Peavey has, since its founding, always had the collective mindset of providing musicians with just a little bit more than what they would expect at the price point they’re paying. The new Peavey Millennium 4 AC bass would be an exemplary example of that philosophy.
The sleek and elegant Millennium 4 AC bass is a double cutaway, solid basswood body, 4-string bass (a 5-string version is also available), with active circuitry. Our review model has a quilted maple veneer and a gloss transparent finish that allows the top’s wood figuring to show through. A solid finished all basswood body option is also offered.
The satin finished bolt-on maple neck is capped with a rosewood fingerboard with simple dot fret markers and a full 34” scale length. The 21 frets have nicely polished ends throughout the length of the neck. The graphite nut measures just a hair under 1 ½” and would feel familiar to those used to a Jazz Bass. The 4 in-line tuners are of the enclosed variety with a 19-1 ratio that turn smoothly and function how they should.
The Millennium 4 AC bass’ pickups are a pair of Peavey VFL active humbuckers that are matched with the active on-board pre-amp. The five controls are for volume, bass, mids, treble and a blend control for the two pickups. Most of the controls (with exception of the volume control) have center detents marking the halfway point–the flat settings on the EQ, and an equal blend of the neck and bridge pickups.
The face of the pickups are arched to match the radius of the fingerboard and the corresponding bridge height of each string for better string-to-string balance. The pickups are height adjustable with four screws each, which also allows for them to be adjusted so they are parallel with the strings. Nice.
Two 9 volt batteries power the active circuitry. The batteries reside in their own rear cavity adjacent to the control cavity. The battery compartment’s cover has two screws that need to removed in order to replace the batteries. Since there is no active/passive switch for the electronics, bassists will want to make sure there’s enough juice in the batteries before a show since the panel does not facilitate a quick change on the fly.
The Millennium 4 AC bass’ bridge is an interesting one. Actually four interesting ones, as each string is given its own individual bridge/tailpiece that, unlike most others, doesn’t share a common base. Obviously, the five-string Millennium 5 AC would have five of these.
But, there’s more to meet the eye with this bridge set up. The strings can either be strung through the body, or top-loaded through the bridge only for a different string tension and tonal response.
All of the hardware on the Millennium 4 AC bass is black. Usually, I’m not a fan of black hardware, but on this bass it looks so classy, I’m re-assessing my preference.
The horn on the upper bout extends up to the twelfth fret allowing for the bass to balance perfectly on the strap when the player is standing. The Millennium 4 AC bass also has the back body and front arm contours for comfort for those that like to wear their bass higher for more precision playing.
The overall set up of the Indonesian-made Millennium 4 AC bass was excellent, giving the bass a fast, responsive feel. The narrow nut and easy action will appeal to guitarists who find themselves switching over to bass.
Whether plugged into a bass amp or directly into the board the Millennium 4 AC bass produced nice round tones (with the blend control set full up for the neck pickup only) or nice nasal cut (with only the bridge pickup sounding). There’s a lot of magic to be had by blending the two together, which is the idea behind the blend knob…however, I did miss the instantaneous change of tone (and satisfaction thereof) that a three-way switch provides.
The 3 bands of EQ are extremely effective at shaping the tone. Since they are so responsive, only small adjustment right off the center detent were truly needed, though less natural/more extreme tones are possible turning controls to either end of the control’s reach.
This EQ section makes the Millennium 4 AC bass a viable choice when running direct while playing live as tonal control is at the player’s fingertips, rather than having to rely on the soundman for mid-set or mid-song micro adjustments. And, I doubt they’d complain: the active circuitry is very quiet, with the only noticeable noise occurring when the treble control is turned towards its higher reaches.
Since this tone shaping is so effective, full round tones or bright piano-like clarity (or anything in between) can easily be dialed in. With this flexibility, the Millennium 4 AC bass holds equal appeal to traditional jazz cats and modern progressive players alike. Rockers will like the overall feel and the ability to find their tone.
The look of the bass will win favor with all but the most died-in-the-wool traditionalists, and even they will appreciate the rich look of the quilted maple top. And everyone will appreciate the $429.99 MSRP ($329.99 street) price tag on the Millennium 4 AC bass which looks and carries itself as if it should be priced higher.
– Jake Kelly