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ZT Lunchbox Amp : Smallest 200W Amp in the World

Updated on June 1, 2011

ZT Lunchbox 200w Amp

ZT Lunchbox 200w Amp
ZT Lunchbox 200w Amp

Loudest Little Amp on the Planet

A couple of months back I was in MIW, Chiang Mai’s top shop for musician’s gear and the owner had just got in the Lunchbox by ZT. “Check this out!” he said and put this tiny little amp on his bench. “200 watts”, he said with a twinkle in his eye. I couldn’t help but laugh and thought it must be a gimmick, or one of those outrageous watt rating claims you see made by spurious Chinese manufacturers. He plugged in a Les Paul, turned on the amp and ripped into Purple Haze. The sonic blast nearly sent me flying across the room. I was stunned by the power and tone of this little monster.

ZT Lunchbox Micro Amp 200 watts

Back of the ZT Lunchbox
Back of the ZT Lunchbox

Specifications of the Lunchbox

  • Dimensions: 7.3″ x 9.8″ x 4.4″ / 185mm x 250mm x 112mm
  • Weight: 9.5lbs/4.7kg
  • Controls- Gain, Volume, Tone and Reverb
  • AC power
  • 115v/230v selector
  • ¼” extension speaker jack
  • ¼” headphone jack with Volume control
  • speaker on/off switch
  • 1/8″ auxiliary input.
  • cabinet made of MDF- high gloss finish
  • 6.5″ speaker
  • 200 watts, 125dB @ 1 meter
  • Solid State
  • Vintage style tone stack
  • Analog front end with variable gain and diode limiting
  • 24 bit, 44.1 KHz studio grade DSP
  • Analog differential driver stage

Top of the ZT Lunchbox

Controls on the ZT Lunchbox
Controls on the ZT Lunchbox

More on the Lunchbox

This thing really is the size of a hungry man’s lunch box, but in spite of its diminutive proportions, it seems to be convinced that it’s a heavy weight contender in the world of amps. Needless to say, there has been a lot of buzz about the miraculous power to weight ratio of this amp and the applications it can fill – take it anywhere, anytime – hell you could ride with it to a jam session in a bicycle basket. It’s not just incredibly loud, but is impressive in the tone department too. Reviews of the amp report that it is nicely responsive to attack on the strings; provided by the very low latency circuit.

By all accounts it is definitely gig worthy and plugged into a decent cabinet, could keep up with any drummer on gods green earth. I asked the guy at the music shop to turn up the gain, all the way, and the tone assumed a pleasing, distorted, bluesy quality, but with a lot of clarity remaining. The reverb seemed more of an ambient control and while not achieving a hall reverb effect, it did have an interesting edge to it.

I wish I had heard it plugged into a big cabinet but out of respect to the other customers, the owner of shop shook his head, “mai dai” – cannot. It was, after all, too loud to talk over with the stock speaker. One reviewer claimed it sounded incredible through his 1x12 extension cab with an EV12L. You could easily make a mess of a speaker not designed to be driven by this tiny powerhouse.

Billy Gibbons Loves His Lunchbox

There are a few funny tales out there already of people who bring the Lunchbox along to gigs, with band members and the mixer raising an eyebrow and asking, “Are you kidding!?” Mic it up and it's smiles all round – seems to cut through the mix and remain tight and defined. Apparently jazz cats love them for the clear, defined tone.

I guess this amp will not be everyone’s cup of tea though for the price, which from Amazon is only US$260- it’s very tempting, even as a backup amp. I know of at least one muso here in Chiang Mai who bought one so he could travel with it on planes as hand luggage and gig around Asia hassle free and use it for street festivals. Built with strong housing and being solid state it could probably take some punishment. It has quite a dynamic and warm sound for a solid state. Anyway, you be the judge – check it out - I’ve attached a demo video (not that you can really judge the sound of an amp or guitar from a youtube video) – so if this feisty little mistress peaks your interest, you really ought to get down to a music store and see for yourself – you'll be floored!

Here are a couple of testimonials from the ZT site:

We used our ZT amps for the filming (VH1 Storytellers) last night and they performed beautifully…! LOUD!” - Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top)

“Science notwithstanding, on a club gig featuring bass, drums and a second guitarist, neither the band, nor some musicians in the audience could believe the amount of sound coming out of this little box—myself included.” - Michael Ross (Guitar Player Magazine)

“If this thing was any more fun, I might soil myself”!-Daniel Coakley (ZT Lunchbox Owner)

Here are some other music related articles you might want to check out:

Review by Billy Penn of


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    • profile image

      Sayali 3 years ago

      This weekend I was able to buy the floor model of a media shelf for $10. New it would have been $30. It was rlaley roughed up, but that was fine since my plan was to put it in my closet and use it as a five-shelf shoe rack. I didn't even have to put it together and it holds 15 pairs of shoes!

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      Berlynn 3 years ago

      Just do me a favor and keep writing such traenhnct analyses, OK?