Peavey 6505 Piranha Review, the 6505 Series Heads and the Combo Amplifier

#ModelRatingAmplifier PowerWeight
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1Peavey 6505 Piranha 120 Watt4.4 pounds
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2Peavey 6505 MH Head 20/5/1 Watt15 pounds
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3Peavey 6505 Plus 120 watts57 pounds
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4Peavey 6505 112 Combo 60 watts68 pounds
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Peavey 6505 Piranha
Amplifier Power 120 Watt
4.4 pounds
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Peavey 6505 MH Head
Amplifier Power20/5/1 Watt
15 pounds
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Peavey 6505 Plus
Amplifier Power120 watts
57 pounds
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Peavey 6505 112 Combo
Amplifier Power60 watts
68 pounds
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Peavey is internationally known as one of the biggest manufacturers of musical equipment around the world. With some of the best professionals in the field, enormous resources, and marketing talent, they’ve managed to become an industry leader. As for their best-selling and award-winning 6505 series, it’s pretty much everything a gearhead could ever dream of.

Our focus today will be on Peavey 6505 Piranha – the company’s tiniest and most affordable model in the pack. But we’ll also take a look at what the series has to offer in general, including the famous 6505, 6505 plus, 112, and mini head. Yes, there are a lot of exceptional amps in this line-up.

You’ll even find a couple of cabinets, ready to be connected to a decent amp to prove their worth. There’s a lot of ground to cover, and, again, we’ll discuss every little detail about Piranha and only then move on to the rest of the equipment, because it’s the most popular model from the company.
Second, it’s quite affordable, and for beginners/newbies that are looking for a decent practice amp, this is a great pick. You can get it right now for just 150 dollars, which is like the golden price for amp heads these days. The name suggests we’re dealing with a hungry monster that will consume us all with its killer tones. Is that really the case? Let’s find out together!

What’s The Deal With Micro Amp Heads?

Mini/micro amps are the next big thing, and they’re slowly, but steadily, taking over the globe. Most beginners and practicing musicians find the fact that they are lightweight and portable quite attractive. These little guys aren’t usually that powerful and range from 5 to 20 Watts, but that’s enough for practicing at home, jamming with your friends in the closest garage, recording in the studio and even doing gigs in some small venues. For the fans of mobility, it doesn’t get any better than portable heads.

Tip:Please remember that the term “head” means you only get an amp with no speaker, and in order to hear yourself, you’ll need a cabinet (speaker).

At the same time, the lack of a gigantic speaker makes these heads extremely small and light. Peavey 6505 Piranha weighs only 4.4 pounds (less than 2 kilograms) and will probably fit in your backpack. So, the bottom line is – if you’re a rocker at heart and want to share your music with the world but can’t stand the big, bulky, heavy and expensive large amps/combos, this micro bad-boy right here will be up your alley. Even though it does come with a number of limitations and isn’t really suited for commercial recordings and/or large-venue performances, for the beginners searching for a decent workhorse, it will be perfect.

Getting Up Close And Personal With Peavey 6505 Piranha

As mentioned, this amp head weighs 4.4 pounds. It’s good for 20 Watts, and the tube hidden inside the metal chassis looks extremely cool during the night with the red and orange LEDs (they glow 24/7). This is a hybrid head and sounds very close to the Lead and Crunch models from the company’s big, powerful amps from the 6050 series. It’s safe to say that if you’re a beginner, you won’t even notice the difference between the more expensive gear and the Piranha. The 12AX7/ECC83 preamp tube is connected to a solid-state amp. On top of the box, you’ll find a stylish image of a piranha, scaring the potential thieves off.

As for the controls, they are very simple and straightforward, which is a good thing for a practice amp. With the Gain knob, you can set the input level and the amount of distortion that goes into the head. The Crunch/Lead switch lets the owner fine-tune the amount of distortion even further. The Volume knob on the right serves as a master volume control, setting the output level of this Peavey 6505 mini amp.

You really need to spend some time with it to hear and feel exactly what it’s doing to the tone of the electric guitar. The effect might be subtle at first, but you’ll get used to the nuances in no time.

