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Peavey Bandit 65 mods, anyone have any good mods?

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  • Peavey Bandit 65 mods, anyone have any good mods?

    I just picked up an old 1984 Bandit 65 at a pawn broken for $50.00 out the door, got it home and it had a bad 4558 in it. Once fixed I noticed why I always hated the Bandit 65 but I know there is always a way to improve these amps. cap replacement is one way but I wanted to see if anyone ever modded one of these to sound much better?

    Slo

  • #2
    Waxing a garbage truck?

    You don't mod PVs to sound much better.
    You start with an amp worth modding.
    And that would be a tube amp. Not transistor.

    The most obvious thing is the speaker. The speakers in PVs don't sound any good.
    But installing a $150 speaker in a $50 amp is beyond what most people would do.

    No, I would not spend the money on capacitors, unless the caps are actually bad.

    But what I would do, is fix it and sell it.
    Then take that money and buy a tube amp.

    Comment


    • #3
      Well.... As my dad used to say, "You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear", lol. But... if you are on a budget, try some pedals. It won't be a boutique amp no matter what you do. But if you are just jamming or playing clubs, you can make it usable. Crowds are much more forgiving than musicians. Or as SGM says. Sell it and get something you like. For cheap SS amps, I've been impressed with the modern Fender Frontman series lately. Not my favorite amp by any means, but I picked up 212R for $35 the other day. It's usable. 100 watts. Two 12 inch speakers. Spring reverb. As the saying goes. It doesn't suck.

      Comment


      • #4
        Well, certainly the Peavey Bandit isn't quite in the same class as an original Fender Deluxe 5E3. Nevertheless, it's a dependable workhorse which takes pedals fairly well, and some folks seem to have rediscovered its usefulness. I think it got a bad rap for several reasons: 1) it's SS which has an auto-reflex action for too many people (ugg! SS!!) and 2) its a Peavey which gear snobs love to hate and 3) its distortion was the typical 1980's "bees buzzing in a box" sound when the Saturation was cranked way up (which was where we ALL turned it to!) IMHO this bad rap is unjustified.

        If all it needs is a couple of op-amps, and maybe a cap job, I say go for it. The schematic is in this thread: http://music-electronics-forum.com/t16210/
        A few bucks, and a couple of hours, to replace all the electrolytics would get it back up to a dependable level.

        As far as modifications, a better speaker may help, sometimes the Scorpions had a midrange honk to them. A good Eminence would be less than $100. One possible circuit component change may help: I've read the steel guitar guys say that in the first couple of gain stages in Peavey preamps, changing the 4558 opamp to a OPA2134 helps smooth it out a lot. Ordinarily I would not buy into the "opamp rolling" philosophy, but here there might be some logic, since the OPA2134 is a JFET and the 4558 was a BJT. I think U1 and U2 would be the two likely spots for improvements. (in my Peavey Classic VTX, it had a couple of bad opamps: I replaced them with NE5532 but while I was in there I did stick a couple of OPA2134's in its U1 and U2 locations, and it works fine) The Saturation is pretty smooth but I don't crank it all the way up these days, just getting a little dirt in there is usually all I seek. So for a couple of bucks, that would be a low-cost mod to try. Otherwise I'd just use NE5532's.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by soundguruman View Post
          Waxing a garbage truck?

          You don't mod PVs to sound much better.
          You start with an amp worth modding.
          And that would be a tube amp. Not transistor.

          The most obvious thing is the speaker. The speakers in PVs don't sound any good.
          But installing a $150 speaker in a $50 amp is beyond what most people would do.

          No, I would not spend the money on capacitors, unless the caps are actually bad.

          But what I would do, is fix it and sell it.
          Then take that money and buy a tube amp.
          I actually have a few really good tube amps, one being a Marshall 50 watt non master full stack... The point is, making a really sucky amp actually sound good. LOL...

          I cleaned the amp up, then ran the gain channel clean and ran a boss ME-50 thru it, sounded pretty good for what it was. Also ran an old Ibanez distortion charger pedal on it and that sounded pretty darn good too.

          Any amp can serve a purpose for any style music whether it its a good tube amp or a SS amp as well. I sort of have the old nostalgia for the old peavey amps being that's all I could afford back in the early 80s when I was playing clubs. Those old Peavey amps are built like tanks too. I was looking for a electronic mod like maybe changing the dual op-amps out to better newer style dual op-amps or something like that. Some people actually get a kick moding all kinds of stuff, the Tim Taylor tool man way...

