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Lack of Glamour: Thoughts on the Transtube Peavey Rage?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by The_Doctor [EV], Dec 5, 2017.

  1. The_Doctor [EV]

    The_Doctor [EV] Tele-Meister

    303
    Jul 22, 2014
    Virginia
    So I've had a Peavey Bandit for a long time, USA-made red stripe, continue to like it a lot. It's always been in my head to pick up an Envoy and a Rage, have a matching set. Christmas coming up, I'm gonna float the idea of a Rage (maybe a Blazer) to the family and see what comes of it.

    Before I do, just have some questions.

    First, with the red stripe, how do I know if one is MIA? Is there much of a difference between the MIA and MIC Rage or Blazer, in terms of quality OR sound quality?

    Second, is the reverb on the Blazer make it worth looking for over the Rage? I don't use reverb too much with the Bandit at all, but on a grab-and-go amp I would maybe find use for it.

    Third, what's the actual SOUND like? I'm envisioning using it like a Champ, basically, something you can crank all the way and ride the guitar's volume knob. I actually like the Bandit's clean channel cranked into natural dirt, but that's of prohibitive volume for me; does the Rage give that sort of sound at a reasonable volume? If not, can the dirt channel get subtle?

    Fourth, is there any value in attempting a speaker swap on an amp like this? Basically investing another 30 or 40 bucks into it?

    Any and all help is appreciated. And yeah I know this is a lot of questions about a cheapie SS amp, but I like to be thorough.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017

  2. The Blood

    The Blood Tele-Meister

    117
    Dec 31, 2014
    Healdsburg, CA
    My first thought is that the name is a bit of an overstatement. I have a special 130 and I am a fan of Peavey amps...
     

  3. LGOberean

    LGOberean Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    64
    May 31, 2008
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    I can respect asking questions/being thorough. I've never owned a Rage or a Blazer, so the only question I'll address is the first part of the first question.

    As for identifying MiA vs. MiC, amps in the peavey TransTube line tell you on either the front or rear panels, or both. Like I said, I've never owned a Rage or a Blazer, but I've owned a red stripe Envoy 110 (my brother has it now, so I can't include pics). On the front panel it reads "Designed and Made in the U.S.A." if it's MiA, and if it's MiC, it reads "Designed in the U.S.A." On the rear panel, it reads either "Made in U.S.A." or "Made in China."
     
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  4. LooseJack

    LooseJack Tele-Meister

    250
    Feb 4, 2017
    transit lounge
    the matching set to the bandit is another bandit.

    the rage is useful as a door stop or comedy prop.

    for low volume low gain dirt, pick up a low gain OD pedal.
     

  5. wildschwein

    wildschwein Tele-Afflicted

    I have a made in China silver stripe Transtube Rage with a Jensen Mod 8 speaker which I mainly bought because I dig the Bandit and Studio Pro Transtubes.

    The Rage is a fantastic little amp for recording and experimenting with mic placement in different spaces and environments. It can also easily hold its own next to a drum kit if you get it up off the floor up to chest or head level. I have actually played small gigs with it and it keeps up pretty well. I usually pair it with a delay or reverb pedal, use the dirt channel and ride the volume knob. With a fuzz box you can pull awesome compressed, over-the-top '70s style distortion. It's a great amp and also works well for theremin playing.

    I used it on this track:

     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
    evanjackson likes this.

  6. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2009
    Western Canada
    The Rage was the first Peavey to be produced offshore... it started long before it's bigger brothers. I suspect any red stripe Rage will be MIC, but I could be wrong. It should say it on the amp. As for sound quality, there shouldn't be any difference.

    Same amps other than reverb... the choice is yours. If you think you will need reverb, go with the Blazer. When you say "grab and go" I hope you don't mean band use... these little amps cannot keep up.

    It sounds nothing like a Champ! It's solid state, not single ended tube. That doesn't mean it sounds bad, it just doesn't sound like a Champ. It's sounds a little bit like it's big brother (the Bandit) but smaller. They are nice little practice amps, but that's it.

    IMO, NO! Buy them as cheap as you can and use them for what they are!
     

