Chock-full o' good, good stuff.
By John Connor
As the old axiom goes, build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door. Peavey has been doing just that for decades in the live sound market with product after product that combine powerful performance, the right price, and famously indestructible designs. As part of its 40 year anniversary, Peavey has refreshed the PV series mixers aiming to outperform any comparable unit in respect to features, price, and performance. In short, Peavey wanted these new mixers to live up to their namesake acronym of Performance and Value.
Designed to serve as small venue, project studio, or home studio mixers, there's a PV mixer for just about any application within those bounds, and their performance goes far beyond their price tags. Instead of simply adding more and more features until the mixers (and users) were overwhelmed by options of dubious usefulness and quality, Peavey simply took every standard feature and made it better. Much, much better, in fact. The ensuing list of upgrades may sound over-the-top, but that's the point—Peavey was out to make these mixers the best in their class.
The first step was to re-appropriate the Reference Quality (RQ) preamps from Peavey's large, high-end mixing consoles for use in the PV series. As you'd expect from a console pre, they deliver a ton of headroom and keep noise to a minimum using special transistors engineered specifically for hi-fi audio that cut distortion down to .0007%! They remain very quiet even while delivering up to 88dB of gain, enough to make even the most mic-shy of vocalists ring through loud and clear. All of the new PV models have more mono channels with XLR mic inputs and the RQ preamps than their competitors (even the tiny PV 6 has four), plus global 48V phantom power. Dialing in the gain on these new units is easier than ever before thanks to a new clip indicator circuit on the PV 8, 10, and 14. This circuit samples the levels across the entire channel instead of just at the inputs, so your audio is monitored at every stage to protect it from clipping.
The smaller PV 6 and PV 8 are outstanding values, offering features that small units don't usually have. Both units have XLR and metal (not plastic!) 1/4" input jacks, phantom power, three-band EQ, and effects sends with stereo returns on the first four channels. They both also have flexible mastering sections with LED level meters, assignable tape inputs, headphone jacks, and a very cool master contour EQ that shapes the outgoing mix by cutting out some mids and bumping up the bass and treble ever-so-slightly. The redesigned enclosures are rugged, using metal construction with a design that's sleek, stylish, and very functional. Let's face it, small mixers . . . heck, small pieces of gear in general . . . are often overlooked in noisy, dark clubs and cluttered home studios. But no matter how many times they're kicked and tossed the PV 6 and 8 can handle the abuse.
Top of the signal chain
The PV 10 and PV 14 have the same rugged metal construction as the 6 and 8, and the same overall design and look. While these significantly larger units are unlikely to be overlooked or even to be on the floor to begin with, the steel chassis will keep their high-performance innards intact. Also, the rackmount kits available for the 10 and 14 make them even more functional and easy to use and protect. The PV 10 and 14 have all the features of the 6 and 8 with some special additions that make them ideal for gigging bands, small venues, and project studios.
Quality 60mm faders, monitor sends, and LEDs for clip and signal give you much more control over the signal in each channel, plus you get inserts on the first 10 channels of the PV 14. Both units have a universal switching power supply that keeps you in the juice no matter what power grid you're plugging into. The two features that push the PV 10 and 14 over the top, though, are the addition of a DSP effects engine and increased master section capabilities.
The DSP effects section delivers 16 varieties of reverbs and delays with some unique combination effects and 2 algorithms designed to bring voices up out of the mix and let them shine without having to give them copious amounts of extra volume. There's a post-fader effect send on each channel, clip indicator, defeat switch, and a Time knob that controls different parameters for each effect. The master section on the 10 and 14 has all the same features as the 6 and 8, but adds dual XLR and 1/4" outputs, tape-to-control room function, tape-to-mix function, and a USB port that offers easy computer connectivity for making quality digital recordings straight from the board.
Dialing in the sounds
Using the PV 10 with the USB option, I set up a condenser mic, cranked up the gain, and nudged the fader level up a bit to listen for noise. But there wasn't any. I snapped my fingers a few times, expecting the spikes caused by the sudden, sharp noise to cause some distortion, but there wasn't any of that, either. Peavey is not joking around, this preamp design is clean and quiet. I set up a dynamic mic and picked up my acoustic to lay down a few tracks using the condenser for room reverb. I sent the signal out to the computer DAW to hear how that sounded. I liked what I heard, and the quality of the audio reflected the use of quality components all the way through. The refreshed PV line of mixers proves once again Peavey's dedication to doing live sound with the right combo of features, performance, and price.
Features & Specs:
|PV 10, 14
||PV 8, 10, 14
||PV 6, 8