ZT Lunchbox #324

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by ReginaldBisquet, Aug 7, 2009.

  1. ReginaldBisquet

    ReginaldBisquet Supporting Member

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    NEW AMP ALERT!!!!!!!!

    Hello my fellow Gearpageonauts. I am the arrogantly proud owner Lunchbox #324. Here's a photo of the amp on the day of arrival:

    [​IMG]

    No doubt as to what's inside! Here's the disclaimer everyone's talked about with the reverb:

    [​IMG]

    So anyway... how big is the Lunchbox? Let's compare!

    Here we are next to my beloved Pignose 7-100:
    [​IMG]


    And here we are next to the big brother of the family -- a Peavey Delta Blues 115! Note Kurosawa's Seven Samurai DVD joining in on the size action:

    [​IMG]


    And finally... to answer the question that everyone has been dying to know... is the ZT Lunchbox really the size of a lunchbox? I went down to the local comic book store to find out:

    [​IMG]

    Ta da!

    So now that we have all that out of the way, how does this amp perform?

    On its own, the amp is deceptively loud. The first night I had the amp, I trying it out with the reverb at zero, tone at 50%, volume at 25% and gain at 50%. The amp was sitting on a table next to me and after 15 or 20 minutes, I noticed my ear was starting to hurt. So -- not a good idea to play with this thing near your head.

    Next I tried it out with everything maxed out! In my experience, it's hard for any amp to sound good when maxed out... the Lunchbox is no exception. Plus, my beautiful wife said some thing in Korean that didn't sound too happy. So, I turned the volume back down to a modest level (~25%).

    As the tag in the photo explains, the reverb is not a traditional reverb. The manual says to think of it as the sound of a small amp in a bathroom... and that's pretty much spot on. Turned to 25% (my favorite setting) there's a slight hint of reverb. At 50% it's much more noticeable... and at 75% - well, it sounds like 50%. 100% sounds a little more pronounced... but nothing drastic.

    The amp does clean tones beautifully. With the gain turned up, you get a nice overdriven sound that (I think) is very good. Keeping the volume at 25%, gain at 90% and reverb at 75% - I found the amp nailed a fantastic early 60s sounding blown amp tone. A lot of fun and quite usable for certain styles. Still, I prefer to run the gain at 50% and use pedals for dirtier tones.

    Next, I tried out the headphone jack. When plugged in, the signal to the headphone is hard to hear unless you turn the speaker off (via small toggle switch in the back). I'm not sure about this... but I think there's a safety function with the headphone jack in that you can turn the volume up on the jack without blowing your eardrums. I think (again, not sure) the volume is cut significantly to the headphone jack to prevent ear drums and headphones from being blown. Don't get me wrong, you can turn the gain and volume up on the master control as well as the headphone volume... but the ratio of signal to the speaker v. the headphones is dramatically reduced.

    Last weekend (as I noted in another ZT Lunchbox thread) I plugged a 2x12 cab into the Lunchbox (via a proper speaker cable). Again, I switched the Lunchbox speaker off to let all the signal go to the 2x12. At one point, I had the volume and gain set to about 50% and I swear... I could feel my bones rattling. It was THAT stinking massive. Obviously, the lower end on this amp (as it stands) is not prominent. But when the signal is pushed through a 2x12 (I think it was equipped with Man O Wars) the lower end was there in spades. Very full sounding tone.

    And then tonight, I tried out the axillary input as well as running my guitar through the normal input. Was very surprised to notice the balance between the two signals. One signal does not fight the other and when one is plugged in... hence, both signals remains at your set level.

    You want video proof? Okay, you got it right here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdAbc_n6UPc

    Upcoming adventures:

    Amp shootout
    Testing with a 2x12 cab
    Pedal testing
    Then, hitting the road around Houston and try the amp against real musicians with more expensive gear.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2009
  2. Catoogie

    Catoogie Senior Member

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    I played one yesterday at Sam Ash. I was EXTREMELY impressed. It's no brainer.
     
  3. tremster

    tremster Member

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    Do the testing with the 2x12 cab first! That sounds interesting.
     
  4. voojo

    voojo Silver Supporting Member

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    Great review & video! The comparison pics are very helpful too! Look forward to the "Upcoming Adventures"

    I've got my eye on one of these little buggers.
     
  5. Sniper-V

    Sniper-V Member

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    I've been giving it praises for some time now. Excellent amp! Great for really anything especially that all important backup. It actually works great to as a main rig. I've actually used it in a live situation mic'd up and it sounds killer. Ran my pedals straight through it and cut right through.

