Dr Z Route 66 - the best of them all!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by el34junior, Dec 14, 2019.

  1. neville5000

    neville5000 Supporting Member

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    Loved mine when I had it. Probably my favorite of the Z amps.
     
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  2. Fortis

    Fortis Member

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    Yeah, it is. I'm a good repeat customer of Doc (Lol) and years ago I asked the shop if they'd do a '66 with a red flame valence. i expected the answer to be no but I got an unexpected yes so I ordered right away. I agree with you, it's a looker.
     
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  3. PerryR

    PerryR Silver Supporting Member

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    Awesome, so that was Z’s first Editors Pick Award, but I also think it was the very first ‘Editors Pick Award’ awarded by GP?
     
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  4. Brion

    Brion Supporting Member

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    That’s what I remember too.
     
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  5. iluvstrats

    iluvstrats Member

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    I had one for a really long time. One of my favorite amps ever. I bought this during the early years of the gearpage. I had a couple of maz jrs, A kt45, and a Delta 88. I compared all of his other amps with the 66 and only held on to the 66. While I had the 66, I bought and sold a bunch of boutique amps. Aikens, Komet, ÷13, many more that I can't remember. The 66 beat out all of the other amps. They were all great amps but I preferred the 66. I ran it with either a 1x12 ported cab or the Dr Z 2x12 ported cab.
    I only sold after I got tired of carrying a head and cab. If it came in a combo I'd purchase it.
     
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  6. PerryR

    PerryR Silver Supporting Member

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    The early ones had less filtering, Z soon after raised the Voltage a bit (different power transformer) and then increased the filtering to eliminate the ghosting.

    Z had 2 or 3 prototypes, and I got to spend time with one, Z even had me change a few things while I had it. When it was done I bought the first production head, the first 20 or so had Dixie Sound power transformers that were a bit lower voltage, and of course the lower filtering as well. Those earliest 66's had a little extra 'Primitive Vibe' going on and man I wouldn't change a thing. I bought a later one (after he was cited for ghosting lol), and preferred my original. I asked Z if he would make me one like my original, and lucky for me he had held onto one of those original Dixie Trannies and hooked me up with a Gold paneled Route 66 Orig recipe. My 2 Route 66's
     
  7. Mr.Hanky

    Mr.Hanky Member

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    Such a great amp and I agree with everything the OP said, it is a pedal inhaling machine.

    That amp has a lotta torque, hard to explain but it is loud, clear, muscular and never in the vicinity of being harsh.
     
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  8. Fireball XL5

    Fireball XL5 Supporting Member

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    I used to own a Route 66 that I played into a 4x12 loaded with Greenbacks, and it was a great blues rock/classic rock setup IMO. Into Greenbacks, the Route 66 sounded very old school Marshally to my ears. Sort of like a cross between an old JMP & a JTM45, while still having it's own tonal signature.

    A lot will depend upon what speakers and cab you run the 66 into, but generally speaking, I found the Route 66 to be a somewhat dark voiced amp with a lot midrange happening no matter how you set it. It always sounded fat with solid (tight) bass and rounded off highs. The Treble & Bass controls only alter those respective frequencies up until 12:00 on the dial, and anything beyond that adds gain to those respective frequencies instead of more treble or bass.

    Another amp I wouldn't mind owning again.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
  9. Steppin' Wolfe

    Steppin' Wolfe Member

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    Fireball, when I heard the Rt. 66, I had to go look at the schematic. I was surprised by what I saw because I was expecting something more akin to the 5F6A/early Marshall topography due to the sound. More than one way to get there, it seems.
     
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  10. 2tone

    2tone Silver Supporting Member

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    Excellent Perry. I still have my Dixie Tx early model, maybe SN#2? Gigged it for years with the 2-12 Z Best front loaded cab, Weber alnico speakers. I too liked the earlier sound. I A/B'd new 66's that I got in for dealer stock and still preferred the slight ghosting and chewiness of the original.. I named the amp Rte 66. Also named the Mazerati amp, and had the first 30 watter made for myself. The good old days..


    QUOTE="PerryR, post: 29670036, member: 109"]The early ones had less filtering, Z soon after raised the Voltage a bit (different power transformer) and then increased the filtering to eliminate the ghosting.

    Z had 2 or 3 prototypes, and I got to spend time with one, Z even had me change a few things while I had it. When it was done I bought the first production head, the first 20 or so had Dixie Sound power transformers that were a bit lower voltage, and of course the lower filtering as well. Those earliest 66's had a little extra 'Primitive Vibe' going on and man I wouldn't change a thing. I bought a later one (after he was cited for ghosting lol), and preferred my original. I asked Z if he would make me one like my original, and lucky for me he had held onto one of those original Dixie Trannies and hooked me up with a Gold paneled Route 66 Orig recipe. My 2 Route 66's
    [/QUOTE]
     
  11. PerryR

    PerryR Silver Supporting Member

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    Yep, you’ve always been a step ahead of us Fred!! I forgot the original Zbest was front loaded, and I bet those Weber’s sound good front loaded, kinda like the original Tone Tubby.

