THD vs Dr Z comparison???

Tenacious E

Silver Supporting Member
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
318
OK, I used to have a Univalve and I thought it was cool. But I had jumped into that amp from Soldanos and Mesas and at that time I really didn't understand low wattage class A amps so I ended up getting rid of it. Lately as my tastes have changed all I've been playing are lower wattage amps and I'm sort of GASing for a Univalve again. A buddy of mine is playing Dr Z stuff and I dig his tone too. Last night I went to a local music store and played a Dr Z Galaxie head thru a Z-best 2x12. I've also played the Carmen Ghia (not for me) and a Route 66 (very cool). Also, the clips of the Z-28 on Dr Z's website sound amazing and also in the vein of what I'm looking for. The Galaxie was great too but as with all Dr Z stuff it was very loud. I would imagine that with any Z I'm probably looking at an Airbrake as well to get what I want out of it.

Since my memory is a little fuzzy and I don't have a place to compare the two, I'm wondering if anyone has any direct comparison experience between the Univalve and the Z stuff. The clips on the THD website are virually all lead stuff. I'm wondering how the Univalve will compare in the crunchy rhythm area. Any help would be great!
 

TroyHamilton

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
486
I had a Univalve and fought for about 8 months to get the type of warm yet crunchy rhythm that I thought it should be capable of - no dice. I sold it and wrote it off as a handy-to-have amp if you're in the study and want a little different tone for a lead, but not much more.

It seems like if you can find a Univalve fan, they might be able to lead you in the right direction... but I seem to run into a lot more people who were frustrated by it.
 

GearHeadFred

Member
Messages
1,639
I just got my Univalve a few weeks ago - still learning the amp.. (lots to learn!) but I've dialed in a nice crunchy rhythm tone using a high gain input (roll, i think it is), with a lower-gain GE 5751 in the first stage, and a KT88 output.

Sorry -never played a Z so can't compare..
 

Dave

Member
Messages
3,547
I've had a Univalve for a long time. I even had Power Scaling installed in it, which was an improvement over the built in attenuator. It's a fickle amp, very sensitive to different tubes. The clean sounds, regardless of tube type, are very sterile IMO. There are some nice overdriven sounds in it, but it takes some serious tube rolling to find them. Given the choice I'd take a Dr. Z over a Uni any day.
 

es125luv

Member
Messages
699
It is a great amp, but almost has TOO MANY features advertised for a four knob amp... ultimately, the features available that sell this amp completely DE-RAIL it's true purpose...

it is a unique amp, and will sound as such. No tube combo, etc. will make a Uni sound like a Plexi, or an AC30 (even when using the cute Yellow Jacket)............

it would be better if it was initially advertised like many boutiques talked about here... "A unique take on a guitar amp".


there are many who love it, and many who dislike it...

my personal opinions...

1. built in attentuator = sucks, I never use it

2. the fact that it takes a bizillion different tube combos = ok, but can only change the character of the thing so much

3. no effects loop, amp really uses POWER TUBE distortion, so forget about a reverb pedal in front of it (but there are ways to get this amp clean as a whisle)

4. secretly loves Tele's... eventhough it will break glass with them

5. the fact that I finally have an amp that has a unique character STOCK (Chinese EL34B and 12AX7A's)... WITH ENOUGH TREBLE, priceless.


this amp either has that first initial reaction on a player that has a WOW factor, or it has the first initial reaction of... "oh boy, what the hell I am going to do with this thing... it seems to be built better than other amps I own, but damn I really don't like it..."

Personally, you have to love the unique character of the amp stock before you go the route of spending a $1000+ on tubes...

I will be the first to admit that it has a sterile sound at times, but really that sound was designed to be a DIRECT link from your gear to speaker...

it is very direct, and is 99% of the time a turn off...


But I personally love it, and hate to ramble on here, but the amp has a unique voice, and when I plug my 52' Tele Thin-Skin with Don Mare's into it, with a good cab, wow... you know you need more practice!:cool:
 

Tenacious E

Silver Supporting Member
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
318
I appreciate all of the input guys! It's one of those things where I just need to A/B the amps side by side and, ideally, have lots of tubes to try out. From what I remember with my old Univalve, I had some of the same issues. It sounded sterile. To quote and overused term on here - No Bloom! There were definately some cool sounds in it so I'm reluctant to write it off but I don't know if I want to get another one just to find out, "Oh yeah. This is what I disliked!" I will keep checking the thread so any other input is still appreciated! Thanks again.
 

Madison

Member
Messages
7,590
You should to go to the Z forum and post this...'benttop' has lots of experience and sound clips with both THD and Z amps.
 

Tenacious E

Silver Supporting Member
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
318
Thanks again for all of the info and the links to other discussions. As I suspected, it looks like the Zs are a better route to go for what I'm looking for. Now it's just time to start saving or see what I want to sell!
 

Fred McMurray

Member
Messages
1,259
I love most of the THD stuff - preferred the BiValve over the Uni. I've owned 2 Dr. Z's, and there's really not much comparison; my personal taste goes in favor of the Z's (esp the Maz 18), but that's just me. That said, the Z's sound awesome through the standard THD 212 cab! (how's that for diplomacy?)
 




Trending Topics

Top Bottom