    It's guaranteed to crack a smile or even a laugh.

    I'm actually ready for the 1x12 version!
     
  6. Rod

    Rod Tone is Paramount Gold Supporting Member

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    God it's smaller than a Pignose!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW
     
  7. Billy Penn

    Billy Penn Member

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    I have two Lunchbox amps and love them. I have tried them with different cabinets and actually like them better with the internal speaker (reminds me of the 5F1 type of tone). These are cool amps and for $260 online (www.lunchboxamp.com- dealer) you can't beat them. Great sounding, small (really small) loud (really loud) and work very well with pedals. Very cool!!!!
     
  8. ReginaldBisquet

    ReginaldBisquet Supporting Member

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    As if the Lunchbox 2 isn't portable enough...

    [​IMG]

    My wife made a little satchel to tote the amp around!

    [​IMG]

    It even has a little side pocket for the power cord!

    [​IMG]

    Cool, eh?!

    Taking the Lunchbox with me tonight for a "psychedelic rock" jam. Going to use the digital tanpura and guitar with it. Will also have my acoustic saz and use the tanpura through the lunchbox as accompaniment.
     
  9. Travst

    Travst Member

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    I'm not sure if I should say "Nice groupie" or "Love your man-purse". ;)
     
  10. ReginaldBisquet

    ReginaldBisquet Supporting Member

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    Jammed last night with two fellows for some 13th Floor Elevators / 1960s-era Pink Floyd psych-rock. The drummer was using a simple acoustic drum setup while the other guitar player used a custom-made massive rack effects system and two EV 12" speakers built into custom cabs as well as a Fender 12 string guitar.

    Yours truly used a bunch of stomp boxes, Epiphone SG Special and the digital tanpura (see YouTube video). The gain was set to 40% and the volume was set to 25% - and I could be heard VERY clearly with the other two musicians making a racket.

    At one point, I turned the gain up to 90% (leaving the volume alone) and used my Green Ringer clone pedal... got some really nice raunchy tones that fit with the style we were playing... and I was very clearly heard over pounding drums.

    Next experiment will be a run through with all my pedals as some (like the Monsterpiece NPN) don't sound that great while others sound just fine.
     
  11. ReginaldBisquet

    ReginaldBisquet Supporting Member

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    Another Usage Report:

    Took the Lunchbox to a rock jam on Friday night. The line up was similar to the other jam group (two guitars and drums). The other guitar player was using an Ampeg J12T (reissue version - 15 watts, EL84 tubes and 12" speaker) while running his vocals into a Peavey PA. The drummer was using a full kit.

    We went through a couple songs by The Beatles, Wishbone Ash, Black Sabbath and some open jams. At several points - the two guitars blended at the same level of volume and tone - to the point where we sounded identical. Very strange. After a couple of songs, I asked if the other two guys could hear me - which they could. But then, I noticed that I had the volume at 70% and the gain at 60% (no reverb) while the other guitar player was running at 70% volume. The vocals were getting a little drowned out with the heavier music - but the other two players insisted they could still hear me.

    After 45 minutes - our ears were ringing and we needed an extended beer break. I switched out my amp to the Peavey Delta Blues just to have a different tone. BUT - the Lunchbox held it's own against the Ampeg AND a full drum kit playing rock styles.
     
  12. Derelict

    Derelict Member

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    you are going to go deaf


    love,
    adam
     
  13. Billy Penn

    Billy Penn Member

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    What?
     
  14. Geardog

    Geardog Member

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    I'm a tube guy, always will be.

    I think the ZT doesn't get enough say because it's solid state. I have the Lunchbox, can dial in some nice tones, 200 watts from a 6.5" speaker, lite, can hook up an external cab, and I bring it with me when I'm going to checkout a guitar at a private sale.

    Does it have the warmth, sensitivity of a tube - No. Other than that & it's a tad expensive - I like it. 2 cents given.
     
  15. ReginaldBisquet

    ReginaldBisquet Supporting Member

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    Okay - the Lunchbox has a new playmate: a 2 x12 extension cabinet from AB Custom Audio with a set of Scumback speakers installed!

    [​IMG]

    Plugged the Lunchbox into the ext cab and put the volume at 25%, tone at ~65%, gain at ~75%. The results? Holy FECK!!!! Loud, growling heavy tones that rawk. And that's at 25% volume.

