Unofficial Peavey TransformerTM Page
Created On:  10/04/00
Last Updated On:  08/19/08 (added Transformer vs. Vypyr Comparison Chart)

Other pages:


Version 2.0 upgrade!

Hardware Mods
MIDI Implementation Page

MusicGear Review
Harmony Central Reviews
  (112, 212)

In this page:

Model Definitions
Secret Features
Top 10 Reasons to Buy
Tweak Functions
Comparison Shopping
Transformer vs. Vypyr

PC Editor

The Transformer 112 and 212 are modeling amps in that they do model other amps, but they are not "digital modeling amps" per se. They are real Peavey TransTube amps (analog preamp and poweramp) with a DSP modeling section that handles the 3-band EQ (which works just like the amp selection), the cabinet emulation, and the built-in effects and tuner. The "tricky" parts of the tone are the non-linear aspects like distortion, compression, and other dynamically controlled mojo that are difficult to model digitally. The Transformer sounds and feels like a real amp - because it is one.

Disclaimer: Duh! It says unofficial in the title! 

Credits: I was the digital design engineer/programmer. Ken Chappell did the mechanical engineering, and James Brown did the analog engineering. It was a lot of work, but it was sure fun. And the result makes it worth the effort. (We love this amp!)

This page is a place for tips, tricks, info, patches, etc. I will add things as time goes by and issues come up.


- The August '01 issue of Guitar World (Slipknot on the cover) has an article on "Smart Amps" called "Digital Monsters." I'm quoted in the section about the Transformer - pages 90/98 (click here to see). I talked to the author for about an hour on the phone when he was researching the amps, and he decided to use some of the conversation. (I never thought I'd see my name in a guitar mag - that was cool!) The only part I didn't like is that he called me a MIDI/Keyboard engineer. I had mentioned that I worked on keyboards for a few years before switching to guitar gear (so the title would've fit a few years ago), but I'm a guitar player and a guitar processing engineer now. It looked kind of weird that Peavey would ask a keyboard engineer to design a guitar amp.

- A discussion group member I know hipped me to the Transformer 112's review in Guitarist Mag. They touched on some cool details of the amp. And they really dug our interface. Some highlights:

"It's an exceptionally well executed interface - consequently, setting up a sound is simple."

"The amp sounds great and looks classy too, while that LED-illuminated control panel is just about the best interface we've seen so far on this type of amp."

"Peavey is on to a real winner with this one."

- Read the marketing info on the Fender CyberTwin for a good description of what the Transformer does. They claim to not be a "modeling" amp because they use analog preamp circuitry in addition to digital, and replicate the actual tone circuits of the amps. Hmm, sounds familiar. To be fair, they do have a couple of new tricks, like 1) mixing and matching preamp and EQ sections, and 2) placing the EQ before the preamp. The former is cool, but is it overkill? With cab swapping, the Transformer offers 84 models (12 amp models, 7 cab models - do the math). The latter means D/A conversion before the preamp, which is asking for noise. I don't think you can even turn their noise gate off. With ours, you can, and it's not too bad - because you're guitar is directly connected to the TransTube preamp. And while EQ before the preamp can get you into Boogie land, it's real easy to get a BAD tone. Anyone who has played a Boogie Mark whatever combo knows this (Rectifiers and such put the EQ after the preamp). It's cool IF you know what you're doing. Kind of like the stick shift of amps. The Transformer controls the pre-distortion EQ via component switching in the analog preamp - controlled by the amp model selection.

- More credit where credit is due department:  the Transformer addresses the poweramp coloration issue by using a real TransTube poweramp with 10-100% power level control. Vox is getting credit with their Valvetronix for being the first modeling amp to address the importance of poweramp coloration. They do it differently than we do, but we addressed it two years earlier. I'm not going to say we were the first, either, since some of our own predecessors may have addressed it in their own ways.

Model Definitions

Back to top

Here is the answer to the most popular of questions: "What 12 amps were modeled?" The answer is not as specific as you'd expect. We usually modeled one amp as a starting point, then listened to some others and tweaked by ear to get the best mixture. Why do it this way? We decided early on that the most important thing was that the models sounded killer - and were usable. Saying that they were identical to a particular box was not of utmost importance. Let's just say that the amps and cabs in this table are what we thought it sounded closest to when we were done.
Model Selection
Peavey Classic Clean Classic 50/30 clean 1x12 open back
Peavey Classic Crunch Classic 50/30 lead 1x12 open back
Peavey High Gain Bandit lead/5150 lead tone controls 4x12 5150 straight
Peavey Ultra Ultra Plus ultra channel 4x12 5150 straight
American Clean 60s Blackface Fender Twin  2x12
American High Gain 70s Canefront Boogie 1x12 w/JBL "chrome dome"
American Tweed 50s Fender Bassman 4x10
American Modern 80s Mark IV Boogie w/ active EQ 1x12 open back
British Crunch 70s  Master Volume Marshall 4x12 slant
British Vintage 60s Bluesbreaker combo 2x12 Celestions, open back
British High Gain 80s modified Marshall 4x12 slant
British Clean Vox AC30 Top Boost 2x12 Celestions, open back

Secret Features
(that didn't make the 1x12 manual deadline)

Back to top

These will surely be in the next manual, which will cover both the 1x12 and 2x12, but the first runs of the 1x12 didn't get this info. Sorry about that!

