OK, the first thing most people wonder about when they see the manufacturer's claim of 200W is: 200W? From a 6.5" speaker? Surely not. I did too. But I stuck the Lunchbox on the floor, cranked it and checked the Pro Tools input levels. Sure enough, the SPL (sound pressure level) coming from that poor, frightened, little speaker was sending my input levels through the roof.
The ZT Lunchbox is LOUD. Not the sort of loud you'd get from a HIWATT or Marshall powering a 4x12 - they move different amounts of air and are percievably louder because of the spread - but it has enough raw volume to have forced me to drop my normal input levels by a good 10dB to keep within clipping-safety levels. This is significant because I normally run a Laney VH-100R through a Greenback loaded 4x12 at ridiculous volumes thanks to the clean headroom of that amp. Jack a Lunchbox amp into an extension cabinet and you will or should have all the volume you need and then some thanks to the extra spread from larger and/or multiple speakers.
It sounds great. It sounds better through speakers that aren't tiny and forced into submission, but it sounds pretty darned good through its little cab and speaker anyway. Everything from fairly neutral (uncoloured like, for instance, a tweed amp) through to a tweedy overdrive. Change the speakers (sorry to bring it up again) and you'll have all manner of cool tones to work with.
The Ambience control is interesting. It makes a good attempt at emulating the 'openness' of an open-backed cab with some digital (I presume) assistance. It gives the whole sound some 'air'. Too much dialled in and it becomes a little overbearing but somewhere around the half-way mark yields Goldilocks results.
The Lunchbox also features some useful auxiliary ins and outs, all of which are documented on the ZT website.
I like the Lunchbox. I like its progressive design, philosophy, size, sound and extension potential. I think the little speaker is asked to work a little too hard when the amp is cranked and you can indeed hear some strain on it during this video. However, pop our little grey box of fun onto a 2x12 cab or similar and let rip with the big boys.
It would appear that the Lunchbox has undergone a revision since I took possession of this specimen. The model I've demonstrated is an LB02 but it would appear that the current model is labelled 'LBG2'. As I am unsure of the differences I invite the ZT crew to chip in and let us know via the comments page. Many thanks.
Nice work, ZT. Now I'd like to investigate your other stuff.
Guitars: Redhouse T5 with Klein Epic 52 pickups; Gibson '61 Les Paul RI (SG) Custom Shop VOS (2012).
Amp: ZT Amplifiers 'Lunchbox' LB02
Additional effects: T-Rex Magnus multi-effects stomp box
Cables : Providence
Mic : Violet Design 'The Amethyst' (amp) Samson Airline77 (me)
Camera : Canon 60D (me) and Sony HDR CX150 (pedal)
Soundcard : AVID Mbox Pro 3
Computer : Apple iMac 27" i7 3.4 GHz 16 GB RAM
Software : Pro Tools 10 LE, Waves CLA Guitars (slight comp over input track), Waves L3-16 Limiter (to keep levels in check at output), Apple Final Cut Pro X (video editing and Youtube compression).
Brett Kingman is not in any way affiliated with ZT Amplifiers or its Australian distributor. This video was commissioned over a year ago by my friend, Lewis Chiodo, at Awave. Dedicated to Pete Wragg.