Got a Mini Z and the tones are fantastic. Breaks-up nicely at around 11 oclock and gets more crunchy and fat the more you dime it even with full attenuation. Stunning build quality, fit and finish- exactly what it said it would be but......
Not at bedroom levels. Even with attenuation setting 4 you can't dime it without it moving into an area that going to put me at odds with the neighbours eventually.
I'm thinking of chaining another attenutor on it- either an Brakelite SA or a full Airbrake. I know on some levels this is going to crush the sound as to work efficiently the speaker has to push a certain amount of air but for home practice i'll sacrifice a bit of dynamic range for not getting evicted! Anything to get the use out of this beautiful amp.
Has anyone else done this sort of thing and if so, what sort of results have you had?
Hey Misterg! I've been doing the same thing with my Mini...I've got a Brake Lite for my Ghia and threw it on the Mini just to try it. It really does bring it down to what I would call bedroom/apartment/late night don't want to wake up the neighbors level. I run both attenuators set on 3...it still sounds great...
"When this cruel, cruel, bloody competition's over...all that will be left is cosmic vibration, LOVE, and my song!" - Paul Pena
...hey guys, just want to assure anyone that's following this thread that I haven't abandoned it. I've ordered an Airbrake from Peach Guitars ( the ONLY authorised distributor of Z in the UK - and a really decent and genuine outfit at that)
Lead time is around 6-8 weeks so hold on in there and I'll be back with a full report around christmas time- where the @@@@ did this year go right?
Why a full 'Brake rather than an SA? well, I see my love affair with Z stretching far into the future and I'm thinking the full Airbrake is going to be able to give me ultimate flexibilty should I step up and gig this gear ( we're super sensitive to db thresholds on this little island ).
In the meantime, as a holding position, I would say to all the potential Mini Z buyers out there - you better be on your game or know your way round a compressor if your going to gig this gear - it's waaaay sensitive to attack and doesn't suffer fools (like me) gladly. Your chops better be even and spot on.
She pans out a little at higher gain as you would expect but if you're sloppy on a 3 o'clock clean then she'll bite your butt.
Also , she seems a little bright to me and just 'barks' at my mistakes (which are plenty). To use the language of our brothers from across the pond, this is no dollar store pretender. The Z is a class A path, grade A stunner.
I'm running a hand made US built LP '59 style axe with a handwound antiquity-style 'Duncan in the bridge and even with a fat 'bucker I'm thinking I might need to EQ this baby (I'm getting older and can't take anything approaching a bright , Strat-style tone- sorry all you Strattie guys , even as a Brit ,you lost me the moment I 'copped The Shadows as a kid - crimes against a tremolo are hard to forget or forgive. I favour balls out filthy, low-down Texan Pearly 'browntone' overdrive aka the BFG- the man is a tone god)
Anyway, I've rattled out enough BS for one night but seriously this amp has got so much depth, breadth and range I almost feel obliged to gig it.If I can pre or post eq it down to a fat low-down dirge, she could be the one.
Perhaps anyone out there with tube experience can 'chip in' and give me a few pointers how to put her into low range.
Well, it's been a LOT longer than I planned for which I apologise but here's my thoughts...
Well, the original question was (more or less)are real bedroom levels feasable with a Mini Z if one bangs on an extra attenuator?
In a word - yes
As I suggested above I went with the full fat Airbrake and hooked it up. The results are erm... interesting. Prettymuch any combination of on board attenution and 'outboard' (i.e Airbrake) seems fine and to my jaded ears are pretty subtle unless you whack back and forth between the extremes of course. However, none short of full onboard i.e. 4 combined with the true 'bedroom' settion on the Airbrake is going to get you (or perhaps just me) down to really quiet levels. The price you pay for this however is that the amp sounds totally choked.
if you REALLY want to just sit at home and plunk out stuff yes, you'll get that at a level that won't even disturb a sleeping baby ...but that's it.
To be fair, that's exactly what was asked for and on that score it delivers and if you can live with it then go to it and have fun.
There are a couple of other thoughts that I would add though if you're interested in my rubbish then by all means read on. If not then fair enough.
1) When I was doing all this stuff I realised how totally 'dry' the sound became with increasing amounts of attenuation. Perhaps part of that is that Ive become so used to having an amp with some reverb on it that I now can't do without it which leads me to conclusion one:-
To get where I want to go with the Mini it's going to take some outboard effects- not much but a bit. The Z is a great amp and a great cornerstone but it'll need a few licks of special sauce. No surprises there I guess but i'm just calling it as I see it.
2) I'm now not convinced that this is really going to be my bedroom amp. The Mini Z belongs on a small stage or corner of a bar where it can bark and growl without me constantly standing on it's windpipe. It was designed for that, it does that and that's where it excels- it's a small gig amp - a GREAT small gig amp. So here's conclusion two for what it's worth:- I think it would save a lot of confusion and disappointment if one were to think of it primarily as a garage amp (for those of you lucky guys with a garage) where you can 'Bill and Ted' the nuts off it (if that's your flavour) and then put it in a car and go play a small gig or larger mixed and mic'd gig with it as a backline. The bedroom amp proper it ain't guys.
