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Lets Talk about the Dr. Z M12

Clifton82

Member
Messages
262
I own a Dr. Z M12 - and it is a great amp. I certainly think it is best for exactly what Dr. Z designed it for; to take pedals. I never use Amp Gain for Drive. I only use pedals into a clean amp. Here are some thoughts and some changes I've made.

Tubes: I bought the M12 used, but the guy said everything was 100% stock and untouched. I believed him because it look brand new. Since this Amp has an EF86 front end, it is prone to micro-phonics and tube rattle. Its just the nature of that tube (or so I am told). Well it really bothered me. I went through 3 different EF86 tubes, and now I've found one that is noiseless. So I am happy with the tube situation.

Speaker: I have a 1x12 combo currently, and the original speakers was a Celestion Greenback. Nothing fancy, fairly neutral, fits the amp pretty well. My only issue is that I wanted a little less shrill top end and a little more low end. I don't like to push the bass eq knob up too much because it starts adding gain. I recently bought a Celestion Creamback which is a little higher powered. It also sounds good, but I still feel like I need to try something else.

Any suggestions on Speakers for the M12?

What settings are yall using on a regular basis? There are only 3 knobs and a hi/lo switch - so that should be fairly easy to explain. Mostly I set the Vol @ 9am or below (it sounds better higher, but its just too loud). The Treble is usually at 1pm and the Bass at Noon. I like the sound of the High setting better with pedals, but again the Volume can be an issue.

I'd love to hear about changes you've made to the M12 and how you are using it.
 

Dave_C

Member
Messages
14,096
I own a Dr. Z M12 - and it is a great amp. I certainly think it is best for exactly what Dr. Z designed it for; to take pedals. I never use Amp Gain for Drive. I only use pedals into a clean amp. Here are some thoughts and some changes I've made.

Tubes: I bought the M12 used, but the guy said everything was 100% stock and untouched. I believed him because it look brand new. Since this Amp has an EF86 front end, it is prone to micro-phonics and tube rattle. Its just the nature of that tube (or so I am told). Well it really bothered me. I went through 3 different EF86 tubes, and now I've found one that is noiseless. So I am happy with the tube situation.

Speaker: I have a 1x12 combo currently, and the original speakers was a Celestion Greenback. Nothing fancy, fairly neutral, fits the amp pretty well. My only issue is that I wanted a little less shrill top end and a little more low end. I don't like to push the bass eq knob up too much because it starts adding gain. I recently bought a Celestion Creamback which is a little higher powered. It also sounds good, but I still feel like I need to try something else.

Any suggestions on Speakers for the M12?

What settings are yall using on a regular basis? There are only 3 knobs and a hi/lo switch - so that should be fairly easy to explain. Mostly I set the Vol @ 9am or below (it sounds better higher, but its just too loud). The Treble is usually at 1pm and the Bass at Noon. I like the sound of the High setting better with pedals, but again the Volume can be an issue.

I'd love to hear about changes you've made to the M12 and how you are using it.
I actually crank mine on the LO setting to its max clean tone with my neck SC and then hit it with pedals, thus combining amp and pedal OD. I use a Fryette Powqer Station to give me any output level I need while running the amp at its exact sweet spot. The M12 warms up tremendously when pushed like that.

As for speakers, I like the WGS Blackhawk 100W or Heritage G12-65 and have recently rediscovered the Scumback M75-PVC, which is a clone of the original mid-60s paper voice coil G121M. But, it's MUCH smoother and warmer than the modern Celestion GB RI. I've done side-by-side comparisons of the M75-PVC and GB RI and the Scumbacks were just ridiculously better sounding in every category of tone that you could think of. The GB RI sounded like harsh, dead cardboard next to the M75-PVC. The M75-PVC had so much more sustain that it almost made the GB RIs sound broken. So, those are worth checking out.

I got my M12 a while ago, but I think I also swapped the original EH EL84s for JJs, which are much warmer and smoother as well.
 

paddywhack

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,306
...i've been playing a M-12 head for a couple of months now...i got it for its power rating, ef-86 preamp tube and el-84 power section...my other amp is a 66 Princeton NR so i wanted something similar but with notable differences....i swapped quite a few tubes around and have settled on a NOS Amperex ef-86...a NOS RFT 12 ax7...TAD el-84's and a NOS Sylvania 5Y3....this is a nice setup for good balance and just the right amount of top end for my tastes...

...for speakers i have 3 different cabs...a 1-12 with a CRex....nice but a bit dull....a 2-10 loaded with a Weber 10f150 and an Emminence 1028...tight and punchy with good crunch and sparkle... and a 1-12 with a Celestion Gold....perfect match for my tastes...chimey and fat...

...i like to run mine on HI with volume around noon... treble at 11 and bass at 1....i also like to set it on LO.... i find that the volume matches up with the Hi setting at noon at about 3 o'clock on the volume knob....the LO setting at 3 o'clock gives up more harmonics and less high end...the HI setting is clearer with a bit more sparkle...

...most guitars like the treble knob tweaked which serves as a "cut" knob of sorts but also adds girth...beefs up the high end...great all around low volume amp that responds really well to tweaking....

...will post my pedal setups later.....

...
 
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Clifton82

Member
Messages
262
Ive considered trying a Celestion Gold in the M12. Chimey and Fat is what I am looking for. I want less piercing highs. Something to roll off the edge without losing the sonic range.
 

Dave_C

Member
Messages
14,096
Ive considered trying a Celestion Gold in the M12. Chimey and Fat is what I am looking for. I want less piercing highs. Something to roll off the edge without losing the sonic range.
I'm not sure the Gold is something you'd like if you're looking to round off the high end. They're fairly bright...that's the whole "chimey" thing. I think something like an RWB or the WGS BH-HP would be more appropriate for your stated goal. But, I've found the only way to know for sure is to try them. It's not cheap but I think it's the only way.
 

Crowder

Dang Twangler
Messages
19,073
I had one, and found it pretty uninspiring. I got one of the older Goodsell Super 17 models with Gain/Tone/Master only, and for my needs it is a much better "pedal platform."
 

s360guitarist

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,145
Was at Chicago Music Exchange this week and played a 1x10 m12. (Chose to play that over the 1x12 or head and cab as I am always looking for the lightweight side of things. Like Crowder, I was a bit unispired, but had little time with and think with my guitar and my board it had great potential.
 

Fro68

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,552
I had a Goodsell Super 17 Mark III that I should've never sold and I agree, it was a terrific pedal platform.
 

Teleman

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,877
I had one for a while and went through a couple of different speakers with it. I settled on a Cannabis Rex. It smoothed the tone out and took the "
shrill" as you described it, out of the OD tones.
 




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