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Matchless Spitfire vs. Dr Z Maz 18

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by jwri9790, May 24, 2011.

  1. jwri9790

    jwri9790 Member

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    So i'm in the market for a new amp and if it wasn't for this forum it would be a lot easier, but with so many options and opinions I keep changing my mind.

    I've narrowed it down to a Matchless Spitfire or a Maz 18 Jr. Any thoughts or opinions on these two amps. Tone? Clean sound? Pedal platform? etc etc?
     
  2. shredtrash

    shredtrash Supporting Member

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    You can't really go wrong with either choice. That said, I'm a total Matchless whore so I would go with the Spitfire. I have a Nighthawk that just kills as do all of the 15-watt Matchless amps. They have it all; build quality, amazing tone, looks!
     
  3. james...

    james... Member

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    Both are totally different amps.

    The Spitfire is like a really nasty AC15 top boost with more high end sparkle and "whip."

    This is a VERY good example of what the spitfire + a light overdrive will do.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jc3LqfXDmt8&feature=feedf

    I'll let someone else speak on the Z. I've played it but it's a totally different animal and I couldn't describe its tone to save my life. Very unique tone.
     
  4. gtrnstuff

    gtrnstuff Member

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    I have both. They're both great.
    MAZ will do more Marshall type sustain cranked. Spitfire gets more ragged cranked.
    Spitfire has good headroom, tone control really works.
    MAZ always gets a little hairy with humbuckers, unless you substitute lower gain tubes in V1, or use input 2.
     
  5. aaronblues

    aaronblues Supporting Member

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    Dude! Feeling feisty tonight or what ? :)

    I haven't played the Matchless, have been using a Maz 18 for a few years now. Definitely better for me as a cleaner amp, pedal platform. Not quite Fender clean, little bit of edge,but definitely not crunch unless cranked. Great EQ, very well tuned bass end to my ears (at least for medium to small rooms). If i wanted some gain out of my amp, not the Maz. But i've been really happy with mine overall, it's my #1.

    cheers
     
  6. Kitten Cannon

    Kitten Cannon Member

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    One year later edit: I'm deleting most of this post so as not to be such a dick.

    I've gotta say, though -- if I had to do it all over again it might just be a Pro Jr.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2012
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  7. james...

    james... Member

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    To be fair, the Z sounds a lot flatter to me than the spitfire.

    Not really a bad thing.
     
  8. smoss469

    smoss469 Member

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    Ok, what guitar is he playing?
     
  9. jwri9790

    jwri9790 Member

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    How does the Maz 18 compare to the Suhr Badger 18?
     
  10. rmconner80

    rmconner80 Cantankerous Luddite Silver Supporting Member

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    I don't agree. The original AC15 had an EF86. There was never a top boost AC15 (well... until Korg made them).

    And the Spitfire doesn't have a top boost preamp anyway - that's the Lightning. The Spitfire is just a single gain stage (dual triode 12AX7) into the same Vox style PI/output stage shared by all the 15W matchless amps.

    I've owned 2 spitfires, still have one. The Z and Matchless are really two totally different amps, with the Spitfire being purely in the Vox camp but a bit tighter and more forward sounding, more spanky. The Spitfire has incredible headroom for it's 'wattage' and if you really want a lot of breakup it may be a bit frustrating (the Lightning would be a better choice here.... or use a pedal). Spitfire will have less low end than the Maz, which can be a good and bad thing, depending. The Maz is going to have that looser, Z style breakup thing going on... I can't help but hear the 'Fender' in these amps. Very round sounding and with a full compliment of tone controls. Z's are cool but they definitely have their own thing, which is this kind of boosted tone and feel.

    Either is a great amp but one will be overwhelmingly right for you... but this depends on what you are playing.
     
  11. big mike

    big mike House Plexi Staff Member

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    Only guy ive ever heard say that.
    Ive never played a bad sounding Z.
     
  12. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    Maybe so, but I wouldn't say they are life changing either. I hear too much bass out of the Z. If the bass control is off it's ok, but as soon as you turn it up a little it gets thick and never changes much from that point. Nice sounding amp, but definitely not one of the best ever.

    I had a 2x10 Spitfire that I stupidly sold a couple years ago because the amp I wanted to get rid of wouldn't. Possibly one the dumbest moves I ever made...that amp was excellent, I miss it still.
     
  13. ScioBro

    ScioBro Silver Supporting Member

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    I think the Matchless Spitfire and Lightning are special compared to the Maz.

