Home » Music » Peavey Renown 400: A PRACTICAL Review With Pros & Cons (2023)

Peavey Renown 400: A PRACTICAL Review With Pros & Cons (2023)

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For every guitar player, one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make in regard to your overall tone as a guitarist would be choosing a guitar amp. Guitar amps play a crucial role in shaping a guitarist’s tone– aside from amplification.

As a matter of fact, there are players who would rather travel with their amps than with their pedalboards if they were given the option to choose between the two. 

Released in the 80s, the Peavey Renown 400 is a solid-state guitar amplifier that has been used and loved by several guitar players.

With solid-state technology still relatively new in the 80s, Peavey was one of the first guitar amp manufacturers to make use of this technology. To guitar players, the Peavey Renown 400 is synonymous with loudness and durability. 

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about the Peavey Renown 400. 

It doesn’t matter if you are trying to make your first purchase of this amazing amp or simply trying to know more about the one you own; this article is for you. 

Peavey Renown 400 General Overview

The Peavey Renown 400 incorporates the features needed for the reproduction of the complex tonalities and dynamics necessary for the modern guitar player. 

Peavey’s intensive Research and Development program has [over the years] yielded several significant pivotal breakthroughs in sound and electric guitar amplification. 

For many years, both guitar players and instrument amp makers have diligently sought to reproduce that warm and saturating characteristic of vacuum tubes with solid-state equipment. 

The Peavey Renown 400 features an effect known as saturation. At the time when this amp was first introduced, this effect was still pretty much new in the electric guitar world. 

What the effect does is that it produces the kind of gain compression/expansion that has previously been obtainable only with a select few extremely high-gain, relatively powerful tube-type amplifiers. 

Prior to the birth of Peavey amps, many companies had always attempted to reproduce this much sought-after characteristic of vacuum tubes by using field effect transistors, MOS FETS, interstage transformers, series gain stages, etc. 

The results were usually loud but did not exactly accomplish the goal. However, the Peavey saturation circuit brought the necessary dynamic characteristics, harmonic texture, and compression/expansion so eagerly sought after by contemporary guitar players.

Some Notable Features

In this section, we will discuss some of the distinct features of Peavey Renown 400 that make it unique and set it apart from other brands in the market.

Gain Block

The Gain Block gives users full control of the gain architecture of the amp. This includes harmonics frequency, overloading roughness, and output volume of the amplifier. 

To put this feature to full use, users are encouraged to feel free with experimenting with these parameters. These were pretty new features for a guitar amp that was developed as far back as the 1980s. 

An integrated pull switch in the pre-gain adjustment provides the high frequencies with a bump of about 8 dB. This switch makes it possible to provide a lot of gain and high-frequency bump when needed. 

Saturation Control

The saturation circuitry’s working level is adjusted using the saturation knob/feature.

Since the amp plays such an important role in the electric guitar’s tone, manufacturers have always worked hard to produce the ideal gain/overload characteristics that guitarists desire. 

Until now, many musicians believed that vacuum tube (or valve) amplifiers were better than most solid-state devices.

Peavey was the sole producer of both solid-state and tube amps, providing us with a rare chance to research and contrast the distinct traits of each kind.

The saturation feature tries to emulate the vacuum tube gain/compression effect. It helps creates the overall tube sound that is so much loved by all. 

Remember that for the best result, the three parameters in the “Gain Block” must be properly set to counterbalance the gain saturation effect.

The preamp needs to be set loud enough to supply the Saturation circuit with sufficient driving power. 

Ground Lift Switch

The middle position of this switch, which has three positions, totally cuts off the circuit’s use of the internal grounding resistor.

In cases in which the AC power outlet is confirmed to have a correctly grounded third wire, this configuration is typically advised. 

An appropriate ground lifting converter should be employed if a fully grounded C main power supply is not accessible. When just two—wire services are provided, the amplifier is grounded correctly using the + and – locations.

Auto Mix

Over the years, the majority of acoustic equipment amplifiers have always had two channels. This has always been the case for several generations. 

In order to utilize the amplifier’s full potential rather than only using one channel while wasting the other, Peavey devised a revolutionary mechanism that allowed the usage of both channels. 

This unusual device had wireless remote functionality, allowing channel selection through a distant footswitch. 

