ZLux vs Rambler vs Deluxe reverb

Doctorshutout

Member
Messages
35
The new Dr Z ZLux amp has thrown a monkey wrench into my plan to by a Carr Rambler for clean Fender tones. My old '65 Twin is unmanageable now, and usually overkill.
Any opinions on the ZLux...compared to Rambler and/or a new Deluxe Reverb
 

Hwy14

Member
Messages
2,166
I've had a rambler, couple versions of the tone king imperial, and a newly acquired z-lux. IMHO, the Z-lux is a cut above. The tremolo is absolutely to die for...
 

Stratobuc

Member
Messages
15,922
Clean tones? Carr VICEROY. Put some NOS 5881's in it - glorious dimensional harmonic cleans. :)
 

PremiumPlus

Member
Messages
1,106
I've got a real vintage blackface Deluxe Reverb, a '67. My Z-Lux wipes the floor with it in every respect, plus it's about the same weight, and has twice the power. The tremolo is to die for, as is the reverb, plus it's got a terrific master volume, and a boost switch for leads. I don't have any experience with the Carr.
 
Messages
2,555
Hard to go wrong with any of those. Dr. Z and Steve Carr are two of the best amp builders in the industry for sure. I really like the cleans on the Carr Slant as well. But, given those choices I'd probably go with whichever was cheapest to be honest.
 

silver surfer

Member
Messages
1,876
I've got a real vintage blackface Deluxe Reverb, a '67. My Z-Lux wipes the floor with it in every respect, plus it's about the same weight, and has twice the power. The tremolo is to die for, as is the reverb, plus it's got a terrific master volume, and a boost switch for leads. I don't have any experience with the Carr.
I'd be real interested in a more detailed comparison of your two amps if you have some time. What do you like better about the Z-Lux as compared to the Fender. (I have a 66 BFDR so I am familiar with that.)
 

Doctorshutout

Member
Messages
35
Thanks everyone.
Tried a spanking new Deluxe yesterday and was really impressed. Extremely clean and sparkly. A lot like my old Twin. And very affordable.
Also a bit of a one trick pony.
ZLux offers a lot of sonic choices with its 20/40, gain and volume, boost, midrange.
Sooooo.....for cleans AND more the Z seems to be the right choice.
Unfortunately one can buy 2 1/2 Fenders for the price of one ZLux.
Decision time!
 

slider313

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,225
I've got a real vintage blackface Deluxe Reverb, a '67. My Z-Lux wipes the floor with it in every respect, plus it's about the same weight, and has twice the power. The tremolo is to die for, as is the reverb, plus it's got a terrific master volume, and a boost switch for leads. I don't have any experience with the Carr.
So, it's not really a Deluxe Reverb type amp; twice the power, master volume and boost switch. More like a 40 watt mix of a Fender and a Boogie?
 

picnic

Member
Messages
2,294
I picked up a DRRI, all stock last year. It was the 5th one I've had and probably the best. Well broken in C12K by a metal head. I put in a Weber 12F150 and didn't really notice much difference. I've had Ramblers 2X and it's a sweet amp. Best mid control of any amp I've had. Tone King Meteor's probably the best BFDR clone I've had and light weight. The TK's are going to be 1500 used though.

If you can find a used Allen Accomplice, there's an amp that you should consider. Less than the Z, more than a new DRRI, but really delivers tones and versatility. Fargen Blackbirds come in 20,30 and 40 watt sizes. I had a 20 and a 40. Both excellent on all points.

After all the gigging I've done with reissues, clones and boutiques, I'm happy with a DRRI and some pedals.
 

PremiumPlus

Member
Messages
1,106
I'd be real interested in a more detailed comparison of your two amps if you have some time. What do you like better about the Z-Lux as compared to the Fender. (I have a 66 BFDR so I am familiar with that.)
Well, the Z-Lux has a, for lack of a better term, "Big" feel to it. It has a fullness, a playability, and a presence that the DR hints at but doesn't achieve. And it's not about loudness, it's the way the amp is voiced, the way the light weight 1/2" cabinet resonates, the Z-12 speaker, all these things come together and the amp just delivers the goods. It's way livelier and more immediate than the Fender. I've never felt so connected to an amp as I do with the Z amps, but particularly with the Z-Lux. It's like your brain is plugged directly into the speaker. The bass is full and robust but it doesn't intrude into the bass player's territory. Mids are fat and full, and the treble is very present without being ice-picky. The TMB controls are very effective at dialing in your tone. One thing that stands out is that I haven't been able to make this amp sound bad. Some amps I've spent days trying to get a good sound out of, not the Z-Lux. It has lots of great tone and I haven't been able to find a bad one in it.
Someone mentioned it being like a "40 watt Boogie", but I don't think so. It doesn't have a ton of gain, and won't get you into Metal territory without a pedal. But it does have a very sweet overdrive and when you hit the boost footswitch (included) it does rip. The boost function partially disconnects the tone stack and adds gain. Newer amps are being shipped with a variable boost footswitch which is cool.
Joe Walsh has said it's his favorite guitar amplifier, ever. I agree! I hit the front end of mine with my Bogner Ecstacy Red pedal this afternoon and what a rip roaring rock and roll tone...on the 40 watt setting this amp is LOUD and very vocal...and on 20 watts you can sound really good at very quiet levels. The Master Volume control is most effective. I mentioned the Reverb and Tremolo earlier but I'll say again, I haven't heard better.
It is very much in the Fender camp but it does rock, way more than a DR can. You really should try one out for yourself if it's at all possible. If you're in the Mid Michigan area, PM me and I'll let you try mine. Check the Z site for dealers. Oh, and I'm not associated with Z amps at all, except for being a very satisfied customer. Doc is great, and he builds a fine amp at a really reasonable price.
-Dave
 