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by nashvillebill View Post
            Well, certainly the Peavey Bandit isn't quite in the same class as an original Fender Deluxe 5E3. Nevertheless, it's a dependable workhorse which takes pedals fairly well, and some folks seem to have rediscovered its usefulness. I think it got a bad rap for several reasons: 1) it's SS which has an auto-reflex action for too many people (ugg! SS!!) and 2) its a Peavey which gear snobs love to hate and 3) its distortion was the typical 1980's "bees buzzing in a box" sound when the Saturation was cranked way up (which was where we ALL turned it to!) IMHO this bad rap is unjustified.

            If all it needs is a couple of op-amps, and maybe a cap job, I say go for it. The schematic is in this thread: http://music-electronics-forum.com/t16210/
            A few bucks, and a couple of hours, to replace all the electrolytics would get it back up to a dependable level.



            As far as modifications, a better speaker may help, sometimes the Scorpions had a midrange honk to them. A good Eminence would be less than $100. One possible circuit component change may help: I've read the steel guitar guys say that in the first couple of gain stages in Peavey preamps, changing the 4558 opamp to a OPA2134 helps smooth it out a lot. Ordinarily I would not buy into the "opamp rolling" philosophy, but here there might be some logic, since the OPA2134 is a JFET and the 4558 was a BJT. I think U1 and U2 would be the two likely spots for improvements. (in my Peavey Classic VTX, it had a couple of bad opamps: I replaced them with NE5532 but while I was in there I did stick a couple of OPA2134's in its U1 and U2 locations, and it works fine) The Saturation is pretty smooth but I don't crank it all the way up these days, just getting a little dirt in there is usually all I seek. So for a couple of bucks, that would be a low-cost mod to try. Otherwise I'd just use NE5532's.
            Hey Nashvillebill,

            So did the OPA2134 make the distortion better than the bees in a can sound these are known for? or did you like the NE5532s better? By far this little amp doesn't come close to a good tube amp but I remember using a Bandit back around 82 to 84 in the clubs, sold it and got a Peavey Renown 2x12 which has the autotransformer to get the SS closer to a tube amp sound. That renown was a heck of a good workhorse, ran that thru a Marshall 4x12 with the 65 watt speakers which made the renown sound even better too.

            I just couldn't pass up a 50 dollar amp...lol.. Besides fixing it was fun too. Brings back memories of when I was in my 20s...

            Comment


            • #7
              The Peavey Bandit65 might be the most reliable amp ever made!!! The clean sound is entirely useful and there are even some overdrive sounds that are useful. Up to modern standards? No way! But if you can use a Dbox for your clipping that amp will do you right for a long, long time. Basically... Don't ask it to be what it's not. It'll make a good clean tone and do it reliably. Add a distortion box and you've got a real club slave.

              Take this with a grain of salt. I cut my teeth on a Bandit65
              "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

              "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

              "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

              Comment


              • #8
                I really did not experiment with various op-amps: the amp (Classic VTX) had a bad op-amp or two when I got it, so I popped in the 5532's to replace the bad ones. I chose them because I had them on hand. I also had the OPA 2134's on hand (left over from a phono preamp build) so I said "hey what the heck, let's pop a couple of them in the first two spots" then buttoned 'er up and moved on with other projects.

                As far as reducing the buzzing-bees distortion: Perhaps the other op-amps helped--or perhaps it's because my expectations have changed, and I'm no longer after the ultra-high-gain sound, so I'm dialing back the Saturation to get more of a "slightly overdriven" blues/classic rock sound, rather than an all-out cranked distortion. Speaker changes have helped too. While the Scorpions aren't bad, in their own way, I'm going more for a smoother sound and I've had good luck with the Lil Texas neos.

                Have you posted on the ssguitar.com forum? Those guys have some interesting ideas, I don't hang out there much though.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by olddawg View Post
                  Well.... As my dad used to say, "You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear", lol. But... if you are on a budget, try some pedals. It won't be a boutique amp no matter what you do. But if you are just jamming or playing clubs, you can make it usable. Crowds are much more forgiving than musicians. Or as SGM says. Sell it and get something you like. For cheap SS amps, I've been impressed with the modern Fender Frontman series lately. Not my favorite amp by any means, but I picked up 212R for $35 the other day. It's usable. 100 watts. Two 12 inch speakers. Spring reverb. As the saying goes. It doesn't suck.
                  As far as solid state amps are concerned...
                  Fender is surprisingly good sounding.
                  And they seem to last just about forever.

                  I was giving stage 100 a double take, because it sounded so good.

                  Course, it don't sound as good as tube amp, but on a low budget, you could probably be challenged to find a better one.
                  sounds much better than PV...and has a much better quality speaker.

                  And both Fender and PV have good parts support.

                  Line six is choice of Heavy Metal Monk.
                  And also sounds quite good, if you like the digital modeling sound.
                  But others say digital sounds sterile.
                  And, if it breaks, it's disposable.

