After two weeks in the Greatest City on Earth (seriously, Brighton is ace!) I’ve come back to unbelievable news. Peavey have finally released Revalver 4. Revalver is one of the survivors of the early wave of amp sims and always stood out because of it’s unique approach to component construction (you could customise individual valves, unusual now but mind-blowing in 2001). It was also the child of pretty much one guy and as a result had bags of personality. It also sounded pretty good as well. Version 2 came out in 2007, followed by a Peavey buyout and version 3 in 2009. So, 4 years since the last version, the omens were surely right for V4. After all, many of its old rivals such as Guitar Rig, GTR and Vintage Amp Room have faded into the sunset.

First spoken of by Egyptian pharoah Akhenaton in 1350 bc, rumours of a new version of Revalver have been circulating for a long time. Demonstrations at Namm at the start of the year were followed by a promise of a June release. Which of course did not happen. The forums buzzed with indignation, “of course” they yelled, “Peavey have never known what to do with Revalver”.

But here we are in August and Revalver 4 is open in front of me. So what are the first impressions?

What is noticeable is how familiar much of the layout is to anyone who has used Revalver in the past 13 years. Many of the amp and effect models are pretty familiar. The screen is a little small – which is annoying and after coming to this after a year pretty much only using an IOS device for modelling, using a mouse does not feel intuitive in the slightest – a midi control unit would make life a lot easier.

So it immediately has the familiar feel of Revalver, but there is one area where it has adopted the example of it’s most obvious competitor, Amplitube. It is free. At least to a point, once you register (this is not simple – registration and using the amp store function is more complicated than it needs to be) and lock the software to a usb device, such as a memory card, Ipod, Ilok, etc, you get two amps, A Peavey Valveking and a Custom Lite, a Tube screamer and tremolo pedal, reverb and some ACT content (more on ACT later – this is a really interesting development)

Other content -including amps, effects and guitar models, can be bought either piece by piece or in a $99 bundle for pretty much all of the major contact. For a PC package, this is pretty much bargain basement pricing and reflects what a market increasingly used to App pricing might expect to pay.

So we’re loaded up, signed in, with my Fender Lite-Ash Strat ready to go….what doe it sound like?

Tomorrow we’ll begin our model-by-model review….hold on to your hats, this is going to be a bi ‘un.