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Univalve or DrZ


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for a low wattage practice and recording amp, what do ya think? i'm thinkin the Univalve would be alot of fun, and alot of tones, but i am very curiuos about the DrZ's (particularly the Carmen Ghia). it's seems everybody can't get over them.


i play alot of styles but mostly bluesy rock and heavier stuff like acdc, aerosmith, STP type tones.


any comments?



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Both amps have a great reputation and I'm certain there are many happy owners of both.


Whichever you pick, you probably would be happy.


Since I have a UniValve and not a Dr.Z, I can't make a direct comparison... but let me describe a few things about the UniValve that I really like...


- Sound. It's the #1 reason to pick an amp, and the UniValve sounds great for the blues, jazz, classic rock type sounds... It's class A, (which means it emphasizes the "sweeter even harmonics" as well as being pretty powerful for its rated wattage, (depending on what tubes you're using).

Of course the most useful thing is the ability to quickly and easily replace the power and preamp tubes. It's like having a real "modeling" amp, because with different combinations I can get real tube tones that have the feel of Marshall, (EL-34, ecc83), Fender (6L6, 12ax7), and lots of other sounds with various other combinations of tubes. There's a great "blues" sound with NOS 6V6's, there's great clean sounds with lots of volume and headroom with KT-88's, KT-66's, and 6550's, and each of these will react differently depending on what pre-amp tubes you use... really there's so many options it could take a long time to try them all! And the best part is, nearly every "combination" I've tried, I've been able to get a great sound by playing around with the simple, but effective gain and tone controls.


- PreAmp. IMHO, the BEST use of a UniValve is in combination with another amp... particularly as a pre-amp for the other amp. It just sounds GREAT, and you have TOTAL control over the sound and volume. This is another unique feature and because I already had an amp, (a Fender HR Deluxe), I was able to use this right away. I'm guessing you could buy a nice used UniValve on e-bay for around $500 - 600 and a used HR Deluxe or Deville or $300 or 400... combined, they'd probably be around the price of the Dr. Z... Of course you don't HAVE to use it as a pre-amp, you can run it into any normal cab just fine!


Again, I have nothing against the Dr Z amps, in fact I think they're really nice. But for me, the UniValve was more affordable, yet offered more in terms of sound options.


Let me know if you have any questions... you might also search for the thread our moderator, Myles started on "worlds best preamp"...



I'm still "guitplayer"!

Check out my music if you like...



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The UV is more fun for fooling around and swapping tubes, but lacks a bit of low end for my tastes as a players amp.


The Ghia is a major requirement in the studio and in live venues. See my post on the Ghia in here somewhere.

Myles S. Rose






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