Your Cart is Empty

Jason’s Story - Our First Speaker Winner!

by vaughn skow August 08, 2010 4 min read

Jason Spain  

"I put the Veteran 30 in my Peavey Heritage amp.  It sounded good before, but now it's the best sounding amp in the world!  I can't imagine an amp sounding any better!  Thank you WGS!"

I had planned to simply post a little blurb and photo of our first contest winner.  However, after hearing what Jason Spain had to say, I decided it was a story worthy of an entire blog.  His situation, you see is exactly why WGS exists.  Intrigued? Well then, read on!  Oh, and by the way, if you want to be the next winner of a free speaker, you’re in luck, our current free speaker contest is underway. Read on baby!

If I were to personally come up with a WGS slogan, it would be: ‘‘WGS Speakers, stamping out bad tone wherever we find it’’, or something like that.  What does this have to do with Mr. Spain, our first contest winner?  Everything!  You see, Jason had a Peavey Heritage VTX Series amp from about 1983 or so.  These amps are in every way the quintessential early 80’s amp.  It employs a solid-state pre-amp section with then new-fangled parametric EQ, good-ol’ long-spring reverb, a built in phase-shifter, and a rather crude tube type overdrive emulation circuit labeled ‘saturation’.  The power section is all tube, with four 6L6’s and a (somewhat inflated) rated output of 130 watts RMS.  In 1980, this would have been a real fire-breathing dragon of an amp, indeed - and with all the bells n whistles of the day, too. 

In the early 80’s, there were many amps with a similar architecture.  Arguably, Leo Fender’s Music Man series is the best known of the bunch.  Another ‘hybrid’ amp with a solid-state pre section and a tube power section is the Marshall Artist 3203/4203.  All of these amps sound pretty darn good, too!  There was a weakness that ran rampant in those days, however.  The weakness? Speakers, and Peavey was the worst offender of the bunch where speakers were concerned. 

The problem, you see, was that folks were now making small, yet very high-powered combos with only a pair of 12’’, or even 10’’ speakers (or even a single speaker) to handle all those watts of tube power.  Just a few years earlier, 100 tube watts would most often be driving eight 12’’ speakers, and now a mere speaker or two was being asked to handle all that power. The solution?  Folks started making some real ‘’brute-force’’ speakers.  Mesa-Boogie, who more-or-less started the ultra-high power combo craze turned to the newly minted EVM 12L driver.  Those things actually sounded fairly decent, but only when they were really cranked, and then they could be quite harsh.  At low volume levels they sound stiff and sterile because, well, that’s exactly what they are - stiff!  Plus, those monsters flat-out guarantee a back-breaking combo.

Music Man actually had some pretty good sounding speakers engineered for them that could handle a decent amount of power yet not suck too awfully bad.  Their best sounding high-powered combo amps, just like the Fender’s that pre-dated them, still employed a quad of ten inch alnico magnet speakers!  One of my favorite concert DVD’s is of Stevie Ray Vaughn’s first appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival; his tone: impeccable!  His amp: a 4-10 Music Man HD130.  SRV fans: you NEED this DVD set!!!

Now, on to the high-power Peavey tube combos of the 1980’s, like Mr. Spain’s Heritage VTX.   By this time, Peavey knew how to build a seriously dependable workhorse amp, and everybody knew it.  They wanted a bit of the new Mesa-Boogie action, however.  They wanted some little fire-breathers of their own.  In the late 70’s, Peavey already had great success with the Mace, and the Heritage was the extension of the Mace series.  To handle the intense tube whollop of these high-watt combos, Peavey designed some entirely new speakers: the Black Widow, and the Scorpion.  These things were actually quite sophisticated for the time, and for the most part could handle the power.  The black widows proved quite capable in PA cabinets; the problem was that they just didn’t sound good in guitar amps.  Like the EVM12L, they were stiff and had no delicacy, what people today call ‘’touch-sensitivity’’.  As a result, those Peavey amps often earn a reputation for not sounding good. 

The problem, to a large part, was those darn stiff, un-musical speakers.  Okay, the ‘saturation’ circuit was a real dog, too, but hey, that’s what tube screamers are for!  Jason’s experience in replacing only one of the two original-equipment scorpion speakers in his amp with a quality speaker in itself made a very notable improvement in tone.  Replace them both, and it becomes an entirely different amp.

What WGS has been able to accomplish with speakers like the Veteran 30, as well as the Reaper HP, the ET65, and many others is truly remarkable.  These are speakers that sound like the best drivers of the 1960’s, yet can handle 2-3 times the power of those vintage drivers.  This is truly technology that did not exist in the 1980’s or 90’s.  So, if you have one of those 80’s high power combos, and you’ve never quite been satisfied with the tone - the problem, I’ll bet ya, is in the speaker(s).  But don’t just take my word for it ... ask Jason Spain!  So Jason, when ya going to order another Veteran 30 for your vintage Peavey?

Okay, if you've made it this far, you deserve to watch this video.  Enjoy!  See ya next time.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.