it first came out, people have begged
for Dr. Z to make a head only version of this amp. Well, the
good Dr. listened!
Information About the Z-Wreck
Z was contacted by Brad paisley in 2006 to have him build a custom amp.
They discussed what Brad wanted out of this amp and this led
Dr. Z to contact renowned amp builder (and a friend of Z) Ken Fischer
to lend a hand. Dr. Z sent the prototype to Ken and he worked
a bit of his magic into it, and even named it the "Z-Wreck".
After a few minor adjustments were made, Dr. Z sent it to Brad Paisley
and it became Brad's main amplifer ever since. In late 2006,
Ken passed away and Z set the amp aside.
||4 -7189 (EL84)
Then over the years, Brad talked about this amp in interviews and
everyone saw it when he played, so Dr. Z started to get tons of
requests to make this available for production, but he always said no.
After the Nashville flood of 2010, some of Paisley's amps were
destroyed. While Dr. Z was building up a couple replacements,
he started wondering why such a wonderful sounbding amp be left for
only one person to play. With encouragement from Paisley, Z
went back over the notes and schematics he and Ken Fischer exchanged
during the project earlier. He decided to release this amp to
component on the Z Wreck was placed with the utmost attention to short
wire lengths and increased separation between the front end and the
output section. The heart of the amp is the output transformer designed
by Ken for Dr Z in the early 2000s. Also on board is a newly designed
power transformer which incorporates a multi tapped secondary that
allows for 2 different plate voltage settings: Comfort and Speed.
Speed yields a strong attack with increased clarity and dynamic
headroom. Every note rings clear in the clean settings and they
absolutely scream when the amp is pushed to its natural overdriven
voice. The comfort setting drops the plate voltage down for more of a
vintage feel. The softer response and overall sweetness of the comfort
setting really make it difficult to put the guitar down.
touch response of the Z Wreck is unequalled. Settings below 12:00 on
the volume yield a rich clean sound with no signs of harshness. A 12
string Ric will be right at home for mid 60s Liverpool bliss. Once past
12:00 on the volume you can dial in excellent crunch all the way up to
full blooming sustained drive sounds. Does the Z Wreck ROCK? YES!!!
Does the Z Wreck TWANG? YES!!! The Z Wreck will deliver exactly what
your hands and guitar give it. With the amp volume past noon you can
roll your guitar volume back for articulate full bodied clean sounds
and turn it up full for excellent drive. The Z Wreck truly is a plug
and play amp.
has acquired a massive amount of NOS Russian 6P14P-EV 7189 (EL84) tubes
to use in the Z Wreck. These output tubes were chosen because of their
superior sonic qualities and excellent life span. A speaker cable and
AC cord are also included with the Z Wreck.
As we get
them, we will be adding Z-Wreck
reviews and testimonials
from both employees of Humbucker Music and our customers. If
you would like to submit a review or testimonial about the Z-Wreck for
us to post, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
. We'd be happy to publish it here.
From Brian, of
One thing that is truly
consistent with all the Dr.Z amps that I have
that they all have a very dominant presence. Though they are all voiced
differently, the overall feel of each one is very focused and stark as
to other comparable brands. The Z-Wreck is no different. In general, I
say that the amp leans more British than anything else, though this
somewhat attributed to the choice of speaker. Even cranked I feel that
is still very crisp and the trademark “gritchiness” in the upper mid
I attribute to British amps is still present. I find in many amps as
is increased this is reduced to muddiness, but I did not encounter that
I felt that the
response of the amp in terms of gain structure was
very user friendly. When playing the amp clean, it’s chimey and crisp,
just the right amount of warm overtones surrounding each note. The best
describe it may be that it was a bit reminiscent of a Vox AC30 at peak
performance (if that makes sense). As the volume is increased there was
noticeable natural compression, as you would expect from any good tube
don’t want to say that the extremes throughout the spectrum were rolled
that would indicate some loss of dynamics, but I think it is more
say that the overall overtones became more prominent and that they seem
together in a very good way.
At a little
past 12 o’clock on the volume the amp seems to
“loudness” and from then on the amp’s volume knob seems to dial in more
Obviously this can also be altered by the volume on the guitar, but for
purpose of testing I mostly ran the guitar wide open. I should mention
that manipulations in the guitars volume did yield good results, and
the loss of tone and dynamics one would expect. Overall, I was very
at the different tones I could achieve from the amp.
As with many Dr.
Z amps, the controls are deceptively simple, but incredibly
interactive. I must
say that I was happy to see a “cut” knob make an appearance on the Z
find, as do many customers, that this control seems to be the key on
of Dr.Z's offerings to dialing in the most
desired tones. The “cut”
allows you to pull out or accentuate some treble and upper mids, but it
subtle enough that it doesn't seem to really change the
overall voice. You
almost have to hear to understand. It's as though the desired
can be found without changing the voicing of the amp, and that's harder
design in an amp than one might think.
I feel overall most
players that already love Dr.Z’s will really
what the Z-Wreck brings to the table. I think it has attributes of many
other models and also covers some new ground. As I stated before it has
“kicked in the chest” type of presence that I expect from a Z even at
volumes. I think a guitar-cable-amp type player will be just as
one who likes a good pedal. The amp covers enough ground that it really
to the player how they want to dial it in. I think the chicken pickers,
and the “in betweeners” should not have any issue finding a good
setting on the
amp. I'm excited to hear what the response from other players will be
From Josh, of
I think that this amp sounds outstanding. One of the reasons that
we here at the shop are all such big fans of Dr. Z is that they
consistently make great amps, but this amp was a bit more than I had
come to expect during all of the buzz around it.
