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FDP Forum / Miscellaneous and Non-Fender Topics / Matchless vs Dr. Z

Next 20 Messages  
lefty@ny
Contributing Member
***

Stratsburg, NY

Strats Bark / Teles Bite
Feb 17th, 2010 08:47 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have a Dr Z Maz Jr. 2x12 w/reverb which I love. It's tricked out with a Brakelite, Tone Tubby's (Alnico & Ceramic), and NOS tubes. I like early breakup and play mostly Blues.

The Maz Jr. does this well, especially with humbuckers, but I have strong GAS for a Matchless and have seen some acts using them with great blues tones (and no pedals).

I am considering sale of the Z to buy a Matchless...am I nuts or is this a step in the right direction? Opinions wanted...model suggestions appreciated.

(This message was last edited by lefty@ny at 08:52 PM, Feb 17th, 2010)

Peegoo
Contributing Member
**********
******

That chicken

is WRONG, baby.
Feb 17th, 2010 09:30 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The *only* way to tell if it's a step in the right direction is to play the matchless you're considering and you will know.

Years back I decided I was going to buy my holy grail amp. I played 'em all--Bad Cat, Zinky, Matchless, Fuchs, Doc Z, Tone King, Fender...you name it, I probably played it. I took almost a year. The Doc Z Maz 38 won out over the others. Why? It sounds HUGE for a 1x12, and it had the best "clean" tone to my ears. The clean has a certain graininess that perks in the background and gives the tone real personality. The Matchless was close, but not quite.

Disclaimer: professional driver on closed course; batteries not included; your mileage may vary.

picnic
Contributing Member
**********
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Jersey Shore

Feb 17th, 2010 09:41 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

This is where it gets so subjective to your own ears, it's hard to measure or qualify anything. I have played peegoo's Z and really liked it. He makes it sound even better. I got a Sr, but next to my Mesa Lonestar Special in a shootout, the Z lost.
Since then, I have sold the Z and the LSS and am really digging my Tone King.
YMMV, YMMV, YMMV, YMMV etc, etc, etc

Rick Plays The Blues

Austria

ooops, I changed that tube again ...
Feb 17th, 2010 10:51 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

YMMV all true.

I guess you have to hear it yourself to know.
If you say Matchless, you should also consider Bad Cat and 65 Amps, I believe.

My current dream amp would be a customized boutique version of my Marshall 2266C and Fender PT Concert Reverb mixed into one amp.

strat2000
Contributing Member
*****

usa

Feb 18th, 2010 05:37 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've owned 12 great Dr Z's and moved to Matchless about a year ago, where I've acquired 4...Lightning, Clubman, DC30 & SC30/ IMHO Matchless is a step up, they are simply fantastic for what I do. The Lightning is is best 15w amp you'll ever play, although I've ended my GAS and settled in nicely with an SC30...my desert island amp.

Mosquito
Contributing Member
**

Dallas, TX

It's high time for lowlifes.
Feb 18th, 2010 07:20 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I bought a Matchless Avalon 30 about a month ago and have been very happy with it. (video below)

I don't know if it is what you are looking for, but I have found it be fantastic for completely clean, light gain, and gain single coil tones. Honestly, I haven’t heard anything better for Strats and Teles. For Humbucking guitars it is pretty good, but not great without pedals, only because there is not a high amount of gain on tap. That said, running my 6 band EQ in the effects loop, and putting a Tubescreamer in front does wonders for the high gain tones.

My video doesn’t do justice, but this amp sounds fantastic.

Matchless Avalon (YT)

Mosquito
Contributing Member
**

Dallas, TX

It's high time for lowlifes.
Feb 18th, 2010 07:25 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Oh, I forgot to mention, the Avalon is switchable between a very loud 30 Watts, and a less rattling 15 Watts, and has a defeatable master volume, so you can go very high headroom, or adjustable low headroom.

macg1

Houston, Tejas

I 've got love to burn...
Feb 18th, 2010 08:40 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have played the Carmen Ghia (combo) and Z-28 (head with Z-best cab) and a Matchless Chieftain combo. The Z's are great amps, and each model has its own character. They are non-master volume amps and for any type of break up you will need to be super loud which may be too loud of a stage volume for most small stages. The Matchless being a El34 amp with a master volume was able to reach saturation at lower volumes and when fully cranked it just sang. Given the choice among the ones I played I would go Matchless, BUT that said you need to consider your tone needs. Matchless also has several models to choose from and by no means was my research on this topic extensive nor intentional. The Matchless is likely the best amp I have ever plugged into, and at 2400 bones it better be!

