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Budda SD18 Series II vs Pre-Peavey vs Vox AC15

SupremeDalek

Member
Messages
746
So I've been doing a good bit of searching on this information, and the only thing I seem to be able to find is that people sell their original Budda amps labeled as "Pre-Peavey." So, with this in mind I am curious as to the intention of these individuals. Are the Peavey-era Buddas junk? Are they "less desirable?" And if so, why? I did find a couple of gut shots where one was apparently PTP and the other was a PCB. I don't know if this is evidence of the eras or not, simply an observation made while researching.

Background info...I would like another amp to play smaller gigs and to compliment my Super when played together. I've just recently been turned on to these SD18's, but I have been long lusting for an AC15 (British crunch!!!!). When I read past posts about "SD18 vs AC15" it appeared that the Vox was stomped by public opinion as an inferior product to the Budda. However, it was never stated (that I saw) whether these are pre- or post-Peavey products.

On the other hand, an AC15 is $400-ish compared to $800-ish. Talk me out of the Vox...

Thank you for your time and assistance.
 

partytrain

Senior Member
Messages
6,111
I have a peavey era sd18 that absolutely kills. Someone with more knowledge than I can correct me if I am wrong but I was under the impression that the Peavey purchase of Budda was more of a distribution deal than anything, I'm not aware of how much I put they've had on the amps themselves.
 

Paleolith54

Member
Messages
3,301
So I've been doing a good bit of searching on this information, and the only thing I seem to be able to find is that people sell their original Budda amps labeled as "Pre-Peavey." So, with this in mind I am curious as to the intention of these individuals. Are the Peavey-era Buddas junk? Are they "less desirable?" And if so, why? I did find a couple of gut shots where one was apparently PTP and the other was a PCB. I don't know if this is evidence of the eras or not, simply an observation made while researching.

Background info...I would like another amp to play smaller gigs and to compliment my Super when played together. I've just recently been turned on to these SD18's, but I have been long lusting for an AC15 (British crunch!!!!). When I read past posts about "SD18 vs AC15" it appeared that the Vox was stomped by public opinion as an inferior product to the Budda. However, it was never stated (that I saw) whether these are pre- or post-Peavey products.

On the other hand, an AC15 is $400-ish compared to $800-ish. Talk me out of the Vox...

Thank you for your time and assistance.
I had two Superdrive 30s at the same time, a Pre-Peavey Series I and a Peavey-era Series II. One gigged, one in practice space. I heard zero difference when they were set the same. I perceived no difference in general build quality, reliability, etc. This does seem to be the consensus of folks who've spend time with both.

My recollection is that Peavey bought Budda and set up a line in Meridian to manufacture the Budda amps. It was definitely not just distribution. They are made in the USA. I believe they started staying very very close to Jeff Bober's designs (they weren't some sort of Inspired-By-Budda Triple XXX, but Buddas built in Mississippi). I can't say how they may have strayed over time, or what difference it may have made, but the ones I had were interchangeable in terms of tone and feel.

I suspect some folks prefer pre-Peavey just out of normal human preference for the proven over the unknown, or the boutique origin over the mass-produced one, but IMO it's not a preference based in any performance advantage of one over the other. When I sold my Buddas, I did label them as Pre-Peavey or post-Peavey, as it is info most people want, but I also told the folks I talked to that I heard no difference. I don't recall getting more for one than the other.

I wouldn't even consider a Vox AC15 over an SD 18, but there are plenty of folks who would say just the opposite, so I can't talk you out of the Vox. Although I have to wonder if that's the amp for "British crunch"?

Hope this helps a bit.
 

HoboMan

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
17,527
The original Series I Budda SuperDrives were PTP. Series II is PCP and a "Pull Modern" pot was added to the Mid pot that affects the drive channel. Gave the amp a less "mid heavy" tone making it brighter and more cutting.

From what I've read, the original plan was for Peavey to do the manufacturing for Budda. It was just supposed to be a manufacturing deal but Peavey liked the amp so much that they offered to buy the product line and a deal was made.
The Pre-Peavey models have the Budda man logo and the Peavey models changed to a logo with "Budda" spelled out BUT, Peavey was manufacturing the Pre-Peavey models with the Budda man logo before the purchased the company. So it is possible to have a Peavey made Pre-Peavey Budda.