                  I kinda like a Cyber Deluxe, as far as Digital goes for me.
                  Surprisingly versatile...
                  and this is the amp that the Chinese copied, to make a line six...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Reading on the net about the bandit amps I found there is actually a long thread on this particular amp on another site and a cult following too... Go figure, I think the Bandit 65 is considered a poor mans deluxe reverb in Nashville. Those guys like them for that country sound using a tele. I had one but never liked it in the early 80s but then again I got rid of it and never looked back. in the early 90s I picked up the 80 watt version with the teal stripe and used that for practice for a small while. It was pretty good.

                    Regarding the older one with the scorpion speaker you actually have to push that speaker to get a better sound out of it but it is mid sounding, actually not a bad thing when trying to cut thru a band mix. Much better too than the scooped sound of the death metal players. Its funny but I see these on eBay all the time for cheap.

                    I guess Hartley cant complain too much since he does build some affordable gear and look what he has done with his company that started in an old attic and now a multi billion dollar company...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Chuck H View Post
                      The Peavey Bandit65 might be the most reliable amp ever made!!! The clean sound is entirely useful and there are even some overdrive sounds that are useful. Up to modern standards? No way! But if you can use a Dbox for your clipping that amp will do you right for a long, long time. Basically... Don't ask it to be what it's not. It'll make a good clean tone and do it reliably. Add a distortion box and you've got a real club slave.

                      Take this with a grain of salt. I cut my teeth on a Bandit65
                      Hey Chuck,

                      I finally got to crank the Bandit up using my Boss ME50, I set up the gain channel clean and ran the Boss me50 thru that. Man that little amp actually sounds good for being a SS, big lows and LOUD....

                      I guess these are definitely sleeper amps until more folks start to catch on and cause the EBay prices to go up... Maybe I should buy up all the under $100.00 Bandits and then stash until that happens...lol...

                      Cheers

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Chuck H View Post
                        The Peavey Bandit65 might be the most reliable amp ever made!!! The clean sound is entirely useful and there are even some overdrive sounds that are useful. Up to modern standards? No way! But if you can use a Dbox for your clipping that amp will do you right for a long, long time. Basically... Don't ask it to be what it's not. It'll make a good clean tone and do it reliably. Add a distortion box and you've got a real club slave.

                        Take this with a grain of salt. I cut my teeth on a Bandit65
                        Um, PV bandit is somewhat reliable...but not as reliable as a Fender.
                        It certainly does not achieve the most reliable...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hey, I put a Bandit 130 on layaway at Guitar Center last year (it was $75.) I did pass on it because I really am running out of room for more amps.

                          I used its baby brother- a 20 watt Studio Pro with a 12" Black Widow- when I was playing in the music ministry in the late 70's/early 80's. My 65 Pro Reverb was too loud and too temperamental; when I played it loud and hard and fast it would make a sound almost like water sloshing around... "in-di-gesssttt-ion" from those antacid commercials. Once I replaced the big filter caps it stopped doing that- but then again it might have had something to do with me setting the bias control to 11 since that gave me the loudest sound and best tone.

                          I just found one of those Pepto-Bismol commercials from 1977...



                          Steve

                          P.S. I was planning on lowering the gain and smoothing out the signal in the OD channel in the Bandit as I have been doing with the 1990's design Fender SS amps to make them something I enjoy playing. (Usually the clean channel doesn't need much tweaking at all.)
                          Last edited by Steve A.; 02-14-2014, 01:55 AM.
                          The Blue Guitar
                          www.blueguitar.org
                          Some recordings:
                          https://soundcloud.com/sssteeve/sets...e-blue-guitar/
                          .

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I guess we need to make sure the word gets out: those old Peavey amps are worthless and unreliable. Nobody should buy them. Spread the word, they aren't worth a dime. They're heavy and those pointy Peavey logos are ugly. Yep if you've got one to sell they aren't worth much.

                            ..............(gotta keep those prices low so we can keep snagging those Peaveys cheap)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by soundguruman View Post
                              Um, PV bandit is somewhat reliable...but not as reliable as a Fender.
                              It certainly does not achieve the most reliable...
                              Well I think a Chevy isn't as reliable as a Ford! Oh, wait a minute... That statement was completely erroneous because I didn't specify what years/models I'm talking about?

                              Your statement is too broad. Please, tell me what Fender amps are more reliable than the Peavey Bandit 65.?. Age not withstanding. Also, please tell me what qualifies your choice. Both regarding any lack of reliability for the Bandit 65 and whatever graces your choice possess. Remember, My choice is the Peavey Bandit 65 from the early 80's. I honestly wonder what's more reliable.
                              "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

                              "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

                              "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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