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Peavey vyPyr Tube 120H Head 510 Guitar amps

PhotograPhy by jesse wild

124 Guitarist May 2010

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Peavey vyPyr Tube 120H Head 510 Guitar amps

The rivals
Line 6s Spider Valve MkII (from 599.99) is one of the most recognisable among second-generation hybrid amps and offers 16 amp models inspired by American and British classics, as well as offering 20 effects with six tweakable parameters per effect. Fenders Bandmaster Vintage Modern (from around 569.99) blends a 40-watt dual-6L6 power stage with an analogue preamp, but still offers built-in digital delay, reverb and chorus effects. Marshalls AVT100XT 1 x 12 combo (399) is a more conventional solid-state hybrid. Its a solid gigging amp and the XT version has 16 adjustable digital effects.

Peavey Vypyr Tube 120H head 510

Can Peaveys digital/tube hybrid head deliver both versatility and tone? by David Durban

n 2008, as a result of a partnership with effects experts Damage Control and a reported $10m investment, Peavey introduced the Vypyr, its all-singing foray into the world of digital modelling guitar amplification. We checked out the Vypyr models in issue 308, but the company also introduced a trio of intriguing hybrid amps the Tube 60 and the 120 head and combo. The Vypyr Tube 120H is a 120-watt head thats jampacked with features and sports one of the most powerful digital processors used in any amp. This Vypyrs power stage is styled after Peaveys 6505, utilising four 6L6GC power valves, producing a plentiful 120 watts RMS. Instead of alldigital operation, the preamp is coupled with a single 12AX7 preamp valve and Peaveys TransTube circuitry. Peavey claims that this circuit should provide, much warmer and responsive harmonics, overtones and dynamics than an all-digital equivalent. A 32-bit floating-point SHARC processor takes care of all the amps digital effects and interface leaving the analogue preamp to look after the amp tones and distortions, freeing up the processor for up to four simultaneous effects (either stompbox, rack-mounted, delay or reverb), better effects quality,

increased editability and a built-in 30-second looper. In terms of aesthetics, Peavey has kept the classic spiky logo, alongside the Vypyrs bat-like plastic front panel. However, the gold-fronted control panel, paired with black control knobs, does give it a classier look than the non-valve models. Build-wise, the particleboard cabinet feels sturdy and none of the knobs feel loose or flimsy. As is common across the majority of the Vypyr range, we get 12 digital amp models ranging between classic and more modern boutique-style

amps, each with a clean and dirty setting, giving the head 24 amp variations in total (see Spec Check). Each amp model has its own EQ setting that can be edited by the WYSIWYG interface. Holding down the amp knob loads the chromatic tuner mode, indicated by red and green LEDs. In addition to the amp models, you get 11 preamp stompbox effects and 11 post-amp virtual rack-mounted effects. Selecting effects is relatively straightforward, and once selected, pushing in the effects knob will put you into

edit mode. The front panels pre-gain and low pots then become your two parameters for adjusting stompbox or rack effect models. We also have independent reverb and delay effects, and in edit mode the mid and high pots give you control over delay times and repeats (theres a small tap-tempo function under the effects knob and a tap-tempo footswitch on the Sanpera II as well), while the post-gain control will adjust the reverbs depth. In fact once youve got your head around that, editing and setting up your

The USB out essentially turns the Vypyr into an audio interface for PC recording

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Peavey vyPyr Tube 120H Head 510 Guitar amps

effects and amp models follows the same process. You can store up to 12 sounds (400 with the Sanpera II) in three banks of four, which are then selectable via the mini switches under the amp knob. Saving sounds is very easy too. Stompbox or rack effects can simply be bypassed, but to bypass the delay or reverb you need to enter edit mode and turn each parameter of the desired effect completely off. An overall master volume is adjustable on the fly, whereas the level control acts as your individual volume for each chosen model and is editable for each of the models available. On the front we have auxiliary (iPod/mp3) and headphone mini-jacks, as well as a USB 2.0 interface that connects the amp directly to a computer for direct recording, making the amp an audio interface. It doesnt need any drivers, so plug it in and your computer should recognise it. Our Vypyr came with the bespoke Sanpera II footswitch, recommended for this amp. To activate the onboard looper, make use of expression features, utilise five effects simultaneously and have seamless preset switching, the footswitch is essential, though it does cost an extra 149.


