Judging from its name, one might reasonably expect the Z-Lux to be yet another emulation of a certain legendary Fender amplifier, but that narrow classification doesn’t do it justice. This contemporary 40-watt combo (also available as a head) may be rooted in the past, but it brings a wider range of capabilities to the stage or studio than most classic tweed-style amps—not the least being considerably more clean volume.
ZNA The Z-Lux combines the characteristics of several existing Dr. Z amps with new twists. It marries the front end of a MAZ Reverb with the quad 6V6 power section of a Remedy, while providing a half/full power switch like the one found on the discontinued JAZ 20/40. There’s also a robust tremolo section and a built-in boost that bypasses the tone stack and gently gooses the gain. Boost and tremolo/reverb footswitches are included.
The Z-Lux is meticulously hand-wired using premium components with tasty touches such as specially selected Mallory 150, Sprague “Orange Drop,” and hand-rolled Jupiter caps. Four 12AX7s, a 12AT7, and a solid-state rectifier complement the four 6V6s. An “American voiced” Eminence-built 50-watt Z-12 speaker and a newly designed lightweight cabinet complete the stylish and transport-friendly, 42-pound package.
I tested the Z-Lux using a 1969 Gibson Les Paul Custom loaded with 1959 PAFs, a PRS Custom 24 Brazilian, and a mid-’70s Fender Stratocaster.
The Z-Lux’s tube-driven tremolo and spring reverb are both chockablock with vintage vibe. The tremolo controls offer generously wide sweeps: Speed takes you from a languorous crawl to trippy rapidity, while depth is adjustable from hardly noticeable to maximum throb. The gorgeous reverb sound is rich and clear, with more than enough splash factor for most purposes, though it stops a few drops short of Dick Dale-grade saturation when cranked.