    I own an L. and S. and I spent time with a Maz trying to bond with it.
    It was easier to bond with the Matchless amps.

    AND its gonna be a flavor thing, all three have different flavors and who of us is to say which one YOU are SURE to like

    Might I say, ...to me...IMHO...my taste only here, kay?...

    the Maz is like a Camaro...a v6 camaro...foundation amp with some balls

    and the Spit is like an MG or a in-line six nat. asp. Z3....quality all the way up but not quite turbo charged

    and the Lightning has the turbo charging (good cleans, but gobs of OD available, non-metal-OD-IMHO)


    Are you gonna get a chance to try all three?
    I don't know. Seems like there'll be more chances at a Maz.
    But attempt to test a L. or S. before you spring for a Maz.

    I'm not a Z guy, but maybe other Z models line up better with the L & S,
    I don't know....only tried the 18 watt Maz
     
  14. jazzguitar14

    jazzguitar14 Supporting Member

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    Just get a Gia... Less knobs and less $ than the other 2... sounds better also.
     
  15. big mike

    big mike House Plexi Staff Member

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    Best ever is far to subjective.
    Maz is a great amp. Well made, tuneful and reliable.
    It's not my favorite in his line of amps but calling it sterile and lifeless is a bye stretch. I still pine for my old Mazerati and z28 from time to time.
    Those were fantastic.

    Nuttin Against matchless either they're fine amps.
    But as I say I think the venerable maz 18 is taking an undue bashing.
    It's all personal preference
     
  16. aaronblues

    aaronblues Supporting Member

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    yeah, i'd say that's very fair.

    @KittenCannon: definitely 15 overdrive guy 4 delay guy here! (Although i've cut back a bunch actually, maybe 3 and 2!)

    I've never ever been an amp overdrive guy. 3 main amps growing up, age 16-25 lets say, Twin Reverb, Lab Series L9 (100 watt solid state), and a Hiwatt. So loud and clean, pedals for drive, has always been my thing.

    Seems that most of the smaller watt amps i've owned couldn't hang in this application. AST, DRRI. Ghia could for the most part, but the Maz was better for this specific use. And as good as all of those amps sounded cranked, i always wanted them cleaner when i was hitting 'em hard. Does that make sense?? prob not..... Even just this morning, recieved a Savage Macht 6 and started messing with it, and i started thinking the same thoughts, comparing it to my Maz....(tho it is a really cool little amp! NAD!)

    The Maz sounds louder then it's wattage, stays mostly on the clean side, and makes pedals sound better and more dynamic. That's how i describe what i love about it.

    Edit: Also, best ever is ridiculous, for any amp. I could never come close to naming anything best ever, even limiting it to amps i've owned. Closest i guess for me would be a Marshall Super Lead that was amazing. But it was way too loud for my current uses, which goes to show it's all about proper perspective per situation. Best amp ever maybe, but mostly unusable.

    cheers
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2011
  17. Kitten Cannon

    Kitten Cannon Member

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    EDIT: More redacted nonsense from me. Ignore this.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2012
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  18. big mike

    big mike House Plexi Staff Member

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    Well, problem lies in the fact I think you dislike the fanboys more than the amps and get a kick out of riling them up or trolling them a bit. (Just innocent bystander observation...).

    The fact is they are a boutique amp. That's an important achievement to some folks, others not so much.

    Bottom line is it's a well built amp at a good value and you either dig them or not. Me, I'd never spend the money/time/effort on a Bruno. But it's one of your favorites right?

    Different strokes.

    I don't currently own a Z, but would again in a min. While my tastes lean more towards his Non master volume offerings, I could gig a maz no problem and be quite pleased with the tone.

    Like anything else. it's easy to go overboard with liking something, and beating someone over the head with it, as well as it's easy to be so 'anti' something, you're equally a PIA.

    Again, just my unbiased observation.

    I'd rock any amp mentioned in the thread, bt I'd likely purchase Z over matchless just for known entity (for me) of ruggedness and exceptional customer service from past experience.
     
  19. aaronblues

    aaronblues Supporting Member

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    :mob:mob:mob

    i'll take Kitten's criticisms because i've heard and enjoyed enough of his clips and playing to know where he's coming from. It's all good here :aok

    Oh, and keep the Bruno man!

    cheers
     
  20. big mike

    big mike House Plexi Staff Member

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    It's not a slam on him, just an observation.
     

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