ZT amps don’t fit easily into traditional amplifier product categories. They’re not wired or voiced to cop tweed, British, or American amplifier sounds. And depending on your perspective, they can either look streamlined or a little too much like a random tech appliance.
But playing the ZT Lee Ranaldo Club, a chameleonic, compact, portable, lightweight, 220-watt, 1x12 solid-state powerhouse, makes you wonder if ZT amps aren’t a category all their own—one especially well suited to the making of modern music. Like many ZT amps, the Lee Ranaldo Club is both a blank slate and capable of communicating color and character—a feat of duality it achieves via high headroom, versatile gain and EQ controls, and an amenable relationship to effects of all kinds. Along with the small-but-potent ethos that informs all ZT designs, this flexibility makes it ideal for space constrained, big-city dwelling artists with wide stylistic vocabularies. But the Lee Ranaldo Club isn’t built solely for that purpose. Impressively, it can hang with traditional tube amps onstage and offer many cool tone alternatives in the studio
ZT’s newest Club series amp was created with Lee Ranaldo, who, with Sonic Youth and as a solo artist, practically defines the stylistically divergent, big-city dwelling guitarist. Ranaldo’s vocabulary is built on delicate-to-violent playing dynamics, overdrive and delay textures, looping, and most importantly, alternate tunings bubbling over with complex harmonics—tones and textures that expose and overwhelm a lousy amp fast, in other words.