Review Date: Tuesday 19th of February 2013 12:09:42 PM Last Updated: Thursday 1st of January 1970 01:00:00 AM Reviewed By: Gareth Morgan
Solid, affordable, reliable; it’s a Peavey. Review by Gareth Morgan
Basic and dependable, Peavey bass combos like the TNT and the TKO have been pounding out the bottom in clubs and rehearsal rooms for decades. The latest version of the TKO is not built in Meridian, Mississippi, but in China.
Rated at 400W, it’s a pretty bulky unit, standing 590mm wide, 558mm high and 498mm deep. The cabinet is made from 20mm MDF and it features a domed front and a triangular slot chopped out of the bottom edge at the rear to enable tilt-back operation for better monitoring. It’s well protected by a rugged mottled black vinyl coat with metal corner protectors, and in general looks like it’ll take a serious kicking.
The front is dominated by a black-finished steel grille beneath which you’ll find a Peavey USA-designed 15" speaker, a tweeter and triangular porting slot in the bottom right-hand corner.
Mission control is on the top. On the panel you’ll find four controls, Gain and Master Volume, Low and High, both offering /-15dB at 50Hz and 8kHz respectively. There’s also a seven-band graphic with /-15dB available at 40, 100, 200, 400 & 800Hz and 1.6 & 3.2kHz with an On/Bypass switch.
There are also Pickup Type, Bright ( 10dB at 1kHz) and Contour (for scooped mids) switches. Peavey also fit their switchable DDT circuit, designed to prevent power amplifier clipping, and there’s a Headphones jack socket. On the rear panel you get an FX loop and Extension Speaker jack sockets and an XLR DI Out with Ground/Lift switch.
The TKO sounds good with controls flat. The 15" speaker ensures decent width and its tweeter is well-attenuated, having little effect unless you slap the strings or boost the High control. The latter move enhances detail, giving thinner strings a more aggressive zing and spring-cleaning your sound.
With Low, boosting induces a soupy, almost valve-like thickness with some lessening in definition but big increases in weight and width (if you’re on a hollow stage, cutting this control back a bit should solve rumbling bass-end syndrome). Contour uncorks a smooth and glassy scooped mids sound while hitting the Bright switch proves to be a quick fix for an undefined sound.
The graphic opens up more potential for tonal shaping. Use the 40 and 100Hz sliders to tweak weight and density with plenty of shaping power on tap; the middle three sliders address clarity and attack, with dark, thudding punch available from 200Hz and there’s similar impact without seriously colouring the midrange from 400Hz, whereas boosting 800Hz is all about barky attack with a slight nasal edge. At the top end of the spectrum, you’ll get a brighter edge from boosting 1.6kHz but cut and bite with plenty of attitude and a little fret noise available from 3.2kHz.
At just under £1 per watt the Tour TKO combo represents excellent value for money… just what we’ve come to expect from Peavey. It’s a bit big, and 70lbs is heavy, but we like the re-design; it’s modern and cool but not fussy or too complicated to use. Sound-wise, the EQ offers a good range of practical variations and the extension speaker capability means it’ll cover rehearsals and medium gigs. Factor into this the expected excellent reliability, and you’ve got what Peavey always delivers – a top-notch budget amp.
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