Peavey has been producing quality, American Made music equipment at an honest price point for 47 years. All except for a select few products are still manufactured in Meridian, Mississippi under the ultimate oversight of Hartley Peavey, who founded Peavey Electronics in 1965.
The Peavey 6505+, formerly known as the 5150II, is an all-tube, 2 channel high-gain guitar amplifier boasting 120 rated watts of 6L6GC power, and a staggering 6 stage preamp. The channels, labeled Rhythm and Lead, are both capable of obscene amounts of gain.
The 6505+ is easy to dial in, and good tone can be found on both channels. The FX Loop is tube buffered, and as far as I could tell, did its job with not a lot of loss to signal integrity. There is also a Preamp line out, which functions in the same way and quality that most of them do. You get all of the preamp tone up until the phase inverter. Some like to use this signal when mixing it with the signal from the speaker cabinet.
The head itself is sufficiently well-built to Peavey's high standards of durability, though not as bulletproof as their amps of yore. I'm still wondering just what exactly they used for tolex back in those days! Tough stuff, for sure.
The 6505+ sports a rather garden-variety grade of softer tolex. Chickenhead knobs make settings easy to pinpoint and see on a dark stage. An ohms selector switch on the back makes matching the head to a 4, 8, or 16 ohm cabinet possible, and a footswitch connects via 5 pin DIN connector in the back as well.
An ALMOST good feature on the back is the addition of bias test points on the back, which actually only read grid voltage, and says nothing about actual plate current, which is the important measurement in power tube bias. Still, with a standard set of 6L6GC's, one can set the bias by ear and be safe in the -50 to -45v range.
Unlike the 5150/6505, the +/II doesn't share one set of EQ controls, and global Resonance and Presence add clean highs and punchy lows to the mix.
The Rhythm channel is switchable between Clean and Crunch modes. The Clean mode is famous, or rather infamous, for being not a very good clean tone. And indeed it is rather flat, lifeless, and too hairy when the Rhythm Gain is cranked. This is due to the fact that the 6505+ doesn't switch out extra gain stages to obtain the clean sound, and instead chooses to switch in a circuit that greatly attenuates the signal coming off the first gain stage while leaving the preamp topology largely intact.
That being said, the clean channel can be usable to some, depending on how it is set up. Delay, chorus, and external reverb effects (the 6505 series has no reverb) can help the player get a better usable clean sound.
The Crunch mode is excellent, and gives a nice, clear grinding sound that can also be rolled back to produce some convincing classic tones.
Many metal players prefer the lower gain and fast response of the Rhythm Channel's Crunch mode over the Lead channel, and prefer to run this channel with the gain maxed and boosted with an overdrive pedal for a smidge extra gain and a tighter lowend.
Still, the Lead channel is usable and packs plenty of punchy, raunchy grind with a little extra juice for solo work.
The 6505 series was heavily inspired by a classic Soldano Circuit, but takes things a step farther with more gain stages. As a result, clarity can sometimes be lost in the wash of preamp distortion, and a lot of people complain of the "fizzy" nature of the 6505's, as well as the background hiss that comes with the territory of high gain. And that's a fact of life. With gain comes noise, and this is why some amplifiers from different companies that possess similar levels of gain are also equipped with built-in noise gates to combat the hiss and noise.
The 6505+ is an adjustable fixed bias amp, and comes from the factory with a safe, colder bias range (no doubt to maximize tube life and prevent tube meltdown from accidental over-biasing) and many have found that the cold, brittle, fizzy sound of their stock 6505+ was greatly improved by changing out the bias voltage dropping resistor with one of a lower value to allow for a hotter power tube bias.
All things considered, the 6505+ is an amazing value, squeezing face-melting gain, lots of power, and revered tone into a quality, American-made package.
120 watt 2 channel all tube head. 4x 6L6 power tubes, 6x 12ax7 preamp tubes. Designed by Peavey in the late 80s early 90s, Peavey went to Eddie Van Halen to have him endorse the amp. EVH had it named the 5150 and a new amp was born. 15-ish year later Eddie splits and takes the name 5150 with him. The design, still owned by Peavey, becomes the new 6505 with the name standing for 40 years (1965-2005) of Peavey Electronics. The 6505+ is the renamed 5150III, which was a modified 5150 by giving it a tighter, slightly lower gain lead channel as well as a cleaner rhythm channel (still not quite clean). Also gave the amp individual EQ for each channel and a MIDI controlled footswitch compared to the 1/4" used on the 5150/6505.
This amp is very easy to setup, which is part of the reason for it's success. It has a pretty decent sound at any setting, but just gets better with tweaking. Compared to some amps that sound like garbage until you find the sweet spots. The manual while very informative and helpful really isn't needed. This amp is very straightforward and simple to use.
Widely known as the standard for modern metal tone, being used by bands ranging from Alice In Chains and Van Halen all the way to Killswitch Engage and Machine Head. The Rhythm channel with the crunch off has a passable clean tone, it breaks up pretty quickly and doesn't have much headroom but most people using this amp aren't using for the cleans so it doesn't matter to most. With the crunch on it's darker and much more gain. It's smoother and less gain than the lead channel but still easily pulls off metal tones with a boost. Machine Head has been known to use the rhythm channel of a 5150 (little more gain in the 5150/6505 compared to the II/+) with a Maxon OD808 for their heavy tone. The lead channel has more gain than I'd ever know what to do with. It's much heavier, aggressive, and brighter than the rhythm channel. It's super tight and used by almost every modern metal band of the past 10 years, and for good reason.
