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Battle of the Tube Heads

3/1/1999 12:35 PM
Ted Battle of the Tube Heads
Hey guys,  
being somewhat new to the tube ;-). I was wondering if you guys could give your honest opinion to a guy just looking to get into the tube amp sound. I've been looking at used amps local to me. I have found a Sovtek Mig50 and a Peavey Classic 50. Both are heads. In terms of reliability and sound, may I get your input as to which is better. Musical tastes are blues to modern rock. I use stomp boxes now. I'd like to get a good clean sound that I can work with. Please try not to brutalize me, I see a lot of the other posts are for older vintage Fenders and Marshalls. I'm on a peanut butter budget, so boutique or pure vintage is out.  
3/1/1999 1:00 PM
Steve M.

I owned a MiG50, and it is a nice little amp for what it is. The construction is generally pretty sturdy, although there are some cheesy parts in there. I just saw one that Bruce Collins ( worked on, and these can be drastically improved. They even sound pretty good, and this might be the ticket if you use stompboxes. The best thing is the amps price: I've seen them used for as little as $150, and I wouldn't pay more than $200 for one used. Supposedly the circuit is based on the legendary '59 Fender Bassman. It uses the Sovtek 5881 (which is *not* a real 5881, nor does it sound good in most amps designed for the 6L6, IMHO) but it does sound decent in this circuit.  
I'm not familiar with the insides of a Peavey, so maybe someone more knowledgeable can comment, but it seems to me that I've heard that they sound good, but are not that sturdy or reliable. YMMV.  
Steve Ahola has extensively modded his Peavey so maybe he could elaborate.  
3/1/1999 2:10 PM
Ted: I would agree with Steve, I would rather have the Mig over the Peavey.But if I were you, try them out and see what your ear thinks of the differences. I have played both, but I didn't like the peavey,The thing most don't do, is listen to one amp against another. They may sound fine, until you plug in next to another amp, then you will hear what one does or doesen't do. [Richie]
3/1/1999 5:14 PM
Hey as it turns out both heads (PV and Sovtek) are in that price range. 225 and 215 respectively!!! I was thinking the same thing. Pick up the Peavey and mod it. I have played throught the Classic 50 4x10, but really didn't like the gain channel. I played the Sovtek when it first came out and thought it sounded pretty good. But, it doesn't have any goodies like reverb or gain. Decicions...
3/1/1999 6:17 PM
MJ Harnish

Modding those amps are going to be a challenge since I'm pretty sure they're PCB-based. That makes things a hassle.  
As Benjamin points out, you might want to consider looking for a SF bassman or bandmaster head. These amps sell cheap (I just sold a really nice '68 bandmaster for a friend for $250; I've seen them for less). These amps are much easier to tinker with since they're PTP wired. Replacement parts are readily available and the chassis in these amps has lots of room (I built a tweed bassman clone in one and I have about 4-6" of free space left...). However, if you've got to buy a speaker cab too and it's not going to be the cheapest way to go.
3/1/1999 2:17 PM
Benjamin Fargen

Ted, Why don't you buy a nice but "broken" Marshall or Fender head and fix it up! with the help here on could fix it in no time!  
Here's another idea! a silverface Bassman or Princeton and convert it to a Blackface! I have seen working silverface heads for $150 just waiting for a DIYer like yourself to come along and turn it into a scream machine!  
I will be glad to help you out if you decide to do something like that!  
Good luck, Benjamin.
3/1/1999 5:09 PM
That sounds like a wonderful idea. I am all for it. I really need an amp that can hang in a rock band, though. Honestly, I get really confused with which year is good and which is bad. I am getting sonically tired of my Peavey Bandit 65. It is a workhorse, but not really a tone machine. I am playing through a borrowed Hot Rod DeVille. It really is just so so. It really doesn't have the richness I thought it would. And channel switching really makes the tone go away. A nice clean will sound thin and tinny on the overdrive channel. But, Hey!! I am all for modding. Anybody out there got anything for sale?!!  

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