ZT Lunchbox Impressions

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by psquared, Jul 10, 2009.

  1. psquared

    psquared Member

    Nov 17, 2005
    ** Apologies to ZT. This was posted, or so I thought, a while back, but now I can't find it.

    Ken Kantor was kind enough to let me demo one of his Lunchbox 2 amps for a few weeks and I just wanted to give my impressions.

    For those that don't know, the LB2 is a 200 watt solid state Combo amp about the size of a lunchbox (I had a wild west heroes one in kindergarten). It weighs in at just under 9 lbs. It features headphone out w/ volume control, 8 ohm speaker out, speaker defeat switch, aux in, and voltage switch. The controls are Gain, Volume, Tone and Reverb.

    I was able to try out the LB2 in environments ranging from a large church to an outdoor festival (w/ Phil Keaggy-lucky me!!). The gear used was a tele, and Esquire, and a Gibby LP. A variety of dirt pedals was also used as well as some other misc. pedals.

    Build Quality:
    Awesome. Everything from the casing, handle, switches, and knobs feel smooth and solid. The only thing that looks stronger than it is is the grill, but it does it's job. I have a lot of faith this will hold up in gigging situations.

    Sound Quality:
    I am a believer in the LB2. Everyone who heard/ experienced it couldn't believe how much volume was coming from this little box. But if it was loud and had poor tone it wouldn't be impressive. Fortunately the LB2 has very good tone. It does lack bass, but come on, it's a 6.5" speaker. It has a pleasant voice with an emphasis on the mids that is very musical. Many an engineer told me it sounded great through the system and sat in a mix very well. It feels and sounds more like a small tube amp which was very impressive to me considering all the solid state wastes of wood and metal I've played. It stays clean to uncomfortable volume levels. Also it takes pedals extremely well. Everything from a TIM, Keeley Rat, AM DS1 and 808, and a few others sounded stellar through this. I played the aforementioned outdoor gig with this and set the LB2 on top of the backline Marshall halfstack. It drew a few weird looks that turned into smiles when we started to play. If you check out the ZZ TOp VH1 special, that's what my tele sounded similar to with the AM DS-1/Pro engaged (although my playing is nowhere near the stratosphere Mr. Gibbons occupies).

    One concern I had that I shared with Mr, Kantor was the LB2s sensitivity to less than adequate power conditions. It had slightly more 'white noise' than amps next to it, plugged into the same power and signal chain w/ noiseless pickups. In good, regulated power situations it was silent like the others. It only bothered me in smaller rooms where I was mic'd.It seemed louder in those situations. Overall it was negligible, but worth mentioning.

    Also, the speakerout is a great feature. The LB2 becomes a very loud head into an 8 or 16 ohm cab. I plugged mine into a 16 ohm 4x12 and nearly broke some windows in my church (with a smile on my face).

    Customer Service:
    Again, awesome. I'm a nobody, but Ken and Sara treated me like a very important customer. Their communication was great and I couldn't be more pleased with them. This is very important to me. It shows they stand behind their product and believe in it and want people to be happy with it. I feel I'd be taken care of if ever the situation called for it. Thanks guys.

    Aside from the issue mentioned previously, I did have one suggestion.

    The reverb control to me is useless. I know it's not a true reverb but is supposed to mimic the early reflections of an open back cab. However, at extreme settings it simply didn't sound good and anything less was to subtle to be noticed.

    To me , a better use of the knob would be to either 1.) substitute it and the tone knob for a 2 knob tone stack for a little more tweakability, or better yet 2.) make it a digital reverb such as the popular pedals based ont he Belton chip such as the Mr. SPringy etc.. That would be truly awesome- a small loud and clean combo with a decent spring reverb sound.

    Maybe there's space limitations in there, and I'm by no means an electrical engineer, but I think it would be a better use of that knob to go either of these routes.

    Overall Impression:
    I gigged it. I practiced with it. I tried to be ultra critical. In the end, I bought it. I'd buy it again. It's a great unique product and it's practicality is only overshadowed by it's musicality. Very nice job. Thanks to ZT so much for the opportunity and the good deal. Everyone else, get your hands on one!
  2. Johns62312

    Johns62312 Member

    Mar 14, 2006
    Bowling Green Mo
    I've been looking into these for awhile and finally decided I have to try one of thesehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmGncxqxHJo&feature=related myself. Ordered one this morning. This video had a lot to do with it. Most of the video's I've seen the camera mic's seem to get distorted. Can't understand a word he says but he not to bad of player. Good demo. How are you getting along with yours by now?
  3. studiodunn

    studiodunn Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2007
    LB, Ca.
    I ran my new L2 in a stereo set up at practice last night and it was amazing at what it did.

    I ran my dirt and fuzz pedals through the L2 and ran my Plexi/2x12 dry. The L2 had this perfect cutting quality through the mix without getting in the way of the fullness of my tube rig. I was essentially using the L2 as my dirt channel and boost and it was great. I finally have a giggable stereo rig and only added 10lbs. to my set up.....super stoked on the L2 and it's actual usefulness.

    I would have no problem using the Lunchbox as a quick grab and go with a HT Dual, or using it with an acoustic amp. Any questions about it's volume are a mute point. It is as loud as any normal player will ever need.

    It also makes the most practical back up amp ever. Great Job Ken/ZT, as I've already said, this is the best piece of gear I have ever bought in terms of practicality, uses and value.
  4. Sniper-V

    Sniper-V Member

    Aug 30, 2005
    San Antonio, Tx
    I've given plenty of praise before and nothing has changed.

    The ZT LunchBox rules!

    Use it for practice, giving lessons, rehearsals, gigs, and back up.

    Takes pedals extremely well!

    Guaranteed to put smile on eveyone's face in disbelief.
  5. PremiumPlus

    PremiumPlus Member

    Jan 17, 2008
    psquared, excellent review. I'm considering one of these to mic my old Deluxe with...
  6. ReginaldBisquet

    ReginaldBisquet Member

    Dec 19, 2008
    Perhaps a stupid question: If I ran the Lunchbox into an extension cab that had two 100 W 8 ohm speakers, would I blow the speakers?
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2009
  7. decay-o-caster

    decay-o-caster Member

    Jan 4, 2002
    The Greater San Jose Metroplex
    Depends on whether they're wired in parallel (4 ohms) or series (16 ohms). I might have this upside down - but as I recall, it wants to see an 8 ohm or greater load. So you wouldn't blow the speakers from the power, but you might blow the ZT from the impedence mismatch. I'm sure it's on the website whether it wants 8 ohms or greater, or 8 ohms or less, but I'm thinking it wants 8 ohms or greater.
  8. sodapopinski

    sodapopinski Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    dang, i thought i was done buying gear... i never learn

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