ZT Amplifiers – Lunchbox Acoustic
We’ve all heard the old saying “strike while the iron is hot”. Well Ken Kantor strikes again while his soldering iron is still hot with the new Lunchbox Acoustic Amplifier!!! This is a really cool, super small, two channel amp for all you acoustic guitar pickers. One channel is for your guitar and the other is for a microphone so it’s perfect for solo gigs.
The new ZT Lunchbox Acoustic measures 7.5″H x 9.8″W x 7.7″D/192mm x 249mm x 196mm and weighs in at 12lbs. Each channel features Gain, Bass, Treble and Reverb controls. There is an overall Master Volume control as well as a 3 position feedback eliminator switch. As with the original Lunchbox amp there are 200 watts through a proprietary 6.5” speaker.
There are a ton of features on the back panel as well including XLR or ¼” mic input with phantom power, headphone/DI output with volume control, external ¼” speaker output jack (8 ohm minimum) with on/off switch, 1/8” Aux input, 115v-230v selector switch and effects loop.
On the Bench: The new ZT Lunchbox Acoustic looks really purty with its pickled wood covering and wheat grill cloth. I really like the new classy look. The build quality is exactly what you would expect from ZT and is just like the original Lunchbox and Club amp. All pots are very smooth feeling and the jacks and outer hardware look like they can handle many gigs without fail.
In the Shop: For this review I used my little Larrivee Parlor model guitar with L.R. Baggs pickup. I actually broke out my Audix vocal mic as well to really put the Lunchbox Acoustic to the full test. I was really eager to hear how it would handle a guitar and vocal at the same time.
I started out just dialing up a good guitar sound which was really easy. I set the Gain at about 2 o’clock, Bass about 9 o’clock, Treble at 3 o’clock and Reverb around 1 o’clock. Master volume was hanging right around 11 o’clock. I could get a really nice acoustic guitar sound with all the woody-ness of the body and the percussive-ness of the strings. I really thought it was a good representation of what the guitar actually sounds like. This is my main acoustic guitar that I have been using steadily on gigs for a few years now and it always sounds great unplugged as well as through a PA system.
It was now time to add the vocal mic to the mix and hear the two together. I set the vocal channel up with the Gain at about 12 o’clock, Bass at 10 o’clock, Treble at about 2 o’clock and Reverb around 12 o’clock. My Audix mic sounded nice and clear with body and did not sound thin at all. There was enough warmth to the sound and I could tell that there was plenty of volume on tap to cut through the noise of a café or small club.
After some debate over which song I should sing and play I decided to pay homage to the late great Johnny Cash with Folsom Prison Blues. I am not a real singer per se so I thought I’d kinda rockabilly my way through a number for the demo.
Both guitar and mic together sounded great!! The sound was loud, clear and definitely had warmth and body to it. There was nice separation between the guitar and vocals without getting garbled or one stepping over the other. I thought the reverb added a nice touch to the sound giving it a little more openness. I was sold that this little Lunchbox Acoustic could totally cut a gig without any problem. And because it has the headphones/DI out you could hook it to a larger system.
I also tried the effects loop and it had the same great sound and response as the ZT Club Amp.
On the Gig: I used the ZT Lunchbox Acoustic on a gig but only as a guitar monitor amp. There was a full PA for a few hundred people at a private event I played with the band. I usually just send my acoustic straight to the board and hear it back through the monitor system but today I used the Lunchbox Acoustic as the monitor for it.
Needless to say my guitar sounded great and cut through the stage volume perfectly. It sounded awesome and in some ways I liked it better than listening to it through a monitor wedge. The ZT Lunchbox Acoustic had more cut than my monitor wedge and I liked having the amp behind me like an electric guitar amp rather than hearing the acoustic in front of me through the wedge. The sound seemed to take up less space in the mix with the band and on the few solo tunes I did I was able to hear my acoustic guitar better and actually preferred the tone compared to the monitor wedge. I guess I will have to bring the Lunchbox Acoustic to the gigs now. I’ll set it up right next to my original Lunchbox!
Also to note the headphones/DI out worked perfectly through the PA system. Some EQ adjustments had to be made as compared to my guitar going direct setting however.
Final Analysis: Super small, loud, light and great sounding. This is another great tool by ZT Amplifiers. Ken Kantor saw another need for working players and delivered…again! This amp is perfect for solo acoustic guitarists who play either small clubs or café’s, excellent for classical guitarists on wedding ceremonies and is very easy to manage in city taxi cabs. It takes up next to no room on stage and sounds awesome.
Bonus Track: This is a great amp for Gypsy Jazz guitarists!!!! Attention all you Django and Bireli fans…..this is the amp that you have been looking for!!
Double Bonus Track: This is also a great amp for jazz players!! My 175 sounded beautiful through the Lunchbox Acoustic. It was full with plenty of clarity and nice sounding reverb.
Triple Bonus Track: Excellent if you need a portable type PA for speaking presentations, plus you can run a CD or mp3 player through it.
The little ZT Lunchbox Acoustic amp is a total multi-functional workhorse and could be the most versatile ZT product yet. I loved the sound, portability and ease of use. It will cover many bases and is a great tool to have in your toolbox because of its versatility.
Here is a quick video clip of the ZT Lunchbox Acoustic amp with guitar and vocals in action!!