Overall this is an amazing metal amp, a metal heads dream. Put a boost in front of it to tighten the low end slightly and this thing becomes a weapon. From Van Halen all the way to Machine Head, this thing is a beast. And for $1100 new I can't think of any other high end metal amp that can touch it's sound OR it's price.
The Peavey 6505+ is the updated version of the famous Peavey 5150 II as popularized by it's signature endorsee Edward Van Halen. The original 5150 was noted as a great rock amp, but eventually was recognized as a killer amp for metal music. Eventually Peavey took things one step further and released the updated 5150 II. When Ed left Peavey in 2004 he took the 5150 designation with him... and so in 2005 Peavey renamed the 5150 II the 6505+ (the 5150 was called the 6505). The 6505+ is a 120 watt firebreather of an amp, featuring two channels.
Each channel features a preamp and post gain controls (basically gain and volume controls, but relabeled) as well as an EQ set of bass, middle and treble controls. Also available to each channel is a set of resonance and presence controls, which control low and high end response respectively. On the back it has two speaker jacks, a switch to select between 4ohm, 8ohm and 16ohm impedence, a ground switch and send/return jacks for the effects loop.
Tube wise it features six 12AX7 preamp tubes and four 6L6GC power amp tubes to unleash the fire within.
The Peavey 6505+ is an extremely easy amp to set up. Peavey amps in general don't require much tweaking in general to sound great. The two channels are set up identically, so there's no new interfaces to learn and there's not really a learning curve with the EQ or gain structures like say a Mesa Dual Rectifier. Something to note about these amps... they are LOUD. When I had mine, I could barely dial the control to one without it being too loud for the room. In a band setting I found that two or three on the volume would overpower the drums... as a result I didn't keep it very long. Essentially, if you want one of these amps, be prepared to deal with the volume.
I primarily used this amp with a Les Paul, a Charvel San Dimas and (for a short time) a Schecter 7 string. The two channels are meant to be a clean and lead, however the clean channel really doesn't do great cleans. The clean channel is more useful as a crunch channel, especially when boosted with a good overdrive. I tried to get decent cleans out of this amp, but what I was greeted with was fairly flat and unremarkable. I had more fun turning the gain up full bore and just using channel one as a crunch channel. Channel two is a great high gain lead sound for any modern player. Despite the fact that I never tried it with any delay/reverb effects, I noted that on its own, the amp had more than enough sustain (via saturation) to play great lead passages as well as quite a few different types of hard rock and metal riffs. It doesn't really do the eighties thing all that well... which is somewhat surprising considering it's basically the EVH signature amplifier (though I've noticed that EVH has steadily gone for a more modern tone over time).
All in all, the Peavey 6505+ is a great sounding amplifier head for anyone who wants a loud, gain heavy, loud, really saturated, loud tone. They are about $1,300 new and can be had for about $700 used, which is a killer deal for a USA made head. Peavey gear is quite reliable and I'd have no qualms using the 6505+ for more rigorous applications. I partly wish that the "clean channel" was cleaner and sounded a little clearer, but used as a crunch channel it's fine. The lead channel is high gain, but it's still controllable and the excess saturation can be used to your advantage if you allow it to. Definitely worth looking into if you want a great metal amp for not a whole lot of money.
Peavey has made some classic amplifiers and I'm not talking about their classic series. I'm talking about the 5150, 65605 and their Rock master preamps. They have made some skilfully woven metal high gain monster amps. They have a reputation of creating some of the worlds most highly used and highly requested tone machines.
This amp is a very forgiving amp but still has the tightness to use low tunings for modern music. The 6l6's compliment the tone for this amp as well which gives it more of a low end thump than you would get from El34's.
Peavey 6505 Plus Guitar Amp Head Features
Two distinct tube channels with footswitch control
LED "active" indicators for each channel
Bright switch for Rhythm channel
Crunch switch on Rhythm channel with footswitch control
Separate equalizer sections for each channel
Separate power amp controls (Resonance and Presence) for each channel
Separate preamp controls (Pre and Post Gain) for each channel
Standby power switch
Bias test points on rear panel
Effects loop with footswitch control
1/4 inch Preamp output jack
Speaker impedance selection switch (4, 8, 16 ohm)
Two parallel 1/4" speaker output jacks
120 watts output power
Metal three button footswitch with detachable 25-foot cable
The resonance and presence controls really enable this amp to do what you want with the the bottom end of the tone. The two controls are the key to this amp in my opinion. What sets this amp apart from the regular 6505 is the independent EQ control for each channel. The other one shares the same EQ for both channels.This amp needs to be played with a humbucker pickup guitar such as a Gibson Les Paul or a Gibson Explorer. It needs that rock guitar for the gain style this amp produces. You can play any guitar single coil or humbucker but I think it sounds the best with the proper high gunner pickup.
At new these amps come in at around $1199 which is a freaking steal of a price. You can get a lot for this kind of money but you sure can get a stellar sounding Peavey amp.
You can't go wrong with this amplifier. I would recommend this amp to anyone needing to stay within a tight budget and needs a proper sounding metal or hard rock amp.