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Peavey JSX Mini Colossal Guitar Amp

Peavey JSX Mini Colossal 5W 1x8" Guitar Amplifier Combo 00590670 - "The JSX(R) Mini Colossal is a Class A monster in a nice, little box. It has what I always wished a small vintage amp would have: a pure, wide-open sound, classic tremolo, ...

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Not so Mini! featured

Sound I love the sounds from my Mini Colossal. I usually try to keep distortion to a minimum so I can hear any and all mistakes. This amp delivers that very well, heck... maybe a little TOO much!

Smooth55 's review convinced me to buy one of these amps on clearance and I agree with pretty much everything he's stated. I love the cleans and the crunch and everything in between. And harmonics pop out of this baby almost without effort. That never happened with my Marshall or Peavey solid state amps. I can play my Ibanez Satch JS6000TR to get a wicked distorted tone cranked, or back off the volume and get some sweet clean tones. All without touching the amp or losing much volume.

It takes pedals (wah, volume, delay, compressor) well, though the only distortion I've tried so far is an Analogman DS1 and I'm not too happy with that unit. I want a good OD instead, though I'm really wanting to try a Satchurator just to keep the Satch vibe going.

The tremolo unit works well, even if I don't use it much. I find that I can use it as almost a metronome, timing my phrasing with the dips in volume. That makes the feature interesting and fun to work with.

This amp is really, really quiet. Even when dimed, all I get is a barely audible hiss. The only real noise I get is from the signal chain going in.

It also sounds great through my Wiggy 2x12 cab, giving it more low end than the built-in 8" speaker. But I like the MC just fine on its won.

This is a great starter amp. Low price, great sound and it won't cover up your sloppy playing. I wish I could afford another right now, I would buy a backup / loaner. The Mini Colossal is simply one sweet unit.

Reliability I've only had it a few months, works well so far. I like the heavy feel of the unit, it inspires confidence. It was also bigger than expected. I've heard Peavey makes good stuff and my Peavey Rockmaster preamp is ancient and it works just fine. So I'm not too worried. (Too bad the whole JSX line seems to be headed for Obsolete-ville.)

Customer Support n/a

Liked about it I loved the price, I adore the tones. This amp is simple, takes pedals well but sounds great just with a guitar plugged straight in. What more can you want?

Didn't like Well since you asked...
* I would have liked reverb instead of tremolo.
* A headphone jack that kills the speaker would have been nice too, especially since such a low-watt amp seems aimed at the bedroom amp buyer.
* The volume is much louder than expected, even from a 5 watt amp. With the power sponge cranked and the input low, it's probably still too loud to use with anyone in the house trying to sleep. Cranked to the max, it's almost ridiculous! (I live alone in a house so that doesn't matter.)

Overall satisfaction:

By Ekim
Mar 17, 2010
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Nice Rock Recording Amp featured

