Peavey 6505+ 112 Combo Review
The Peavey 6505
The Peavey 6505 is a powerful, high-gain guitar amp. Over the past several decades it has become a standard in the hard rock and metal community, and its unmistakable sound can be heard in the recordings of countless extreme metal bands.
The Peavey 6505 used to be called the 5150. This was an amp created in collaboration with Eddie Van Halen, probably the greatest rock guitarist in history. It definitely had great hard rock tones, and you could nail the “brown sound” if you really wanted to.
But the 5150 had something else: Brain searing, bone-bending, spirit-crushing distortion. In fact, you didn’t even need to push it that hard to get some good overdrive out of the thing, which was incredible for a 120-watt amp.
Back in the days when anyone who was anyone was playing through a Marshall, I discovered the Peavey 5150. I was a believer from the first minute I heard it, and in early 1994 I started using a 5150 head and 4x12 cabinet in my metal band. It was a unique sound, and definitely stood out among the Marshall crowd.
It was a couple of months later I discovered Carcass and their epic album Heartwork, and heard what the 5150 could sound like in a recording situation. When my band later went into the studio to record, myself and our other guitar player both used Peavey 5150s.
A few years ago Eddie Van Halen shifted gears, formed his own company and took with him the 5150 name. But Peavey retained the rights to the amp designs. They simply reworked the image into what is now the 6505 series, which has expanded to include the 6505, 6505 Plus, 6534, the new 6505 MH, and what has become my favorite of the bunch, the 6505+ 112 Combo.
This review takes a look at the 6505+ 112 combo, which I personally think is the best and maybe most underrated combo amp for metal on the market today. It captures all the fire of the 6505 head in a more portable package.
Peavey 6505+ 112 Combo Specs
The 6505+ 112 Combo is based around the "Plus" edition of the 6505 head. It pushes 60 watts of power through a single 12-inch Sheffield speaker. The preamp utilizes five 12AX7 tubes, and the power amp a pair of 6L6GCs.
On the front panel you get the same tone-shaping possibilities as the 6505+ head, meaning a 3-band EQ, Presence and Resonance controls for each of the two channels. There are separate pre-gain and post-gain controls for rhythm and lead channels, plus crunch and bright switches and a reverb control.
The original 5150, and the standard 6505, both had a single EQ section for both channels. While I never had a problem with this, the extra flexibility is nice.
Surprisingly (or maybe not) the 112 combo seems to sacrifice none of that brutal 6505 tone, even though it’s giving up a few speakers and some bodyweight. You won't get the same projection as with four 12-inch speakers, but the thump is there thanks to the size of the cabinet. This is a large combo, weighing in around 61 pounds. It’s heavy for a 1x12, but way more portable than a head/cabinet setup.
If you're a gigging musician you can haul this beasty to a show, mic it, and get all the metal tone you need. It is a great option for a metal guitarist looking for a loud, great-sounding combo. Frankly, if I were to join a metal band today this is likely the amp I would choose. When I was younger I thought you needed a half-stack if you wanted to play in a live band. The truth is, stacks are not necessary. Great tone is what you’re looking f
Hear the Peavey 6505+ 112 Combo
6505+ 112 vs Head
With half the wattage of the 6505 head you may be thinking the 112 Combo doesn’t have the firepower to hold up in a band. You’d be wrong. Realize that a 60-watt tube amp is still extremely powerful, with more than enough available volume to be heard in any band situation.
More importantly, we all know tube amps sound best when cranked. It’s tough to find a realistic situation where you are going to crank up a 120-watt amp. On the other hand, you’d need to push a 60-watt amp a little harder to get the same volume level, and that means those tube will be cooking a little hotter. More tube saturation means better tone!
The lower power rating also means the 112 Combo is more controllable at lower volume levels. This makes it a good choice for home hobby players. Trust me when I tell you, if you decide to make a 6505 half-stack your main basement amp your neighbors will not appreciate it.
If you think the head version of the 6505 sounds better then of course none of this matters. To me, for the volume the average guitarist plays at, 120 watts of power is way overkill. As I mentioned above, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need a stack to perform live. You need an amp that sounds good and is loud enough in rehearsal situations. To get that in a smaller, more portable package is a bonus.
Peavey 6505 212 Combo
Peavey once had a 212 Combo version of the 6505. This thing was a monster, based on the standard 6505 head, but with half the power. They called it a stack in a box, and it sure sounded like it. I used this amp at home for a long while, and I loved it. If it still existed in Peavey’s lineup today it would be the amp I am recommending to you.
The 6505 212 Combo did have a few drawbacks. For one thing, it was huge, weighing it at around 85 pounds. I had a little dolly for moving mine around. Secondly, it featured only a single EQ section. Again, not something that bothered me, but I suspect when the more affordable, portable and flexible 112 Combo hit the scene it started the 212 on the path to extinction.
If you can grab a 6505 Combo used for a good price, I suggest checking it out. While it is gone from Peavey’s current lineup, it is certainly not forgotten, at least not by me.
I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m a huge fan of the Peavey 6505 series, and the 6505+ 112 combo in particular. Give them a shot and you might become a fan too! The old 5150 worked for me in a big way back in my metal band days, and the 212 came through in later years, when I figured out I didn’t really need a massive head and 4x12 cabinet.
This amp still continues to impress in the form of the 6505. There are a lot of great amps out there for metal, some of them costing a whole lot more, but in my opinion the 6505 crushes them to dust.
The 120-watt head is a good choice if you can justify cranking it up. I never turned mine past five and the walls still seemed ready to come down. For most of us, the 112 combo is a great option even if you’re in a band. At 60 watts it has more than enough power and great tone in a compact package.