“A callback to my fan-favorite EF-86 preamp design, supped up and turbo-charged with a new power section, chassis, and cabinet.” – Dr. Z
Among all the Legacy Amps that Z-Fanatics have clamored to make a return to the regular roster, the Z-28 stands at the top of the heap. From 2021 through 2022, Dr. Z took an opportunity not to just put out the “same old” design from back when the Z-28, alongside the Route 66 and Stang Ray stood firmly in the middle of his award-winning roster, but give it the MK II designation, which has been nothing but a home run in the MAZ lineup of amps. What does this mean? Why take what was such a lauded amp and mess with the recipe? Well Dr. Z has never been one to rest on his laurels, so the Z-28 Mk. II became his latest obsession.
The Z-28 Mk. II starts with his classic EF-86 preamp design: a high voltage, high fidelity, and high headroom preamp tube that literally inhales your guitar signal and fires it through the circuit path, creating a three dimensional experience unlike the more common 12ax7 preamp designs; it’s a sound that is full of harmonics, with immediate dynamic response, and percussive power. Set clean, rich, clear tones shimmer from the speaker and seamlessly integrate any effect, be it overdrive, distortion, time-based, or modulation, molding them into your playing experience as if the effects were built straight into the amp. Turn the gain up past noon and experience overdrive and even-order harmonics that are unmistakable and unique to the EF-86 design. As many players have described it, this is not unlike layering a distorted amp with a clean amp, with stunning clarity from each string, giving the overdriven signal a studio-like quality in the room.
As many Z-28 aficionados will notice, the power section has received an upgrade, sporting dual 5881 power tubes pushing the output power up to 30 bold, muscular watts. Dr. Z’s experience with these power tubes in the Z-MASTER and NOVA have put them up at the top of his design list, allowing the player to coax American-esque clean tones reminiscent of the mid 60s, but also drive them into harmonic overload similar to the classic British amps of the “Invasion” era, without the quirky artifacts found in those designs. Further separating it from both the older Z-28 and those vintage designs, the inclusion of the Mk. II-style Post-Phase Inverter Master Volume allows for volume control at any decibel level, from stage to studio, bedroom to practice room. What’s old is new again!
Also taking from the Z-MASTER, Dr. Z loaded the Z-28 Mk. II into it’s extremely resonant and lightweight cabinet, replacing the 3-hole baffle with a 1×12 design and a Celestion Creamback, a speaker noted for it’s full, articulate midrange and warm, smooth high end. The Z-faithful will also welcome the return of the red tolex (1×12 combo only) back to the lineup for this amp exclusively, matching the stylish trim of the muscle cars of yesteryear this amp takes its inspiration from. Muscular but sleek, nimble without being outclassed under the hood, the Z-28 Mk. II takes a legendary Z-AMP design into 2022.
- Power Output: 30 Watts
- Output Tubes: 2 – 5881
- Preamp Tubes: 1 – EF-86, 1 – 12AX7
- Rectifier: 1 – 5AR4
- Controls: Volume, Treble, Bass, Master Volume
- Color: Red with Salt & Pepper Grill
- Dimensions: 22″ W, 21 1/2″ H, 10 5/8″ D
- Weight: 38 lbs (!)