Dr. Zed ES

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by µ¿ z3®ø™, Jan 5, 2008.

  1. µ¿ z3®ø™

    µ¿ z3®ø™ Member

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    anybody w/ any experience w/ this amp into a 2-12 AlNiCo open back cab?

    did that really just happen?
     
  2. µ¿ z3®ø™

    µ¿ z3®ø™ Member

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    OK, this is the frickin' gear page.
    somebody msut have experience w/ this amp that can tell me a bit more about it.
    where's all those Dr. Zed freaks, man???
    c'mon!
     
  3. silencer eleven

    silencer eleven Member

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    i believe paisley plays/ed something close to what you are asking. not sure if his weber's were ceramic or alnico but open back cab with an extra strength. with the little time i have played that amp i would say it would be out of control.

    just for reference i play a mazerati and a stangray both through 2x12s with blues and they are incredible. also own a maz jr and z-28 that sound great through blues.

    jordan
     
  4. µ¿ z3®ø™

    µ¿ z3®ø™ Member

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    brad paisley, the neo country guy?

    the amp is pretty interesting, i think.
    sort of matchless DC30 w/ a 'turbo-boost' feature that is vaguely (and this is that part i'm having a hard time wrapping my head around. whether it's just my imagination or it really happened) D*mblish, in an AC30 meets HAD kinda vibe.

    what gives?

    it was a lovely looking amp in tasteful two-tone (blonde and brown, coffee and cream?) and the cab was an open back w/ celestion AlNiCos. the amp didn't have the old school nastiness of the JMJ, more a modern (hence the DC30 reference) type of amp w/ lovely, chimey, swirly cleans and smooth, clean, hi-fi type OD.

    and i keep on telling myself that i don't need any more EL84 amps.
     
  5. mds

    mds Member

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  6. Drowned Rabbit

    Drowned Rabbit Black Beauty Beats Burst

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    Hey Zero,

    I had one of these heads with a matching
    closed-back Zbest cab for about a year.
    My experience was,

    1) They are well made amps. I never had any problems.
    2) The Rx-es is very loud. No master makes this inappropriate for some situations.
    3) Great tone controls. Each one changes the sound in ways that are unique to this
    amp. For instance, past a certain point, the treble will affect your gain level as well
    as your overall tone. Likewise with the other controls. tons of room for subtle tweaks.
    4) nice boost (overdose)

    Now the bad news.

    These amps are excessively bright. I found a Tele to be brittle and ice-picky through
    the prescription, with a shrillness that could not be dialed out. I know Paisley uses a
    Tele through one, but this was my experience. With a Les Paul, it was an improvement.
    But it's still bright. It won't get that dark, heavy Marshall tone I love. Also, they don't
    hold their value very well. Probably because Z makes so many amps that they are
    always around.

    Hope that helps
     
  7. ruger9

    ruger9 Supporting Member

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    +1 on a few of the points above...

    The amp is bright...all Z's are... most people keep the treble knobs pretty low on these amps. Mine's at 2. (I have a RxJR, the 15 watt version). Using a Tele.

    The overdose (overdrive) is hi-fi sounding, which is good or bad depending on your taste. For country, it's great. For rock, I like a more natural-sounding OD. But I'm using a tele, so...

    LOUD. You will most definitely need an attenuator of some kind with this amp (the 50-watt version), unless your are on a national arena tour.

    Alnicos are super sweet in this amp, the most popular speaker combo is the Weber Blue & Weber Silver alnicos. That's what Brad use/d. Since the Golds came out, alot of people have switched to those, including Brad.

    Regarding the brightness, keep in mind Brad plays pretty clean... volume at 4 on the amp. At that drive level, the amp isn't overly bright. But as you turn up the volume (gain), it gets brighter. I have found my RxJR to be GREAT at the cleanish brad/country tones, and blues tones, but for thicker meatier rock stuff I use my Genz Benz Black Pearl (ironically, also a Matchless DC30 "inspired" amp.) Alot of people use pedals for OD on the Z amps.
     