Preset toggling with the PFC4 footswitch:

After changing presets within a bank, pressing the switch for the active preset will switch to the previous preset. E.g. if you're on A1 and switch to A3, pressing A3 again will toggle back to A1, etc. This allows you to keep your foot over a single switch and toggle between two sounds within a bank - similar to a channel footswitch on a dual-channel amp. Exception: if you edit the current patch (twirl a knob, do a tap tempo, etc.) pressing the switch of the current preset will re-load the original preset, not load the previous preset number.

Boost / FX settings copying:

The boost function allows you to have two complete settings (per preset) for the pre gain, post gain, and 3-band EQ. When creating a preset, you will typically build your non-boost sound (boost LED off on the PFC4), then want to modify it for the boost. Well, the settings will usually be way different, and synchronizing them manually is a bit of a pain. So, you can press the USER button for 1 second (and continue to hold, which puts the amp into Patch Tweak mode, see below), and hit the boost footswitch. This will copy the 5 parameters from the non-boost to the boost slots. (If you were boosted in the first place, the copy would go the other way - it goes from where you were to where you're switching.) This also works with the effect knobs, but since they're just one or two each, it's not much of a problem to tweak the two settings manually.

Top 10 reasons to buy a Peavey Transformer (IMHO that is):

Back to top

You know, it's 2007 now, and this has been my main gigging amp for years. It really is the best of both worlds - the consistency and feel of a "real" amp, with the ergonomics of a modeling amp. I need one guitar cord, one outlet, and I'm ready to play (after setting the master) - with effects, boosts, tuner, and presets. No more batteries, pedals, re-tweaking the sound every time out. OK, on with the old list...

  1. Real amp tone and feel - because it IS real (TransTube preamp and poweramp).
  2. Cabinet swapping lets you mix and match amp and cab models (tons of tones - 84 combinations).
  3. WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) user interface - via LED's around knobs - always shows you the current settings. [Most modeling amps' knobs will lie! Go up to a Line 6 anything (including Pod Pro), Rocktron Replifex, Crate DX - or even the lower priced Yamaha DG and Johnson JM/JT (and the J-Station) - and change presets. The knobs will say one thing, the tone will say another.]
  4. PFC4 footswitch included - does preset switching (and it's fast!), boost, tap tempo, EFX switching, tuner.
  5. Totally flexible boost (can mod pre/post AND 3-band EQ!) and effect switching within preset (not just on and off - toggle between any pair of knob settings).
  6. Three simultaneous effects: modulation (choice of 5 - chorus, flanger, phaser, tremolo, rotary), delay, reverb.
  7. Tail preservation on delay and reverb - when switching FX settings with footswitch, changing presets, or tapping a new delay time with the PFC4 (front panel Tap will chop the old echoes - that's for editing!).
  8. Strobe-style tuner with display on amp and footswitch. Standard 12:00 meter on amp, too. Simultaneously.
  9. Power (aka T-) Dynamics lets you reduce the power (down to 10%) for push-back at lower volumes.
  10. Flexibility - it is very user configurable, check it out:

Transformer Tweak / Tuner Power Features

(This info is in the owner's manual)

NOTE:  there are new entries for version 2.0! See them here
Back to top
Patch Tweak 
(hold USER for 1 sec.)
Global Tweak
(hold STORE for 1 sec.)
Tuner Tweak
(Press STORE and USER)
MIDI Channel
[Exit Tuner]
Store Tuner Tweaks
User on Powerup
Eb mode
[Exit Tuner]
Mid Shift Frequency
Bank Select Style
Footswitch All-Info
Mod Select
[Exit Tuner]
Flanger Delay Time
Flanger Feedback
Delay Treble Rolloff
Chromatic Mode
Delay Time Scale
Noise Gate Sensitivity
Delay Stereo Separation
Noise Gate Threshold
Tuner Volume


Comparison Shopping

Back to top

This table is from 2002 or so.  There have been a lot of changes since then, including most production moved to China.  Keep in mind most of these prices were based on USA production.