The Equalizer, The Ins/Outs, And The Rest Of The Controls

The equalizer that sits in the middle doesn’t really look or work as you’d expect it to. There’s only one knob, but with it, you can “call up” a series of classic EQ settings from the 6505 series. Turn it to the left for a “notched” tone. Set it to the middle for a more balanced sound. And finally, push it to the right and hit the “Full” for an entirely different vibe. Play around with this highly unusual EQ to understand how it works and how you can use it to your advantage. On the far left side of the amp, there’s a 1/8-inch stereo aux input; on the far right side, you’ll find a 1/4-inch stereo output for your favorite headphones.

As soon as you plug the phones in, the speaker output will be automatically disabled, enabling you to do some silent practicing. The Speaker output jack around back is for connecting a cabinet and enjoying some killer electric guitar sounds (it should be four ohms minimum). The overall volume level will actually depend on the cab you pick.

Tip:This amp can work with speaker loads of 4, 8, and 16 ohms. At 4, you’ll get 20 Watts (RMS); at 8, you’ll get 15 Watts; only 10 at 16. But don’t even worry about this technical stuff, because Peavey 6505 Piranha will work with most speaker cabinets available on the market right now.

What Does This Amp Head Lack?

Great news: with Piranha, you’ll get a carrying bag for free! Sadly, even if you have a fancy footswitch, you won’t be able to use it to switch between the Lead and Crunch settings. The fans of overdrive will like now loud this amp can get. However, if you’re looking for some clean tones, the limited headroom will be something of a disappointment. By setting the Gain knob lower and the Volume knob high, you’ll get a surprisingly clean and balanced tone (and don’t forget to switch to Crunch), but the signal won’t be as loud as you might want it to be.

The Piranha is great for delivering some dirty, aggressive tones at high levels, but, again, it lacks volume with the more jazzy, bluegrass types of music. As for the equalizer, despite the fact that it’s better than most 1-knob EQs, it will never be able to compete with the standard Bass-Mid-Treble combination. Say, 6505 Plus features two 3-band equalizers. But hey, for 150 dollars, we’re getting a great bang for the buck; besides, have you seen how tiny this head is? There was no way the engineers could’ve fitted a big EQ section on the front panel!

The Verdict For Peavey 6505 Piranha

Ok, it’s time to sum things up. As the name suggests, this amp is not a joke: it is small, no doubt about that, but it’s got a lot of sonic “bite” and won’t hesitate to prove its worth. The price is very low, while the sound is on par with more expensive models. The 6505 series is known for being extremely capable and versatile, but the 1-knob EQ is a bit too limited to my taste. Thankfully, you can always pair it with an EQ pedal and get more control over the tone.

Tip:Too bad the Lead/Crunch switch can’t be accessed through a footswitch; yet, if you’re just using this head for practicing and some studio work, that won’t even be a problem.

Peavey’s MH head is the next step in the line-up and comes with a proper 3-band equalizer, a lot more clean headroom, and more. We’ll definitely discuss it in the next chapter, but for now let me just say that for the beginners, Piranha offers the best value. And come on, you weren’t looking forward to clean tones in a guitar amp, right, especially with a name like that? It is crunchy, beefy, and aggressive, perfect for the rock fans. The all-tube 6505 siblings are, of course, much stronger and pack more heat, but for a teeny-tiny thing, it is remarkable. For metal/hard rock, Piranha isn’t powerful enough; that’s when a distortion/overdrive pedal will come in handy.
Tip:Fact: this is an amp head that’s cheaper than most pedals out there, and it sounds more than ok. It will be a perfect backup amp to take with you on a tour or use in practice. Finally, it won’t take much space in your room, won’t be a drag to carry around, and will save you a lot of money that you’ll be able to spend elsewhere. Sounds pretty damn great, doesn’t it?
  • 2-channel design (foot switch switching) and 3-band EQ
  • attenuator switch (20W / 5W / 1W)
  • tube status display (TSI) LED
A large number of connectors
Great tone
Build quality
High price

Peavey 6505 MH Head – The Golden Middle

Oki-Doki, now that the cheapest model is out of the way, let us take a look at the more expensive and sophisticated amps. Peavey 6505 MH (Mini Head) costs 500 dollars, and for that reason, it can’t really be called a beginner amplifier. It’s a head as well, meaning you’ll have to pay even more bucks for a cabinet. So, what will the average user get with this thing?

