Somebody messaged me on YouTube asking me if I could get the same metal tone from my Valveking 112 as this guy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aTO0Z-B274
) who uses a Valveking 212. Short answer, yes. But, before I knew it, I had a 5+ paragraph answer, so for my sake (as a longtime lurker on this website I could finally register) as well as for the sake of those interested, here's what I wrote (I've edited some bits and pieces)...
Yep, I can get the same metal tone on my VK112...
The VK212 is bigger than the VK112, has an extra speaker, so it pushes more air and the larger cab may make it sound "bigger" or "bassier" but this difference is really subjective and altogether quite negligible. You can dial out the same tones on a VK112 as on a VK212, I have no problem getting JamieOldfield's tone or the ones shown in that official Peavey Valveking demonstration video.
I think the only reason to get a VK212 over a VK112 is if you really need the extra power... That's it. The only way to tell if you need more power is if you've been at a gig and turned your amp all the way up and it still wasn't loud enough, or sounded too harsh. I'm telling you that this will NOT happen when you have a VK112... I can't think of a situation where I would need the VK212's extra power. The other day, for example, I was at my (metal) band's rehearsal and the drummer was telling me that I was starting to overpower him when my VK112's volume was just under 5. The other guitarist was playing on a half-stack and the VK112 had no problems keeping up with it. The only issue worth noting is that since the VK112 is much smaller than a half-stack it doesn't project sound as widely. This is where the VK212 might have an advantage over the VK112, but again, I think this difference should be negligible, because the VK212 is not as tall as a half stack (height is more important than width when it comes to sound projection). Finally, you can always output the VK112 or 212 into a half stack, and at gigs the amps will be miced out to the PA anyway.
What you should also understand is that the VK212 is more inconvenient than the VK112 in many ways. If you want to replace speakers, you have to replace two instead of one (costs 2x the price). It's the same story with the tubes, where you would need to replace four 6L6GC tubes in the case of the VK212, whereas the VK112 you would only need to replace two. There are three 12AX7 power tubes in both amps but those get replaced much less often than the pre-amp tubes... Now, why should you care about replacing parts of the Valveking anyway? Because the VK is a great modder's amp
. In building this amp, Peavey cut costs by omitting things that don't matter (LED's, shiny/metal dials, effects) and by installing cheap tubes and speakers that can easily be replaced with higher quality ones. Yep... Peavey's main concern was quality tube tone for a good price, as it were
On top of it all, you don't even need to rebias tubes when you replace them! Super convenient, if you ask me
It's almost a crime to get this amp and to complain about the tone without trying to mod it first.
Now for a comparison of the VK212 and VK112 in practice... They're both tube amps, and we know that tube amps sound better the louder they get due to loudness = saturation of tubes. Now, since the VK212 has more preamp tubes than the VK112, it will break up to get that nice, rich tube distortion only at louder volumes than the VK112. This could be a problem if you intend on using the amp as a bedroom practice amp. For example, I'm a college student and when I'm practicing in my dorm with the volume only at 1 my "ceiling neighbor" starts stamping his floor as a way of telling me to turn it the **** down
so I have to turn it down to like 0.75. This means that if I had a VK212, I think I'd have to turn it down even more which wouldn't make me exactly thrilled about the tone, since tube amps are like the prima donnas of guitar amplifiers - they sound best when they're loud and proud.
Another note: the VK212 is bigger and heavier than the VK112, and the VK112 is already ****ing heavy as it is, so keep that in mind if you rely on being able to carry your amp around.
Finally, Valveking amps really bring out the character of your guitar. JamieOldfield has a decent metal guitar (Schecter C1 Classic, I think) which has an active, high output EMG 81 pickup in the bridge which overdrive the **** out of the amp - and that's why he gets such a br00tal metal tone with his VK212
Furthermore, he's tuned to D-standard, which sounds awesome because Valveking + low tunings + chugga chugga = win. I have an Ibanez RG350DX and while I can get a similar tone to JamieOldfield's using the RG350DX's default pickups, my metal playing sounds less aggressive and less defined, which is a good thing - it proves that my axe needs a pickup change
I remember plugging an Epiohine Les Paul Standard into my VK112 with the exact same equalization settings as used for my 350DX, and it sounded very different. The character of the LP shone through the amp - dark, thick, and heavy.
Hence, in conclusion, yes, get a Valveking. VK112 or 212? If you have the dough for a VK212 as well as for the additional cost of potentially replacing more parts, if you live by yourself where you can crank the amp even at bedroom practice, and if you have a car or the muscle for transporting it around, then get a VK212. Otherwise, get a VK112.
Hope this helps anyone interested.