    Here are the specs on the extension cabinet:
    2 x12 cabinet, convertible back, removable front grill (front loading), removable casters, large rubber feet, large handle on top, wiring and jack included, unloaded. Less than $200 shipped from CA to TX. I had bought the Scumbacks a while ago and installed them myself.

    I used the Lunchbox and ext cabinet twice this weekend at two separate stoner doom metal jams. Used the SG noted in my sig. In both cases, the Lunchbox clearly shined as a functional and versatile amp.

    I wired the cabinet for 16ohms because I plan on using it with my Peavey Delta Blues which requires a 16 ohm load when using an extension. However I should say that the Lunchbox can use 8 ohms and probably prefers this - although I haven't confirmed this yet.

    Plugged my guitar straight in and went head-to-head against a 100 w solid state Marshall half stack. I had also brought my Peavey Delta Blues because I had no idea what to expect from the Lunchbox in terms of volume and tone. I ran the Lunchbox volume at 50%, ~75% gain and ~75% tone while the Marshall cranked up to 60% volume. The guy playing the Marshall looked at me in disbelief with the Lunchbox and beckoned the classic question: how does that much sound come out of that little amp?

    With the Lunchbox speaker on - the sound was mid-range oriented and cut through the rest of the band but did not pierce the ears. With the Lunchbox speaker off, the sound darkened up - hence the tone knob being turned up, which helped a lot with brightening the sound. Still a lot of midrange, but this time more of a lower midrange tone. I wonder if the mid range character is due to the speakers and/or the ohm rating of the wiring or if this is simply the character of the amp.

    When using the Peavey and the extension cabinet in the same situation, I had to turn the Peavey's volume up to 100% (along with maxing out the eq) to match the volume level of the Lunchbox. However - the tone from the Peavey was much warmer and "bluesy" compared to the Lunchbox. My tone blended with the Marshall to the point where we also sounded alike - while the Lunchbox gives me a distinct sound that complemented what we were doing. Since I play a lot of leads, the bass player said that I should stick with the Lunchbox because it has a "lead guitar tone".

    I'm not saying the Lunchbox has a better tone than the Peavey - just different - and I'm really liking the difference!
     
  16. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    Sorry, I tried a friends and thought it was horrible. Get a used Crate VC20 or Fender Pro Jr. instead.
     
  17. The Kid

    The Kid Member

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    I gotta say that I wasn't expecting much out of this amp, but I'm pleasantly surprised. Although the Lunchbox isn't going to replace my high end stuff, or even my Ampeg J20 for smaller gigs, it's a great little amp for rehearsals. I'd even use it for sitting in on a couple tunes at someone else's gig.

    I must say that for something this small to have enough volume and sound decent enough to do a rehearsal, it's well worth the $235 (barely used) that I paid for it. I can't really see myself ever gigging with it, but it's worth its weight in gold for its portability and ease of use.

    I will get some wisecracks for sure when I roll up to rehearsal with this thing, but I'll be the one laughing as everyone else is making their 2nd trip in. :)

    Haven't tried it through a bigger cab, and don't really feel the need to. My J20 sounds good enough to gig as a grab & go rig when I don't want to bring out my good stuff. This amp is simply going to make rehearsal a breeze.
     
  18. ReginaldBisquet

    ReginaldBisquet Supporting Member

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    The other day, I asked my wife to take a look at the two Chinese characters in the ZT Amplifiers logo. She said that one had the character for "family" while the other had the character for "mouth". That's about as far as she could figure out (much further than me)... so I sent a message to ZT asking if they could tell me what the characters mean:

    The characters (although Chinese interpretation depends on geographic location, dialect, whatever you call it...) stand for Zhong Ting, which translates to "the crowd is listening". If you reverse the characters, it means "you're making me deaf" or something like that.

    So now we know what "ZT" stands for!
     
  19. maxVsf

    maxVsf Member

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    Dude, I'm amazed at your reply. I've owned every amp in the book, including one of the "holy grail" dumbles... I bought a Lunchbox, and have used it on some gigs, club and outdoor, with a Zendrive and Malekko Spring Chicken reverb. Would much rather play through this rig than a crate or a pro jr.... and I can BURY those amps... can't cut the power levels... you are a good player with great tone, but I'm disagreeing with you on this one. Did you try your ETHOS with it?

    different strokes...
     
  20. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    Who cares if you can bury it if it sounds like s**t. Sorry, constant transistor hum, horrible reverb if it could be called such a thing and the gain was lame as well...I think that was all the features I can remember. I got a headache using it.

    Maybe yours is a non-buzzy one.
     

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