  8. zimmer

    zimmer Member

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    Another approach to the occasional brightness is to moderate via tube selection.
     
  9. µ¿ z3®ø™

    µ¿ z3®ø™ Member

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    i had to use the airbrake to dial the amp into zone where i thought it sounded the best. i love the tele and did find that things sounded best w/ the treble turned down (9-10 o'clock).

    the thing that gets me is plugging into the high gain input. i could swear that i was getting more than a dollop of D-style characteristics. really smooth, 'clean' sounding overdrive w/ lots of chirp and lovely touch response to assist in 'shaping' notes. but not really d*mble sounding because the EL84 chime and swirl was there. so, i guess what i'm wondering if the clean, smooth OD and chirp are a characteristic of all ℞ ES amps using the hi gain input or whether it is specific to the one amp i played?

    a very unique sound. familiar and yet totally distinct. how often does one run across a sound like that?
     
  10. ruger9

    ruger9 Supporting Member

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    It has been said that the RXES is Z's "most D-sounding" amp.

    I tried a bunch of tube swaps in mine, doesn't tame the brightness. I think speaker swaps would be a better plan. FWIW, Z's fave speaker for the RxES is a GREENBACK. The only tube I HAVEN'T tried, because GT is still out of stock, is the GT12AX7M... which is supposed to be one of the warmest/darkest current-production 12AX7s.
     
  11. frank4001

    frank4001 Member

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    I have the combo with Greenbacks and its bright but not out of control. It is an incredible amplifier. I got to use it on a few big stages loved using it. I've even used it in smaller places and had good nights. The cleans are really big "Hey Joe" cleans and the overdrive is very smooth. It threw me off at first because it would just be sustaining and not sound real overdriven...just like clean sustain..But if you really crank it can start overdriving really hard. I hated using an Airbrake with it. I have combo...a bit of a bear to haul around especially caus it all shiiny and new(used actually but in great shape)...I take my Fenders out mostly..they are beat but serviced and always sound good...The RxES is an animal...I should use it more. I got Tung Sol RI Pre-amo tubes and a Mullard EF86 frome Mike at KCA. Never played a Dumble so I can't compare but be aware that if you play it sloppy it will sound sloppy but if your nailing it its going to give you everything you put in and then some...I had great tone with vintage strat's and tele's and my newer G&L's ...Try the Low input with the OD on also for lower volume and less brightness...I keep the treble way down on too...2 - 3. keep the tone dialed back on the guitar..I had the thought it was too bright also when I first got it but then the speakers broke in and the more time I spent with it the better I could dial it in..Just a very different animal...One more thing ..EF86's get microphonic quickly...especially in a loud combo but I bought those little rubber tube rings off E-Bay and they work!
     
  12. texasdave

    texasdave Member

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    Paisley went to 50w Alnico's in an open back to keep from shredding the lower wattage blues...

    ... Z's new 2x10 "convertible" cab (closed back with a removable panel) is a GREAT match with the RXES. You can push the amp a little harder without killing everyone around you.
     
  13. kingink

    kingink Gold Supporting Member

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    This is a way useful thread. Hi. Haven't been on the Gear Page for awhile.

    Here's a question regarding the brightness of the Rx. Doesn't it have more gain/distortion on tap than some of the other Z amps? Since distortion eats high end, wouldn't you need some extended high end in order to compensate and keep the tone clear? This seems to be the idea behind Soldanos, for example. With all that gain, you need brightness so the tone doesn't turn to mud.

    Also, on my Maz 38 Sr., I'm pretty sure there's some kind of capacitor on the preamp volume pot, so that when you dime the preamp knob to get distortion, the cap compensates for the loss of high end caused by distortion. Preamp distortion on the Maz has a tighter, brighter, "harder" kind of sound, whereas if you crank the master and lower the preamp volume, you get a looser, woolier, "softer" kind of distortion, which can be brightened by turning up the cut control. When running the preamp volume high, I tend to back off on both the cut and treble knobs. But, if the preamp volume is set lower, I bring up the cut and/or treble knob.

