For years and years my childhood naivety and narrow mindedness convinced me the only way forward for making my guitar sound like the guitar of a hero was through a Marshall. Anyone who is anyone drives their axe through a Marshall and why not? They sound fantastic, it has to be said, when you hear Slash, Zak Wilde, Pete Townsend, Richie Blackmore and countless other people blasting some real rock through those beautifully manufactured fathers of loud. But that is just where the trouble lies. It is because you have heard them sound so good so many times that you want that sound and realistically not many people can afford it.
From this point you start looking into the cheaper models, the DFX range etc.. but they sound bland and empty. The problem with a lot of guitars and equipment is when you buy and expensive make's cheapest range usually it's not as good as the cheaper makes range in the same price region. At one point I had a DFX250 which could blast the windows out of your house but always sounded so manufactured and... well... like it was made to sound like something it wasn't.
The beauty of the Peavy Valveking is that it is a valve amp and it's a very reasonable price. Peavy don't have a bad reputation but it's not outstanding either. I think this little beauty is an unsung hero though.
Technically the amp is very very simple. It has a clean channel and a distortion channel. Volume, Treble, Bass and Middle on each channel and then Gain in the distortion channel. It also has a reverb dial which isn't too cheesy. It has two inputs and a send and return for effects pedals. If you plug two guitars in though, the one going through input two is always quieter. The amp has 2 valves which means there is also a texture dial on the back. This is a pretty nifty add on and really helps you tune into the volume and sound that you want from the amp. The dial allows you to switch between valve A and valve A and B. The fade knob (which is the nearest descriptive word I can think of, allowing the user to fade between the 2 settings like a dimmer light switch almost) gives you lots of different textures, all of which are gorgeous. Also on the back of the amp is a button. This allows you to change the resonance between lose and tight.
There really is no way I can describe the difference between valve amps and electronic amplifiers in terms of sound. You have to experience the difference your self but in my opinion valve is superior in almost every way. Thicker, juicier, louder sound that packs a real rock and roll punch.
The problem with electronic amps, i have always found, is that they are trying to sound like something. When you turn up the distortion they are trying to sound distorted, they are imitating more gain. Electronic amps are just imitations of the real thing. And this, the Peavy ValveKing, is the real thing! This is no imitation, this is pure mechanical sound.. an amp that has it's own unique and specialized, designed sound with character and depth.
Sometimes when I playing my baby's through this amplifier it sounds like it's alive. I turn up the gain and I can hear the valves warm and and the speaker prepare it's self. The amp hasn't got the same depth as a Marshall but it's the working class, low budget but BEAUTIFUL tone that makes this the real thing.