Dr. Z Prescription ES - a new classic

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by osostrings, Sep 13, 2006.

  1. osostrings

    osostrings Supporting Member

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    Amp hype works in understandably strange ways, but I've been frequently perplexed by the (perceived/comparative) lack of hype over Dr. Z's Prescription ES. So, I figured I'd post a review/rave to get some more discussion going.

    I've had the head version for about a year now and it seems to me to be an absolutely stunning amp - astoundingly versatile but not a "jack of all trades, master of none" sort of thing - I can achieve a variety of amazing tones and it seems to me that they are all achieved through the amp's incredible balance rather than some of the indiscriminate blandness that some versatile amp's offer.

    I'm using a Fender CS Tele Jr with Lollar P90s, no boosts or ODs, and a Z-Best 2x12" cab with an Eminence Red Fang and a Celestion G12H30. I have a small project recording studio and I frequently record the amp in a number of contexts - it has done everything thing from alt-country to indie rock to even hardcore punk/metal and the amp does them all well. At lower volumes, I've coaxed gorgeous, jangly, and nuanced clean tones without any of the overt crispy high-end that some EL84 amps are guilty of. And at higher volumes, there is really no limit to the amount of gigantic overdrive this amp can dish out. At these levels, I totally concur with some of the comparisons that others have mentioned about the amp, such as the "marshall crunch meets vox chime," but I think it adds up to even more than that. It's as if every frequency section of the amp, especially in overdriven situations, has been carefully tweaked to my ear's desires. The low-end is tight and commanding, without lacking warmth - excellent amp for a one guitar band because it fills out so much. The midrange is chewy, textured, and tremendously articulate - complex chord voicings and quick single-note passages lose none of their coherency even amidst heavy overdrive. The high-end is equally impressive with refined glassy grind and plenty of sparkle. The compression is such to allow lots of dynamic response - for most situations, I roll the volume to '6' and control clean-to-crunch with pick attack - but it is not clinically tight, probably thanks to tube rectification and the elegance of the design. The overall voicing on the amp has some moderate influence from past amps (I hear some early plexi, vox, and actually a lot of the juicy harmonic rich tones of the Ken Fischer lineage), but it is one of the most uniquely designed amps I've ever heard.

    The only things I still want to tweak about my amp setup are the speakers and actually I just want more options because I think the amp can shine in so many situations. Eventually, I would like to get a nicely done old school marshall style 4x12" cab with some of the Heritage Celestion G12M speakers - I've heard this amp really shines with Greenbacks and it's frequently been a dream of mine to get it really fired up through a 4x12". I'd also like to pick up a open-back 2x12" with some alnico speakers to accentuate some of its chimier, jangly clean leanings. If any of you have some experience with the RxES though different speaker setups, I'd appreciate input.

    For soundclips, download the first two songs on my band's myspace: http://www.myspace.com/thebrightlightsocialhour - both tracks were recorded at home with the above mentioned setup. I would recommend downloading instead of the streaming the songs, because of the poor streaming quality. Let me know what you think!

    Thanks for reading my lengthy review - I'd encourage many of you from all sorts of playing styles to try out this amp (and other Z's - I've also owned the Route 66 - which I never should have gotten rid of! - and the Carmen Ghia).
     
  2. Madison

    Madison Supporting Member

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    Yes, the 45w RXES is a killer amp!...it's good to see the "younger generation" find a place for it, and it sounds good with your expressive music. I had one for a year and also threw out the pedals during that time...no need for OD's, boosters, compressors, with an RX. Two friends of mine currently use them with a variety of speakers...Weber blue dog, vintage 30 and Cele g12H-30...all with fine results. Enjoy!
     
  3. JeffD

    JeffD Very slow but persistent Supporting Member

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    Don't know if you've compared it to the Dr Z Sting Ray/Stang Ray, but if you have, here's a question:

    If you set them for equal, say moderate, volume, which one has more dirt?
    Thanks.
     
  4. tuna

    tuna Member

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    I think the Prescription has the more dirt
     
  5. osostrings

    osostrings Supporting Member

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    I haven't been fortunate enough to try the StangRay yet, but from what I've heard from clips the RxES has a considerably greater amonnt of gain on tap. I've heard the Stangray described as just getting thicker and more harmonically rich as the volume is raised.
     
  6. bluesmain

    bluesmain Member

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    I played a maz 18 the other day. Nice amp! I'm hearing some cool stuff about the good Dr.'s ES & StangRay too. Sound clips ?
     
  7. Madison

    Madison Supporting Member

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    Lots more, especially with the overdose on. The Stingray is probably the cleanest amp in the Z line, undoubtedly the most complex clean.
     
