Peavey officially announces the return of one of metal’s most iconic high-gain guitar amps as the 6505 II head is launched

Peavey 6505 II
(Image credit: Peavey)

White smoke has issued forth from Peavey HQ, officially confirming what the internet has been talking about for nigh-on a year, namely that a revised 6505 tube amp head was in the offing, celebrating 30 years of one of the most storied high-gain guitar amps ever. For metal guitar players, news doesn’t get much bigger.

This is an amplifier we have heard in demo videos but has hitherto awaited release with baited breath. Perhaps, so too have the designers, having spent years in development, assessing older models of the units and running A/B comparisons to establish where and when component drift occurred, and just how to put the 6505 II together. The R&D project was said to involve “conversations with scores of users and artists, and deep dives into the amplifiers at a component level”.

The big ticket upgrade comes in the shape of a new output transformer, which corrects some of the variation in midrange response that has been reported across various amplifiers over the years. Demo videos can be inconclusive but there’s absolutely a sense that the 6505 II has even more meat on the bones.

The footswitch has been updated and has a three-button design that allows you to switch channels, engage the Crunch mode, and engage/bypass the effects loop. It has a 25-foot detachable cable.

Peavey 6505 II

(Image credit: Peavey)

Otherwise, the 6505 II should be reassuringly familiar. The plexiglass front has been restored, it is the same two-channel platform with 120-watts feeding 16, 8, or 4 ohms. 

Under the hood there are six 12AX7 preamp and four 6L6GC power amp tubes. The Rhythm channel has switches for Bright and Crunch mode, with each channel equipped with its own three-band EQ, Pre and Post Gain, plus Resonance and Presence controls – the latter adding a little more juice to the high-end, the former compensating for any loss of low end if, say, you’re switching cabs or electric guitars.

Altogether the 6505 II presents players with a lot of chug-sculpting options, and this is built for that sort of sonic rough and tumble, which is why the users list of the original model reads like a who’s who of contemporary metal. A preamp output jack makes it even more practical, ideal for setting up a wet/dry rig, sending your signal direct to desk or DAW via a cab emulator, or into another amplifier’s power section.

Peavey has also released the 6505 1992, a period-correct replica of the original model, with the newly designed transformer, and the big difference between that and the 6505 II being that the latter has six preamp tubes instead of the 1992 Original’s five. The 6505 II is priced $1,499, while the 1992 Original will set you back $1,299. See Peavey for more details.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.