Peavey supposedly made one or two very minor circuit changes that was supposed to increase reliability but people who have played both cannot hear a tone difference.

I currently have three Pre-Peavy superdrives and I suspect that one of them may have been manufactured by Peavey. The way the preamp tubes mount to the chassis is completely different from my other two.
 

SupremeDalek

Member
Messages
746
I wouldn't even consider a Vox AC15 over an SD 18, but there are plenty of folks who would say just the opposite, so I can't talk you out of the Vox. Although I have to wonder if that's the amp for "British crunch"?

Hope this helps a bit.
I don't think these two amps are in the same "class" but the Vox is half the price. As for the British crunch comment... Isn't Vox the epitome of this category, or are these Chinese repros not up to par?

So far I've learned that there are differences, but tonally they don't seem to matter. Also, you seen to be able to decide whether you'd prefer PTP or PCB. Again, tonally it doesn't matter. Finally the asking price of a used Budda does not reflect Pre- or Post- Peavey products (shop at your own risk, that is).

Very helpful so far friends. Thank you for this information. If anyone has any additional points I'd love to hear them.
 
Last edited:

Paleolith54

Member
Messages
3,301
I don't think these two amps are in the same "class" but the Vox is half the price. As for the British crunch comment... Isn't Vox the epitome of this category, or are these Chinese repros not up to par?

So far I've learned that there are differences, but tonally they don't seem to matter. Also, you seen to be able to decide whether you'd prefer PTP or PCB. Again, tonally it doesn't matter. Finally the asking price of a used Budda does not reflect Pre- or Post- Peavey products (shop at your own risk, that is).

Very helpful so far friends. Thank you for this information. If anyone has any additional points if love to hear them.
There are plenty of folks here who know more about this than me, but the term "British Crunch" to me says Marshall. If the Vox is the "epitome" of a sound it seems to me that it's the mostly clean, chiming quality you hear in the Byrds, Beatles, most Tom Petty. Again, I don't claim any particular expertise here, just answering your question. Good luck!
 

SupremeDalek

Member
Messages
746
There are plenty of folks here who know more about this than me, but the term "British Crunch" to me says Marshall. If the Vox is the "epitome" of a sound it seems to me that it's the mostly clean, chiming quality you hear in the Byrds, Beatles, most Tom Petty. Again, I don't claim any particular expertise here, just answering your question. Good luck!
Yes, this is what I mean. Mayhap my terminology on the subject is lacking, but I am particularly interested in the Beatles type sound. This means from the clean and chimey highs to the crunchiness of Revolution. Perhaps "epitome" is the wrong phrase to use.

Thank you for the clarification.
 

LesPaulPlayer

Member
Messages
231
I do know that the Series I handwired Superdrive 30s have a different (original) value for the mid pot. This makes the mid pot behave differently and give a different tone. A push/pull pot (for the pull/mid feature) in that original value was not available for Series II, hence the difference. This is all regarding Pre-Peavey still. Jeff Bober, Budda's original designer/builder, insists the Series I and II Superdrive 30s differ more than just the inclusion of the mid push/pull and PCB construction among other things.

Regarding Peavey, he has stated that they were making changes without his knowledge (different sources for components and cabinet wood for instance) while he was still onboard...and that's why they parted ways. They didn't see eye-to-eye.

I don't know about any of you, but I feel better about having one of Jeff's amps when he was in control of everything. That's the essence of a small company: Quality control. I know that a Pre-Peavey is exactly what Jeff wanted the amps to sound like...for better or worse. Perhaps that's why a Pre-Peavey might be considered to be set apart from Peavey models.

On the flip side, it's entirely possible that some prefer the tonal differences that come from Peavey's changes so whatever versions are better is a matter of opinion and taste...assuming build quality and durability are the same.
 

rolsen

Member
Messages
2,197
I researched all things Budda SD for weeks before buying a used pre-peavey SD18 head on Reverb.com. As already stated, the logo design is the biggest difference, the components and manufacture 99.9% identical. Folks do seem to have a bit of a preference for pre-peavey, so buying without first playing I looked for a pre-peavey to give me an edge if I needed to flip it...