    So, if you run the volume on the Rx past noon, do you maybe need all that extra high end provided by the treble knob to maintain clarity and articulation? And maybe, if you keep the volume low, you'd need to keep the treble knob set low?

    I haven't had a chance to play the Rx, so this is all wild speculation. If I'm wrong, let me know, but please let me know why. I've always been intrigued by this amp.
     
  14. ruger9

    ruger9 Supporting Member

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    you'd have to got to Z-Talk to ask techie questions like that. I can say the Rx is one of the amps in the Z line that has quite a bit of OD, I don't know about the "treble conspiracy" tho :) With my RxJR, even with the treble at 2 (9:00), as you turn up the volume (the normal volume, not the MV...the normal volume is sort of becomes a preamp)... as the drive increases, the tone gets thicker, but it also gets brighter. If that's possible. Weird. Also, when kicking in the overdose (which is a 3db boost linked to the EF86), you get more drive, but again- brighter.
     
  15. kingink

    kingink Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the info, ruger9. "Treble conspiracy." Ha! Nice one. :D Let's use that as a new technical term. "I swapped out the orange drop .047 for a paper-in-oil .022 to sweeten the treble conspiracy in the tone stack." Or, "I had to stamp out that treble conspiracy between the mid and treble pot before the high end go out of control and completely subverted the tone." Hee hee.

    But seriously, good stuff to know about the Rx(jr).
     
  16. µ¿ z3®ø™

    µ¿ z3®ø™ Member

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    see, i hear that as more of an affect of the fletcher-munson curve rather than the actual frequency response being altered.
    maybe i have to buy an amp and take some empirical measurements.
     
  17. teleking36

    teleking36 Member

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    I had an RX ES head with a ZBest 2x12 at one point. I ended up loading it with a Weber Alnico Silver Bell 30 watter and a G12H30 and it kicked ass. Like everyone else says, it's a loud amp, and would certainly benefit from a master volume in some situations. I remember most, if not all, of my OD pedals sounding very good in front of it. I did some tube swapping as well. I put a JAN 5751 in V1, Dario EF86, and (2) GT 12AX7Ms and it seemed to tame the harsh high end pretty well (the silver bell also helped quite a bit). Rockin' amps and seriously undervalued, especially in the used market.
     
  18. guitarsnguns04

    guitarsnguns04 Member

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    I have a rxes head and 2-10 zbest cab w/ weber/z speakers. I agree it is loud however I cant completely agree with the bright statements. The best way to look at it is if you are playing in your home or bedroom etc. I do think it is a bit bright.But in a live band setting she is voiced to cut through the mix and it does that very well. I really enjoy the sounds I can get out of it. I love it!! It does take pedals very well and I am able to get amazing tones out of it at a reasonable level with some quality effects. The overdose switch is insane. It will cut you through any mix and out you right out there where you can be heard. Remeber Brad Paisley helped the Doc tweak this one out. Brad likes his stage volume very loud from what I have heard and read. I am sure he can hear himself just fine with a few of theses rippin behind him...haha. Great amp!!
     
  19. ruger9

    ruger9 Supporting Member

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    :rotflmao:rotflmao
     
  20. ruger9

    ruger9 Supporting Member

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    I should qualify my statements that I am talking about a tele on the bridge pickup, thru a Red Fang (Eminence's take on the Celestion Blue.) Brad's guitar tec Chad has stated on the Z forums that the "Webers do darken the tone alot." When he said that, Brad was running 2x12s, 1-Alnico Silver 50W & 1-Alnico Blue 50W.

    I think most people see the Z's as bright because, compared to the bass & mid settings, most of us find ourselves dialing the treble down much lower. Also, again- I'm talking a single-coil tele bridge, quaite possibly the brightest pickup in existance. With humbuckers, all the observations change.
     

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