  8. G'OlPeachPhan

    G'OlPeachPhan Member

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    osostrings, I replied at the Z forum too, but figured I'd tell you again here how much I dig those two tunes... really nice work. The music kind of reminds me of the band At the Drive-In, if you're familiar with them... and I mean that as a compliment, as I dig their stuff.
     
  9. SuperReverb2

    SuperReverb2 Member

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    I auditioned the Prescription ES here in town last Summer, (Z best 2 x 12 cab and my Heritage Classic 535 with Seth Lovers) and it was VERY impressive. The Prescription ES currently sits VERY high up on my "need to have" list.

    :)
     
  10. JeffD

    JeffD Very slow but persistent Supporting Member

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    I've read that this amp is VERY loud. I'm wondering how loud it has to be to get at least some dirt. Thanks.
     
  11. cameron

    cameron Member

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    I too have been nursing a desire for the Rx ES. I've had a Ghia for a few years now, and recently acquired a Rte 66. It might turn into a veritable collection.
     
  12. bluesmain

    bluesmain Member

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    Do you like the Ghia?
     
  13. nashvillesteve

    nashvillesteve Member

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  14. Teleman

    Teleman Supporting Member

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    I've had my RXES head for about 7 months now. I first used it through a 2-12 ZBest and liked it but lugging that cab around was killing me. I ended up getting a Z 1-12 cab and after experimenting with a variety of speakers have settled on an old EVM 12 I had. It's just unbelievable with this RXES.
    IMHO its the best amp the good Dr. makes and I've owned a ghia,mazerati, max 18 jr (still have that one) a Maz sr, Z28 and a Rt. 66.
    The overdose switch can be used as a boost or to add "hair" to lower volume clean tones. The amps loves every pedal you put into it and also works equally well with single coils or humbuckers.
    Highly recommended!
     
  15. SuperReverb2

    SuperReverb2 Member

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    If I rememeber correctly, I had no problem coaxing some nice "dirt" out of the amp (using humbuckers) at moderate store volumes. Again, if I remember correctly the amp does get QUITE loud with the overdose switch engaged.

    :)
     
  16. teleking36

    teleking36 Supporting Member

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    I have Madison's old RX ES, which I've had for about 5-6 months. I had been lusting after one of these since the first time I heard it, on the Dr.'s website, with Brad Paisley showcasing it.

    First of all, it's got some seriously good clean sounds. Very 3D. The overdose is such a nice feature that really makes your sound HUGE and jump out at you. If I run the amp with a lo gain setting on my Timmy, and throw the overdose on, watch out!!

    I'm in total agreement that this amp deserves much more attention than it gets.
     
  17. Madison

    Madison Supporting Member

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    teleking36, my loss is your gain (no pun intended!) Glad you're enjoying the amp. I have two buddies playing the ES's, they are VERY pleased with them. We switched up a couple nights ago, and I plugged into the ES for a couple tunes. Definitely one powerful, kickin' amp.:BEER
     
  18. ruger9

    ruger9 Member

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    Hey Teleman,

    sorry for ressurecting a slightly old post here...

    Not many people have BOTH the Maz18Jr & the RxES. How would you compare the two? For example...

    I love the tones I've heard of the RxES, and the Overdose feature, but at 45W I've also heard it's "sweet spot" is damn loud- far too loud for home playing. I've heard the Maz18Jr & RxES are the 2 most "versatile" in the Z line, and while I know they are not the same amp, it sounds to me like the might be the 2 most comparable, gain-wise & tone-wise.

    Will the Maz18Jr "do" RxES tones?
    Will the RxES "do" Maz18Jr tones?

    If the Doc made a RxES JR (half-power), I'd be all over it. But I'm tired of trying to attenuate a 50W amp down to home levels...it's just ridiculous. As much as I want an RxES, I think it may NOT be versatile ENOUGH in the volume dept. Which would leave me with the Maz18Jr.

    Any observations you could offer would be greatly appreciated!
     
  19. Nolatone Ampworks

    Nolatone Ampworks Silver Supporting Member

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    I played my RX ES head through my Z-Best cab at an outdoor festival this past Saturday. I've always know that amp has great tone, but merit was added when both guitar players from the headliner band both came straight up to me and raved about how good that amp sounded.

    These were both extremely accomplished players (30+ years) who have been in label supported touring bands and have many album credits (and one has at least one Grammy).

    The RX ES is great because it has enough clean headroom to get great clean parts, but it's easy to push it into crunch, even just with a beefier pickup.

    Great amp.

    Paul
     
  20. Abandoned

    Abandoned Member

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    Ok so I'm seriously resurrecting an old thread, lol... BUT!
    how the the RX Jr. compare to the standard RX ES version?
    is there a big difference is bass response?
     

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