Dr. Z Therapy Head - Black
This amp started it's life as an export model, with the assistance of Dr.Z it was converted to run at 120v.
The Dr. Z Therapy is a bit of a departure from what you typically see from Dr. Z. It's voicing is definitely more American in character than most of his other offerings, covering tones ranging from mid-powered tweed era Fender cleans to rich Dumble-esque style overdrives. The Therapy uses a cathode biased 6L6 power section delivering 35 watts, and features Volume, Treble, Mid, Bass, and Master Volume controls.
After taking the Therapy through it's paces, we definitely see it appealing to a very wide variety of players. To be quite honest, we found it difficult get a bad tone out of it.
What to expect:
Overall we found the cleans to be very warm and round with plenty of bass response and clarity. It's not uncommon with amps that are voiced a bit warmer for the tone to get a bit "mushy" when pushed. This is definitely not the case with the Therapy. Both individual notes and chords remain punchy and well defined. The Therapy's natural compression and "sag" is present, but not at the expense of pick dynamics. We think an almost perfect balance was struck by Dr. Z. Warm, yet expressive!
Pedal friendly? Absolutely. Dr. Z amps are known for being great pedal platforms, and this one is no exception. In fact, it may be one of the best amps he offers for your pedal board.
Another thing we all love is how "friendly" the top end of the amp is. We experienced no "ice pick" harshness even with some of our brighter guitars. We've found that using a bright guitar is a great acid test for how an amp will respond under extremes. The fact that we were able to bombard the Therapy with a super bright tele and still get very usable tones really speaks to how well the voicing was designed. Great job, Z!
So earlier we mentioned Tweed era cleans... One thing that made many tweed era amps so highly sought after is the warm organic character these amps have at lower volumes. It's not always necessary to crank those amps to get them cooking. The Therapy definitely delivers in this department as well. With a variety of guitars we're able to dial in some truly rich cleans that have tons of overtones even at relatively low volumes. Tweed amps are often described as organic, and that's a great description of the Therapy as well. Notes have an almost swirling like effect around them that is pleasant and musical.
Overall the character of the overdrive is very natural, and with the use of the master volume it's also quite linear in its application. Dialing in tones ranging from just on the edge of break up all the way to very saturated crunch was intuitive and very easy to achieve.
When the Therapy is pushed, it's impressive how much gain you're able to generate while still maintaining enough clarity to hear every note in a chord. As rich this amp is voiced, we were concerned about how the amp would function at higher gain levels, especially with guitars with hotter pickups. But even when cranked, the Therapy retains plenty of presence and definition. Don't be worried about this one getting lost in the mix. It's isn't going to happen. :)
But don't get us wrong... The Therapy produces a surprisingly smooth overdrive, even at higher levels. With the clean tones being so dynamic and punchy, we feared some type of compromise would occur with the overdriven tones. Our fears vanished the moment we pushed it into gainier territory. Smooth and natural feeling! The big bottle power tubes (6L6) gives the amp a bit thicker and more robust tone when pushed in comparison to some of the more British style tubes.
Post Phase Inverter Master Volume
Truth is, we've played very few amps where the master volume functions as well as it does on the Therapy. With a good master volume you should have precise control over the point where an amp begins to break up in relation to it's overall volume. The post phase inverter master volume used on the Therapy definitely accomplishes this. This ability to control preamp and power amp gain independently is the key to getting that "edge of breakup" sound that so many players are after. With this amp, you "fine tune" the level of gain more so than with other designs we've encountered.
As far as volume goes, the Therapy doesn't have to be cranked to get it to perform. Even at reasonable playing volumes (if there is such a thing) it's easy to set the amp for nice cleans, or heavier gain, without much change in overall volume. In fact, the player that's looking to maximize headroom will appreciate the functionality of the master volume just as much as another player looking to push the amp at a lower volume. Sounds like a win/win to us!
|Construction:|| All Tube, All Hand-Wired, ALL USA MADE!
|Power Output:|| 35 Watts
|Output Tubes:|| 2 x 6L6 (cathode biased)
|Preamp Tubes:||2 x 12AX7|
|Rectifier:||Tube - 5AR4|
|Controls:||Master, Bass, Mid, Treble, Volume|
|Features:|| Carbon Comp Resistors
Jupiter Coupling Caps
|Dims & Weight:||19" Wide x 9.75" High x 9.5" Deep - 30 lbs.|