Submitted March 3, 2013 by Dr. Bill M in Taylor, MI
"A REAL WORK HORSE"
For a couple of years I played my Yamaha SO3 synth over a Fender solid state amp. Nothing seemed to be wrong in the sound I played, and I was pretty content. One day my son came over, and had purchased me this Peavey KB 3 amp. To say I was shocked in the differet sound quality I was hearing would be an understatement. The low end. mid range, and high end sound was so much better than the Fender I had been using. This is not to say Fender is a bad company, the Fender amp just wasn't made for keyboards like the Peavey KB 3. It should also be noted that I have 4 all tube Fender amps for my guitars, that I would never let go of. My point. If your not using an amp made for keyboards, regardless of the price you paid. Your missing out on the many sounds produced by a keyboard,that have a speaker arrangement used in an amp made for the 88 keys. The 3 different channes with controls such as volume, low, mid, high, and both 1/4"and XLR jack inputs is also a plus for those who do small venues and want to use a mic for vocals through the KB 3.There is also a main control that can turn your headphones up, and other main adjustments, and even has FX inputs to run a pedal chain through. I've used this amp for over 5 years and never had a problem. This in it's self speaks highly of the quality, construction, and sound of the Peavey KB 3 amp.If you used a mic through a PA system you could play any size venue. My only negative comment would be the way you have to plug in your 1/4" jacks. They are located on the back of the amp, and if you have the amp on a stand against the wall such as my setup. I have to tip the amp forward in order to plug my jack into the back, but this is minor. Bottom line. This is a made in the USA keyboard amp that can't be beat in it's price category.
I'm going to use an example to try and explain the sound in a KB 3. Having a small recording studio, there has to be different amps, guitars, etc, in order to have the sound needed by different styles of music. One of my amps is a Marshall JVM410H with a Marshall 4X12 JCM900 1960 Lead cabinet. This half stack if purchased would cost you around $3.300.00 dollars. Even so, my keyboard goes way down in sound quality if I were to plug into the Marshall over the KB 3. On one hand you have a high price amp going against a small, much lowered priced Peavey amp. This is due to the speaker selection, and the ability that the KB 3 has in picking up the different levels of sound coming from the keyboard. My Fender Twin Reverb 65 reissue all tupe amp also is in the high price area, considered to be one of the best clean amps on the market, but it's no match for the Peavey when using keyboards. If your going to mic this amp, I suggest you use a Sennheiser e 609 SilverDynamic Microphone. This mic is flat faced, phantom powered, and works great for live or recording settings. I just bring the mic cable from behind the amp and let it hang down to where the KB 3 speaker is located. For those that may not know, a phantom powered mic requires a power source that has the phantom power ability to pick up sound. In order to tune in the sound I was looking for using the amp control settings. I played my keyboard around 10ft in front of the KB 3, and had my wife turn each setting while I listened. This is the best way to tune in what your looking for, without having to run back and forth to the keyboard and the amp.
Any amp that gives you the ability of some type of mixer/EQ , is more than most amps have to offer. My studio has 9 all tube amps, bass amp, and this Peavey KB 3. The Peavey was far less in money than any other amp I have, yet it gives you the ability to adjust the low, mid, high, and volume on each of the 3 channels. None of my other amps give me that ability, they go from $1,099.00 to $3.300.00 and are different brands. My hat is off to Peavey for making it possible to adjust settings on the KB 3, and it is easy to do. This amp is built like a tank, has the ability to plug in RCA jacks, FX loop for pedals, and the list goes on. The fact that you can plug your mic into the 1/4" or XLR jack, then plug your keyboard into another channel and adjust the settings for each channel. Then go to the main control and bring up the volume or some other setting for both the mic and keyboard says it all. This is much live having both a keyboard amp and a PA, which is all many will need.
Ease of Use
Here again I will bring out what I said in my opening review. The control knobs are on the top which is great, but all of the inputs are on the back of the amp. If you have placed your amp where you can freely move all around it, the inputs on the back will be no problem. In my case, all of my amps set on stands (with the exception of my Marshall half stack), and are only a few inches from the walls in my studio. An amp stand leans slightly back, and I have a difficult time when I go to plug anything into the inputs.
Again. This amp has been used by me for the last 5 plus years, and never has it given me a problem. The metal mesh speaker screen is easy to just dust off, and adds protection to the speaker. The tolex covering looks to be made from thick material, which will keep it from tearing from some little bump. The construction of the walls surounding the inner amp is made of strong material, and I can't see it falling apart for no reason. If this amp is not abused in ways such as; turning the volume past it's peak, not tossed in back of a vehicle like a ball, and kept clean. I'm not sure of the years one could use this without having any problems. If you did blow a speaker, I would replace it since the rest of the amp is so good. REMEMBER! If you come to the place where the drums are over riding you, don't try getting louder by maxing out your volume setting. Put a mic in front of the Peavey KB 3 amp, then run it through the PA. I'm more of a guitar player than a keyboard, but I was blessed at being able to play different instrments. If this amp is not high enough in power to over ride the drums, do something to enhance the power. If you want to increase the volume on the Peavey KB 3 run an OCD overdrive pedal through the amp.
This is the best price one could hope for in an outstanding keyboard amp.
The Wow Factor
As already stated. The ability of controling different channels, and the many inputs make this amp a fantastic purchase. This is not an amp I would use for my guitars, but is the best one for the money for keyboards.
45 years playing guitar, some drums, keyboard ,bass. Retired and doing recording sessions.
Classic rock, Motown, light metal, 60's/70's music, country, Gospel, and try to stay up with present styles in the rock world. W
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