Peavey Void 4 PXD Bass Review
August 16, 2011
Just about any working bassist will tell you that finding the perfect bass for their style of music can be a long, arduous, and frustrating journey. The available options are still miniscule compared to how many guitars are out there, but the gap has been steadily closing the past few years. One company that has regularly succeeded in targeting this market is Peavey, with its versatile and popular Cirrus and Millennium models. Considering the success the company has had with the metal crowd (for example with their legendary 6505 series amps), it’s not surprising to see the company again set its sights on headbanging bassists with the new US-designed Void 4-string. It aims to be the go-to tool for bassists looking to put a bit more meat on their low-end muscle—and at an affordable price.
Into the Void
The 34"-scale Void was an intimidating-looking beast when I pulled it out of its custom Coffin Case gig bag. Its wild stylings are certainly tailored to the modern metal crowd—it would fit right in on, say, a Bullet for My Valentine album cover.
Our review model weighed 10.15 pounds, and its maple neck-through design is coupled with two basswood wings. The deep-hued rosewood fretboard features 21 jumbo nickel frets and a classy aluminum shark-tooth inlay at the 12th fret. Each of the Void’s strings runs from die-cast, enclosed tuners on the ominous-looking headstock to a die-cast bridge with saddles that are adjustable in three directions. It can also be strung through the rear or top of the bridge.
The two US-designed VFL active humbuckers are wired for 18 volts via two 9-volt batteries that provide a lot of headroom and punch. They’re controlled by Volume, Blend, Bass, Midrange, and Treble knobs—and Peavey deserves serious props for making these controls separate. Each of the tone controls offers a huge amount of toneshaping power—from gut-wrenching bass to scooped-mid mayhem and razor-sharp black metal tones. Sweeping through the range of each EQ knob boosts or cuts respective frequencies by up to 12 dB. Each EQ knob— including the Pickup Blend control—is also notched internally halfway through its sweep, offering a comforting click to indicate they’re in the middle of their range.
The Void was obviously crafted for bassists on the heavier side of rock and metal, and it scored high points in almost every area that’s important to those types of players. Through a TC Electronic Classic450 head and matching 2x10 cabinet, I was able to easily coax some of the gnarliest, most ruthless-sounding metal bass tones this side of a Down album. I had unprecedented control over the tone from the conveniently placed EQ knobs. Each note sounded crisp and big, with sturdy lows no matter how high I had the instrument’s Bass EQ set.
I have a habit of fiddling with an amp’s controls to the point of obsession, but due to the Void’s EQ section, I never found the need to alter amp settings. If I wanted a less-present low end for faster-paced blackmetal riffing, I simply dropped the Bass knob down below its middle notch, upped the treble, and brought in more midrange to taste. Getting classic thrash and powermetal tones was simple, too: I brought in more midrange and panned to the bridge pickup for a brash, Lemmy-type tone. Speaking of midrange, while the Void’s EQ controls are voiced to cover a wide range over their respective frequencies, the Midrange control stood out as the most useful and pleasant sounding of the bunch. Peavey hit just the right range when voicing this control. Even at its maximum settings, it stayed just a hair away from being too nasal or shrill, dishing out an array of midrange-infused snarl that was a blast to play with. However, with 12 dB of boost and cut, I had to be careful not to let the potent EQ knobs distort the front end of the amp when they got too close to being maxed out. Thankfully, the tremendous range of the controls meant there really wasn’t a need for extreme adjustments— minor nudges were all that were necessary to significantly shape the tone.
Feel the Noise
The Void’s feel took some getting used to, mostly due to its large body and wide neck. It’s a touch bulky whether standing up or sitting down, and reaching for low notes from the 5th fret down took a bit more reach and effort than I’m used to. The frets felt as if they were further away than normal, requiring me to really stretch when laying down grooves in the fretboard’s lower territories. And putting that extra effort into grabbing low notes while standing put some strain on my shoulder after awhile. With all that said, most metal bassists wear their instruments low. And when worn low, the neck is naturally raised higher than the body, allowing easier access to that part of the fretboard. It’s simply a different body style that takes some getting used to. The Void may be a stretch for bassists with smaller statures, smaller hands, or a traditional stance—I’m right at 5' 11"—but for bassists with a longer reach or those who wear it low, it will fit quite nicely.
For rock and metal bassists who want the grit and grind that modern heavy music demands, the Peavey Void is a worthwhile choice. Its impressive onboard EQ is simple to use, and its humbuckers kick out assertive, aggressive tones with clarity. If you’re in the market for a solid metal machine that’s capable of grabbing the audience’s attention both audibly and visually, it’s certainly worth checking out.
Watch the video review:
you need cutting, aggressive tones and a lot of tonal options for rock and metal.
subdued, smoother tones are your bag, or you prefer a more compact body style that can be worn high or low.
Street $499 - Peavey Electronics - peavey.com