This technique is known as “Automix.” Early in 1975, the “Automix” method was created, and it has since become one of the most imitated innovations in music device amplification. The Automix is incredibly easy to use. 

Frequency response+0, -1 dB, 60 Hz to 15 kHz @ 150 watts into 4 ohms @ 4-ohm tap  
Rated power and load160W RMS into 4 or 2 ohms
Power @ clipping5% THD, 1 kHz, 120 VAC line
Total harmonic distortionLess than 0.2%, 100mW to 100W RMS.
60 Hz to 10KHz, 4 ohms, typically below 0.1%.
Intermodulation distortionLess than 0.2%, 100mW to 100W RMS.
60 Hz to 5KHz, 4 ohms, typically below 0.1%.
Hum and noiseMore than 90 dB below full power
Preamp jack A inputImpedance: high Z, 220K ohms
Nominal level: -28 dBV, 40 MV RMS
Minimum level: -48 dBV, 5 mv RMS
Maximum level: +4 dBV, 1.5V RMS
Preamp jack B inputImpedance: high Z, 44K ohms
Nominal level: -22 dBV, 80 MV RMS
Minimum level: -40 dBV, 10 mv RMS
Maximum level: +10 dBV, 3V RMS

Front Panel

Inputs A and B

The Peavey Renown 400 has two input slots. The input that is typically utilized has a high gain jack (A), which has a lot higher responsiveness and insertion loss than a low gain jack (B). 

A lower gain jack has indeed been added to increase the input dynamic spectrum. Use the low gain input [-6 dB] if the output of your device is abruptly overwhelming or warping the loud gain input.

A high-gain and low-gain inputs are located just on the left side of the Peavey Renown 400 front panels.

The lead gain is located to the right of the inputs and has three knobs: a post-gain knob, a saturation knob, and a pre-gain knob with a pull function for a louder tone. 

What Musical Scenarios are these Amps Best for?

Although this might not be the best modern-looking amp, the Peavey amp is such a versatile amp that will work just fine in different playing scenarios. 

In terms of genre and style, the Peavey is loud enough for gain-hungry genres like metal, and rock, and also dynamic enough for genres like jazz, blues, and even pop.

If there is one word that would best describe Peavey, the word would be “versatile.” Although it might not be 100% accurate to label Peavey as a “metal amp,” their amps definitely have a distinctive sound that makes it just good enough for heavy metal and other subgenres of metal. 

Many blues musicians often choose the Peavey amp because of its durable nature and affordable price tag. When played, the clean and superb tonal characteristics appeal to genres like rock and blues.

It might not be the perfect guitar amp for this genre, but it is awesome and it plays just fine and maybe better than many other guitar amps in the same price range.  

Also, for many years, country performers have been using Peavey amps, the Renown 400 and the Delta Blues models work just fine with country music. They are a natural choice for country performers because they provide a pedal steel amp.

It has been reported that even pure rock bands like Biffy Clyro employ the Peavey Delta Blues and even the Renown 400.

As a result, even though their popularity in metal is well known, it is important to recognize their adaptability in various musical genres.

How Reliable is the Peavey Renown 400?

Although Peavey amplifiers aren’t as popular or desired as those from other manufacturers, they do offer a few advantages, including their gain, affordability, and reliability.

Many Peavey amps are designed to last a lifetime and are frequently less expensive than comparable products. Since you can depend on a Peavey to be constructed like a tank and rarely let you down, they are ideal for touring.

Some of the finest solid-phase amplifiers ever are their earlier models, such as the Rage and Bandit. They are also practically unbreakable! 

There are innumerable tales of individuals dumping, shattering, and otherwise abusing them, yet they continue to work.

Who Should Get a Peavey Renown 400?

Although many artists throughout many styles utilize Peavey amps, rock and metal performers are likely to use them the most frequently. 

Peavey high-gain amps are some of the finest and most frequently employed in heavy rock and metal, appearing on some of the most popular albums and songs of all time.

Also, jazz, country, and pop singers also regularly employ Peavey amps. Country and blues musicians like Tim McGraw and Carrie Underwood frequently use the Classic 30 and 50 guitars.


Although they might be cheaper than many other guitar amps oin the market, this doesn’t mean they are subpar.

As a matter of fact, the Peavey Renown 400 sounds quite terrific, even for the price. That being said, purchasing the Peavey Renown 400  may be the best decision you will ever take.