King Loudness 04/26/2011

Peavey Rage 158 : King Loudness's user review

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The Peavey Rage 158 is a fairly typical practice amplifier from Peavey's venerable line of amps. It's a 15 watt solid state amp featuring Peavey's "Transtube" technology. This is supposed to ape not only the tone and harmonics/overtones that a tube amp offers, but also that unmistakable feel that you get when playing through a true tube amp. It's got two channels, clean and drive. The layout is very simple, featuring a single volume for the clean channel and separate gain (pre) and volume (post) controls for the drive channel. Other than that, both channels share an equalization control set of bass, middle and treble controls. The only other features of note on this amp are a 1/4" headphone jack for silent practice as well as a 1/4" auxiliary input for plugging in a CD player or other external device. It features a single 8" Peavey Blue Marvel speaker to cap everything off. All in all it's a decent feature-set considering the amp's then street price of around $100.


When I first got the amplifier, I was about 6 years old and it was the first amp I got that was my own. It is very simple and easy to use, so even at that young age, I was able to dial in reasonable tones that I liked. Even up to the present day. There aren't many features to wrap your head around so that leaves room to just play guitar.

The clean channel has a nice set of tones. I've used it as a rehearsal amp for a jazz project for the last year and it works well enough for that, despite being old and only 15 SS watts. There is some pretty horrendous speaker buzz from age, so that limits me from turning the amplifier up too loudly in these settings. The drive channel is really impressive for a solid state practice amp. Its specialty seems to be a surprisingly killer 80s/90s rock tone that has lots of midrange and a really punchy attack overall.


I've had this amp since new when I was 6. At that time, I was using various Squier, Yamaha, and Epiphone guitars with both single coil and humbucking pickups. At that time I was playing blues and rock music, most often on my own. On occasion I did use this amp for gigs/television appearances, and in those instances the amplifier would be mic'd.

Even today I still use this amp for rehearsals and as a beater, and though it is aged and worn it still sounds great. The Transtube system does have a great sound and though it's not going to ever replace a proper tube amp, it does sound great for what it is. I love the overdrive tones especially and find myself playing lots of 80s riffage and lead based stuff when I'm plugged into the Rage. The amp gives me a wonderful inspiration to play because it sounds good. Most practice amps don't put a smile on my face but this one does.


All in all I feel that this is a great amp for the young guitarist or someone who just needs a small amp to use as a beater/practice amp. I've been using mine for over ten years and it still works very well and sounds great. I've tried the newer versions of the Rage (the one with the red stripe as well as the newer 258 model) and I was not nearly as impressed with those as I was with my 2000 model Rage which the silver stripe. These amps can be picked up cheaply on the used market, so if you are looking for a small, simple, yet great sounding amp on a budget, give the Rage a try. You might be surprised...