Which I ended up doing. This amp oozed stellar tone but for me personally, the distortion was just a little too smooth. I needed a little more 'teeth' or snarly bite. Those 18 watts will rip your head off, btw. Your drummer will piss his drum throne.

Edit: it's criminal the SD18 amp head on the used market sells for $700-$800.
 

elron hoover

Senior Member
Messages
2,132
I know that a Pre-Peavey is exactly what Jeff wanted the amps to sound like...for better or worse. Perhaps that's why a Pre-Peavey might be considered to be set apart from Peavey models.

On the flip side, it's entirely possible that some prefer the tonal differences that come from Peavey's changes so whatever versions are better is a matter of opinion and taste...assuming build quality and durability are the same.
This contradicts what most everyone, who has experience w/ both pre and post-Peavey Buddas, says about sound comparisons between them - they are audibly indistinguishable. I personally only have experience with my Pre-Peavey SD30 II, but I lean toward believing the overwhelmingly popular opinion that there is no difference in sound.

Speaking of Buddas that were manufactured on the cusp of Peavey taking over, has there been any discussion on the meaning of the letter preceding the serial #? I can't remember the serial on mine, and I'm not home right now to check it, but it's preceded by the letter "S" and a hyphen. I originally thought the S was for "serial", but I noticed a post-Peavey model I found started with "P-xxxx...". The serial on mine is around 100 amps earlier than the point at which Peavey supposedly took over production. Can anyone shed some light on what these letters mean? Is it as simple as "P" being used on post-Peavey amps?
 
Messages
1,542
I have noticed that cosmetically it seems aside from the Budda drawing the grill cloth is different? From some pics that seems to be the case.

I'd gladly get a pre peavey SD but I'm concerned about the lack of Mid Pull switch. Anyone have experience using this feature?
 

HoboMan

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
17,527
I have noticed that cosmetically it seems aside from the Budda drawing the grill cloth is different? From some pics that seems to be the case.

I'd gladly get a pre peavey SD but I'm concerned about the lack of Mid Pull switch. Anyone have experience using this feature?
The "Mid Pull" is on the Series II models, pre and current peavey models.
I've never played a Series I without the Mid Pull but I can tell you that I use it more often than not. It brightens up the amp.
 

bonchie123

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,155
The Budda is an EL84 amp, so you can get some of the chimey voxy clean thing out of it. I played them for years, 18 and 30 watt models.

And on the gain side, it's just 10x better then an AC15 IMO. On the used market, they are about as good a deal as you can get on a well made, good sounding tube amp.

Pre-peavy vs. peavy is just hype. No actual sound difference, but if you plan to re-sell it at some point then you should shoot for pre-peavy as the market seems to care (or at least they used to 4-5 years ago).
 

mickelodeon

Member
Messages
620
Pre vs post Peavey is about as much difference as swapping out a preamp tube with another of the exact same brand.

The comparison to AC15 escapes me though as other than EL84s, there's not really much similarity, IMO.
 

shanesiegle

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,770
I have noticed that cosmetically it seems aside from the Budda drawing the grill cloth is different? From some pics that seems to be the case.

I'd gladly get a pre peavey SD but I'm concerned about the lack of Mid Pull switch. Anyone have experience using this feature?
The series II is the one with the mid pull regardless if it's Peavey made or Pre-Peavey.
 

LesPaulPlayer

Member
Messages
231
This contradicts what most everyone, who has experience w/ both pre and post-Peavey Buddas, says about sound comparisons between them - they are audibly indistinguishable. I personally only have experience with my Pre-Peavey SD30 II, but I lean toward believing the overwhelmingly popular opinion that there is no difference in sound.

I admit that I've not tested pre and post-Peavey models side by side. And any such tests need to use the same tubes, cabinets, speaker(s), etc. to rule out those variables. I do know that some component values have been changed not to mention component source and composition and circuit board trace layout. These things can surely change the way an amp sounds or feels (I've experimented with this in my own home brew amp). Whether it's perceived by some or not is a different matter.

For me personally, Budda was about being a small company run by Scot Sier and Jeff Bober with very specific design philosophy and tonal goals. The idea of a large company changing this, without letting the head guy, Bober, know, doesn't work with me. If I was in his shoes, I wouldn't be happy either. This is why I prefer Pre-Peavey models with a preference for the early handwired versions. They're easier for me to work on.
 




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