    I forgot you named the Route 66, good call

    So the 66 you have was likely one of the Prototypes, and if I remember correctly it was the one I had for a bit and sent on to you.. yep, good ol days!
     
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  12. Serious Poo

    Serious Poo Powered by Coffee Gold Supporting Member

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    Awesome. I always wondered why the early ones sounded so good, thanks for the info. Had #17 for a long time, eventually sold it like an idiot, played some more recent ones, and now have #5.
     
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  13. scelerat

    scelerat Silver Supporting Member

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    Definitely a head turner. And I don't mean looks. More than any other amp I have owned, including others I am very fond of -- vintage fenders, a variety of boogies, well-tuned traynors, music mans and others -- the Route 66 is the one that gets the most compliments. I've had non-musicians come up and ask me what amp I was playing through. It's the one data point that is annoyingly uncooperative with my loosely-held opinion that "tone is in the fingers and the audience doesn't care about your gear."

    It is a bit on the dark side, and it's why I've gravitated to a couple of early mesa mark-series for a "fender with balls" sound in my twangy band. Still, stick a treble booster or fuzz or something like an xotic rc boost, in front of it and that Route 66 will give you plenty of treble. Anything sounds good into it. It's impossible to make it sound bad.

    Mine has the gold panel and "interstate logo." I didn't know there was a circuit difference from later ones. It's the only Route 66 I've ever played through. Where are the numbers found?
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2019
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  14. Serious Poo

    Serious Poo Powered by Coffee Gold Supporting Member

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    It's stamped very lightly on the lower left of the back panel. The transformer has the original Dixie Sound Works label, the old "Z Amp" logo next to the front panel input jack, and is currently sporting some really nice NOS glass in it. :)
     
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  15. PerryR

    PerryR Silver Supporting Member

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    I like that, ‘a lotta torque’, in fact that entire sentence kicksass!

    The Route 66 output section is fixed bias, KT66, ultra-linear, and pretty certain no negative feedback (other than what may be inherent to the ultra-linear design). As far as I know, Z was the first to deploy KT66’s ultra-linear in a guitar amp.

    If I recall correctly, Groove Tubes had just released that real nice Russian KT66, it even looked right, not to mention sound right. Z went straight away building a KT66 amp from a clean slate. Z has always dug the Selmer Zodiac, and I think there is some Zodiac influence in the design.. EF86 and ultra-linear, though the Zodiac pre was quite different and of course cathode biased EL34 (in UL). Sound wise though, 66 is its own tone.

    The 66 has a smooth and even transition into overdrive, mids get even bigger and the bottom stays solid and never struggles to stay punchy. I’m guessing the UL output has a lot to do with how it overdrives, that in between triode and pentode thing, it loves to be turned up. The 66 is also very attenuator friendly, maybe due to the clear character of the preamp, but also maybe due to the UL output and it’s ability to deal with odd loads. Whatever the case, no amp has performed as well with my Airbrake as my Route 66.. peas and carrots.
     
  16. PerryR

    PerryR Silver Supporting Member

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    Hell ya, mine too, 66 be worthy!
     
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  17. aussie_gear_maestro

    aussie_gear_maestro Member

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    I
    Agree to everything , the way the bass and treble adds break up and thickens up past 12 O clock is something I have never heard.

    If it had a master or half power switch I would have bought one the other week instead of my new Maz 18 mkii reverb .

    Gotta love that thick, bold and juicy tone of the route 66
     
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  18. Bender78

    Bender78 Supporting Member

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    This thread is just what I needed, guys! I was thinking seriously about getting another Rt 66, and now I’m all in! I had one with the anniversary badge—a 2009, I think? I played it through a Z 1x12 cabinet—the model with three piece back. NOS tubes too. I loved that damned thing, so of course I sold it. Like we do.

    Anyway, I used a Celestion Gold last time around, which sounded glorious, but I’m open to trying something different this time. Maybe a Tone Tubby Red? What speaker(s) do you 66 experts recommend?

    Also...apart from scoring one in the single digit serial number range, do ya’ll have any general recommendations on a year model or serial number range I should look out for?

    Cheers!
     
  19. Bluewail

    Bluewail Tone curmudgeon Silver Supporting Member

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    I had a RT 66 back when they first came out and a friend had one as well. Both had horrible problems with ghost notes unrelated to the speaker we used. The speculation at the time was the output tranny. Dr. Z refused to acknowledge the problem (and it was not subtle). If you are considering buying one, make sure you can preview it.
     
  20. DR.Z

    DR.Z Gold Supporting Member

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    Well Bluewail let me address your allocations regarding the early circa 1999 RT 66 amps.
    The slight ghost note issue was do to a moderate powered tube amp that was softly filtered, similar to the original Marshall JTM-45.
    I did acknowledge the design issue to the customers that found this problematic, as not all did , please read the original Guitar Player review from January 1999 for objective proof.
    I did update the design increasing the filter cap values , hence removing the Ghost Notes.
    The issue had no , as you speculate , problem with the Ultra Linear Output Transformer.

    DR.Z
     

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