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Peavey Electronics ReValver MkIII (Bonus Material)

December 9, 2008
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FIG. A: In the Tube Tweak window, you can fine-tune each tube in the various amp stages. Here I''m adjusting a tube in the Basic 100 amplifier model''s bass channel''s input stage. The truly knowledgeable, curious, or brave can go even deeper and edit the internals of the selected tube.

FIG. A: In the Tube Tweak window, you can fine-tune each tube in the various amp stages. Here I''m adjusting a tube in the Basic 100 amplifier model''s bass channel''s input stage. The truly knowledgeable, curious, or brave can go even deeper and edit the internals of the selected tube.

MODULE TWEAK MODE

Clicking on the “+” button on any amplifier''s GUI invokes the Module Tweak GUI window, in which you can adjust each amp parameter with a microscopic level of precision and realism. And I do mean microscopic—the Module Tweak GUI window furnishes a frequency analyzer, an oscilloscope, and a total-harmonic-distortion analyzer to give you the finest possible view of exactly everything you''re adjusting.

The manual states that Module Tweak mode was written “on an engineering level using real schematics by a real tube amplifier company,” and it shows. On the surface, you can adjust the input tubes, tone stack, negative feedback tubes, negative feedback loop, output transformer, power supply, and input/output characteristics. But in this case, adjusting doesn''t just mean twisting a knob or making selections from a pop-up menu; it means truly tweaking the most specific electrical characteristics (see Fig. A). And if you click on the Edit Internals button to expose even more sliders, the level of detail goes even further.

I am probably better versed in amplifier internals than most guitarists. I know a substantial amount about tube types, cathode resistance, plate voltage, bias adjusting, and so on, and yet ReValver''s level of detail far surpasses my personal knowledge. The manual suggests that ReValver''s capabilities are deep enough to keep the uninitiated learning for years and experienced amp builders occupied for hours, and I believe it. The manual and the help tags, by the way, are invaluable.

Using the Basic 100 amp head, I tweaked the type, character, plate voltage, and cathode resistance of a couple of preamp tubes. The result was that my amp model started sounding like I had one or more distinctly microphonic tubes. On one hand, this isn''t really desirable—that''s when guitarists buy replacement tubes. But looking at it from another perspective, I was blown away by the realism.

I imagine that this level of tweaking is something that will really pay off only for someone who knows or wants to learn amplifier electronics at a deep level. For those who do, I have no doubt that any amp model can be tweaked to sound however you want it to sound—meaning even the models that fell short out of the box could be made to sound dead-on. And for users who fancy themselves electricians, ReValver should be a great educational tool as well.

IN COMPLETE CONTROL

If you''d prefer to use external hardware to control ReValver parameters, you can easily assign ReValver''s onscreen controls to respond to MIDI Control Changes. To assign a controller, simply right-click on any module control, select MIDI Learn from the contextual menu, and then activate your control knob, fader, or button and click on Done.

Considering the extreme number of parameters included in Module Tweak mode, it would drive most host DAWs crazy if they were all available for sequencer automation. Instead, ReValver MkIII allows you to automate any of 32 carefully chosen parameters that cover most modules'' main parameters. The specific parameters are listed in the manual.

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