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This article was originally published in issue #42
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Peavey’s high powered tour-ready head, aptly named the ‘Headliner’ is a rack mountable bass head aimed at the touring musician, filling the gap between hefty ‘lead-sleds’ and super small gig bag amps. It will happily play your local pub gig or find its way in to a tour rack system.
Plugging in, it took just a short time to find a really tasty tone. Some amplifiers you have to tweak to get the tone you wish for, however with a push of a couple of buttons I was set. If you have watched my video already then hopefully you will have picked up on my pleasure at finding the ‘crunch’ control on this amplifier which to my ear sounded different to that of the crunch on the MegaMax amplifier models. It was just the right amount of grit to be left switched in all the time and having the contour, ‘or pre-shape’ as it is sometimes called on other amplifiers, was almost taking away from any fiddling at all elsewhere. A rare treat!
On the front panel, there is also a ‘single knob compressor’ which I demonstrate in the video and which seemed to be best suited to its subtle limiting. You’d probably use as an effect rather than dynamics control.
Filling out the complement of controls on the front panel, a switchable graphic equaliser flanked by shelving bass and treble knobs offers more options. Having the EQ as well as shelving tone controls will mean that you will be able to fine tune your tone to your heart's content, though I have to say, I didn’t need to.
Nice to see the headphone socket on the front (especially if this head is in a rack with other equipment. Getting round the back of a tour case in the dark is no fun!). That said, things are very tidy round the back with a Speakon and 1/4” for speaker connections, an effects loop and DI output. There’s also a remote switch socket for the crunch and compressor functions. I'm glad about that as I sometimes like to clean up the signal mid performance and then punch in some grind for the edgier numbers.
Overall, this is a great amplifier and as I said earlier, I didn’t need to touch most of the controls. I plugged it into a Barefaced Big Twin II cabinet that I used to monitor in the studio. And the result was a really great big sound!
1000 Watts RMS is your rating in to a four Ohm load and you’ll still get 700 Watts in to eight. I don't think that you will be left wanting, certainly plugged in to a nice stack of cabinets. I was pleased that there was definitely a feeling of low end grunt in this amplifier.
Weighing in at 5.4Kg, no it’s not in the tiny sized ‘micro amplifiers’ category, but for those touring with racks, you’ll have a massive weight saving even dropping two of these in your system. Lots of power at more than half the weight of a ‘lead sled’. But hey, it’s from the Tour series, so Peavey have nailed it there.
Oddly, this chap is a 1 1/2 rack size - so it’s not quite 2u in height. That’s an unusual size for a usual rack sized bass amplifier - but if you just allow yourself 2u anyway, then it will mean there’s going to be an air gap - which can’t be a bad thing. Worthy of a mention? Maybe. Also curiously, given its ‘tour’ name, it appears you can’t switch the voltage supply on this amplifier. Is that a deal breaker for touring? In our view, it will be for some players and it seems a curious decision on Peavey's part. Still, if that is our only complaint about an otherwise well priced, beefy amp, it's hardly going to bother most potential buyers, for whom it is definitely worth checking out.