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Peavey ReValver MK III.V

August 19, 2011
The Budda SuperDrive 18 Series II is one of the latest ReValver amp models. Note the new VC/L-2 Compressor/ Limiter emulation.

Amp/effect modeler gets multiple new models

The latest version of Peavey’s flagship amp sim offers 12 preamps, 21 amp heads, 9 power amps, 12 “studio” effects (EQ, dynamics, reverb, an outstanding emulation of their VC/L-2 compressor/limiter, etc.), 21 stomp boxes, two speaker options (convolution and modeled), and a set of tools—like insertable level control, signal splitter, tone stack, single tube stage, polyphonic tuner, chromatic tuner, and more. Although Peavey amps are well-represented, you’ll find other classics too—ReValver III.V subscribes to the “more is more” credo.

Nice Rack

ReValver III.V uses the rack paradigm—insert modules, then drag into the desired order. But what distinguishes ReValver III.V from all other modelers is the multiple “levels,” almost like a videogame. You can simply load presets, or go further and modify existing presets, create new ones, or dive down to the component level and literally tweak individual components. Want a 500V plate voltage? Or 50V? Change the plate load, or cathode resistor? Or a different power supply, or output transformer, or tone stack, or. . . ? You can even see the results of your tweaks as they apply to a sine wave, transient response, transfer characteristics, or Bode plot frequency response.

The only bummer: You need to apply changes before you can hear the results, even including modules like the Speaker Construction Set. After a while, though, you’ll get a sense of how various changes affect the sound.

Tweak Time

The good news: You can make just about any sound you want, and the distortion can be “smoother” than average. The bad news: With this many options, you have the freedom to make bad sounds, too.

I preferred the modeled speakers over the convolution ones—until I used EQ to add some notches to the convolution cabinets, which I felt improved the sound. And there are surprises: Eliminating the “Marshall” EL34 output stage, and using a different cabinet from the default, gave a unique sound I haven’t obtained with other sims.

The presets are okay, but I don’t think they fully represent the exceptional sounds you can get from this sim. With almost all of them, though, one or two simple tweaks (usually EQ output shaping) can transform them into standouts. Sometimes just calling up a basic amp/speaker combo, and making a few edits, is all you need.

RTAS performance is now on a par with VST/AU, and the VST hosting—which is technically difficult to do—is more robust. Although stable, III.V is relatively new and still has a few glitches regarding Windows 7 permissions; however these are minor fixes, not structural problems.

This is a truly remarkable piece of software. It’s the polar opposite of the Softube approach: Rather than limiting you to known, good sounds, ReValver III.V lets the inmates run the asylum. No other amp sim gives you this degree of control over the sound, and if you have the patience to really learn what it’s about, you’ll be amply rewarded.

$299.99 MSRP

Mind-boggling flexibility, with editing down to the component level. Lots of modules. If you can hear a sound in your head, spend enough time and you’ll probably get it. Good clean and crunch sounds—not just distortion. 32/64- bit versions.

Takes dedication to learn in depth. No realtime preview of deeper edits. Presets don’t necessarily show off the full potential.

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Ableton Amp
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