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Peavey PVM T9000

Valve Microphone By Paul White
Published October 1998

Peavey PVM T9000

The battle for low‑cost valve mic supremacy warms up as Paul White encounters Peavey's new PVM T9000.

If you look at what's happening in recording, mixing or signal processing, technology is rushing forward at an almost breathtaking pace, with the computer taking over most of the jobs that used to rely on expensive hardware. But when it comes to microphones, most engineers like to stick with tried and tested models that have been around for decades — valve mics are particular sought after for vocal recording. Vintage valve mics change hands at phenomenal prices, which is why most of the leading mic manufacturers have come up with new valve models, ostensibly with the aim of capturing the essence of the vintage sound but at a lower cost. Because of competition, some of these are quite attractively priced, though to keep the cost as low as possible, multi‑pattern capsules are often replaced by fixed cardioid capsules.

A good valve mic is a joy to listen to, with its smooth yet detailed sound, well‑integrated bottom and wispy, open highs, but even with all the benefits of modern components and assembly techniques, the cost is still significantly more than for a solid‑state model, mainly because of the valve circuitry and the external power supply needed to run the valve. There's very little choice under the £1000 mark, though we already have AKG's SolidTube mic, Rode's Classic and various Groove Tubes models fighting for a share of the project studio market.

Now US music manufacturing giant Peavey have pitched in with their PVM T9000, which costs a little over £950. Packed in a foam‑lined cardboard box almost big enough to ship a mixer, the PVM T9000 comes with an external power supply, the necessary mic‑to‑PSU 6‑pin XLR cable, a mains lead and a tough shockmount with a swivel stand adaptor. The mic itself has an eyecatching spun stainless steel body and dome‑shaped grille, with recessed switches for a low‑cut filter and a 10dB pad. Overall the mic looks very classy, though the appearance is let down slightly by the silver band just below the basket on which the switch functions are printed — this is quite obviously little more than a sticky‑back metallic label.

As with most of the 'affordable' capacitor mics, the PVM T9000 has a fixed‑cardioid polar pattern rather than a switchable, dual‑diaphragm capsule, and features a mid‑sized back‑electret capsule. Examining the included response curves shows the mic to be essentially flat from 20Hz to 20kHz but with a slight dip at 5kHz and a presence peak somewhere around 9kHz. When the low‑cut filter is switched in, the response rolls off gently below around 300Hz (200Hz corner frequency) to help compensate for the proximity effect. A six‑pin XLR connector couples the mic to its 25‑foot cable and the PSU box translates this to a regular balanced XLR. There are no controls on the PSU other than a mains power switch.

Looking more closely at the microphone itself, the stainless steel grille is backed by a second layer of finer mesh to help reduce wind noise and popping, while the shockmount also works as a heat sink to help keep the mic body cool. Inside the mic body is a single 12AX7 (ECC83) dual‑triode valve, and the total power consumption of the system is just 15 Watts. Obviously phantom power is not required, since it comes with its own PSU, though the system seems quite happy when connected to a mic input that has the phantom power switched on.

There is a school of thought that suggests much of the so‑called 'valve sound' is actually due to the use of output transformers in vintage gear. The PVM T9000 has a balanced output transformer within the PSU, and delivers a signal power level of ‑40dB where 0dB corresponds to 1mW/Pascal. This is not the most common way of specifying mic sensitivity, but in practice it's in the same ballpark as the other large‑diaphragm capacitor mics I use.

In side‑by‑side comparison tests against a number of high quality solid‑state mics, and using vocals as a source, you can hear straight away that the PVM T9000 delivers the characteristic valve timbre.

In Use

In side‑by‑side comparison tests against a number of high quality solid‑state mics, and using vocals as a source, you can hear straight away that the PVM T9000 delivers the characteristic valve timbre. It's hard to put into words, and there seems to be little subjective difference at high frequencies, but in the lower‑mid range, throaty and chesty sounds are both emphasised and made to sound smoother at the same time. To my ears, the top end is slightly harder‑sounding than some other valve mics I've heard, and there's also a slight tendency towards over‑emphasising sibilance, but nothing serious. However, the mic is prone to popping, so if you don't use a separate pop shield, you risk the occasional unfortunate syllable wrecking an otherwise OK take. The proximity effect warms the sound up even further, as you'd expect with a cardioid mic, and at close distances, a pop shield is absolutely vital.

Overall, the impression is good with the mic delivering a well‑integrated, focused sound, so providing the top end matches your vocal characteristics, you should enjoy using it. Similarly, acoustic instruments are captured well — the valve tonality helps knit the low end together rather better than some solid‑state mics do.


The Peavey PVM T9000 is a solidly built, affordable valve microphone that sounds like a valve microphone. It has a subtly flattering quality, though I don't think it's quite as flattering or as smooth sounding as the less expensive AKG SolidTube, but again, much depends on the mic/singer combination — it's rarely fair to judge a mic on its performance with just one or two singers. If you want a valve mic, this is certainly one of the more affordable models out there, and would be worth including in a shoot‑out once you've settled on your short list. The largely flat response should ensure that the PVM T9000 works OK with most vocal types, so it might be a good choice for a small commercial studio where you don't know who's coming in next. But as I've pointed out on so many occasions, you shouldn't buy any mic for your own use until you've sung into it and listened carefully to the results.


  • Rugged stainless steel construction.
  • Shockmount included.
  • Flattering valve sound.
  • Sensibly priced.


  • Tendency to sound slightly hard with some voices.


A well‑made, generally good‑sounding valve mic that's within the budget of a serious project studio.