  7. haggardfan1

    haggardfan1 Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2014
    down every road
    My first amp was a Peavey Decade, which I actually gigged some when starting out. I'm never researched the Rage; but I bet it's similar. Primarily a practice/recording amp, but neither doorstop nor toy.

    If you obtained an Envoy, on the other hand--you could get all kinds of use out of it. I have two red stripe Envoys, and I've played with one unmiked in venues that might surprise you. If forced to choose between the Envoy(s) and my Studio Pro 112...I'd probably go Envoy simply for portability reasons, but I hope that never happens.
     

  8. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Tele-Holic

    538
    Jan 26, 2012
    Troy, MO
    I've never actually tried a Rage or a Blazer, but my first amp, a Peave Audition 20, bought new in '83 or thereabouts, is still with me and I discovered kind of by accident that it was just what I needed for a pretty low-volume band I used to be in. Once I learned to stay away from the amp's distortion circuit and crank up its mids and run it loud enough to make the stock 8" speaker sweat a little, I discovered that it had some cool sounds in it. Here's a link to an example of what I used to do with it:

    https://alonetone.com/benniven/tracks/bleach-bald-snow-tires

    In that track I was using a total beater ''64-ish Gibson Melody Maker with one pickup (some random strat bridge pickup from my parts box, installed at a reverse slant, closer to the bridge on the bass side), a DOD FX-10 Bi-Fet Preamp pedal (clean boost for solos), a DOD FX-82 compressor pedal (always on, set for light compression and slight boost above unity gain) into the amp, which had the mids set pretty high and the bass and treble set pretty low...maybe 10 o'clock/noon/10 o'clock or similar. I probably had the pre and post gain between noon and 2 o'clock on that track...I'd set it to where it would just start to get kind of jangly-dirty when I'd dig in and at that level, when I'd kick the boost on it would snarl.

    I tried, at various times, plugging that amp into bigger cabinets and once swapped a 8" alnico Jensen speaker into it. Nope. What worked for me was the sound of the stock speaker at the edge of clean.

    I've played through other, non-Peavey SS practice amps (Crate G20C, Dean Markley K20, 15W Squier something or other, etc.) and tried a similar approach and was able to make it work, but the knob settings had to be arrived at by ear. Basically it's about pushing a fairly clean sound hard enough to stress the speaker a bit, and to my ear, light compression helps because simple SS amps don't really do that on their own the way tube amps do; having the compression makes it "feel" a little friendlier to play while retaining some of the hard SS attack.

    If it works with a Crate G20C (two 6.5" speakers, and crappy ones at that), I see no reason why you couldn't get a useful tone out of a Rage. Doesn't have to sound like a Champ, or a 15W Matchless, or whatever, to be valid!
     
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  9. LGOberean

    LGOberean Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    64
    May 31, 2008
    Corpus Christi, Texas

    Well, that's a bit harsh, but personally I wouldn't look for a Rage or a Blazer myself. A collection or "matching set" of Peavey red stripe TransTube amps that I'd be interested in would be the Bandit, Studio Pro and Envoy. Even the owner's manual for the "TransTube series" in 2001 grouped these three together.

    https://assets.peavey.com/literature/manuals/80304681.pdf

    Probably the smallest Peavey TransTube amp I'd consider taking on a gig would be the Envoy 110. As I said before, I used to own a red stripe Envoy 110. I bought it for the expressed purpose of giving it to my younger brother, who needed an amp at the time. So after test driving it in the store and buying it, I played it for a bit and then gave it to him. However, I also owned the silver stripe Envoy and the teal stripe before that. I don't recall ever gigging with an Envoy, but then I also had a Studio Pro 112 and Bandits to choose from. I think I may have used the Envoy at an open mic thing once.
     