This amp has a lot of body and warmth. I'm surprised at how full
it sounds with the guitar plugged directly in. Chords really seem
to "bloom" and maintain sparkle at any volume. What I mean is
that the signal doesn't sound dry. Although there was nothing
between the guitar and amp except a cable when I played it, the quality
of sound made it seem like there was some sort of tone enhancing pedal
in the chain. I'm somewhat blown away by the response of the
amp. It is very touch sensitive, so it truly represents the
guitar and the player when in use. This means you have to really
practice your playing, because this amp captures all of a player's
nuances, good and bad :) I think a lot of this comes from the
speaker selection for the cab. A gold speaker can often be very
unforgiving to the player, while a blue is known for it's warmth and
rounded tone. This comes across in the increased response of the
Z Wreck as well as it's warmth and fullness. I think this is a
strong reason that humbuckers and single coils alike sound great
through it. With the it's heightened response, it is capable of
presenting the pickup's characteristics in a very natural and detailed
Single notes have a lot of character and even at lower volumes, they
still sort of "sing out". The amp cleans up very well when
rolling back the volume on the guitar, even with the amp cranked
high. The amp doesn't have a pristine, shimmery clean, but I feel
like that is a good feature on it. The clean sounds have a sort
of bubble around them that sounds like a driven preamp, but there is
not a lot of breakup. This gives it a strong response from the
initial attack of a note, but never harsh, so it comes across as a
full-bodied punch. The sustain is excellent as well, especially
when the volume is increased.
The break up on the amp is very rich and never gets overwhelmingly
dirty. As the volume is increased, it just seems to get more
powerful. To me, this allows the amp to stay easily usable at any
volume and maintain the integrity of it's tone at every position of the
knobs. Basically, the amp sounds great from low volumes to higher
ones, it just gets louder. chimier and fuller. The response
sensitivity increases with the volume, but the amp still retains a
percussiveness as well. It sounds incredibly big with the volume
all the way up.
I think that this amp is not limited to a particular style. It
could be used for rock, country, blues, etc. It is more
impressive than I imagined it would be. I hope to get a chance to
hear some pedals through it because I have a feeling that it will only
increase the enjoyment level. This amp is a pleasure to play,
keep up the excellent work Dr. Z!
From a Z-Wreck
Needless to say, last night was a very good night. :-)
In a word, I think the amp is stunning. There was a lot of hype leading
up to its release, but even the hype truly pales in comparison to the
real thing. I've owned so many amps in the last 20 years that I've lost
count, and none of them even come close to this. It's the most subtle,
responsive, touch-sensitive amp I've ever experienced... and I feel
like I'm just scratching the surface. It will take months to figure out
everything the z-wreck is capable of... and that's of course a good
Many thanks to everyone at Humbucker for an awesome experience! I'm
sure you guys will be selling a lot of these, even at the
higher-than-usual price point for a Z. Hope Doc can keep up with the
From another Z-Wreck
reminds me of a giant Maz Jr NR as far as tone and feel. I had a Maz 38
NR and that's not the tone or feel I'm talking about.
It's clean sound is wonderfully lush and is the King of Chime and Queen
of Sparkle....however, it doesn't have quite as much clean headroom as
I was thinking it might, but, at 30 watts, what was I
As most amps...the Strat has way more clean volume than the Les Paul.
Speaking of pickups, this is another of those amps that seem to shine
more with single coils. (Again, I'm thinking Maz Jr) Don't get me
wrong, my Les Paul sounds amazing through it!
Another thing that is very noticeable is the note bloom and
sustain...and I mean at clean volumes...I've never heard this from an
amp and it only intensifies as you turn the volume to the right.
:) I had to make sure my comprossor was not on...oh
wait...I'm plugged straight in...lol...
This is one fine musical instrument and I can only imagine what it will
sound like when these speakers get broken in. I have put about 7 hrs
playing time on it last night and today...my fingers are raw! I haven't
played this much straight in a while!
All I can say is thanks to Dr Z, all his men, Humbucker Music, and you
guys for making my amp quest complete! :)
Dr Z Amps are officially UL/CSA certified! They're also CE
certified for the rest of the world. To our knowledge, they are
the only boutique amp manufacturer with models that are UL certified.
It's a very long and expensive ordeal and rightfully so, they are quite
proud to offer amps that are tested and certified for safety,
reliability, and durability.
Dr. Z Amplification are tested and spot checked quarterly by ETL to
insure their building methods and materials meet the strict
requirements for certification.
Other than safety, why is this important? UL
Certification also requires a manufacturer to build for durability and
reliability. The chassis, solder points, transformers, etc have
to meet certain criteria, such as:
Vibration : Such as withstanding a bumpy road in the back
of your car.
Shock Resistance #1 : Shock, as in impact, not
electricity. Not all amps survive a fall or accidental drop.
Resistance #2 : Ok, now it's about electricity! :)
And the list goes on, but you get the picture.
The point is, it's truly rare, if not non-existant, that a hand-wired
custom amplifier company puts themselves out there to be scrutinized by
firms who literally spcialize in looking for reasons to shut them
down. In our opinion, that speaks volumes about Dr. Z and their
build quality. It gives us confidence in them, and in our
opinion, it should you as well.
If you would like more information about Dr. Z's certification, please
click the image below to read the report.
- Humbucker Music