The Peavey 6505+. You've probably heard of it if you're into recording high gain guitars. It's one of those quintessential metal amps. It used to be called the 5150, but if you want to learn about the history of the amp, there's endless amounts of articles elsewhere that can fill you in on that. This article will tell you what it does, and show you what it sounds like raw and unfiltered by effects and mixing. Keep in mind, I might be a little biased towards this amp because I play a lot of metal, which is what this amp is primarily meant for (Although it can do much more).
This amp is solid, bullet proof, and it's a heavy beast. I've never had an issue with it except for one. It was on the rhythm channel and I used the footswitch to change over to the lead channel before the tubes had enough time to warm up, so it blew a fuse. It was just a couple bucks to get one from Radio Shack, and it was back to running like new. I'm still not sure if that was my fault or just a fluke with the amp, but it is what is is. I've had it for about a year at this point and that's the only time it has happened. Nothing about the amp feels cheap or weak. There's a good amount of resistance in the knobs and the transition from channel to channel (when it's warmed up at least) is smooth without any noticeable pops or crackles.
The 6505+ has 2 channels: rhythm and lead. As with any other amp, you'll want to start by setting all the knobs to the 12 o'clock position, then dial in your own tone from there. The lead channel is where it's at really, but the clean channel has a lot to offer as well. It's a much more versatile amp than some people may lead you to believe. In a year, I haven't run into a situation where I couldn't dial in a tone that I was trying to get. The power tubes break up nicely when you play on the clean channel at loud volumes, which is nice for playing blues. The clean channel also works well with boost, overdrive, and distortion pedals; it also has a boost switch, so there's a lot you can do without even having to use the lead channel. Most people are buying the 6505 for that insanely heavy lead channel that so many metal bands use for recording their albums. If you play metal, you have to at least try this amp out. Here are some examples of what the lead channel sounds like, and the only setting I'll be changing is the pregain knob, just so you can get an idea of the different gain stages.
For each of those examples, my other settings on the lead channel were: Low-5, Mid-3, High-6.5, Resonance-7.8, Presence-7. You can change your tone quite a bit by adjusting these other settings, and there are tons of videos on youtube showcasing this. My favorite gain stage on this amp is on the lead channel with the pregain set to 4 or 4.5, and an overdrive pedal (Ibanez TS-9) with the drive set to about 25%, which is what I did in that last example above. That pedal sucks out a bunch of the low end of your tone, which is why I have my resonance turned up to compensate. Now here are some examples of what the clean channel sounds like. I'll show one example of the clean channel, then a couple with the boost switch turned on
For each of those examples, my other settings on the clean channel were: Low-4, Mid-6, High-5, Resonance-8, Presence-2.5. As you can hear, this is also a very customizable channel. You can even turn it into a lead channel without using a pedal if you want to. There's a lot you can do with it, add on overdrive pedal to get some more crunch, flip on the boost switch (called "crunch" on the amp), or there's even a "bright" switch (which adds more high end to your tone). There's way more you can do with this amp than what I showed above. I just wanted to cover the basics so you could get an idea of what you can start with. All in all, this amp is perfect if you play high gain metal and also want to have a good clean channel. I got it for about $900 and if anything ever happened to it (which I doubt would happen due its rock-solid build), I'd be getting another to replace it.
120w - all valve
6 12AX7 Preamp Tubes and 4 6L6GC Power Tubes.
2 Channels (Footswitchable)
Boost on Clean Channel (Footswitchable)
FX Loop (Footswitchable)
2 speaker outs with OHM switch.
EQ, volume and gain for each channel.
Presence and Resonance controls for each channel.
If you want a high gain, bullet proof amp that can melt faces from a half mile away, this is it. If you want more examples of what it sounds like, you can check out my youtube channel below. All of my recent tutorials and covers are recorded with this amp. \m/