  10. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Tele-Holic

    538
    Jan 26, 2012
    Troy, MO
    I should have added, above, that when I was using the Audition in the band I used to be in, it was perfect for basement practices at the volume level we played at, but for gigs I'd either pair it with another amp of about the same size (often a borrowed Crate GX-15...what does it say about a person who has to borrow a Crate GX-15 for a gig?) or, ideally, I'd slave the Audition through one or two tube Valco combos I used to have. This retained the basic gritty Peavey tone and attack--what I liked about the amp--but made it louder and warmed it up a bit...the Valcos were pretty soft, warm amps by themselves. So I'd agree that unless your live situation is really low-volume, like drummer-with-brushes low volume, a single 15W 8" speaker SS practice amp is going to need some help. The Backstage/Envoy power level might do it without help.
     

  11. King Creole

    King Creole Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Jan 24, 2011
    Colorado
    I'm pretty sure my first amp was a Peavey Rage, back in the 80s. If memory serves, it was a small step up from a Gorilla amp. I doubt it could do anything a Bandit couldn't, except fit in a backpack. The one I had wasn't loud enough for a band, but worked fine for practicing in the bedroom. It's definitely not like a Champ where the sound is preferable to a big amp so you mic it on stage or in a studio. The Bandit is a better amp even at low volume.
     

  12. evanjackson

    evanjackson TDPRI Member

    17
    Jul 22, 2004
    Cool song! I especially like what you did in the middle part when it heats up.
     

  13. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Tele-Holic

    538
    Jan 26, 2012
    Troy, MO
    Thanks!

    King Creole's point about the Bandit being a better amp even at low volume...I can agree with that up to a point. I have sort of a "super Bandit"; a Special 150 which is pretty much a Bandit 75 with double the output power, but still a single 12" Scorpion.

    If you're willing to play loud enough to blow your pants off, it can do pretty much the same thing I did with the Audition in that song...which, as I said, is pretty much a case of cranking a clean-toned amp to levels where the speaker is starting to add to the sound character as it goes "non-linear." It's not farting out yet, but there's a little "hair" and "snarl" applied to the sound even though what the amp is putting out is still pretty much clean. I like to have a compressor in front of the amp if possible just because it makes the response feel better to me at gentle compression settings...regardless of whether I'm playing the Audition or the Special.

    Playing softly with the Special still sounds like a nice Bandit-like clean channel sound, and I prefer that with a compressor too, but it does not include the sound of a speaker starting to give it up. It's certainly a useful sound but it's not the same thing.

    The cool thing about using little amps like the Audition is that, similar to using low-powered tube amps to achieve tube breakup at lower volumes, using low-powered SS amps with small cheap speakers, you can attain the "loud clean amp pushing its speaker hard" tone without being all that loud. Not everyone wants that sound, I realize that, but it's what I like to use most of the time.

    So I'd recommend that the OP gives the Rage a test run to see if it suits. Someone whose playing approach is built around preamp-gain dirt, or saggy-response sustainy tube amp breakup, probably wouldn't relate to my tonal tastes at all...but I'm a big proponent of "try everything in search of fun tonal surprises," so...
     

  14. Boomhauer

    Boomhauer Friend of Leo's

    Aug 18, 2013
    Michigan
    Dudes, my Rage will get loud enough to rattle the walls...louder than my tube-driven Ibanez amp, for sure. I bought mine used. It dates, if I understand the numbering correctly, from the mid to late 1990's (and has the corresponding logo on the front). I'd have to check, but I think mine says "Assembled in the US of foreign components" on the rear.

    Sure, the breakup and distortion isn't great, but it plays cleans nicely. The Transtube technology in mine (it's apparently gone downhill over the past decade) certainly isn't spot on for a real tube sound, but it's good enough. Hell, I've thought about selling my tube amp and just rockin' the Peavey.

    I dig it, that's for sure. It gets me 90% of the way to that post-hair-metal, line dancey, honky tonk country sound that I love so very very much. And, if you're interested, there are at least a few Youtube videos on getting it tweaked to certain "tones."

    Simplicity is key, and as I gaze upon my sig line, I realize that my Rage will do everything I need it to.
     
    mexicanyella likes this.

  15. wildschwein

    wildschwein Tele-Afflicted

    I've used the Silver stripe with bands several times. It does keep up but there is little bottom end however plenty of mids and tops so it cuts through well. Can't comment on the Red stripe.
     

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