P.S. I have not played a Dr. Z Remedy and I would be fully prepared to change my mind on this choice. Tracii Guns' live sound is to put it plainly... SICK! He plays one (or more) Remedy combo with 4x10 extensions. sick sick sick.

(This message was last edited by macg1 at 08:42 AM, Feb 18th, 2010)

picnic
Contributing Member
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Jersey Shore

Feb 18th, 2010 10:27 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The Lightning I played at NAMM reminded me a lot of my Bogner Metropolis 15 watter. I went back and forth between the Bogner and Matchless booths, they were close and wanked away on each amp. Very close tone wise.
Eventually the Metropolis lost in a shoot out with my Lonestar Special and got sold.

This thread will drive you nuts in a good way if you let it.

8^)

MT Buckaroo
Contributing Member
***

Big Sky Country

Guitars, Cadillacs,...
Feb 18th, 2010 11:08 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

OK, I have had three Dr. Z Maz 18 Jrs with reverb, a 1x12, a 2x10, and lastly a head which I still own. I have played the head through a single Greenback, through a Blue/G12H30 pair, through a Red Fang/Wizard pair, and through a Texas Heat/Cannabis Rex pair. I also have an EZG-50.

I have had three Bad Cats - which are so darn close to Matchless that I feel justified in chiming in here. I have a Cub II R (reverb) 1x12 (still have it), a Cub II R 2x10 (sold it), and a Black Cat R head (still have it...for now). The latter is a souped up verstion of the classic Matchless HC-30.

Here's the deal, I thought that the Black Cat R head would be the ultimate EL84 amp, especially with its half power switch. It would replace my Cub II combo and Maz 18 Jr. head. Well... as killer of an amp as it is, it is just too much amp for me, waaay too much break-up especially on that EF86 channel (and insanely big and heavy for a head). The cranked tone is delicious, but just too much of a good thing. So I'm sticking with the Maz 18 Jr head, and BC Cub II R.

I realize you are asking a question more about overall build quality and tone, and I'm giving you an answer comparing amps of differing power levels. So let's address that quality issue. Simple - both are outstanding. The Bad Cats may even have a reputation for being built better than Matchless, but this is subjective. They are built like tanks, which is probably overkill, but if you are a gigging musician... The Bad Cats I've had are stouter and heavier than the Zs, but the Zs are still excellent. The Zs are great; the Bad Cats are great+.

Tone? Both are outstanding. In more of an apples to apples comparison, take two amps powered by two EL84s, both with 5AR4 rectifiers and tube driven reverb, the BC Cub II R and the Maz 18 Jr. With regard to these two, I wouldn't want to have to choose one over the other. The Maz Jr. does more of a Fendery thing better than the BC, and the BC does more of a Marshally thing better than the Maz Jr. Both take pedals well.

I am the inventor of the "grass is always greener" syndrome when it comes to GAS. Unless you have the financial luxury of buying a Matchless or Bad Cat to try it, and are OK selling it and taking a little hit on shipping, eBay commission, etc., I advise you to keep the Maz 18 Jr. that you have and be happy.

steze
Contributing Member
*****

Chicago IL.

Feb 18th, 2010 12:16 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Unless you have the financial luxury of buying a Matchless or Bad Cat to try it, and are OK selling it and taking a little hit on shipping, eBay commission, etc......."

That's what I do when it comes to amps. No way can I tell what an amp is really like until I've "lived with it a while" with all of my guitars. I have bought and sold several amps in the past couple of years, and when I find something else I like, I buy it, decide which is the best and keep the others.

