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  The "Best" Peavey Steel Amp--Your Opinion? (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   The "Best" Peavey Steel Amp--Your Opinion?
Al Carmichael

From: Sylvan Lake, Michigan, USA

posted 03 June 2005 12:26 AM     profile     
I'm getting ready to buy a steel amp and I've pretty much sold myself on the idea of buying one of the Peavey series of amps. I'm leaning to the Nashville 112, which has stellar reviews here, but I'm also thinking about an LTD, a 400 and a 1000. If you had the choice today, what would you choose from the Peavey line? I know there are other choices--Webb, Fender Steel King, Twin reverb, etc. Mainly I am interested in your opinions of the various Peavey amps.
Gordon Borland

From: San Antonio, Texas, USA

posted 03 June 2005 12:46 AM     profile     
You started a great topic and I hope the folks who post will also give an idea of the
PSG and pickups they use because everything in the chain gives the result.
I play 1976 MSA D10 with superstains on both necks. I used a Nashville 400 with a peavey Addverb rackmount.
I bought a Peavey Sessions 2000 because of all the talk on the forum. It stays at home in the corner.
I brought home a Peavey 112. I work at a music store so I can try all the amps I want.
I took it back to the store.
My favorite Peavey is the Nashville 400. To stay true to your post I wont mention other brands.
Great topic.

Gordon Borland

Bobby Bowman

From: Cypress, Texas, USA

posted 03 June 2005 12:55 AM     profile     
Peavey Nashville 112.
'71 Emmons PP D-10
Original Emmons single coil pick ups

If you play 'em, play 'em good!
If you build 'em, build 'em good!

Richard Sinkler

From: Fremont, California

posted 03 June 2005 01:11 AM     profile     
Having owned a Session 400, session 500 and a Nashville 400, my favorite Peavey amp is the NV 400. Been using the same one now for over 20 years.

Carter D10 9p/10k, NV400

Stephen Gambrell

From: Ware Shoals, South Carolina, USA

posted 03 June 2005 02:50 AM     profile     
Session 400, with a BW speaker. No mods, just facts.


posted 03 June 2005 03:02 AM     profile     
Nashville 400 with factory mod and reverb mod. Sounds like a big powerfull Twin. Has the Fender sounding reverb and the Nashville power.


jim milewski

From: stowe, vermont

posted 03 June 2005 03:07 AM     profile     
Session 400, right now using the smaller LTD with a BW 1502, years back my Vegas did a real good job, but the push pull has a lot to do with it
c c johnson

From: killeen,tx usa

posted 03 June 2005 03:07 AM     profile     
the LTD before the nash 112 which is the best ever. CC
Jack Stoner

From: Inverness, Florida

posted 03 June 2005 03:08 AM     profile     
Asking which amp is like asking which car you like the best. No one answer.

My favorite Peavey amp was a Session 500 that I used for 15 years. The Peavey amp I liked the least was a reissue Session 400 LTD - never could dial in the sound I wanted.

I've owned a Nashville 400 (with factory installed tone mod) and when I bought a Nashville 1000 the Nashville 400 was sold almost immediately. I never really cared for it but accepted it as a compromise as I was trying to get a lighter amp than the Session 500.

I bought a Nashville 112 in February and it is being used almost exclusively. Although I like the Nashville 1000 and think it's still a better overall amp, it's again another compromise trying to get a lighter amp.

Billy Carr

From: Seminary, Mississippi USA

posted 03 June 2005 03:41 AM     profile     
I guess my favorite Peavy amp would be determined on what's available as a new amp. I tell you I'm really sold on the NV-112. I didn't think it would compare to the NV-1000 mainly because of the difference in power. Only 80 watts. But man, when I set down and played a 112 at a music store that sells steel guitars, etc., I was really shocked. I've got three amps, so I'll list them in the order I like best. NV-112,NV-1000 & Fender Steel King. 112 is about 45 lbs. also a plus!
Tony Prior

From: Charlotte NC

posted 03 June 2005 04:30 AM     profile     
Al, Jack from Florida is right on the money..there is NO ONE ANSWER.

My comments below are referenced with 4 different Steels, 2 D10 Carters, D10-Sho-Bud Professional and an old D12 MSA..

The only real difference that a buyer needs to be aware of is that the new 112 is NOT in the same catagory as the Session 400,LTD's, 500's, Nashville 400's , Vegas's etc and Nashville 1000's. "THEY" are all in the same similar catagory . Same approx power, 15" BW , heavy and can all handle medium to large venue gigs.

