NAD - ZT Lunchbox (Free Range)

Make it loud here.
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MrShake
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NAD - ZT Lunchbox (Free Range)

Post by MrShake » Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:08 pm

Exciting amp day here.

There's an area near the stairwell in the lobby of our building. People leave shelves, books, things like that. In case someone wants it. The other day, all day, there was a little amp sitting there. I only kinda half-interestedly peeked at it the first time I passed, thinking it was probably nothing special, like one of those tiny novelty amps GC sells with the stickers and mugs. The next time, I took a closer look and realized it was nicer than I'd expected. A few hours later, I came back down, and it was still there. Still covered in dust and fuzz and a little gunk. Still without a power cord. But I left it. And went upstairs to let the internet tell me what a sweet little amp it was. And a few hours after that, when my wife got home, she walked through the door holding it up and said, "Look what I found!"

I cleaned it up in about two minutes, found a spare one of those funky power cords in my spares box, and plugged it in. Power indicator lit up, it made sound. A lot of sound, in fact.

Image

I knew about lunchbox amps as an IDEA. Lower-case "l", though. Didn't realize it was a Kleenex kind of situation after ZT and the Tiny Terror spawned a whole field.

I also didn't realize that this one was TWO HUNDRED ****ING WATTS and had a speaker output as well.

I've been complaining for ages about how un-portable my gear is now that my band is gigging again. My main amp for our live stuff is a 1975 50W Bassman Ten. Loud and clean and tubey. Eighty pounds and awkwardly weighted. My other amp is an ADA rack rig with an MP-1, the MT200 power amp, and a half-split half-stack of those vertical 2x12s. I've been needing something small and loud, like the "Stage 112SE" I'd been using at our practice space. Not vintage tube sound, but enough to do the trick for a small club gig and not backbreaking. This LBG2 is way smaller but sounds far, far better than that Stage 112SE, for sure. Granted, the price was right for me so I'm biased, but it's EXACTLY what I've been needing -- something small enough to take to a 50-person show in a loud, fuzzy garage punk two-piece and still blast enough fuzz with enough force and oomph to take a face off in the front row (and stand on equal footing with the drums).

And then the universe provided me with precisely what I'd been needing, right before our first run of shows in a year. Crazy. I still can't get over it.

Bone simple to use, though the sensitivity of the Gain knob meant I had to re-approach my pedalboard volume/output settings. Got to fully let it fly at band practice today. Will it replace my Bassman as my ideal? Nope. But it sounds far, far better than a 6.5" speaker would have you believe, it projects and crunches, and took a low-gain Rat, a Russian Muff, a Superfuzz (both settings!), and a Companion Fuzz and spit 'em all out pretty much the way I like. I was expecting something well-constructed that would sound like any other amp the size of my old Crate practice amp in high school. Nope. This was resonant, pretty full, and very, VERY sensitive to pedals. Other than that it was basically just "more clean loud" on the dials. I read about their issues with the reverb, but I feel like it does help to slowly ease it up until the "cabinet" has a little "breathing" room, sonically. Or not.

I had to hit about 3:00 on the volume and gain controls to keep up with my cave-woman drummer at her loudest, all toms and snare in a small room, but it did it, and I'd have ZERO doubts about volume with their tiny extension cab if necessary. Though I'd prefer a 1x12 cab, so I don't have reason to drag my old-ass 2x12 our of storage. I'm going to be playing a show next month with it as my only amp/cab in a small venue, but at full tilt. We'll see how it goes. But we practice with earplugs and it was plenty loud for me today. Though, having it on top of the vertical Woodson cabinet... when I pick it up... it, it could be beastly.

Image

If I wasn't the sole guitarist in a bass-free, fuzz-friendly band, who needed a lot of mid-to-low beef to fill the space, it'd be a must-have. It cuts enough that it'd be perfect for any type of lead player, and if you were in a four-piece with, say, an acoustic guitar, you'd have more volume than you'd need. It's just been really impressive overall -- at home and now in a full-volume situation. It's definitely changed my perception of "small amps".

It's the LBG2 designated one, and the control knob up top says "Ambience" and not "Reverb". It seems this is maybe the third revision? I'd love to know more about them, but info on stuff like that seems a little sparse over my initial searches.

I know these kinds of conversations go in cycles and the search function didn't seem like there'd been any recently. Anyone else have good luck involving one of these ZT Lunchboxes?

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marqueemoon
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Re: NAD - ZT Lunchbox (Free Range)

Post by marqueemoon » Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:37 pm

Very cool. I played one the other day. Not quite what I was hoping for, but I couldn’t help being impressed with it anyway. What really struck me was how heavy these little things are.

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tribi9
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Re: NAD - ZT Lunchbox (Free Range)

Post by tribi9 » Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:31 am

I really wanted to like them. I found the sound very dull and just plain disappointing but ive only tried two. So maybe two duds?

The input jacks were too wide or something too. Wasn't a tight fit on either, but on one I could just lift the cords and it would come out pretty much.

I give it 2 tribi9stars out of 5. 🤩🤩
If i ever list my gear in this space, it means we're back in 1998.

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rkharper
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Re: NAD - ZT Lunchbox (Free Range)

Post by rkharper » Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:36 am

sold mine some months ago with the extension cab at a huge loss. it just was too sterile for me.

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