First of all, it looks way more “professional” than Piranha and will be a perfect fit not only in your bedroom but also in a state-of-the-art studio.  It was introduced to the market fairly recently but is already one of the most popular models in this price range. It’s based on the high-end 6505 and sounds great.

You’ll get 20 Watts of power, 2 channels, and a USB interface that will make your studio sessions so much more enjoyable. That’s right – you can rely on this amp for serious gigs and take it to the nearest studio to do some commercial recording. It might come with some limitations compared to the most expensive amp in the series but will definitely surprise you with the sound and the level of control it grants you. The control panel is full of fancy knobs, and those include a button for selecting the channel, separate knobs for the pre-gain and post-gain levels for both channels (we’ve got Rhythm and Lead at our disposal), a reverb knob, and Resonance/Presence on the right.

Taking A Closer Look At The Controls And Features

Probably the biggest difference between MH and the 6505 plus is that the big guy comes with separate EQ sections for each channel, whereas with the less expensive Mini Head, you’ll have to work with only 1 equalizer for the whole thing. The tube status indicators are pretty cool, though: if you see red, that means there isn’t enough current for the amp.

Tip:The auto-reset feature will exclude the tube out of the amp’s circuit to make sure you can continue jamming without potentially damaging the gear. Around back, you’ll see more features than in the 6505. First of all, there’s a super-handy 20/5/1-Watt switch.

Second, there’s a DI and a USB output for direct recording. Forget about placing the mic near the cabinet and spending days trying to find the best microphone model and the best position for it: with the USB, you just plug and record! You’ll also find a headphone jack on the back panel, along with switches for speaker enable/defeat and ground lit. Yes, the 6505 MH comes with an impressive set of controls and features, and for 500 dollars, it’s a great alternative for 6505 and 6505 plus that cost a lot more. The biggest advantage over Piranha is that you’ll get enough headroom with the clean tones, and when distorted, the amp is ready to seek and destroy.

Tip:For the beginners, there isn’t a dramatic difference between these models; still, the fact that it comes with a 3-band EQ, lots of controls, and a richer, fuller sound, will most definitely attract the intermediate/professional players searching for an affordable studio rig. For the newbies, the price is too steep. For the gearheads, it’s actually a lot cheaper than the competition.

Peavey 6505 – Is It Worth The Hype?

So, this is the original model in the series and one of the most popular amplifier heads to ever be released by Peavey. It’s not cheap and will cost you 900 bucks. For that kind of money, you can buy a bike or even a car! However, if you’re a fan of power, this thing right here won’t disappoint you. It’s got 120 Watts of power under the belt, “foot-switchable” channels (2 in total) and a bunch of amps and preamps. By “a bunch” I mean there are as much as 5 preamp tubes (12AX7s) and 4 power amps (6L6s). With that kind of heat, 6505 can cut through the loudest crowd and the mightiest drummer, not to mention the bass and the electric guitars.

Obviously, this isn’t a beginner-level rig. With it, you can achieve amazing results and do studio-quality recordings for your brand-new single or album. I don’t really know any person that uses it as a practice amp, because that would just be a huge waste of money (doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to use it at home and during rehearsals with the band, though). The bottom line is – if you’ve got 900 bucks to spare and are in desperate need of an all-around amazing tube head, this beast right here is one of the finest picks on the market. All those “nasty” riffs, killer solos, and intimate arpeggios on your favorite axe will have a maximum impact on the crowd with this amp.

A Great Bang For Your Buck

There’s enough headroom in this head to fill out large venues. Again, 120 Watts are more than enough to dominate the biggest stages out there and Peavey 6505 is intended for the professional musicians that make a living on recording in the studio and performing live. The 3-band EQ is perfect for fine-tuning the tone and adding color, brightness, and presence or going for a warmer, richer sound. As for the Presence and Resonate controls on the far right, they will give you even more control over the final tone, choosing between thump, drive, and bite. Play around with these knobs for a while and realize the potential hidden inside of them.