The new 112's are fine amps but they are NOT and should NOT be compared overall to the others in the Peavey series. They are 80 watts with a 12" speaker and cost several hundred dollars less brand new..they fill a niche in the market but are not intended to replace the big brothers.

For me, keeping it Peavey, I rate the older Nashville 400's at the top for my needs. I have had a new N1000..liked it ok but there was always something missing for me. So back to the N400 it was.

I just recently picked up an old Seesion 400 Limited with the 15" BW and I am gonna drag it out tonight, so the jury is still out on this beast..but at the first home plug-into it sounded pretty good..Loud + clean..did I say Loud ?

Of course others will have a totally different view and thats expected. Whats impotant is WHAT YOUR needs are, not mine or someone elses.

One thing is abundantly clear, if you pick up any clean Nashville 400 in the $300 to $350 range, you will never loose your investment.

good luck, get one of each !


[This message was edited by Tony Prior on 03 June 2005 at 04:40 AM.]

Dennis Detweiler

From: Solon, Iowa, US

posted 03 June 2005 04:56 AM     profile     
Mid 1970's Session 400. If you can find a 1974, latch onto it.
John Daugherty

From: Rolla, Missouri, USA

posted 03 June 2005 05:27 AM     profile     
I think most of your replies will choose the NV400 and NV112. Any Nashville series will sound good because they are designed for steel guitar. I like my 400 and 112 but only use the 112 for the weight factor. If I was only going to play at home, I could make most any amp sound good. When you are in a situation where you need a lot more volume, the Nashville amps really strut their stuff.........JD
Joe Alterio

From: Fishers, Indiana

posted 03 June 2005 06:44 AM     profile     
I might disagree with John....I think the majority will pick the older Peavey amps.

I have owned a Session 400, Nashville 400, Nashville 1000 and have used a friend's Session 500 for an extended period of time. The Session amps are the BEST. I believe the FETs they use give a great warmth to the overall sound.

Personally, I would not go without my '77 Session 400 (my Nashville amps are long gone). I have heard great Session 500 Mark IVs as well...but their 90 lbs of weight is enough to keep one of those anchors from being an option for me (my basement steps are a killer).

FWIW....on two recent trips to Nashville, I kept a mental tally on who was playing what. All but one steel player I saw played through Peavey....and it was really across the board as to what they were playing. Terry Wendt with a Session 500 Mark IV, Mike Sweeney with a Nashville 112, Eddie Lang with a Vegas 400, Rusty Rhodes with a Nashville 1000....come to think of it, I don't recall seeing anyone with a Session 400!


Hook Moore

From: South Charleston,West Virginia

posted 03 June 2005 06:48 AM     profile     
I have kept a late/mid 70s session since new. These amps get the job done in most any situation and are incredibly dependable. I will most likely keep this amp for backup for years to come. Today if I needed a new Peavey it would be a 112(or 2 of them).


Glenn Suchan

From: Austin, Texas

posted 03 June 2005 06:55 AM     profile     
My mid 90's Nashville 400 has a significantly improved sound since I installed the Peavey circuit modification. However, the best Peavey amp I ever used was a mid 70's "Artist" with a 12" BW speaker. I played a 1970 Emmons S10 p/p through that amp and the sound is still my "benchmark". Sold it after I bought the N400. Wish I still had it.

Keep on pickin'!

[This message was edited by Glenn Suchan on 03 June 2005 at 06:57 AM.]

jim milewski

From: stowe, vermont

posted 03 June 2005 07:04 AM     profile     
my first steel amp was the Session 400 with two EVM 12's, and I'd love to have that back, I would encourage anyone who hasn't owned a Session 400 to buy one if they had the cash and was courious, I'd be surprised if they didn't just love it, I still have my Session 500 as well, but the weight gets to me
Bob Carlucci

From: Candor, New York, USA

posted 03 June 2005 07:42 AM     profile     
I liked my Session 400, my Session 500 was better I think,,, thought my NV 112 was ok, but STILL don't see what all the hoopla is about, had a Vegas that was EASILY the WORST amp I ever owned..
BUT IMHO the best peavey steel amp By FAR I ever had was my battered old Deuce with 2x12 JBL D 120F speakers...
it was loud,bright and those 4 6L6 tubes warmed and sweetened the sound a LOT..I really liked that old amp and played it hard and long for years and years... bob

[This message was edited by Bob Carlucci on 03 June 2005 at 07:45 AM.]

