Hi all I just brought a used Mini Z head from GC. I am running thru a Dr Z 1 x 12 cab loaded with a Celestion Gold speaker. The tone is very dark so much that it is all but unusable with the neck pickup in my Strat’s. With the bridge pickup up it is ok but with the volume on the amp maxed out and with attenuater set to zero not a lot of OD. The clips I saw on You Tube even with a Strat there was a lot of OD. I swapped out the EL84 with a new known good one. Also it has a Groove tube 12ax7 in the preamp. From everything I have read and listened to this amp should with a strat have a lot of open sounding OD. It’s the reason for my purchase. Any ideas? Maybe this one has issues and the person pawned it off GC. ( wouldn’t be the first time that has ever happened!). I can always return but hoping there is something I am missing. Any thoughts or ideas ? Thanks in advance for any help.
Post by premiumplus (Dave) on Jul 2, 2018 6:28:57 GMT -7
Try putting a JJ ECC83S in V1. The JJ EL84 tubes are also known to be pretty bright. If it's not overdriving well it really sounds like a tube issue. V1 carries a lot of the tone generation duty in the Mini, and it also serves to drive the output tube. Also clean the jacks with some DeOxit. I do it every six months or so with my amps and you'd be surprised how dark with junk a Q-tip gets. Be careful not to lose any cotton threads inside the jack...twist it before use. My Mini was plenty bright with humbuckers; around 3:00 on the volume it was into ZZ tone. Doc has a great troubleshooting tip page on the Z amps site. How old is your amp?
JJ preamp tubes have good drive and warmth but they tend to roll off or soften trebles. Consider the Chinese 12AX7B if you want extra drive/gain and brightness. I've currently got a NOS RCA 7025 long backplate in the preamp and a 6n14n-EP in the power section of my Mini. Check the string distance between the top of the poles and the string on the neck pickup - too close often results in a dark and woofy tone.
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