The Peavey ValveKing 112 is a Combo Amplifier boasting 50W of all-tube power, 12AX7 preamp and 6L6GC power amp tubes, a specially voiced 12" ValveKing speaker, 2 foot-switchable channels with independent 3-band EQ and volume, foot-switchable boost on the lead channel, global reverb control, a buffered effects loop, and external speaker jack.

The ValveKing's secret weapon is around the back in the shape of a knob Peavey calls the texture control. This is a feature that simultaneously varies the power stage's sensitivity, response and 'break-up' point. With the texture control set fully clockwise, the ValveKing is working in normal push-pull Class A/B operation. Then as you rotate the control anti-clockwise, one half of the output stage is progressively subtracted from the circuit, while the driver valve's gain is increased and its low frequency response altered to complement the change from odd to even-order harmonic emphasis. At fully anti-clockwise, the ValveKing effectively transforms from push-pull class A/B to single-ended Class A, with around 60 per cent less output power and a completely different character. This clever feature can be fine-tuned with a resonance switch that varies low frequency response by altering the amp's damping factor.

Switched on, the ValveKing is quiet and hum-free - always a good sign. The clean channel has a warm, rounded character that's especially friendly to single-coil guitars - we got the best results with all three tone controls set around the halfway mark. The bright switch really works, so if your axe has mid-range-heavy humbuckers you'll approve of the extra twang this feature injects.

Push the clean channel's volume control beyond the halfway mark, add a little reverb and you'll get a smooth overdrive that's good for blues or country soloing and easily controlled from the guitar. Back off a little and it cleans up nicely for chords, or push it up for lead breaks. Distortion fiends won't be disappointed with the ValveKing's USA-flavoured overdrive channel. Even without using the boost feature there's a ton of filth on tap, while engaging it will take even the weediest of pickups into almost endless sustain.


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