Gene Jones

From: Oklahoma City, OK USA

posted 03 June 2005 08:11 AM     profile     
Session 500. I hated that it kept getting heavier while I kept getting older!

Nicholas Dedring

From: Brooklyn, New York, USA

posted 03 June 2005 08:22 AM     profile     
You can't really go wrong with a clean used 400 Peavey of any model... some better than others, and opinions vary, but for $300 to $400 you can get an amp that can sound good loud, quiet, and in between, and takes a beating without giving out.

I have a Session 400 Limited (reissue of the older original Session 400), I'm picking up another amp now, but basically to get some variety and to ensure that I have backup if something does go wrong at any point...

The N112 had not come out yet at that point when I bought mine, but even if it had, I would have made the same choice. Pay the same price (though the used amp is probably cheaper), and get your choice of a new amp with 80 watts and a 12" speaker, or used and a 15" speaker with 200+ watts... the weight difference (15 lbs?) isn't enough to get me to switch over at the moment.

Ron Sodos

From: Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

posted 03 June 2005 10:04 AM     profile     
I own 2 session 400's and a Nashville 1000. I actually l;ike the tone on the 400's better than the 1000. But, if you are working a larger club the 1000 cannot be beat for power. Of course all the instruments go through the PA but the large sound really is nice. Also the circuitry on the 1000 is genius. You can plug your volume pedal directly into the loop before the amp section in the circuit and it eliminates any hum or noise. For a small club I still prefer the tone on the sessions 400.

From: Grayson, Ga.

posted 03 June 2005 10:22 AM     profile     
I am partial to the Session 500 as long as I don't have to move it. Many good tones to be had.
Dekley D-10
Sho-Bud LDG
Peavey Session 500
Darvin Willhoite

From: Leander, Tx. USA

posted 03 June 2005 11:14 AM     profile     
I have a Nash 112, an LTD 400, a Session 500, a couple of LA 400's, and a Session 400 (that is currently getting Brad Sarno's upgrades). Out of all these, I still think the Nashville 112 is the best for steel. The lower power doesn't bother me at all, if I ever need more, I'll either mic it, or use the direct out. After the upgrades, the Session 400 may have a comparable sound, but it will still be heavy.

I also have several other Peaveys that I consider as guitar amps, not steel amps. I think I currently have 25 Peavey guitars, and around 20 Peavey amps, someday I'm going to get all of them together and take pictures. When the stock market went KAPUT a few years ago I started investing in guitars, I have had a much better return on the few I've sold.

Darvin Willhoite
Riva Ridge Recording

Jim Hinton

From: Phoenix, Arizona, USA

posted 03 June 2005 11:31 AM     profile     
This message is directed toward Bob Carlucci, or anyone else that has a Vegas 400.

I bought a Vegas 400 in 1983, and still use it. I have never owned any of the Nashville series, but was of the understanding that they were all built around a similar design.

Is that a mis-conception on my part?

What was wrong with the Vegas 400? I have never used any other amp, but must admit that I've heard a Fender amp or two that caught my attention ... but that's off topic.

Do the rest of you hate Vegas 400's too?

Jerry Gleason

From: Eugene, Oregon

posted 03 June 2005 11:44 AM     profile     
I had a Vegas 400 for a while, and I liked it a lot. I added the Lemay mod, a JBL speaker, and some casters. It sounded great, and the two channel configuration made it very versatile for doubling on guitar and steel.

Before that, I had a Nashville 400, and it was ok, but the Vegas sounded much better.

If i were to buy a Peavey amp today for steel, I'd probably go for the 112.

Pete Burak

From: Portland, OR USA

posted 03 June 2005 11:54 AM     profile     
From a gigging standpoint, none of the square cabinet Peaveys sounded as good as the rectangular cabinet Peaveys, to me.
Session 400 or Vegas (and now Nash112) over Nash 400 or Session 500.
I ordered a Renown with a 15" when they first came out, and that was nicer sounding and more versitile than the square cab amp, too (to my ear).
I had one Nash 400 and one Session 500 (w/ JBL), both for about a year.
Jim Hinton

From: Phoenix, Arizona, USA

posted 03 June 2005 12:18 PM     profile     
Dang ... I can't tell if I have a square cabinet (Vegas 400) or a rectangular one. I'm at work, and can't see it.

