Peavey Dyna Bass
The Dyna Bass (DYNAmic? DYNAmite?) is a stylish, expensive, active instrument, and my first impressions are that this one is very black, and that there are five knobs to contend with (plus a tiny switch).
Getting in a little closer, it is comfortingly evident that this is a 575 quid bass. The finish is superb: note the luxurious paint job, the well-dressed frets (the lower frets have a correspondingly lower profile) sitting in an attractive fingerboard, and the feel of solid, quiet quality about the hardware.
With the little black switch up, you're in normal passive mode. Quite honestly, though, if you're paying this sort of money then it's the active sounds you'll be after.
The two big knobs (nice transparent jobs) cover volume and pickup mix. The furthest back of the three little plastic 'uns is, in passive mode, a normal tone control, covering bass (±8dB at 50Hz), middle (a 'peak/notch' type covering 100Hz to 2kHz, notched at 300 Hz and 1.5kHz), and treble (±12dB at 2.5kHz).
The active tone controls were very helpful and effective - the bass knob adds a wonderful throb at a crucial frequency, the middle one's unusual settings allow you almost to 'suck out' the middle tones for some bizarre results when used severely, while the treble knob needed a distinctly careful touch if you were not to be overloaded with clanking, honky basslines accompanied by tiny hints of naughty hissing. After a mere hour or so of twiddling and humming and hahing I drew some exquisite tones from the Dyna, along with some downright offensive slabs of bass-noise that could be perfect in the right context. All power to Peavey's EQ department.
Prodding around the fingerboard the way I do, I marvelled at the comfort of it all. As I've said, the frets have had attention to assist in this, and quite honestly the severe narrowing of the neck toward the nut didn't bother me much (though there is a 3/16in wider option available). The thing to consider is what you're used to. It's likely that at the price level you'd be stepping up to this bass from another instrument. So bear in mind the relative neck dimensions of your old bass versus this one.
The overall neck profile is very slim indeed, and it too helps the general playfulness of the Dyna Bass. During the few brief minutes of pondering in passive mode when first I plugged in the bass, I thought the A-string perhaps a little quiet compared to the others. But any minor worries in this direction vanished when I switched on the active. And there I stayed, happily exploiting the tonal richness that is at the heart of this excellent four-string from Mississippi.
Supporting the musical character of this bass, as you'd expect on an instrument of this price, was a good team of mechanical bits and bobs: the machine heads were solid and accurate, the four-bolt neck joint without weakness, and a straightforward and uncomplicated bridge took care of the tuning-and-tension logistics.
Clearly Peavey have much to be proud of with this new top-notch bass, and we would particularly praise its versatile sounds and comfortable playing feel. Competing for your money in this price range are, on one hand, similar high-quality production-line actives, and, on the other, the lower levels of handmade instruments. In the former category, the Dyna is a tempting choice that small personal affectations will decide; amongst the better known names of the latter, the Dyna is probably on an equal footing as far as resaleability is concerned, but might sway you with its sheer classiness over lesser brands. We thought the Dyna Bass was black magic.
Review by Tony Bacon
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