Anyone who appreciates heavier genres of music has probably heard of Peavey’s ValveKing II. This amp has been the prime choice of many popular bands from the world or rock as well as metal. What we are looking at here is a smaller version of that same amplifier. Peavey’s ValveKing II is by far one of the most aggressive all tube designs you can grab for less than $500 at the moment.
Compared to other all-tube amp heads, the layout of controls on the Peavey ValveKing II is somewhat different. The whole thing starts out with the rhythm pre-gain knob that is surrounded by a channel select button. a bright and crunch button. Up next comes the lead pre-gain followed by the three-band EQ cluster. After that, we see the rhythm and lead post-gain knobs, followed by a reverb knob and power amp resonance and presence knobs. Truth be told, it takes some time to get used to this layout and figure out how each of the knobs impacts your tone. However, once you get there, dialing in a face melting distortion will be extremely easy. After all, that is exactly what the 6505 series are known for.
What Peavey ValveKing II offers is a 20 Watt output package that utilizes three 12AX7 in the preamp stage and two EL84s in the power stage. Considering the price range we are talking about here, that is a whole lot of tubes. Hooking this thing to a cab is made pretty easy thanks to its 8/16 Ohm outputs. Among the additional features, you have Peavey’s TSI suite which stands for Tube Status Indicator. In other words, it is a built in circuit that will notify you when and if your tubes are in danger of failing. The back panel is as busy as the front. One quick look reveals a mic simulated direct interface with an XLR output and speaker defeat option. Right next to it, you will find the power attenuation switch that goes from 20 Watts all the way to 1 Watt. Finally, there’s the USB port that allows you to record directly on your computer.
In terms of performance, the situation is pretty much well known. When they said this thing brings the 6505 performance in a smaller package, they weren’t kidding. Peavey ValveKing II really does sound like its bigger brother. If you are wondering whether or not you can use this head for gigging, the answer is maybe. For a 20 Watt unit, it is surprisingly loud. On the other hand, if you are playing in a band that is saturated with a heavy tone, you might struggle to compete against more powerful amps. Where ValveKing II comes to shine is its studio use. To record guitars on this head is pure joy. It’s almost like you have the full size 6505 at the other end of your guitar.
At the end of the day, there is probably not a single amp that can come even close to the 6505 MH Micro if Metal is the name of the game. At least in its respective price range. It is a small powerhouse full of performance just waiting to be unleashed.