ZT Amplifiers

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My amp gets hot after playing it for a while, should I be worried?
Amplifiers do get hot when they’re warmed up (don’t ever try touching anything close to the rear panels on any tube amp you might have). The back plate on ZT amps serves as the heat sink for the amplifier.  Its job it so transfer heat from the inside of the amp outward.  The back plate does get hot to the touch, especially after you’ve been playing at a high volume, but this heat does not indicate a problem with the amp. ZT amps have a built-in safety switch to power down if they ever get too hot, so it's nothing to worry about.

I have another amp head. Can I use it with the Lunchbox Cab?
Our amps are designed as integrated systems, so the pre-amp, power amp, box, and speaker are all designed specifically for one another. That's how we're able to get that much power in that small a package, and this is why we only recommend using the Cab with the Lunchbox amp.

So if your question is whether or not the ZT cab will work with another amp, yes, it will, you can plug it in and you will get sound out. However, you can't just throw any head on there and turn it up like a Lunchbox without any risk of problems. The Lunchbox amp has processing in it to protect the speaker so we can push it just to its limits (in volume and frequency), but no further. Another amp head will not have that same protection built in, so you could run into trouble.

The other issue is EQ. Guitar speakers do not have a flat frequency response; if they did they'd sound pretty boring. The Lunchbox is built with the response of our speaker in mind, so it knows where to boost or cut to get the right sound. So being compatible doesn't necessarily mean it will sound good.

Because of all this we don't recommend or warranty the use of the Lunchbox Cabinet with any equipment other than the Lunchbox.


What’s the difference between the Lunchbox and Lunchbox Acoustic?
We’ve heard some people refer to something they call the “White Lunchbox”.  We now know they’re talking about the Lunchbox Acoustic.  Beyond the obvious differences in the cosmetic look and features (the Lunchbox is a single-channel amp, the Lunchbox Acoustic is a 2-channel amp), the Lunchbox and the Lunchbox Acoustic are actually quite different in tone. The Lunchbox has a sound best suited for electric guitars and can really cut through in a full band.  It also has a good amount of overdrive as you turn it up. The Lunchbox Acoustic, on the other hand, is much warmer and very natural sounding with acoustic instruments, and is designed to stay as clean as possible.

My Lunchbox Acoustic isn’t as loud as my Lunchbox amp.  Why?
The idea of the Lunchbox Acoustic (and every ZT amp, for that matter) is to provide a very portable, flexible and great sounding solution for working musicians.  We think it can easily hold its own with any portable amp currently available, in terms of sound quality and in terms of useful output.  But, of course, ZT can bend the laws of physics, but we can't actually break them.

The Lunchbox Acoustic has even more power capability than the basic Lunchbox, and the signal path is cleaner.  However, the VOLUME and GAIN controls must be set at a higher point in order to obtain the full output.  This is intentional, and does not add distortion.

Another way to say this is that the original Lunchbox is a "high gain" amp, while the Acoustic is a "low gain" amp.

The Lunchbox Acoustic delivers much more low frequency output than the basic Lunchbox, and pushing those low frequencies through that 6.5” speaker requires a lot of power.  During the design of this amp, we decided to use the available power to maximize low frequency output and tonal quality, and we gave up a bit of overall volume output. From the compliments we receive on the sound of this amp, we think we made the right decision.

Can I use the Cab with the Lunchbox Acoustic or Club?
No, the ZT Cab is not designed to be used with the Lunchbox Acoustic or the Club. While it may be worthwhile to run those amps through a larger cab to get a different tone or even greater output, the Lunchbox Cab is the same size, or smaller, than the speaker in the other models, so it doesn't really give you any advantage

Another important point:  Both the Club and Lunchbox Acoustic will power either their internal speaker or an external one, but not both at once. The regular Lunchbox, on the other hand, has a dedicated amplifier on reserve to power an external cabinet.

Are your amps battery powered?
One is, The Junior.

Will ZT amps work with a keyboard/bass/mandolin/saxophone/didgeridoo?
Yes. All of our amps were designed with multi-instrumentalists in mind, so they are designed to work with a variety of instruments without risk of damage.  Which ZT will sound best with your instrument depends upon what you want from your amp, and you can read about the characteristics of each amp in the “Products” section of our website.

There’s a loud ‘pop’ noise when I turn the amp on and off.  Will that damage the amp?
No, the noise is perfectly normal. It’s essentially the result of switching on or off an incredible amount of power in an instant. This does not damage the speaker at all.

I’m using headphones but it’s not working, or it sounds weird. What should I do?

  1. Make sure the headphones work with another amp
  2. Try a different set of headphones with this amp
  3. If you're using a 1/4" to 1/8" adapter, make sure it works on another amp
  4. There are three volumes that matter for you to hear the headphones:
    1. The GAIN setting on whichever channel you're using (set to at least 50%)
    2. The VOLUME setting on the top of the amp (set to at least 50%)
    3. The VOLUME setting for the headphone jack (set at 100%)
  5. The setting of the speaker switch on the back doesn't matter, but make sure you're hearing sound when it's set to ON and switch over to OFF to turn off the speaker and make sure it's really the headphones you're hearing.

It’s a little different for each amp, but these are the basics. The most important thing is to have the headphone volume all the way up, and make sure the amp volume is dialed up to at least 50%.

I want to run the amp into another cabinet. Will it be okay?
First, the rule for running ZT amps into an external cabinet is the cabinet load must be 8 ohms or greater.  6 ohms, 4 ohms, 2 ohms, all of these are not going to work.  16 ohms, no problem.

Regarding the power rating of the speakers themselves, each speaker manufacturer rates their speakers differently; there are many variables that can come into play. So there are probably some 25W speakers you could use every day for the rest of your life and never have a problem, just as there are some 150W speakers you could fry in a few hours. Read reviews, talk to people, educate yourself and we’re sure you’ll find plenty of great options.

What pedals/speakers/guitars sound good with your amps?
You tell us.

What does the Phase switch on the Lunchbox Cab do?
Phase determines when a speaker is pushing air outward or pulling it inward. With just one speaker it generally doesn’t matter, but with two speakers it can be something you want control over because it will change the sound. There isn’t a right or wrong setting, and the sound will change depending on how the speakers are oriented, so try both and see what sounds best.  If you sound is thin, check the phase switch – chances are if you move it to the other position you will hear a big improvement.

What brand of amps do yours sound similar to?

There are plenty of great companies out there who make fantastic sounding amplifiers, but rather than go after their sound by going the “amp modeling” route, we developed a sound that is distinctly our own. The preamp, DSP, amplifier, speaker, and box are all custom designed to work together to get more sound out of less space than ever before, and to give ZT amps a tone that is distinctly ZT.

However, we do not insist that every player must want the ZT sound. Our amps are designed to offer a clean palate for whatever you’d like to put into them, and they take pedals with ease – even high gain, signal boosting pedals.  We encourage you to experiment with any processor that offers amp modeling as well as effects to get the sound you want. 

I have a question that isn’t listed here.
Feel free to contact us, you can find the info at http://www.ztamplifiers.com/about/contact.html