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EVH 5150 212 Combo Amp

2 channel 60 watt all tube combo amplifier, closed back design, 2x12 inch speakers

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What exactly is the brown sound? Here lies METAL! featured

Sound I've owned both the 5150 combo (later issue) and a 5150 head (early block letter), and it's pretty easy to say that when it comes to rock and metal - this amplifier is among the champions. The combo features two specially designed Peavey Sheffield 5150 speaker's voiced especially for this amp being driven by a pair of 6L6's rated at 60 watts pushing a "Rhythm" (clean) channel with a "Crunch" and "Bright" boost for complete revoicing of the channel, and the almighty "Lead" channel. The combo also has an additional speaker out for running a cab if the 2x12 isn't cutting the fat for you.

The Rhythm channel is incredibly versatile. Sharing the global "Presence" and "Resonance" controls with the lead channel, it can go from a shimmering clean that sparkles, that if engaged with the "crunch" knob and the "Pre Gain" ramped up certainly crunches with all the classic Eddie Van Halen sounds. Play on the neck pickup of your favorite humbucker guitar and these settings sing sweetly for some of the best overdriven solo sounds out of an amp ever. Very classy sounding. Gain it all the way out and the "Rhythm" channel becomes a brige between the lead and rhythm channel, crunching with unheard of gain and focus, but remaining bright and articulate. The only downside is that the "Rhythm" channel doesn't have it's own EQ stack; only the "Lead" channel.

So what is the "Brown sound" exactly? Eddies used hotrodded Marshall amps for his classic recordings, and this amp takes that sound...and blows it to smitherines. On the 5150's "Lead" channel, With the gain knob above 5, and any kind of a mid scoop, you are hit with a wave of air that pummels your chest with every palm mute. Turn the gain up and you are in heavy metal heaven. The bass is very heavy on the 5150 (both combo and head) and midrange is incredibly present as well; most times I have to scoop it down to 1.5-3 depending on what guitar I'm using. The treble cuts through like a knife and with the simple 3 band EQ combined with the incredibly versatile "Presence" and "Resonance" knobs, its really easy to dial in an awesome rock or metal sound with this amp! This is one amp that an metal player could add to their arsenal!

Reliability Built in Meridian Mississippi, and weighing in at something like 60+ pounds, this is one HONKIN' amp! I eventually sold my combo in favor of the higher powered head, but these things are built to last! The transformers and internal components are the best that Peavey has ever put into an amp. They don't burn out under hard and strenuous use over the years or constant touring. During a show, once a national band we were playing with had a tube go out in their 5150 and had to use mine, that's about it. These suckers don't ever really die, they just need new tubes once in a blue moon.

Customer Support Peavey has awesome customer support, right here in the USA!

Liked about it 1) Amazing and brutally crushing tones!
2) Incredibly reliability!
3) Low price for such a great amp!

Didn't like 1) No EQ stack for clean channel.
2) Kind of bulky and heavy (to be expected from a tube amp though).
3) Combo is only 60 watts, hit feedback more easily.

Still gets 5 stars for its amazing tones and easily obtainable price!

Overall satisfaction:

By SonicProvocateur
Mar 06, 2010
Last updated: March 10, 2010
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EVH designed, good but could've been great featured

Sound I have mixed feelings about the overall tone of this amp. This was the time that EVH actually cared about products with his name on it (Music Man & Peavey Wolfgang guitars = WIN) and while this heavy box PUNCHES out tone, it isn't the "brown sound" that so many try to emulate. Both channels produce a very clean sound that can be overdriven. The clean channel has a very clean signal and has a very pure tone and when the crunch button is pushed a nice mild to semi-wild distortion can be produced and still retain a clean, pure signal that allows the natural sound of the guitar itself to come through. The overdrive channel can be sculpted to the user's liking with a pre and post gain and seperate EQ setting. Also included is a spring reverb tank that produces a rich reverb delay. This is also one of the very few combo amps that have a closed back, in other words the amp is completely sealed, except for the tubes to allow for heat dissipation, and the speakers are not visible from the rear. What this does is trapping and compressing the air behind the speakers and makes the sound very punchy. Sitting right in front of it and hitting an A chord it feels like getting smacked square in the chest with a dinner tray. It's very satisfying. It's not all complete awesomeness though. There is a lot of midrange in the signal and when trying to cut it back it really muds up the tone. Not everyone likes it and it can be difficult to dial in the "perfect" tone as the midrange really kills it for some.

Reliability So far I haven't had any problems with it in the year+ since owning her. I wouldn't take ANY tube amp to a gig without a backup because they ALL are tempermental and the nature of tubes is that they can and will go down at some point in time...and that is usually during a gig. What does help is the design of the tube tray in how it's installed in the chassis. Many other tube amps have the tube tray installed upside down so that the tubes are hanging down like stalagtites, but the 5150 has the tray installed so that the tubes are standing straight up. The bad thing about the tubes hanging upsidedown is that when the tubes heat up, and that's what they do, the heat rises and causes the tube sockets to get brittle and eventually disintigrate causing failure. That won't happen with the 5150 and there is even a grille over the tubes to allow the heat to escape and not build up.

Customer Support I haven't had to make the call, but since this is a discontinued product (it is succeeded by the 6505 combo amp) Peavey might not be able to service it depending on any spare parts on hand.

Liked about it I really love the punchiness of the closed back design and the orientation of the tubes as that will ensure a longer life for the tubes. At only 60 watts, this little box can strip wall the neighbor's house!! The tone is very good but not to everyone's liking.

Didn't like The main thing that really bugged the crap out of me was that the knobs turned very easily, so easily in fact that I swear that they turn from a stiff breeze. I ended up having to use a marker to mark were the knobs were set to. It's also very heavy, heavier than it looks. A bit too much midrange in the signal even for my liking.

Overall satisfaction:

By Mattitude
Feb 26, 2010
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