Peavey's popular TKO bass amplifier has just been given a complete reworking for the new Tour Series, now offering you a choice of using it as standard backline or in tilt-back mode.
With a curved front, it's also far better looking than the earlier TKO, while the black livery, black metal corners, inset side handles and metal grille mean this comes across as one tough cookie that's built to last.
Fully sealed at the back, the TKO 115 houses a single 15-inch driver and a high-frequency horn with a small triangular port at the bottom right of the speaker baffle. The front Peavey logo lights up - but that can be switched off on the rear panel if required.
The control panel is set into the top of the unit and presents a new, sleeker appearance, with all the controls in a line for ease of use. While unfussy, the controls offer plenty of sound-shaping opportunities and there's a headphone socket, too. This straightforward approach continues on the rear panel with just an external speaker jack, effects loop, balanced DI and ground-lift switch.
Peavey uses the company's own DDT (Distortion Detection Technique), which is a fancy way of saying it has speaker protection built in. It works by clipping the signal at extreme levels, and, when you consider the excesses of a bass guitar played in anger, that has to be a bonus. You can override it, but keeping it engaged makes sense for most of us.
Peavey has always provided a switchable graphic section on its 'serious' bass amps, because you can get great sounds from just the basic tone controls alone. So, this gives you the option of using the seven-band EQ to either enhance your sound or to deal with sound problems caused by the environment in which you are playing.
The low and high controls give cut or boost options on the extremes of the tonal spectrum, while the contour switch offers a mid-scooped sound (a smiley setting on the EQ sliders) popular with metal and funk players.
As expected, the regular tone controls perform really well, and the added bright and pre-shape enhancements are also very beneficial. The bright switch is actually very subtle, but adds a pleasing sharpness and a little 'ping' to the notes. The companion horn to the tough 15-inch speaker is set at just the right mix, and using a slap technique demonstrates this rather well.
The pairing also provides warmth and thump to the overall sound yet retains note clarity. This is ideally suited to the more traditional player, but also allows for some string abuse if you so choose. And you can rest assured that the DDT will keep your sound honest.
Using a passive bass with no EQ engaged shows the ability of the amp and the true character of the instrument. There's plenty of enhancement available to make even a low-budget bass sound good. With the graphic engaged, anything and everything gets a boost in performance, and whatever bass you choose, this is an amp that is seriously loud, proud and very positive in delivery and projection.
Fully designed and developed in the USA, Peavey bass amplification has a strong reputation for both ability and reliability, and our TKO 115 review unit certainly delivers with plenty of class and power. With the option to set the amp in tilt-back mode on stage, it can also double as a high-powered bass monitor for really big gigs. Should you require some extra headroom, check out its bigger brother, the Tour TNT, but this is still a highly capable all-rounder.