Tip:Bad news for the fans of portable gear: this amp head weighs 52.2 pounds (23, 6 kilograms), which doesn’t make it incredibly mobile. Still, for big-time gigs and studio sessions, this isn’t the heaviest piece of equipment. For practicing, go with the hero of this article – Piranha. For “big-boy business”, this $900 monster will back you up even with the craziest ideas. Peavey is known for the amazing metal tube amps, and 6505 is definitely a king if this musical jungle. This is a legend, fair and square – Mr. Van Halen himself made sure that the engineers did everything right with it. And, it was built to last for decades.
  • Mini tube amp head with switchable 20-watt, 5-watt, or 1-watt operation
  • Inject great tone directly into the PA system with the Mic Simulated Direct Interface
  • USB output for easy recording direct to your DAW
Quality of tones and functionality
Portable and powerful
No master volume knob
Maybe: shared EQ section.

Peavey 6505 Plus – The Ultimate Amp Head

Wait, that wasn’t the most powerful and expensive head from Peavey – we still have the 6505 + to review! It comes with a price-tag of 1000 US dollars and is pretty much the finest offer from this company. Are you curious to find out what those additional 100 bucks will do? Same here! With 6505 plus head, you’ll get 6 preamps instead of 5 and separate EQ sections for each channel, as mentioned earlier. If you’re serious about performing and recording.

I’d say it’s worth paying a bit more and getting the most out of this series. And while in the studio you have separate Equalizers and lots of options after the guitar is recorded, during live gigs, the second EQ will be greatly appreciated.

Summing up, I have to say that no matter which one of the top-tier 6505 amps you choose – the original or the Plus edition – you’ll always be golden. Eddie Van Halen has a unique way of working with amps and that is exactly why he wanted only one EQ section for both channels. If you strive to be like him and don’t really need an additional preamp, keep those 100 bucks and spend them on something else (like maybe an affordable footswitch or pedal). At the same time, if you feel like the separate equalizers will do justice for your setup and the 6th preamp will definitely come in handy, then say goodbye to 1000 dollars with the Peavey 6505 head plus.

  • Footswitchable Lead/Rhythm channel select
  • Three-band EQ on each channel
  • Resonance and Presence controls on each channel
Quality sound
Quality of materials
Building quality
Maybe: shared EQ section.

Peavey 6505 112 Combo Amplifier

Amp heads are great and all, but you’ll always need a speaker cabinet to hear how they sound.

Tip:If you’re not a fan of carrying two pieces of equipment around, make sure to check out the Peavey 6505+ 112 combo amplifier.
Surprisingly enough, it won’t cost you a fortune: the price on a brand-new model is 700 bucks, which is more than affordable for a beast like that. It is based on the 6505 Plus and comes with two EQ sections: you won’t find a combo from this series with one EQ section. However, please keep in mind that 112 is only good for 60 Watts RMS, while the head it’s based on pumps out 120 Watts of power.

Everything else is similar, but not identical. While you will get separate Presence and Resonance knobs for each channel, there are 5 preamp tubes, not 6, and only 2 power amps instead of four. Don’t you worry, though, because the 12-inch speaker will fill out any large venue with some sweet rock-n-roll tunes. The Peavey 6505 plus combo weighs 68 pounds (almost 31 kilograms) which is still quite alright, especially given the fact that the head weighs more than 50 pounds. Rock music, including the British hits from the 60s and modern-day grunge, sounds great on the Peavey 6505 combo. It is an all-around amazing gear that will serve you for decades.

  • The number one Metal guitar sound in an affordable combo
  • Five 12AX7 preamp tubes give this amp unsurpased gain
  • Two 6L6GC power amp tubes for 60 all tube watts
Affordable and compact
High gain tone
No realistic extension cab options
Build quality

Learning More About 112 Plus

The 6505 series can be heard in numerous commercial hits. Extreme metal bands love it for the trademark character that makes rock-n-roll great again. In fact, Peavey created a new standard for contemporary music, and that’s something only a select few companies have ever achieved. But, again, 6505 plus, the flagship, is a bit too expensive for the regular players. Besides, who needs 120 Watts to practice and do small to mid-sized venues, right?

