Posted by
May 24, 2019

It seems like more and more amp manufacturers are falling into the temptation of building stompboxes, which invariably end up emulating their most popular amp models. Not all manufacturers though happen to have EarthQuaker Devices’ Jamie Stillman as a neighborhood…

The DR. Z Drive, a collaborative effort involving Stillman, features two preamp channels configured in A/B fashion (i.e. they can’t be stacked) preceded by an active three-band EQ section.

The two preamps are named Green and Red, feature two controls (Level and Drive) and a toggle switch each (Cut), and boast respectively a Germanium and a Mosfet circuit. If you wanna get technical, keep reading…

The germanium channel uses NOS germanium diodes and can move from a sparkling clean boost to dynamic, open sounding overdrive. The mosfet channel is a more compressed, higher gain overdrive, from edge of breakup grit to blistering distortion. Both gain stages use hi-fi OPA 2134 op amps.

Having the EQ before the gain stages obviously affects your tone in more drastic ways than the other way around, opening up a variety of options.

Here’s the first video of the DR. Z, by Sweetwater.

The idea of adding a pedal to our line of products was on our shop’s “to do” list for some time. The goal was to release a killer tone machine and stick to the quality, craftsmanship and distinguished tone of our brand. Fortunately for us one of the best pedal companies is just a stone’s throw away; so we enlisted the talents of Jamie Stillman and EarthQuaker Devices…and the Z-Drive was born.

The Z-Drive starts with an active global EQ and gives you a choice between two distinct sounding preamp channels (via the channel footswitch). The Z-Drive is intended to be a fully integrated preamp pedal capable of adding additional channels to a single channel amp or power amp.  The germanium channel uses NOS germanium diodes and can move from a sparkling clean boost to dynamic, open sounding overdrive. The mosfet channel is a more compressed, higher gain overdrive, from edge of breakup grit to blistering distortion. Both gain stages use hi-fi OPA 2134 op amps. Because the signal goes through the EQ first, turning the EQ controls clockwise can increase overall gain/distortion.

With the Z-Drive you essentially get two pedals in one. Between the two channels and the full EQ the Z-Drive will open up a world of possibilities while complementing the tone of your amp. Finally, the fine folks at Earthquaker Devices offer a full-transferable, lifetime warranty on defects and workmanship.