Which one didn't you like?

Tom Gorr

From: Three Hills, Alberta

posted 03 June 2005 02:38 PM     profile     
RE: Vegas 400

"Steel Channel" - I was initially extremely disappointed with the main channel until the full Peavey mod was installed. Changing the op-amps to OPA 2604's from TL072's seemed to eliminate the harshness I was hearing. (Note: I think the TL072's were put in by the prior owner to upgrade from RC4558...not an upgrade IMO). I've been very satisfied with that channel since the PV OPA mod. Smooth and sweet - and works great with bass guitar, too. The speaker is a ribbed cone BW - which was probably intended for bass, anyway.

The second channel is unacceptable for all instruments that I've tried with it - so overall, the Vegas 400 misses the mark for multi-instrument musicians who want/need two independent channels in one amp.

As a steel only amp, though, I confirm that with the PV/OPA mod it is incredible - sounds as good or better than my tube equipment (eg. Mesa Boogie Studio Pre).

However, due to my need for a dual purpose amp, I am in the process of modifying a different PV combo amp for use with steel and six string. Hopefully my mods will yield a better overall system than the Vegas.

[This message was edited by Tom Gorr on 04 June 2005 at 10:55 AM.]

Richard Tipple

From: Ohio, USA

posted 03 June 2005 03:07 PM     profile     
My days of lugging the 75 Lb NV 400 are over.
Last weekend I played a large outdoor festival using my new NV112. The tone of this small light weight amp is fantastic along with my Pro Bud.
My settings on stage were middle of the road as far as volume goes,,,pre at 5 and post at 8, of course the sound man bled a little steel into the side wash,,and there was volume to spare. He had the little amp running through a SM57.
I had my NV400 waiting in my van if needed but that was as far as it got.
I do not think the little amp would have cut it as far as volume goes without a microphone, but if one is playing a large outdoor venue without microphones on the amps, your doing it all wrong to start with.
For the smaller inside gigs, the 112 can handle it with ease as far as I am concerned.
So Lb for Lb and with tone to match the big boys, nothing can beat the NV 112 in my opinion
Pete Burak

From: Portland, OR USA

posted 03 June 2005 03:49 PM     profile     
I'd have to agree...
Now that the Nash 112 is here (and any gigs requiring more volume you simply run the XLR to the mains), it's the best steel amp Peavey ever made.
jim milewski

From: stowe, vermont

posted 03 June 2005 06:05 PM     profile     
I liked the Vegas a lot, it took a beating and always worked and sounded great
John Daugherty

From: Rolla, Missouri, USA

posted 03 June 2005 07:01 PM     profile     
Guys, some of you have listed different weights for your Nashville amps. The Peavey specs list the NV112 @ 42.3#. I weighed my NV400 on digital scales @ 62#. When I carry the 400,It feels like 100# but I notice that these amps gain weight everytime I have a birthday.
As I mentioned earlier that I thought the NV400 was the most popular amp (and now you can add the NV112),here is a quote from Peavey.
"The Nashville 400 was one of our most popular models ever and was in our steel guitar amplifier product line for over 16
years. By far, we probably sold more of these than any other steel guitar amplifier ever built."
I hope this clears up some specs that were a little "muddy".
Richard E. Lee

From: Macedon, NY, USA

posted 03 June 2005 07:27 PM     profile     
Al.. like everybody else..I've had my fair share of amps.. I have a 112 which I like very much. But I stumbled into an older Session 400 Limited recently..and I had the Peavey (Mod) Tone Enhancement kit put in it. Wow..what a sound!.. tone w/BW..but the key here is the Mod Kit!. I also have a Session 500 and just too heavy to lug around. I've had the Nashville 400..and while it is very popular..I never could get the tone out of it..Now, in hind site, I think with a Tone Kit installed.. it may have been another story... if that does to the Nashville that it did for the Session.. I would lean towrd that. That Mod kit is the answer in my opinion !. The parts are about $30 and the tech. charged me another $65 for his with another $100..if you can find an older 400 series..and buy it right.. HAVE the kit installed..and you will have a great outfit that will serve you well for many years. For the money, PV makes a good choice, all things considered. (thats my 2cents worth.)

[This message was edited by Richard E. Lee on 03 June 2005 at 07:30 PM.]

[This message was edited by Richard E. Lee on 03 June 2005 at 07:31 PM.]

