Kenny Wayne Shepherd: 10 Days Out
First Live Gig

ZT Lunchbox : The Loudest Little Amp

I was starting to look around at various low-wattage tube amps from Bugera, VHT and the Fender Champ when I stumbled across the ZT Lunchbox amp.  While it's solid-state rather than a tube amp, it fit the bill for me combining a great tone in a small package.  And despite it's lunchbox size, this thing puts out an incredible 200 watts (135 RMS).  I've jammed with it and it can keep up against a drummer, bass player and a guitarist with a 100 watt Marshall amp. In fact, it's got room to spare.

Just how loud is a ZT Lunchbox?  Well lets just say it's loud enough for ZZ Top so it'll probably be good enough for you.  You can see two ZT Lunchboxes in the photo below, just below the drum riser.

Despite it's small size (6.5" speaker) and diminutive weight (under ten pounds) this thing cranks!  And the tone is excellent.  While the controls are a bit different than what you're used to (ambiance instead of proper reverb, gain works a bit different) the tone you get is rich and tube-like.  And if you want a bit more crunch, just put a Boss Overdrive or Tube Screamer in front and you'll have an easy to transport setup that you can use in the home, studio or on stage.

You can find these at some shops or online at Amazon and elsewhere for around $260 for the Lunchbox or $460 for the larger Club model which has a larger 12" speaker and comes in around 22 pounds.  

Here's a short video I shot that demonstrates the ZT Lunchbox.  However, the sound conditions were not ideal.  The true test of the Lunchbox is when you see it holding its own in a live gig situation.


Loud is one thing, but I've never seen a solid state amp that sounds as sweet as a good tube amp.

How loud can those really get? I mean, do you have to mic them into a PA system to be heard over the drums?

Guitar Reviews

cool blog!

They are pretty loud. I would say equivalent to a 100 watt Marshall, since that's what the other guitar players I jam with have. (I'm not saying it's the same tone, but it's got near that volume, approximately 120 db at 3 feet.)

So if you're playing a small club or cafe where the amps go direct without a PA, it's fine even with a full drum kit. For a larger venue where you'd mic the marshall, you'll need to mic the ZT Lunchbox.

I built a Champ 5F1 with a 10" Weber. Killer tone but nowhere near loud enough to play with anything more than a quiet drummer.

I think you're right that a loud/light solid state amp in a small package is really useful even if you do have to give up a little tone to get it.

For future reference, can the next person who reviews an amp or anything else for that matter be able to play more than 3 bar chords and min pentatonic scale.
pretty hard to make an assessment listening to slop!

Thanks for your constructive and positive feedback!

Do you reckon the ZT lunchbox is loud enough to play with a big band?

I don't that a big band is any louder than a small band. The drummer always seems to be the loudest thing when you're on stage and yes, the ZT Lunchbox is louder than the drummer, especially if you use a gain or distortion pedal of some kind. If you can get by with a 100 watt Marshall Amp or similar, then the ZT Lunchbox will work fine. If you're going through a PA then it all gets mic'd anyways.

Is that an M80 underneath? Because I have an M80 and was thinking of getting the ZT Lunchbox. How do they compare?

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