Clearly, the Vypyr Tube is very versatile. To highlight this point we set up four presets to

go from clean to mean for maximum gigging flexibility. Kicking things off, we have a Marshall Plexi-style amp set with a BOSS CE-1 analogue chorus model. The Plexi model features a thick and chesty lowend, but is still cutting and surprisingly vintage-sounding. Mix in the chorus and youve got a real nod towards an Andy Summers/Police tone big and bright with just enough chorus wobble and sweetness. Also, the Brit model, based on a classic Vox AC30, offers up great squeaky-clean tones and convincing Beatles jangles. Second along is a Deluxe amp on clean, a Tube Screamer model with moderate gain and a dash of reverb. This is a lush, very Fender-y rock tone that delivers the perfect amount of break-up and drive for Snow Patrol-style chorus strums. Thirdly, we called up the B-Kat (a Bad Cat model, we presume) amp model, set with gain around halfway on the overdrive selection and no other parameters. This is straight-up classic rock tone; it has an American boutique, Class A vibe about it and with crushing saturation it will take on any pumped-up heavy rock with aplomb. Finally, we go mean: a Diezel with gain fully cranked. Its character differs greatly from the Vypyrs other metal-styled amp offerings, delivering powerful and cutting metal tones adaptable for either

devastating chugging or riproaring solos. For extra width, we added a touch of analogue phaser to achieve true stadium metal sounds. Overall we found that for this kind of fullthrottle metal riffing, the K-Stein, Dzl and Rec models gave the most in terms of tone and power.

Peavey Vypyr 120H

PrICe: 510 OrIGIN: China TyPe: Hybrid valve/solid-state TransTube preamp, valve power amp and digital effects OuTPuT: 120 watts RMS vaLveS: 1 x ECC83/12AX7 preamp, 4 x 6L6GC power amp dIMeNSIONS: 254 (h) x 667 (l) x 280mm (d) WeIGHT (kg/lb): 18.6/41 MOdeLS: 24 channel models including Peavey 6505, JSX, Triple XXX and Classic Series, B-Kat, Brit, Plexi, Dlx, Twin, Dzl, K-Stein and Rec Stompbox models include: TubeScrm, XR Wild, X Boost, Fuzz, BC Chorus, Analog Phase, Auto Wah, Squeeze, MOG and Ring Modulator rack effect models include: Tremolo, Chorus, Envelope Filter, Slap Back, Flanger, Octaver, Phaser, Rotary Speaker, Reverse, Pitch Shifter. Global reverb and delay PreSeTS: 12 (400 with Sanpera II footswitch) CONTrOLS: Three-band EQ, master volume and pre- and post-gain controls, independent stompbox effects, amp model and rack-mount effect controls FOOTSWITCH: Sanpera II (149) with up/down bank footswitches, tap tempo, manual mode, four preset selection footswitches and stompbox/effect/delay/reverb, looper rec/play and stop/reset, twin volume/ expression pedals addITIONaL FeaTureS: On-board chromatic tuner, looper (Sanpera pedal required), USB 2.0 computer interface, MIDI in/out, tap tempo button, headphone/record output, MP3/CD/Aux input OPTIONS: Vypyr Tube 120 2 x 12 combo (660) and Vypyr Tube 60 1 x 12 combo (486) raNGe OPTIONS: The non-valve, range includes the Vypyr 15 (104), 30 (193), 75 (303) and 100 (422) Peavey 01536 461234


The Vypyr 120H is a very promising look into the future of technology-based amps

In the last two years, the modern hybrid amp dream modelling preamp plus valve power stage has become a reality. The Vypyr sheds the hard digital response and noise issues of the first-gen digi amps, and the amp and effects models are impressively responsive easily on par with Line 6s Spider Valve MkII. The harmonics, tone and unpredictability that an allvalve amp brings to the table is, however, still superior in this reviewers opinion to the majority of digital reincarnations currently available. That said, the Vypyr Tube 120H is a very promising look into the future of technology-based amps; its far more valve-y feeling than the first generation of hybrid amps. And what sort of valveamp-plus-every-effect rig can you get for 510? Overall youre getting a huge amount for your money and if you tackle the Vypyr Tube head-on, youll soon get used to the interface. To unleash the amps potential, especially as a gigging tool, youll need to pay extra for the Sanpera II switch. Its the key to the Vypyrs Pandoras Box, and still brings the package around 650. Plus a cabinet, of course

The Bottom Line

We like: Massive range of tones; very alluring price; ease of use We dislike: You have to pay extra for the frankly essential Sanpera II Guitarist says: Easily up there with the best the modern hybrid amp world has to offer, the Vypyr Tube 120H is destined to be popular with guitar players who need to access a lot of sounds. Is that you?

Test results
build quality Features Sound value for money GuITarIST raTING

Pretty much every kind of amp tone and effects type is in the Vypyr

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