Review of Peavey Butcher 100w Head -
Peavey has carved out a great reputation for its high quality Rock
and Metal amps. Does the brand new Peavey Butcher 100 tube head
keep the Meridian Masters ahead of the pack? Power chords at
the ready,Tom Quayle checks it out!
Having produced some of the most iconic Rock and Metal amps, a
new top-end Peavey head is an exciting prospect. With a healthy
reputation for crushing tones and great construction, I was very
optimistic when I unpacked this substantial Peavey Butcher head and
plugged it into our 4x12 studio cab.
The Butcher is an American made tube amp, featuring independent
clean and crunch channels and an array of controls for shaping your
tone, provided by five 12AX7 preamp tubes and four EL34 power
tubes. Each channel has independent three band EQ controls with
volume and gain with a global presence dial for shaping the top end
frequencies. Both channels feature a switchable pre-gain boost for
adding in more filth with the crunch channel also sporting a
12-segment 'punch' control that allows you to shape the low-end
response to your taste or requirements. Two switchable master
volumes allow you to dial-in your normal volume level plus a solo
boost and since they are post-gain you'll just get louder without
affecting your tone.
Round the back of the amp you'll find an active effects loop
with send and return controls allowing you to match the loop to
rack or pedal based effects. Next door is the footswitch in and
Peavey's microphone emulated MSDI output for plugging the head
direct into a desk for recording or live use. The MSDI tone can be
dialled in for bright, normal or dark settings, giving you control
over the high frequencies in your signal. The amp can take 4, 8 or
16 Ohm cab configurations with dual speaker outputs and can be
switched to half power mode (50 Watts) using the power switch on
the back. 4, 8 and 16 Ohm cabs can be used in either power mode
using a selector switch.
The Butcher feels very well constructed and is reassuringly
heavy, weighing in at just under 25kg. Obviously, that's not light
but what 100 Watt valve head is? The controls all feel very solid
and tight and the general finish and construction is high quality
with black tolex covering the chassis and a white inner detail
running around the Peavey logo and central fascia. The faceplate is
very clean and not cluttered with hundreds of controls like a lot
of modern amps. As such, the Butcher is very easy to use and learn,
making it simple to dial in tones quickly and efficiently. It won't
take you months and months to master this beast.
A solid metal footswitch is included in the package (good to see
that! - Ed) and connects via a very secure DIN-cable running to the
back of the amp with a very long cable run. Channel switching,
master volume selection, effects loop on/off and channel boosts can
be switched via the footswitch, giving you plenty of control at the
front of the stage. We did notice something that may (or may not)
bother some users here. During channel changes there seemed to be a
slight lag. We went back to Peavey about this and were told that to
get fully noiseless operation, the company has decided to use
optical switching (Peavey isn't alone in this) but that the lag
should not be bothersome and that it was possible we had a faulty
sample. Our suggestion would be that you try it for yourself.
The clean channel has a great deal of clean headroom thanks to
that 100 Watt rating and can be dirtied-up with higher gain
settings and using the pre-gain boost switch. The tones on offer
ranged from sparkly and tight with the treble and presence controls
in upper positions, to darker, jazzier tones with lots of bottom
end and girth.
Dynamically the Butcher is very responsive, tracking pick
dynamics well with no muddiness to speak of. It's also very easy to
play through and compresses beautifully at higher power amp
volumes. The crunch channel is where this amp really excels, and a
whole range of low, mid and high gain tones are on offer with a
great deal of tonal shaping via the three band EQ, presence and
punch controls. This certainly isn't a Metal amp in the manner of
the 5150 for example - the gain levels here are more hard Rock than
hardcore, but the tones are exceptional and can be pushed even
further with a drive or boost pedal. As with the clean channel the
crunch tones are dynamic and responsive, cleaning up very nicely by
using the guitar's volume control. The punch control works well for
dialling-in a tighter and 'punchier' low end, adding more body to
smaller cabs or dialling less bottom end for bigger 4x12
configurations. Using the MSDI output yields very realistic tones
and makes the amp a viable recording solution without resorting to
If you play classic or modern Rock and need a great clean
channel to compliment your driven tones, then the Peavey Butcher
makes for a superb choice. It's versatile, easy to use and well
made, but above all it sounds great!
Check out the full review inc. video of the Peavey Butcher 100w
Head by Tom Quayle in Issue 10 of
Guitar Interactive Magazine (
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