Peavey Ultra Plus Head
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Peavey Ultra Plus Head

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Ultra Plus Head, Tube Guitar Amp Head from Peavey in the Ultra series.


12 user reviews

Peavey Ultra Plus Head tech. sheet

  • Manufacturer: Peavey
  • Model: Ultra Plus Head
  • Series: Ultra
  • Category: Tube Guitar Amp Heads
  • Added in our database on: 12/30/2004

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Peavey Ultra Plus Head user reviews

Average Score:4.3( 4.3/5 based on 12 reviews )
 6 reviews50 %
 5 reviews42 %
 1 user review8 %
crankyrayhanky07/30/2012

crankyrayhanky's review"Bang for Buck Tube Champion!"

Peavey Ultra Plus Head
Here's an all tube 120watt 6L6 head. It has a half power switch which will knock it down to 60 watts (awesome feature). It has 3 channels: clean, crunch, and Ultra. The eq is active which is a stark contrast to the typical passive eq I am used to on other amps. This active eq creates dramatic eq changes. There is a Resonance Switch for the low end that can be set to Tight, medium, or loose. This is a great feature that can really come in handy depending on the size of the room and volume you need. Low Gain and high gain inputs offer usable changes that can expand the tonal pallette. The logo changes from green to orange to red- a cosmetic feature that I love (though some may dislike)

UTILIZATION

This amp sounds great right away: super thick and articulate. I never saw the manual, but the controls are intuitive.

SOUNDS

I use a wide array of guitars including Gibson Les Paul, Gibson SG, Fender Strats, Peavey Wolfgang, and Peavey HP Special. They all sound great and deliver huge tone. I believe the guy from Soldano amps came over and designed this amp; the quality shows. I bought this amp cheap on craig's list, almost as an afterthought...I was aiming for an older recto but failed, so my GAS pushed me to get something...I saw a video clip of a guy a/bing it against a Mesa Mark, and then found a video that showed some real killer modern metal tones. I thought 300 bucks was worth a test drive. I loved the tone and immediately spent the cash to retube the whole amp. The cleans are crystal clean- just a volume, 3 way passive eq, and bright switch. Great cleans for a hard rock metal setup, but admittedly a drawback if you're seeking a character gritty clean for bluesy jams.The crunch gets ridiculous levels of gain for a crunch channel...not that you need it, but placing a clean boost in front makes this channel the shining star of the amp. It has a gain button, so perhaps with the gain off and the gain controls down, you could get that bluesy vibe...but for me, this is a rock/metal beast and i crank it up. This orange channel is breathtaking- nice blend of reactivity and saturation. the Ultra red channel takes it a step beyond- lethal levels of gain that will slay any tune you are working on.

OVERALL OPINION

My favorite application is lead guitar- this amp just sings and sings for me and is a pefect compliment for my mid to hi gain leads. Very Mark-ish in its voicings, this lead response is wonderful. I like the rhythm gain, and the active eq allows one to dial in smoother gains to cutting chainsaw. In comparison, I tried a 6505+ in a store and totally disliked it- the lows were so boomy and the gains were so extreme I sort of found it unusable. Perhaps if I spent more time dialing it in, but this Ultra+ dials in very quickly. It lacks a bit of the edge and chainsaw of a recto, but let's be honest, a Modern Recto sucks for lead players.compare this to the 5150/6505 series and you will be super impressed. All of this and then realize (if you can find one), the amps refquently resell for $250-400. I've played lots of expensive amps costing thousands, and let me tell you, price does not always equal tone. This amp will eat a modern Marshall alive in terms of tone and reliablility. The cost benefit ratio is unbelievable, but even throwing out the price factor, this amp stands alone as a great tone machine.
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ejendres10/11/2011

ejendres's review"Great sleeper amp"

Peavey Ultra Plus Head
The Peavey Ultra Plus is a 120 watt, 3 channel all tube amp head. Channels 2 and 3 have shared eq. It has foot-switchable on board reverb and an effects loop. There are high and low inputs.

