The most common mistake that most of us make while searching for the best bass amplifiers is neglecting our preferences and needs and scavenging for the power or watts (or anything of that sort). While there are numerous factors that make up a decent combo, the most important thing is to consider carefully what you really desire and what will suit your performance the best. What I mean by this is that you should not splurge for a stage beast when you hardly ever gig, am I right? For this reason, I encourage you to understand what your capabilities are and how your amplifier fits in them. Now, if you have already done that and you know that you want a powerful bass combo that can be utilized for practice or small gigs, you can go on reading this article. Today I am going to discuss Peavey Max 110 and try to give you all the needed information about its features, controls and sound. Without further ado, let’s get started!
Right off the bat I want you to know that you are getting quite an all-encompassing package here. Even though there are no extraordinary features, you have everything you would need to nail the perfect bass tone and much more. Peavey Max 110 is equipped with a single 10” speaker that is driven with 100 watts of power. It is designed with bass in mind, which means all of its constituents are suited for this instrument. The greatest example of this is Psycho-Acoustics effect. The brand took into consideration the fact that the human ear cannot discern lower frequencies that well and, thus, more power is required to make them audible. To prevent the amplifier from utilizing excessive power, they incorporated Psycho-Acoustic effect, which detects the bottom-end, creates its harmonics and then mixes it with the original signal. Additionally, Max 110 has Peavey’s signature TransTube circuitry, which enhances the level of the distortion when the boost is on, without interfering with the volume of the unit. It also has a Distortion Detection Technique (DDT), which engages the protection circuit when the signal clipping is detected, turning the power LED to red. To make everything even more convenient, this combo also has in-built chromatic tuner, which mutes the speaker and allows you to sharpen your strings silently. And finally, Max 110 has two inputs (passive and active) that modify the gain depending on the type of your instrument’s circuit, an auxiliary input for your MP3s and CDs, as well as headphone output for quiet practices.
Control section on Max 110 is designed in classic Peavey manner. White “chicken-head” knobs are mounted on the black surface and sorted into couple of sections. And most importantly, they perform well and give you all the control you need. I will not take up any more of your time and get straight to discussing their capabilities.
The control panel starts with the Gain knob. This little fella adjusts the input level of your bass guitar. Right below you will see the TT Boost switch that triggers the TransTube circuitry and provides you with a decent amount of gain boost. Then we have the EQ section with Bass, Middle and Treble knobs which are pretty self-explanatory. But here we also have the Mid-Shift that controls the center frequency of the Middle knob and takes it from 600Hz to 250Hz. Next comes the Volume knob, which adjusts the overall volume of the combo. Underneath you will see the switch that engages the Psycho-Acoustic effects and makes your low-end more prominent. Towards the end we have the Tune/Mute button for chromatic tuner with LED screen and individual LED lights that display whether your notes are sharp, flat or in tune. Lastly, we have the Power switch with the DDT indicator light. As mentioned above, the latter illuminates red when the signal is clipped and the protection circuit is triggered.
If you have owned a Peavey combo before, you will probably know that they are pretty damn loud. No matter what output they have, they still deliver more volume than one would expect. Max 110 follows that track and provides you with way more than you would need in your bedroom. That is when your headphones come in handy, since you will not have to dial anything down to avoid bothering your neighbors. The most vivid sonic feature here is the TransTube circuitry. It creates the most distinctive overdrive and gives you interesting options to play with. It is thick and textured, but still has the warmth and sweetness. The Psycho-Acoustic effect does exactly what it says it will. This means that the mixture of the harmonics of the low-end and the clean signal defines the bass perfectly and saturates it with just the right amount of punch. This way your tone develops certain accents that suit the character of the instrument so well. I cannot help but mention how useful the mid-shift button is. It gives you even more control over your tone and allows you to be in full charge of all the parameters. The only thing you will have to consider is that you will not be able to shove this thing on huge stages with loud as hell band. It just does not have enough capacity. But if you use it as a practice tool or take it to occasional smaller venues, you will be left with an amazing unit to work with.
Here we are my friend, right at the end of this article. As I discussed the main properties of Max 110, I tried to be as specific and thorough as I could. I also tried to make everything easier for you. Hopefully, I succeeded at that. The only thing left for you is to consider everything I said and, consequently, get your hands on Max 110 if it satisfies your needs. Good luck!
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