Here are some feature comparisons between the Transformer and some of its competitors, including Line 6 (Flextone and POD), Johnson, Yamaha (DG combos, preamp and DG Stomp), and Fender (Cybertwin). There are other features not listed in the table - mainly because I don't know off hand what they are in the other brands. I'll do some research later on and add stuff. These include number of effects, number of patches, footswitch function, and whether the footswitch is included in the amp price. Oh yeah, and amp price!

WYSIWYG Amp/FX Control
Real Power Amp Modeling
Power Level Adjustment / Power
Delay/Reverb Tail Preservation
Dual Levels for preamp/effects
Transformer 1x12/2x12
Yes (in the actual power amp)
Yes / 5-50 per side continuous adjustment
PFC4 included!
Line 6
Flextone II
No / 60 per side
not included
$899/$999 Digital No/No No No / 60 per side No No not included
Johnson JM150 Millenium
No / 150
not included
Johnson JM60 Marquis $1099 Tube No/No No No / 60 No No not included
No / 100
not included
No / 65 per side
simple 4-button included
Digital (Korg)
Yes (albeit at line level)
Yes - 1, 15, 30, or 60 per side
not included


Comparison chart Transformer vs. Vypyr

Both are analog/digital hybrid modeling amplifiers, but there are differences. The Vypyr (2008) is a new design, as opposed to being an update of the Transformer design (2001, out of production). The Vypyr has a much lower price point making it more affordable to more players. It also has more amp models and effects and more available gain, which is great for shred and metal players. The Transformer has more control over the analog circuitry, and that coupled with less digital circuitry and an adjustable noise gate make it preferable to some players that like to use more vintage output guitars and/or manipulate the guitar volume for dynamics. Just a matter of taste in some of those regards. Here are some specifics in table form:

Transformer Vypyr

Power (Watts RMS)

50 on 1x12; 100 on 2x12 (50+50 stereo) 15/30/75/100 (solid state); 60/120 (tube)

Power amp

TransTube w/ power level and adjustable resonance/presence TransTube (w/ power level on 75 and 100); Tube power in 60/120


TransTube w/ pad, bright, and fat adjustments

Amp models

12 (16 in v2.0) 24 total (clean/dirty of 12 amps)

Amp / Cabinet mix & match

Yes No

Stomp effect (before preamp)

None Choice of 11

Post effect (after preamp)

Choice of 5 (6 in v2.0)
Choice of 10

Delay and Reverb

Yes, with spillover after effect off and preset change

Effects loop

Serial None


MIDI In / footcontroller jack (8-pin); MIDI Out MIDI In / footcontroller jack (8-pin)


None Audio out (75/100/60/120)

Headphone out

1/4 1/8

Auxiliary in

None 1/8

Boost function

Programmable per preset (can alter pre, post and tone controls)

Tap tempo

1/4 note (v2.0 supports dotted 1/8, dotted 1/4 and double triplet tap modes) 1/4 note


None 30-second sample/hold accessed with Sanpera I or II

External speaker jack

only on 112 via hardware mod to convert headphone out On tube models (60/120)


Chromatic or guitar, E or Eb. LED strobe and 12:00 display Chromatic; 12:00 display

Input jacks

High and Low gain Single


LED ring WYSIWYG angled on front LED ring WYSIWYG straight on front

Parameter knobs

10 (5 amp, 5 effect) 5 (mode select for amp or effect)

Noise gate

Configurable / bypassable (global settings for threshold and sensitivity)

Effect switching via footswitch

Primary / Secondary (set primary to off for on/off action)
On / Off

Volume / wah pedal

None (MIDI support for volume) Yes/Yes (via Sanpera I or II)


PFC4 included Sanpera I or II optional



Back to top

These are single patch sysex dumps. They can be sent to your Transformer without overwriting your sounds. When you send one of these, it will go into the "Edit Buffer" and you will immediately see and hear it. If you like it, it's up to you to store it on the amp.

If you don't know how to send these, you can use the PC Editor below (or download MIDIOX) for sending, and get a MIDI to USB breakout box, or a MIDIMan adapter cable for your soundcard's 15-pin game port if you still have one (from a music store or catalog). MIDIOX has a Send Sysex command on its toolbar, so it's easy to do once you select the correct MIDI port (via Options | MIDI Devices). Save any of the patches below to your local drive so you can cue them up with MIDIOX. The PC Editor has a ReadMe that should explain it.

My current patches utilize some amp-model sysex tweaks that you can only change via MIDI. You can make similar changes with the PC editor, and a Peavey PC1600x can be setup to edit these things, too. If you edit the amp model, then switch it back, the mods are lost (until you recall the patch again - after NOT storing).

