ALTHOUGH THE REMEDY HEAD IS based on the classic Marshall plexi circuit, Dr. Z’s Mike Zaite hasn’t just cloned an old and proven classic. Instead he has turned the classic plexi recipe on its ear by using four 6V6 power tubes instead of the more common British equivalent, the EL84. Zaite has also added a half-power switch that cuts the wattage from 40 to 20. But perhaps the hippest feature of the Remedy is its “pre-jumpered” channel scheme, which allows you to mix the amp’s High and Low Volume controls. This eliminates the need to physically connect a jumper cable between channel 1 and channel 2, as Marshall players have done for decades to be able to blend the different-sounding channels.
Inside the Remedy we find the pots, jacks, tube sockets, and switches all sturdily mounted to the folded brushedaluminum chassis. A single fiberglass board highlights the clean-as-a-whistle turret board circuit layout, while the amp’s birch-ply cabinet, cleanly applied Tolex covering, and white piping give the Remedy an air of vintage U.K style. Well done, old boy!
I tested the Remedy through an openback 2x12 Fender cabinet loaded with Naylor Special Design 50s, and a Marshall 4x12 loaded with Celestion Vintage 30s. Running my Fender Telecaster, I put all of the Remedy’s tone controls at 12 o’ clock, and set out to find if could get killer tones using just the High Volume control. Whoa baby, could I! The Remedy’s string-to-string clarity is flat-out remarkable. At low volume settings, the slicing jangle and sweet top-end complexity are breathtaking. In fact, the amp’s preponderance of juicy top-end slice damn near turned my Gibson SG into a jangle machine. No matter what guitar I used, whether I was screaming on the rear pickup for lead lines or comping coolly on the front pickup, the Remedy’s unbelievably musical treble response never disappointed, and the blooming bass response and chewy mids made for an unbelievably satisfying bedroom volume experience.
As I cranked the High Volume well past apartment volume standards, molten, super-dynamic Brit-esque grind began creeping in with a rich, fang-laden top end that stayed clear and present, never harsh or spitty. And with a simple twist of my guitar’s volume knob, I was back in the clean zone. Sustaining single-note lines are easily attained without any pedals, and roaring power chords are par for the course as simple EQ adjustments dialed in every instrument with out fail. The Remedy also has great dynamic response. Lay into it and it will bark and moan, lighten up, and it’ll whisper sweet, toneful nothings into your ear.
Compared to the High Volume, the Low Volume control yields a much huskier tone, with a stout midrange, beefier bass response, and more burnished treble frequencies. The Remedy’s EQ is voiced so brilliantly, however, that you can still dial in what you need with the simple twist of the Treble knob. The Remedy’s raison d’être is its blendable Volume controls, and with my Telecaster I could actually forgo the EQ knobs and simply get my tone by tweezing the two Volume controls. Very cool. I simply used a bit more of the Low Volume control to fill out the low end when running through my open-back 2x12. Conversely, running through the closed-back 4x12, I leaned on the High Volume a bit more to give the thumpy-sounding cab a bit more airy expansiveness. Again, when you add the 3-band EQ to the equation, there probably isn’t a guitar that can’t be dialed in for blissful satisfaction and jaw-dropping tones.
Running at full power, the Remedy is loud and proud—more than enough for most high-volume rock gigs. Thankfully, its low end is taught and forceful without any muddiness or flubbing out when you’re riffing on the low strings. Even more remarkable is how musical the treble frequencies sound when the amp is cranked to ear-bleeding levels— I’m talking zero strident transients. Switching to half-power, the Remedy’s high-octane attack is reined in, making it way more suitable for smaller venues where you can revel in the Remedy’s god-like power tube growl without being ridiculously loud. Make no mistake, though, even at 20 watts the Remedy is a handful. But the best part is that the half-power mode doesn’t change the tone at all. Instead, it merely enhances the usability of an amplifier that is already nearly perfect in every way. Bravo! The Dr. Z Remedy earns an Editors’ Pick Award.
CONTACT Dr. Z Amplifiers, (216) 475-1444; drzamps.com
PRICE $1,499 retail/street
CONTROLS Volume High, Volume Low, Bass, Middle, Treble
TUBES Four JJ 6V6 power tubes, three Sovtek 12AX7 preamp tubes.
POWER 40 Watts/20 watts
EXTRAS Half-power switch, 16Ω, 8Ω, and 4Ω speaker outs, courtesy AC outlet.
KUDOS Wonderfully inspirational Brit/plexi tones. Superb construction and feature set.