Mike Zaite, a.k.a. Dr. Z played drums in a Cleveland Ohio rock band. His father owned a TV repair shop. This was back in the days of Zenith and RCA televisions and radios that used tubes and were repaired instead of being discarded. So Dr. Z got his electronics educational start from his Dad.
|Kent State (Four Dead in Ohio)|
He eventually went off to Kent State University and got a degree in electronics. It was during those years he became acquainted with another electronics student, Joe Walsh. This relationship became very eventful in later years.
This was a large boost for Dr. Z amps. This amplifier was originally conceived as a head, but later was sold as a reverb combo amplifier.
This gave the amplifier the smooth feel of triode tubes with the power of pentode tubes.
Hammond organ reverb amplifier. He made modifications to the schematic, so he could build his own version.
This is the amp he based on the Hammond Reverb power amp. I imagined it was named for the VW sports car of the 1960’s, however it was named for his grandson, Carmen.
It was this amp catapulted on the fact that players had developed an interest in lower power amps that could be overdriven at low volumes.
|Check out those tidy leads|
Zaite follows these guidelines in his construction by using chromate converted aluminum for his amplifiers chassis. This improves the grounding of the amplifier, by raising the conductivity of the chassis. Some early Marshall amps used aluminum chassis and so did Ken Fisher’s Trainwreck amp as well as some other boutique amplifiers.
Dr. Z also uses specially designed coupling capacitors from Sprague. Because he purchases them in a very large batch, the company is possibly more concerned about consistency.
Celestion speakers and most of the earlier models used Celestions.
Most of us are familiar with the fact that different style cabinets are just as important as tone controls. The adjustable shelf offers a variety of sounds to fit your style.
This closed-back cabinet comes with a variety of drivers, depending on your desired tone.
Dr. Z also offers a 2 – 12” open back cabinet and cabinets feature one, two or four 10” speakers.
The doctor also has developed a Lens for speakers on amps that have open-back cabinets. The Lens equates to the Tone Ring used on older Fender amps. Dr. Z’s Lens is adjustable, for desired sound projection.
|1930's amp with conjuctive filter|
If the players picking is even on each string, he or she will get the same volume on each string, making the sound more dynamic.
This unusual tube is used on high end stereos for accurate transfer of signal, balance and headroom.
Z-Brake Lite can be mounted inside any open back cabinet. If you prefer the Z-Brake SA (stand alone) can be used for closed back cabs or as a pedal board feature.
Getting back to the Dr. Z amp featured in the Toyota Prius ad. I’m not certain if there was an actual connection with Zaite’s company. I am told the director was a fan of Dr. Z amps and thought the amp was cool looking and fit into the aesthetic nature of the advertisement.