A Stratocaster driving the Maz 8 in
pentode mode and with the EQ bypassed
seemed to double the gain, and at times
drove the Strat to the verge of shrieking—
which was easy enough to fix by rolling
back the cut control. Doing so transformed
the Maz 8 from red-blooded, Bakersfield-bred American tones to brawny Brit sounds
that let you channel a hyperactive Rory
Gallagher raging on “Off the Handle.”
Shifting to a mellower mood is as easy as
bringing the EQ back into the signal chain,
which drops the gain and enables you to
bump the bass a touch to round off single-coil stabbiness.
Re-engaging the EQ bypass in pentode
mode, with the volume and master set at 11
o’clock, catapulted a Les Paul into a state of
late-’70s Thin Lizzy excess. And here again,
the cut control was especially effective.
If you’re ever dealt with soupy, flat tone
when you play humbuckers through a low-wattage amp, the cut knob could be your
new best friend: Set it in the right spot with
high-gain settings, and it’ll keep ’buckers
sailing in seas of smooth sustain.
Pros: Excellent range of voices and control. Sturdy build.
Dr. Z Amplification Maz 8 Studio, $1,898 street, drzamps.com
cons: A bit pricey.
Ease of Use
If party-hard, humbucker-crunch chords
are your thing, the Maz 8 can do that, too.
The pentode voicing exudes classic-rock
braggadocio when the volume controls are
in their upper reaches—but with a crackling high end and a well-rounded bottom
that’s full and not too dark.
While the version of the Maz 8 reviewed
here includes the word “Studio” in its model
designation, it won’t have trouble hanging on
most stages. Despite being just 8 watts, it’s
exceptionally loud—loud enough to justify
the optional Brake Lite attenuator, which
will come in handy for those who favor high-gain sounds in small, shared spaces or those
who’ve pushed their luck with the neighbors.
Switching to different types of guitars in a
live setting may require some on-the-fly EQ
and input-jack changes, because some configurations work well for humbuckers but
become wildly out of focus for single-coils
(and vice versa). But fortunately the pen-tode/triode switch gives you scads of extra
tone-shaping potential to further optimize
your rig from instrument to instrument. And
both voices work well with the highly effective EQ. This thing really does have more
tones within its little frame than most amps
its size. And while it’s certainly not practice-amp cheap, the Maz 8 Studio is loaded with
features—from the attenuator to the spring
reverb—that make it a versatile, smart, solid
selection for the studio, home, or mic’d up
and roaring in big theatres.