davidespinosa

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,643
On a Deluxe, do people usually remove the bright cap? I couldn't understand why I like every Fender except the Deluxe. Then I learned about the bright cap!
 

RJLII

Member
Messages
10,299
On a Deluxe, do people usually remove the bright cap? I couldn't understand why I like every Fender except the Deluxe. Then I learned about the bright cap!
Lemmings do. I had a DRRI for 10 years and managed to leave it in. A broken in speaker and proper power tube bias make more of a difference than clipping the cap. As an added bonus, both amp and guitar have tone controls.
 

silver surfer

Member
Messages
1,876
Well, the Z-Lux has a, for lack of a better term, "Big" feel to it. It has a fullness, a playability, and a presence that the DR hints at but doesn't achieve. And it's not about loudness, it's the way the amp is voiced, the way the light weight 1/2" cabinet resonates, the Z-12 speaker, all these things come together and the amp just delivers the goods. It's way livelier and more immediate than the Fender. I've never felt so connected to an amp as I do with the Z amps, but particularly with the Z-Lux. It's like your brain is plugged directly into the speaker. The bass is full and robust but it doesn't intrude into the bass player's territory. Mids are fat and full, and the treble is very present without being ice-picky. The TMB controls are very effective at dialing in your tone. One thing that stands out is that I haven't been able to make this amp sound bad. Some amps I've spent days trying to get a good sound out of, not the Z-Lux. It has lots of great tone and I haven't been able to find a bad one in it.
Someone mentioned it being like a "40 watt Boogie", but I don't think so. It doesn't have a ton of gain, and won't get you into Metal territory without a pedal. But it does have a very sweet overdrive and when you hit the boost footswitch (included) it does rip. The boost function partially disconnects the tone stack and adds gain. Newer amps are being shipped with a variable boost footswitch which is cool.
Joe Walsh has said it's his favorite guitar amplifier, ever. I agree! I hit the front end of mine with my Bogner Ecstacy Red pedal this afternoon and what a rip roaring rock and roll tone...on the 40 watt setting this amp is LOUD and very vocal...and on 20 watts you can sound really good at very quiet levels. The Master Volume control is most effective. I mentioned the Reverb and Tremolo earlier but I'll say again, I haven't heard better.
It is very much in the Fender camp but it does rock, way more than a DR can. You really should try one out for yourself if it's at all possible. If you're in the Mid Michigan area, PM me and I'll let you try mine. Check the Z site for dealers. Oh, and I'm not associated with Z amps at all, except for being a very satisfied customer. Doc is great, and he builds a fine amp at a really reasonable price.
-Dave
Thanks so much Dave - great review and comparison. You're a little too far from New Jersey, but I appreciate your offer. I will track one down, though and check it out.
 

Stormin

Tele's and Plexis
Messages
4,121
Lemmings do. I had a DRRI for 10 years and managed to leave it in. A broken in speaker and proper power tube bias make more of a difference than clipping the cap. As an added bonus, both amp and guitar have tone controls.
I totally disagree with respect to my '71 SFDR. Can't speak about the DRRI since I never owned one.
 

silver surfer

Member
Messages
1,876
On a Deluxe, do people usually remove the bright cap? I couldn't understand why I like every Fender except the Deluxe. Then I learned about the bright cap!
I agree also. I have a 66 Deluxe Reverb and always had a little love/hate with the high end of the vibrato channel. I tried several speakers and leaned toward warmer speakers for that channel (Reverend Alltone and Tone Tubby ceramic). I would use the Normal channel for brighter speakers like a Celestion Gold or vintage Jensen C12N. I finally took the plunge one day and unsoldered the bright cap so that I could easily replace it. Really made a positive difference in the tone.
 




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