It has a 'resonance' switch on the back. You can switch between tight, med, and loose. It basically tweaks the low end response. Its a cool little feature, but in my opinion it doesn't change the sound enough to make a noticeable difference in the mix.

UTILIZATION

Its really easy to get a good sound out of this amp on all three channels. Manual is really straight forward.

This is a fixed bias amp, which mean you can just put in a new matched quartet of 6L6s tubes whenever you need to replace the tubes. This feature makes it a great first tube amp.

SOUNDS

I used it with delay and a noise gate. The loop is fairly transparent but definitely tweaks the sound some, nothing noticeable in a mix though.

Channel 1 is very clean, I really liked it. Its an almost Fender sounding clean, very clear and bright. I used it a couple different times when tracking guitars in the studio and to this day its still one of my favorite clean tones.

Channel 2 is also really impressive. It has the typical Peavey eq curve, nice full sound with an upper mid spike. This channel is nice and crunchy without reaching high gain levels. Very nice tone.

As far as I understand it, channel 3 is the exact same circuit as channel 2, the only difference is the gain pot. This means it sound good, but it also means it sounds near identical to channel 2, especially since they share an EQ. I don't really consider this a 3 channel amp, more like a 2 channel amp with a gain boost. That sound, channel 3 sounds great. Its a killer metal sound.

OVERALL OPINION

What I like least about the amp is the shared EQ. It makes it so channels 2 and 3 do not have much tonal distinction. However, its still a good tone. For the price its a killer deal. These things can be had for $300-400 easily.

All in all this is a great tube amp, it has great tone and its built like a tank. I gigged this for months and I never had any issues, and the fixed bias makes it really easy to maintain. It makes a great first tube amp, or a great amp for those who want killer metal tone on the cheap.

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iamqman07/08/2011

iamqman's review"Decent amp for the money"

Peavey Ultra Plus Head
Peavey is certainly one of my favorite amp builders. Simply for two reason..the first being they make inexpensive amp competitively priced for low budget consumers. In this economic climate that is a great thing. The second is that their high gain amps are just perfect sounding for the price. Those amps that I am particularly impressed with are the 5150's, 65606's, and the 6534's. These amp are Peavey's bread and butter amp and they have some a great character and voicing to them that makes them very appealing to a lot of rock players.

This amp though not as impressive as the above mentioned still has a great sound a a solid tone for hard rock and metal playing.

UTILIZATION

Peavey Ultra Plus 120 Head Specs:
-Four 12AX7 premap tubes
-Four 6L6GC output tubes
-120 watts RMS @ 4,8, or 16 ohms
-Three switchable channels
-Master Reverb
-Master level control
-Three-position resonance switch
-half-power switch
-Peavey Ultra Plus online PDF Manual

Clean Channel:
-Level control
-Push bright
-Three-band EQ

Crunch & Ultra Channels:
-Pre & post gain
-Gain boost switch
-Three-band EQ

SOUNDS

This amp sounds more like a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier than any other amp they have produced. Though it isn't exactly like e Dual Rectifier there are similarities that would make it a close competitor for someone looking into either one of these amps.

I like all Peavey amps with a good humbucker pickup installed guitar. I find that the Peavey's to be a little fizzy and nasally in their voicing and a decent thick guitar with a humbucker helps tame some of that noise in my opinion. Some of that noise is actually appealing in some ways and sometimes annoying to others. I personally like the way their distortions react and sound.

OVERALL OPINION

I don't Peavey is making these amps anymore and have new series amps that have replaced them. I think they can be found pretty inexpensively in the classifieds or on evilbay.

These are good amps but if I have the choice i would get a 6505+ head or maybe a 6534 instead of this amp.They are good amps but the 65605 used would be just about the same price or maybe a few hundred more but certainly a much better amp than this one.
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King Loudness03/20/2011

King Loudness's review"Plus one for the Ultra Plus."

Peavey Ultra Plus Head
The Peavey Ultra Plus is a 3 channel, 120 watt tube amplifier. It's considered the precursor to the Triple X and the Joe Satriani JSX lines of amps. The amp is powered by the fairly standard compliment of 12AX7s in the preamp section and 6L6s in the power section. There is also an effects loop and a reverb on the head, as well as a full/half power switch and a three position Resonance switch for a tighter or looser feel.

