She may never live this down.

 

I said I was going to talk about amps today, so here we go.  Surprisingly, for once this isn’t a DIY situation.  Last weekend, a buddy and I picked up a used Peavey PA-300 for very cheap.  The PA-300 is a big, solid state PA amp from probably the mid-70s.  It has 6 channels in (unbalanced input, but both low and high inputs so you can plug in mics and instruments alike), one channel out, reverb, and a slew of tone controls (both global and per-channel).  It came with the head and two massive 4×12″ speaker cabs, each arranged in a line instead of the typical 2×2 speaker grid.  It is huge, ugly, and beautiful:

Peavey_PA300_1

We needed a PA for the jam room, and this one has the added cool factor of being an old, solid-state, behemoth.  What we didn’t expect, was that it would sound so damn good.  Seriously.  Guitar, bass, vocals – everything sounds good, and I’m not sure why.  I think part of it is that the range extends higher than a typical guitar amp, so you get more pick noise and “clarity” from the high frequencies.  Even though the response extends higher, I think it still has a pretty sizable hump in the lower mids, giving it a very “warm” tone overall.  Add to that a healthy dose of reverb and, yeah, most things will sound really good.

There’s also a good chance that it sounds good because it looks so damn cool.

Peavey_PA300_2

There are a few shortcomings.  First and most obviously: It is huge and weighs approximately one million pounds.  We had to use a hand truck to wheel the cabinets out to the car.  It is not exactly a portable setup.  Second: it rolls off some of the lower bass notes on a bass guitar.  Open A is no problem, but as you get down to the open E, it starts to sound a bit weak.  And then if you plug in a five-string, the low B is mostly just harmonics – I’m not sure you can even hear the fundamental at all.  It sounds good for most traditional lines though.

 

Have a great weekend, everyone!  See you Tuesday.