Solid-state technology for guitar amps has come a long way over the years, and one area that has seen consistent improvements is the budget amp market. The Peavey Solo 12W is the perfect example of this. While there are very few bells and whistles, thanks to a simple but solid set of features, this compact practice amp is an interesting prospect for beginners and bargain hunters alike…
The Peavey Solo 12W is similar to many other practice amps in the sub-$100 price range, in that it gives you the basics and nothing more. So, everything you need to plug in, dial up a decent tone, and hit the woodshed.
It features two channels for clean and overdriven playing, a 1/4” headphone jack, a Tape/CD jack input, and… that’s about it. So, no onboard effects, no connectivity options, and certainly no footswitch. Simple? Yep – but sometimes you don’t really need any extras if you just want to practice and jam.
Weighing in at 12lbs and loaded with an 8” Blue Marvel speaker, the 12-watt Solo is extremely portable as well as compact enough to keep in a bedroom, living room or office environment for when inspiration strikes.
Simple features mean that this amp is very easy to control – it’s not like there’s a complicated LCD screen with multiple menus to scroll through here. This is a plus for beginners.
What you will find is a 3-band EQ (bass, middle and treble), which applies to both the Clean and Lead channels, while channel selection is performed by a pushbutton switch. Once on the drive channel, the amount of distortion can be tweaked using the Overdrive knob. Truth be told, that’s all there is. You can’t get much easier!
Sure, the Solo may not have a ton of options, but we were impressed by what we could coax out of it. The Clean channel felt well-defined and natural, but it is the Lead channel that really shone. Let’s face it – most amps at this level don’t have the greatest tone, but the Solo takes things to a different level.
This is largely down to the fact that Peavey has included its TransTube tube emulation technology, which offers a realistic tube-like sound that is sure to turn your head. All it takes to get from classic rock grit to intense metal distortion is a simple turn of the Overdrive knob.
The Peavey Solo 12W is exactly what it was designed to be – a great practice amp at a price that nobody could really complain about. The two channels give you enough oomph to get you inspired to play and – more importantly – keep you playing! For beginners looking for a first practice amp without spending over a hundred bucks, there are few better choices.