3) Having realised this I kept looking for, 'that lil' ol' amp I could plug up to when I get in from work and play in my shoebox sized apartment without yada yada etc.' I found it but you're not gonna like it - probably .
See the problem is (as we all know) is that you need to drive an amp like a Mini Z hard because it's a single channel class A pure tube amp built along the lines of an old school Marshall i.e. pure pre and power stage drive that gives great bluesy break-up along the lines of all those first generation artists. One dial for all (setting aside the attenuator) As Ive said before 5 watts at full crank (in my humble opinion) is WAY too much for home use. The Mini Z offers you that great level of break-up without zapping the dial too hard at the expense of clean headroom but that's what it says on the tin but it's still too BIG a volume for comfortable home use because aside from anything else - it's still five watts right?
Logically one way of getting round this is to go get an amp that's say half a watt or maybe one watt and dime that and yep , they're out there but I never really gelled with them until now.
I'm probably gonna get linched by people on here for even mentioning another brand but I know what needed when I set out the original question and I finally found it and it's not a Z. It's the newly released Blackstar HT-1 series . I got the one with the reverb on it - the HT-1R.
I could bang on about it but I'm not going to partly because I think I would be pushing my luck with DR.Z , partly because it's so subjective and partly because it's a tool that does a job. Blackstar have cracked it in this field.
One last point
Rolls Royce don't make compact cars because it's not their market and until such time as Z kicks out a high grade version of the HT 1 template then neither is bedroom amps theirs. They probably won't because it's not what they do.
A Z is about tone to me and nothing betters it for that and that's why I'll always use it as my mainstay and my benchmark. If I ever get a really big amp on of these days it'll be a big Z of some sort.
Post by asattwanger on Feb 16, 2011 19:32:10 GMT -7
I didn't read one single post just in case I repeated something someone else said.
5 watts is not bedroom volume. It a very respectable drummer volume
At true bed room level you'll hear your string being plucked acousticly.
An acoustic guitar is not really bedroom volume. Your voice singing sure as hell isn't.
Buy these two things: Weber MicroMass. They are cheap and you have two nobs that adjust your output. One for Low-Low Mids and one for Highs-High Mids. This is important because most of your volume comes from your Low-Low Mids and sense your high get rolled off with most units, so this way you get to choose how much high you have. Ted also told me it was ok to use on my Z-28 even though it was advertised as a 15 watt unit.
Second and most importantly. Buy a Lizard Leg Flying Dragon and try setting your amp about mid way up and then boost the front end to give you that extra gain. The Dragon should put you right back to that exact cranked tone, but at slightly less volume. Trick is your power tube stay more intact giving you a bit more room to compress the tube with the attenuator which equals a more real tone.
Some may argue these points. Yes, I'm not using a MiniZ, but I have been running 5 watt amps in a condo for two years straight. It is not bedroom level but you get down to the loud acoustic levels and I doubt your neibors will care about the at respectable hours.
Talk to your neibors about it before they complain.
I'd have to agree with the micro mass. My friend has one and attenuates his ZVex Nano with is and you can dial in some decent treble by attenuating more of the mids-low frequencies.
I have the Weber MiniMass which I use out of necessity and I attenuate both the amp and the minimass to not wake people up. It does drop too much of treble and wish I had the micro instead for use with the Mini-Z
Post by club327 (aka Ben) on Nov 6, 2011 14:31:13 GMT -7
I love to hear you guys discuss this for the future, lucky for me i have a basement for now. More importantly Thank god I have a garage to play in with friends, the mini Is just what I needed, louder than the drummer and 100 w pa.
Red mv Monza 10 in. red fang, 112 closed back cab, Allen Chihuahua Head, Fishman, LP Classic, Jap Strat, Takamine new yorker and misc. Pedals
One should NOT use more than one attenuator. Doing so puts your transformer in dangerously mismatched territory. See this excellent discussion for more about why it is a bad thing, especially Phil's posts like #6.
I use a cranked Ghia at home. ..just plug a 12AU7 or 12BH7 into V1. Awesome power amp growl at very manageable levels. I guess this isn't the best solution for someone wanting lots of preamp gain, but it works great for me.
A NOS 5751 in the Mini's V1 position would tame it a bit, while still keeping a respectable amount of gain.
Not to pimp another maker's gear, but I just picked up a Swart night light to go with my new to me AST. It will get you down to true bedroom levels. In fact, the lowest setting is about as loud as the guitar strings acoustically. The setting above that is pretty darn quiet, too. It does bedroom levels way better than the brake light (I have both). The night light is not as good, however, at chopping off a few dbs to get you in less trouble from a sound man. To sum, the brake lite does subtle adjustments better. The swart is better for the bedroom.
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