Bob Carlucci

From: Candor, New York, USA

posted 03 June 2005 09:07 PM     profile     
Jim.. I think my Vegas was just a bad one.. it was lousy sounding, nasaly, harsh, and made all kinds of crackling noises.. It was just a bad amp. I have had good luck with just about every other PV amp, they make FINE equipment and always have, even though I currently use old Fenders for everything. That Vegas just was not right from day one. Every other PV I ever had WAS right.... always! bob
Darrell Owens

From: Norco, California, USA

posted 03 June 2005 10:32 PM     profile     
One more opinion among the many - Not all amps are the same even though they are the same model.

My favorite steel amp is still an very old first year made Session 500. It has a wider range and deeper tone that my Nashville 400. I also have a newer Webb that sounds terrific, and I just received a Rivera rack mount with ext JBL speaker cabs that I am checking out now.

On second thought, I like 'em all!

Darrell Owens

Dave Mudgett

From: Central Pennsylvania, USA

posted 03 June 2005 10:46 PM     profile     
I like tube amps, so like Bob C., I like the Peavey Deuce. I also own a 70s LTD 400, sounds very good on a loud gig, and also like Session 400s.

But for all-around tone for pedal steel, I have to reluctantly admit that the Session 500 is, to me, the Cadillac of Peavey steel amps. I say reluctantly since it's so blasted heavy. Weighing in at 81 lb., it's almost as heavy as my '74 MSA D-10 Classic in the case. But it sure does sound good. I used it at an outdoor gig for the first time the other day, all our sound was coming from the back line - it sounded just great, and I needed the clean power. But I had to carry it a couple of hundred yards to the stage, since the casters don't roll so good on soggy grass and the load-in facility was, shall we say, challenged.

Dyke Corson

From: Urbana, IL USA

posted 03 June 2005 11:02 PM     profile     
I have always been a fan of the 2 channel Vegas and get a great guitar sound out of the second channel. I recently got an old LTD and it sounds great too. When Redd Volkaert comes to town, he likes my wife's old Session 400 (without the metal heat sink)and last time I was in Austin he was using an LTD. I'll have to admit, the Nashville 112 sounds great, and it's easy on the back too. I also have a Jazz Classic that sounds good for both steel and guitar too. So IMO there are no bad ones, just lots to choose from!!
Al Carmichael

From: Sylvan Lake, Michigan, USA

posted 03 June 2005 11:34 PM     profile     
Thanks for all the opinions--it really helps me to sort things out. Right now, I am still leaning to the Nashville 112 for two reasons. Just about everybody thinks they sound great--and they are easier on the back! The group I play steel with doesn't play very loud, so I don't need to blast--just get a great tone. There's always a PA for extra support if needed--which is how it should be. And I figure that if I should ever fall into a situation where I need a more powerful amp, I'm sure I can find a used 400 and mod it out.

The weight factor is a big consideration for me. My back can't take the strain of a heavy amp these days. I sold a perfectly fine blackface Twin Reverb years ago just because it was too heavy!

I know amp choice is a personal and subjective thing, but this survey definitely has a couple high scoring models. Again, thanks for all the comments and insights. Very helpful and interesting.

Jim Hinton

From: Phoenix, Arizona, USA

posted 04 June 2005 02:44 AM     profile     
Great thread ... thanks to Bob Carlucci for clarifiying about the Vegas 400.

Anybody interested in trading for a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe?

George Redmon


posted 04 June 2005 09:07 AM     profile     
Hello my fellow Michigander and friend Al, hows the Sho Bud doin', are you happy with that new pup? still going to get over that way to hear you i promise..but why are you bent on a Peavey? personal taste?...but anyways, you should take the trip down to see Bobbe Seymour, he has nice amps new & far, the best Session i ever played through, was the Original Session 400 with the JBL, when i could get it away from the fiddle player Ben from Traverse the hernia making Session 500, ..the 400 was ok..but also heavy
i just didn't like the new NV112, too thin for my taste, but hey, it's still a nice little can tell by my signature what i'm playing through...
oop's...just standard GeorgeL's 12 string pup

Whitney Single 12 8FL & 5 KN,keyless, dual changers Extended C6th, Webb Amp, Line6 PodXT, Goodrich Curly Chalker Volume Pedal, Match Bro, BJS Bar..I was keyless....when keyless wasn't cool....

[This message was edited by George Redmon on 04 June 2005 at 09:08 AM.]

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