As I just said in the previous chapter, 60 Watts are still pretty loud, but the 300-dollar difference between 6505 plus and 112 plus is pretty significant. With it, you won’t have to worry about finding a Peavey 6505 cab, as it already comes with a built-in speaker.

As always with this series, the Presence and Resonance knobs are the keys to finding a “banging” tone. They do, however, require a lot of tweaking before you get a sense of what they can do. So, if you’re a beginner, just leave them be and enjoy the EQ and the rest of the controls. When you outgrow the standard knobs these two will give you endless possibilities for sculpting that chart-topping sound.
I didn’t mention some of the other controls and features of the amp heads that this combo is based on to focus more on the bigger picture, but let me tell you about them now. Fact: the control panels on the 6505 + head and the 112 combo are identical.

The Reverb knob sits right before the Lead channel and sounds quite good. This is a spring reverb and will give the old-timers some cool vibes. With the Lead channel, it’s always tempting to crank everything up, but keep in mind that after 7-8, it loses some of the clarity and becomes fuzzy. Not that it’s a crime for a distorted power amp, but this info might come in handy when you find yourself in the studio trying to get everything right. The Rhythm channel, in turn, is great for the more clean tones. You can go from super clean to some bluesy stuff from back in the day. I told you – this thing is capable of greatness. All you have to do is use the controls right.

The Verdict For The Peavey 6505 Series

Alright, that’s it for today, folks! We’ve reviewed the award-winning Piranha and took the time to check out 6505, 6505 Plus, 6505 MH, and even the relatively new 112+ combo. Every single model from this line-up is exceptional. Peavey did a fantastic job of appealing to a wide range of potential clients and made sure to impress even the experienced players. While the most affordable amp head – Piranha – costs 150 dollars, the top-tier 6505 Plus is worth 1000 bucks. The combo is more affordable than most and will serve as a universal piece of gear (practice, rehearse, record in the studio, do live performances – it’s suited for it all).

Remember:Make your choice wisely and don’t rush it. If you do everything right and pick a decent amplifier, you might never outgrow it. I know many big-time players that still stick with their low-budget gear for rehearsals and even some gigs.
The company put a lot of love and care into the best-selling 6505 series, that’s for sure. Finally, I want to say that the 2-button Peavey 6505 footswitch costs 29 bucks, while the 3-button version will be yours for 92. And that concludes our Peavey 6505 review!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (60 votes, average: 4.95 out of 5)

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2 Responses

  1. Edie
    I share a bit of my thoughts on this amp. The Peavey 6505 Micro Head Micro Laser Amplifier is the latest addition to the 6505 series of amplifiers. Perhaps, tube micro heads never possessed power as it is now. Powerful and portable, guitar amplifier Peavey 6505 Piranha is now in an even smaller size but with the highest quality that can not but please me as a connoisseur. Small enough to use in the bedroom, but the power is enough for the studio. The Peaver 6505 Piranha has several of its chips, including a bright switch to achieve wide massive tones. It also has an additional 16-ohm dynamic output, and a tube amplifier. The series of amplifiers 6505 has thrown out the sound of metal for 20 years. The head is good both for the studio and for the rehearsal halls and clubs. All my friends trust this model as well as I after the time of use. The Peavey 6505 Piranha universal amplifier, if you are honest in front of yourself, is an amplifier exclusively for home game with headphones or in a small guitar room, it does not hang on to something more serious. At first, yes, you may want to, but the sound quickly tired and joins, one lamp in this mini-tightened weather does not do, the main overload is still transistor, the final amplifier in the Peavey 6505 Piranha is also transistor. Ultimately, if you're a fan of the Peavey 6505 sound, I'd gladly console you to win some money and take a more decent amp and buy attenuator for it, or take, for example, a small combination where you can fully receive adult sound, and full of such a buzzing sound, which is good for the metal and for the lower grades. Reccomend only/
  2. Lisbeth
    Hello everyone, and today I want to share my opinion about this model. I think that this accessory is not suitable for everyone, because I think that the price is too exaggerated, but personally I liked the functionality and ease of use of this model.

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