I have been a Revalver fanboy since they put out the first version a decade or more ago. I have put in hundreds of hours with every version of the plugin. I have also spent a lot of time with the various expansions and add-ons Peavey released over the various versions of Revalver.
Revalver is a full amp suite designed by Peavey and when the first version came out, I remember thinking “wow, an amp builder doing their own plugin, that’s cool!”. We do however have a lot of products out there that feature licensed products which is always fun to see if the tone is there. I just think more amp builders should do plugins considering they have intimate access and knowledge of the products.
For this review, I am using the Revalver producer pack with the MKIII.V upgrade. The total package features a ton of gear. The selection is remarkable. Amps, pedals, impulses, pre and post effects and just a huge collection of modules.
The GUI is nice, the layout and workflow are smooth. Everything looks the part. The plugin isn’t that old but with everyone upping their graphics game these days, it becomes evident when something misses the mark. Revalver’s looks and ease of use have held up pretty well. I love the drag and drop for the components but it would be nice to have the ability to drag and drop a component on another component to replace it instead of just an insert option.
The quality you hear from the first moment is pretty good. Presets with multi and full amp suites are very important for me because they act like a tour of the plugin. Revalver has a nice selection of general presets as well as presets for each amp that all gave me a good look at what the plugin can do.
Across the presets I am noticing that crunch is everywhere. All of the amps in this bunch that you know to have nice crunch in hardware form are well represented here. The crunchy tones I have pulled out of Revalver over the years have been seriously appreciated. However, watch your treble and presence controls to avoid that crunch becoming harsh and counter productive. Using saturation and warming or “tube” emulating plugins can go a long way with a lot of full amp suites and this one is no different. I used the Brainworx bx_saturator and a number of plugins to give Revalver a little more life.
The current version of Revalver 4 with all the components features first and obviously a huge amount of pretty solid Peavey amps, notably some that you would likely not see in another plugin. After the Peavey gear you have amps inspired by Orange, Marshall, Engl, Budda, Diezel, VOX, Fender, Mesa Boogie and many others. The list doesn’t include the 5150 or 5150 II, but the selection is pretty refreshing all in all. I hope the next one continues the tradition.
The amps all respond nicely to a variety of playing. The quality is pretty consistent across the board. The control values, the detail, the picking response and a bunch of other positive factors about Revalver are a direct result of the quality over quantity.
From quality country and blues to raging death metal or industrial, the tones are in here for you. There is not even one amp included that I don’t enjoy playing on and not one amp that I feel doesn’t have the trademark tone characteristics of the amp the developers were inspired by. The Peavey inclusions are just a step above the non-Peavey offerings which I assume is by design but all of the amps are useful none the less.
My personal favorite amps included were the Redhot, 6505, Michael, XXX, Superdrive 18 II, Classic 20, California Twin and Herr Demon but I didn’t have an issue with any of the amps at all. They were all pretty fun but the attention to detail was obviously a bit higher with the licensed Peavey products.
Boost pedals, distortion, modulation, dynamics, reverb, delay and more can be found in Revalver’s pedal stash. The pedals are all pretty useful across the board. The lack of fuzz and muff pedals is kind of unfortunate but not a huge deal. I really liked the Budda pedals, they all sounded really crisp. There are really no bad offerings in the pedal department or the effects areas. Nothing is going to blow your mind but nothing really let me down either.
The impulses included are decent and the selection isn’t bad at all. The cab section gives you just about everything you need. Mic and mic placement options, levels and more. Nothing too exciting but it’s held up pretty well.
All that said, when I did opt to bypass the onboard loader for my own loader and impulses, the game changed completely. I actually finished the review with the onboard impulses and then pretty well did the whole review process again with my own impulses. The difference was actually pretty dramatic and it really brought out the best tones in the amps. I highly suggest doing this to give Revalver a little more life.
The sound quality with my impulses boosted the score considerably because all of the components suddenly had new life to them. This has been the case with many amp sims and most notably full amp suites in my travels so always make sure to try your own loader and impulses with any product that features its own just to be sure. In this case it elevated Revalver’s quality considerably. This isn’t a shot at the impulses and loader included with the plugin because they aren’t bad but the switch did produce better tones.
AMP SCHEMATIC EDITOR:
Revalver was one of the first companies to offer users the ability to edit the inner workings of their components. The plugin gives users the chance to edit the insides of the components with a lot of detail using a general schematic view. You can change tubes and a lot more. The thing is, the option is barely spoken of on the products website in addition to being kind of hidden in a sense. You have to right click on any piece of gear and hit “Edit Schematic” to get it to open up whereas it would be cool to have a button on the component or somewhere readily available. I honestly advise that you know what you are doing before giving this option a go or it really won’t be too exciting.
Peavey doesn’t dress this option up with 100 bells and whistles like Positive Grid but Peavey’s editor does actually impact the tone of the amps significantly. This is a feature that I believe Peavey should really explore and showcase a little more with the next Revalver because because it’s actually done pretty well here so I would assume it could be a big part of the next one.
UPS / DOWNS:
Revalver is a well executed plugin overall. There’s nothing about it I can say I don’t like but with the way the field is moving these days, it could use either a really nice update or a new version soon. Revalver and the expansions could benefit from a slightly reduced price. I would recommend buying the full spectrum of products offered for Revalver. They offer the pedals and other add-ons for really cheap in their Amp Store.
Revalver isn’t what I would call “professional grade” but it’s pretty fun for recreational, jamming and writing purposes. With even minimal processing, the tones inside this plugin could easily be used on a top notch recording but there are plugins out there available that I would probably turn to before Revalver for that purpose.
Before Line 6 Helix came along, Revalver was my favorite full amp suite but even still, I really enjoy doing writing sessions with it or using it to try out new guitars and so on. If you see it cheap and just want something new to jam on, grab it but I am really looking forward to seeing what the next one will look / sound like.