Peavey 6505+ Head
Peavey 6505+ Head

6505+ Head, Tube Guitar Amp Head from Peavey in the 6505 series.

Eroachguitar 09/28/2012

Peavey 6505+ Head : Eroachguitar's user review

« 21 Years in production and still melting faces »

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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.