First... I don't believe there is a Z sound. Z amps are all over the place in terms of tone... the line covers a very wide span.
Second, Z amps are super quiet at idle, very well built and dependable.
The M12 was designed as a pedal platform, but it works really well as a straight in amp. If you use the tone controls as designed, once you get past noon they add gain. What that does is give you the ability to dial in the right mount of gain at 10 on the guitar and use the volume knob on your guitar to clean things up (very train wreck like). This amp probably has the widest range (lows to highs) of any amp I've played at 12 watts.
It's only 12 watts, so in a bug room or super loud band you might struggle to get loud cleans... but the right speakers can help with that. For instance, a pair of red fang 10's vs a pair of greenback 10's is about an 8 decibel difference, with less break up on the RF's.
And, if it's not loud enough, a lot of guys substitute the Zwreck using it for louder gigs, and the M12 for lower volume.
Lastly, you can get the same EF86 front end and tone stack in bigger steps with the Z28 and Route 66 if you feel the need.