring loaded nice little device) coming and a WGS (WareHouse Guitar Speaker) Reaper (Celestion G12H copy) on their way.
     
  10. PacRat

    PacRat Synchromatic

    677
    Jan 4, 2012
    Atlanta, Texas

    So you're saying never dial in the boost switch, what about the channel switch? I own a Delta Blues and even though I've had it for years I'm still playing with the settings to find that sweet spot for me
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2012
  11. sligo ray

    sligo ray Synchromatic

    501
    Jun 17, 2011
    New Zealand
    The channel switch remains engaged so that the footswitch operates the channel switching (not really two channels, anyway, it just drives the channel with an extra tube). I find the drive channel good for light to medium overdrive, and I don't play anything using a super saturated gain. This is a good amp for blues/rockabilly/rock styles. There is a perception out there that massive, saturated gain is going to come from driving these little single channel amps really hard, probably based on the line people draw from Hendrix/Page to modern heavy metal. But if you listen to those early guitarists, their sound isn't that clipped. Here's a good illustration of that:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PaiDuiLzas&feature=related

    The "boost" button on the amp just seems to make the overdrive sound "farty" IMO. YMMV, of course. In fact, I find myself using the amps clean "Channel" mostly, and just like it for the touch sensitivity (dig in for crunch) and for the fact that it is not a Fender OR a Vox sound copy. It has its own character. I suspect in ten years this "cheap" amp will be valued in much the same way we consider Supros or Magnatones now. They were cheapies back in the day, too.;)
     
  12. fender62custom

    fender62custom Gretschified

    Age:
    56
    Mar 3, 2012
    Helidon, Australia
  13. PacRat

    PacRat Synchromatic

    677
    Jan 4, 2012
    Atlanta, Texas
    Quick question . . the channel button . . is in channel 1 and out channel 2?
     
  14. PacRat

    PacRat Synchromatic

    677
    Jan 4, 2012
    Atlanta, Texas
    Well, I broke down and dug out the manual. At first I didn't think it was going to be much help as it mentioned that the button "allows you to choose between the normal channel and lead channel". Doesn't say in or out for lead, but I did find a chart with some suggestions for different tones and there it mentions "in for lead" so I guess that answers my question. It's like my mama used to say . . ."when all else fails, read the directions"
     
  15. beep.click

    beep.click Country Gent

    Apr 30, 2009
    California
    I got the combo many years ago at a pawn shop, pretty cheap, and it met my needs at the time: a lightweight TUBE amp.

    I got the head because I went into GC one day and they were blowing out the Peavey 2x12 cabinet for $100, new. I mostly just wanted that cabinet, but I used the head to check it out -- sounded pretty nice, and I found out they were blowing out the head for $200. At that price, I figured I couldn't go wrong.

    In a band situation, both these amps seemed to be fighting me, and I didn't realize what was up until a year or two later. That's when I finally started to hear some amps that were SUPER bright, like the Epiphone Blues Custom 30.

    I don't think many other people want the amount of treble I do. Towards the end of an evening, I often find myself cranking that knob... even if I don't take it all the way, I like to feel like I've got some in reserve!
     
  16. cybermgk

    cybermgk Synchromatic

    872
    Jan 4, 2012
    Grayslake, Il
    Started another threa, did a swap of preamp tubes and the Speaker. Threas with clips is Here
     
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