This is a quick guide that I was very excited to write up. I have never been a Van Halen “fan” but I have always been a fan of Eddie’s playing, stage presence but most notably for me, his incredible tone. I don’t think today’s players give him the credit and respect he deserves when it comes to the gear he helped create. EVH changed the world of hi-gain forever with his modded Marshalls and then changed it again and again with the release of his Peavey and EVH branded amps.
We are going to go over every Peavey / EVH inspired plugin on the market but I feel the next couple years will be bringing more than a few more inclusions to this party.
PLUGINS:(in alphabetical order)
While this plugin might not say Peavey anywhere on it, there’s no denying that the amp that drives this suite is based on some sort of Peavey product. You can absolutely hear a ton of the signature Peavey tone characteristics oozing out of every corner of TFMM but it leans more towards the modern Peavey tones rather than the original 5150. You be the judge, it’s a very solid plugin capable of a variety of applications.
Nick Crow Lab is a name that still resonates with many plugin-driven guitarists because in the early days of amp sims, the Nick Crow Lab gear was some of the best stuff going and it’s always been free. You can still find the 5150/6505 plugins as well as a few other freebies and they actually do still hold up reasonably. I used these sims a ton back in the day and it was fun giving them a rip again for the purpose of this quick-guide. Nick Crow Lab is no longer active but the stuff is still online to grab.
Peavey has their very own in house made plugin called Revalver. The plugin is now in it’s fourth version and over the years it has gotten better and better. Revalver has the 6505, XXX and tons of other Peavey made products as well as their take on products from other companies. It’s a full amp suite so you also get tons of pedals and other fun gear to play with. Revalver is a must for anyone into Peavey amps. Revalver is due for a new version in the next while and I am excited to see where they take the software.
Vadim Taranov at PVAmps creates terrific 32-bit windows only amp sims from reamps. We offer the 4950 right HERE on our website. It’s a sim based on the Peavey 6505. The 6505 might not directly be an Eddie creation but it spawned from one and it’s a Peavey product. Vadim also offers a few other 5150/6505 type amps that will provide a limited but pretty decent quality tone that displays at least the key tone characteristics you are looking for.
This one has become kind of the new king of the Peavey/EVH plugin territory. Tonality Andy James features one mean red channel of what is easily the best 5150 III to this point and it also features a similar dead red channel from the 6505. Tube selection gives the user the ability to turn both of those amps into their respective EL34 companions (5150 III Stealth34 & 6534) to a reasonable degree. I strongly advise any fans of the high gain side of EVH / Peavey amps pick this plugin up asap.
The TSE X50 was once upon a time a freeware product. You can still find the original X50 in 32 / 64-bit if you look for it. It’s no longer on the TSE website but you can find it HERE. However, the X50 2.4.8 is an amazing suite and it’s on a whole other level. It captures the 5150 tone characteristics with great detail for a great price. You also get an ENGL E530 sim, the impulsive impulse loader and a phenomenal selection of pedals, impulses and more. It might be a few years old now but it can still kick a lot of ass.
FULL AMP SUITES:
While there might not be a ton of stand alone offerings that focus on the series. The 5150 and related amps could be some of the most common products seen in full amp suite plugins. You might have a hard time finding a full amp collection without one to be honest. I tested all of them for the purpose of just this paragraph and the best options came from Overloud THU, Helix Native and Hotone V-stomp but, that being said, there are plenty out there that do the job nicely.