In fact, I just bought a Tone King Meteor II and will be selling two more amps. Of all the amps I've owned, it's the only one that sounds great with all of my guitars regardless of which pickup I use or how the guitar volume knob is set. Not so with any of the others. Also has by far the best reverb of any amp I've played through.

lefty@ny
Contributing Member
***

Stratsburg, NY

Strats Bark / Teles Bite
Feb 18th, 2010 05:35 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Great thread...

thanks for the feedback, especially MT Buckaroo who helped put some real perspective on my limited experience with amp trials and "grass is always greener" syndrome. The Matchless SC-30, Avalon, and Lightning were actually the 3 I was scoping out. I'm thinking maybe I should explore another Z in addition to the Maz Jr since each Dr Z model is different.

Wayne Campbell

Aurora

Not just a place, but a state of mind
Feb 20th, 2010 01:54 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've owned two Bad Cat's, a Matchless and currently a Dr. Z. What you'll start to find out is that each manufacturer sort of has it's own character. Dr. Z has a lot of different models, and they all sound very different, but they have a certain feel and quality of sound to them. Same goes with Bad Cat and Matchless.
When you get to this level it really comes down to which one speaks to you. Find which manufacturer's character seems to speak to you the most.
For a gross generalization (that isn't entirely true) and a general rule of thumb you can safely assume that Bad Cat's are a bit more in the Vox camp and Dr. Z's are a bit more in the Fender camp. Matchless seem to be a strange and unique blend between Vox, Marshall and Hiwatt.

Personally of the three, my favorite was probably the Cub II. That amp is just special somehow... Though I love my Jaz 20/40 and it's low end response is just unreal... better than anything I've ever heard before and a clean tone that will make any Fender hang it's head in shame ;-)

If you're looking for another Z it's definitely one to consider

Chezzer
Contributing Member
***

Michigan

Feb 20th, 2010 07:37 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've got three Dr Z's, a MAZ18, KT45, and a Remedy. I practice with the KT45 every week and gig with the Remedy. If I could only have one amp, it'd be the Remedy. Everything sounds good through that amp, and it doesn't matter what speaker I use - they all sound good.

I haven't played through a JAZ yet, but a blend of a Remedy and a MAZ sounds like a winner in my book.

AudioJack
Contributing Member
****

Annapolis, Maryland

Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero-One
Feb 20th, 2010 08:25 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I bought a Dr Z Maz 18 Reverb heard about 2 years ago, decided it just was not cutting the mustard for me. I had it paird up with a Avatar TV cab with a Silver Bell with pre-Rola treatment. It sounded great but was just getting the tones I wanted. I then sold it for almost the same price I paid for it, that is one great thing about the Dr Z Maz amp, there is a high demand for them. I went to a Remedy by Dr Z which I still have. Like it a lot but I think my problem was the closed speaker cab was just not doing it for me. Last week I bought a Dr Z Maz 18 Combo 2x10. It's incredible and I think I found my sound. In the past I had a top hat and orange as well. I prefer the Dr Z over them.

MikeEC
Contributing Member
*****

Mpls, Minnesoooota

Lunacy has found me
Mar 30th, 2010 03:13 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I bumping so I can find this thread later as you cannot search on Dr. Z or MAS.

picnic
Contributing Member
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Jersey Shore

Mar 30th, 2010 08:49 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I think you are going in the right direction.

(This message was last edited by picnic at 03:02 AM, Mar 31st, 2010)

AudioJack
Contributing Member
****

Annapolis, Maryland

Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero-One
Mar 31st, 2010 08:20 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I tired a Avalon 30 not very long ago in a 2x10 config and prefer the Maz 18 I bought in the 2x10 config. The Matchless was very nice but for the $ I liked the Z better. I also checked out a lightning 15 and still liked the Dr Z better. The only thing IMHO the matchess has over DR Z is their reverb. I'm no a fan of reverb on a Z but on a Matchless, it's sweet as pie.

lefty@ny
Contributing Member
***

Stratsburg, NY

Strats Bark / Teles Bite
Apr 1st, 2010 09:02 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Picnic...right direction towards a Matchless?

AudioJack...thanks for your opinions. I was actually looking at the Avalon, but haven't tried it out. Your words have relieved my GAS.

Pinetree
Contributing Member
**********
*

Old Schoo

Apr 2nd, 2010 06:20 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I noticed that gearmanndude (the YouTube pedal review guy) uses a Dr.Z



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