There are three channels on the amp: Clean, Crunch, and Ultra. They are each footswitchable as well. Each channel has its own gain and volume control, and they all share the same set of standard bass, middle and treble controls. It can be somewhat difficult to dial in each channel with only one shared EQ, but once it's dialed in it was pretty killer. I haven't used the effects loop enough to comment on it. The reverb was nice... not too cavernous but also audible enough that you could hear it easily. All in all I felt that it was very well laid out amp and its modern voicing contrasted nicely to my Mesa Boogie Mark III head that I ran in stereo with it.

(The amp also has a really funky logo that lights up and changes colours depending on the channel you're on. Green is clean, Orange is crunch, and Red is ultra. How cool is that?)



UTILIZATION

As far as the amp's setup, It was fairly simple to do. The channels are laid out very simply. The clean was, well... clean. The crunch channel was akin to more of a Marshall-y vibe... think classic L.A rock gunslinger tone, very brown. The ultra channel was the highest gain of the three channels and it was kind of like the supersaturated modern tone that so many bands used in the late nineties and early in the 2000's. I found it to be a little bit tighter sounding than the Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier, but a different, more restrained voicing when compared to the 5150/5150II.

I'd say the biggest hurdle I had with the initial setup was getting each channel to work with the shared equalization controls. The amp naturally had a fair bit of high end in the distortion channels... so I would turn down the treble, but it made the cleans then rather dark. In the end I had to compromise with slightly brighter distortion tones than I would've liked just to make the cleans have some sparkle... but all in all I was happy enough with the tones. I found that the rig took to humbuckers better than single coils, so that's what I'm basing my tonal opinions off of.

SOUNDS

When I had the Ultra Plus head, I was using it with either a Basson 2x12 or an old Traynor 2x12. Guitar wise I had a Parker Fly Deluxe, a Warmoth Telecaster with DiMarzio Twang Kings and an eighties Yamaha RGX 612a with stock active electronics. Here's a breakdown of how I found each channel with my main rig (Parker Fly, U+, and the Basson cabinet):

Clean - Fairly neutral sounding channel. It had a bit of sparkle to it as you turned the treble up, but overall I didn't find it to be quite that remarkable. I'd say it was somewhat scooped in nature, so it lacked a bit of that midrange texture that I find so great. It sounded decent when I added in a bit of reverb... but most things generally do, so...

Crunch - I liked this channel quite a bit. It reminded me a lot of that classic L.A rock sound. Very biting and articulate and great for the Van Halen/Dokken/Loudness type of vibe. I found it to be best in the "loose" resonance setting which made it react more like a British amp. If you tightened up the Resonance and added a bit more gain I found that the channel worked fairly well for modern tones as well... just with a slightly more vintage flavour.

Ultra - This was definitely my favourite channel on the amp. It was extremely good for high gain riffage and soloing, but it was also quite dynamic and worked really well when I would roll my guitar volume back. The only caveat is that it sounded a bit too compressed when I had it in the tightest Resonance setting, but otherwise I quite enjoyed this channel. It was great for dropped D type stuff as well as a bunch of modern lead based passages. It compared very favourably to my Mesa Mark III as well... the pair of them made a very nice contrast!

OVERALL OPINION

Overall I feel like the Ultra Plus a killer value for the money. I think they're an extremely cool and underrated amp that are overshadowed next to the 5150s. The dirty tones were really cool, very modern and crunchy... and the Resonance switch allowed me to go from more of a classic voicing to modern. Like I said prior, the amp sounded killer in tandem with my Mesa Mark III head. The Mesa was more of a smooth, lead based voicing, so I set up the Ultra plus for more chunk and saturation... and the two of them blended together quite nicely. They're a real sleeper amp that can usually be had for under $400 if you look... I paid $300 for mine and I felt it was worth every penny. If you're looking for a well built, durable alternative to something like a 5150 or Dual Rec for high gains... give the Ultra Plus a shot for sure!

(For those interested, I did a video demo comparing the two amps a while back which can be seen here:)

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