Sound I originally wrote this review based on my experiences with this amp in a store. I've since purchased the amp, brought it home and played around with it. It's also made a few trips out as a back up for me. I got it because it went on clearance sale. At $500, there were other things I felt that were better at that price and it wasn't something I was really considering. At $300, I felt a lot better about giving it a shot with the idea that if I couldn't get it to work for me, I would return it. Compared to other combo tube amps in the $2-400 price range, I think this one wins, hands down. My review is based solely on this amp's built in features, with some insights into what you could do with some additional gear paired with it (I have no doubt it would be awesome through a 2 or 4x12).
Like most 5 watters, there is very little clean head room. It will not be clean at gig volumes and to be really pristine, you have to dime the power sponge and keep the pre-amp volume/gain to around .5 or less. Having single coils will work better for cleans but coil splitting humbuckers with the volume on your guitar rolled back will do as well. One additional possibility to improve the headroom would be to try a 12at7 or 12au7 in the pre-amp tube spot. This will lower your overall volume slightly but it will give a bit more clean. The clean guitar in the clip is with my JS1200, coil tapped on the neck pick-up with the volume rolled down to 4 and the hi-pass filter engaged through the Mini, controls are Volume on .5, tone on 7 and the power sponge is full out. It was recorded directed and there are no additional EQ or effects added. It's the dry signal out of the balanced mic/line out.
Anything above 1 with the power sponge on full will yield great bluesy overdrive and 7-10 will give a good crunch. If you turn down the power sponge, you get greater levels of saturation and the amp really does scream pretty nicely.
The distortions in the clip are 1. Direct out of the amp with the tone all the way down and the volumes dimed and 2. Mic'd with the same settings. The actual tone of the direct out and the speaker is pretty similar although I find the direct out a little crisper (probably due to the 8" speaker's limitations on distortions. I feel that you could run this guy into a PA for any size gig. Again, there are no effects added and you'll hear that it does honk with that EL84 mid-range. Making adjustments to the guitar's tone control and the tone of amp give a much broader tone pallet but you can experiment with that on your own. I've had it several weeks and I've ditched the multi-effects processor I used to EQ and cab sim on my solid state amps. I know this thing will give me what I want tonally if I take the time to tweak it.
The amp's volume is pretty loud, small gig loud if you don't need the clean. With moderate levels, it's easily at shouting volume. The 8" speaker lacks bass response. It just gets muddy, so chugging metal with this amp will require judicious EQing. Still, it cuts right through any mix and projects very well in a band setting. I have no problem getting heard with just this amp when I'm jamming with drums, a bassist, and another guitarist with a 120 watt solid state amp. At a gig, with just the 8" speaker, I'd expect to run direct into a PA. The direct out is good enough that I wouldn't bother trying to mic it. I'd still run the 8" speaker, but only as a monitor. Another options I'd recommend would be getting a 2x12 cab with some decent speakers. It shouldn't be problem with the 4, 8, and 16 ohm outs on it to match to whatever cab you have. The larger speakers will give more volume and sound more full with better bass response. It'll still dirty up nicely, so I'd recommend something a bit more powerful if you need squeaky cleans at high volumes.
In addition to the direct output, the amp also sports some other features that you won't find in most small tube amps. There's a buffered effects loop. I run a chorus, delay and sonic stomp through it now. I've also put my DOD EQ pedal in there but since the switch broke on that, I'm looking for an upgrade. Still, the loop is silent. It takes pedals very well both in the front of the pre-amp and in the loop. You only need to be careful of loading up the signal too much in the front because of the limited head room.
The other feature of this amp is the tremolo. I don't use it. It's not really my style but it seems to work just fine and is easily adjustable.
Overall, the amp is not noisy unless you're running the gain full out. It's a great recording amp and goes from small gig to whisper soft to silent volume levels. It fits the desire I had for a grab and go tube amp that I can use at practice and small gigs. At $300 (I paid less with a coupon), I think it's a great bargain and recommend it before they clear them out.

Mini Colossal Demo.mp3

Reliability Seems very solid. It is surprisingly heavy for its size at 22lbs. I like that it has a plate across the back protecting the 2 tubes. The knobs are all nice and firm. Built in the USA and Peavey are usually pretty good about make rugged products so I am confident that it will last me. It is my backup at gigs, but I take it to rehearsals and practices without worry.

Customer Support For this product, I know you can find the owner's manual on Peavey's site, but I would expect support to dwindle a little since they are getting rid of this particular amp. I'd imagine it has to do with Joe leaving them for Marshall and that the amp wasn't selling so great at $500.

Liked about it 1. Small portable amp that goes from silent to small gig volume levels.
2. Recording out was well voiced and pretty similar to the mic'd tone of the amp.
3. Effects loops in amps this size are hard to find.
4. Made in the USA, my dad being a US Steel employee means that it matters to me.
5. Multiple Ohm outputs for different cabs.
6. At $500 it wasn't worth it to me, but $300 is more than reasonable for the features this packs.

Didn't like 1. Tremolo is useless to me. It's a novel effect, but I wouldn't use it very often and would've preferred no effects. Most people want reverb (not me) here. I would've been happy if they had just given me a 3 band EQ with a little more tone shaping options. The tone knob is great, but to really fine tune things, you'll probably want an external EQ to work with.
2. A larger speaker would've yielded a bit more full sound. I would've liked a 12" speaker. Still, it would also be heavier and more cumbersome which is what I didn't want in my amp search.
3. I would've liked a stand-by switch as well. It makes me feel more secure with those, even if these small wattage amps usually don't have them.

Overall satisfaction:

By smooth55
Aug 03, 2009
Last updated: March 18, 2010
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