BTW - to hear some of the sounds I get with my bread and butter patches, go here.

My bread and butter patches. These 4 all use the Tweed cabinet so I can change gain without a drastic tonal shift (I also have the same 4 in Bank B with the Classic Clean cab model - basically no cab model). They also have reverb and delay settings stored as initially off (i.e. "on deck"), as well as modulation settings (choices listed below). The patch levels are balanced to work with my Les Paul Deluxe (mini humbuckers) into the high gain input. If you have a high output axe, you may need to reduce the pregain settings on the clean and grit patches so the balance works out (or raise them for a low output axe).

Clean - Peavey Clean (mods: bright off, more presence), chorus on deck
Grit - American Tweed (mods: bright on), tremolo on deck
Crunch - Peavey Crunch (mods: more lows in preamp), rotary on deck
Lead - Peavey Hi Gain (mods: more lows in preamp), phaser on deck

These next two have tremolo and delay set so that you can play in the "holes" of the trem to get a swell sound, and the delay will add notes in between your played ones, making it sound like a tempo doubler. It's an old volume knob trick that you'll recognize the sound of, but you can go faster with the trem doing the swell. Plus, they're not exactly in sync, so if you play at the delay rate perfectly, the amount of attack will slowly sweep around like a slow phase shifter. Kinda cool once in a blue moon.

Loop 1 - Slow tempo, more in sync
Loop 2 - Faster tempo, less in sync

Here are some others I've done while developing the PC Editor:

Carlos - Guess who this is supposed to sound like! Boogie model with tame treble settings (careful with that audio taper!).
CR_Vox - Peavey Classic Crunch into Vox 212 cab.
Cupid - Just twirling knobs and it sounded like "Cupid's Dead" off Extreme III. Hail Nuno!
FreezeFlange and FreezePhase - These sweep slowly when mod is enabled via footswitch, then freeze when not. Find a sweet spot.
HiMid - Funky sounding on its own, but could work in a mix. (Uh, highs and mids.)
TweedTwin - Bassman into a Twin 212.
UL_Brit - Ultra hi gain into Marshall 412
UL_Tweed - Ultra hi gain into Bassman 410.
Wicked Game - Tried to mimic the Chris Isaak tune. So-so results. Just picture the video....ahhhh! I wanna go down under and Mount Helena!

PC Editor / Librarian

Back to top

This is a Windows editor / librarian that allows you to store all the patches you want, in addition to the ability to tweak all parameters, including some that are not available on the front panel. Two screen shots are below.

After installing (there is a ReadMe in the zip), you can associate .syx files with the program so you can click on the patch links above (or in Windows Explorer) to audition a patch immediately. is now hosting the program here:
{short description of image}


{short description of image}


Back to top

Q. Why is the 212's direct out affected by the master volume?

A. The Transformer's power amp is rewired when the amp model changes (presence ane resonance), so in order for that tonal (and dynamic) difference to make it into the direct outputs, the circuit - including speaker simulator - must be after the power amp.

Q. Why doesn't the 112 have a direct out?

A. First off, it would have driven the price up higher than we wanted. Plus, the direct out circuit was designed after the 112 was released to production. And if we had put a direct out on there, it would have been mono, since the 112 has only one power amp, and the power amp has to drive the direct out in order to hear that contribution to the modeling.

Q. What are the differences between the 112 and 212?

A. The 112 is 50 watts, the 212 is 50 watts x 2, so it is quite a bit louder - and stereo. It also has a little bit more oomph in the low end because it has a bigger cabinet. It has a direct recording out with speaker simulation, and that also goes to the headphone jack, so the headphone tone will be more accurate on the 212. Oh yeah (duh!), more weight and money. (40 pounds, $799 vs. 60 pounds, $1049.)

Q. Can I use an external cabinet?

A. Not in addition to the internal speakers. That would drop the impedance too low and you could damage the amp. You can substitute a 4-ohm load (or higher, albeit with less power) for each speaker. For example, disconnect the internal speaker on the 112 and drive a 4-ohm cab at 50 watts. You can get an open-frame 1/4" jack to hook the clips up to, then connect to the cab with a standard speaker cable. Note: the cab modeling won't be accurate with an external cab, but you can disable cab modeling by choosing Classic Clean as the cabinet. 

Q. Why is my .syx association in Windows not bringing the file into the PC Editor correctly?

A. The Editor wants the command line to be the program on its own (e.g. C:\Tforn\TFormer.exe). Some versions of Windows like to put a %1 at the end of the line, with the whole thing in quotes. Go to Explorer, View, Folder Options, then go to the File Types tab to make the tweak. Lose the quotes and the %1 and try it again.


Back to top