Diezel soul in a small format!
Everybody who knows me personally, knows that I am a Diezel worshipper! I picked up my VH-4 head back in 2004 and never actually bought another tube amp. I was used to my old 2-channel Dual Rectifier and I loved it, but the Diezel VH-4 opened up a new dimension of tonal options, apart from having an insane low end response, which comes in handy when you play down to Drop A ;).
What I liked most about Diezel Amplification, is that they always stayed within their course and never lost the original vision they had. But being a small boutique company with only a few employees, Diezel has to follow at least some trends to be on par with other manufacturers. While portable live setups become more and more important for the busy traveling musician, the Diezel Zerrer definitely comes in handy when you need an aggressive distortion section in your rig.
Solid state meets Peter Diezel…
The Diezel Zerrer features two independent channels with identical sets of controls, such as Gain, a 3-Band equalizer and Volume. Channel 1 already offers a great range of sounds, from clean & glassy tones up to heavy crunch sounds. Channel 2 takes that even further and offers a lot of distortion if needed, but also adds a different tonal flavor. Imagine a perfect marriage of the VH4’s 3rd channel with the brutal nature of Diezel’s Herbert Head. That would be the best way to describe it!
Although the device is fully solid state, it actually reacts as fast and sharp as a tube preamp. Even with a lower tuning (for the video below I was tuned to Drop B) the Diezel Zerrer offers a huge amount of attack. And it doesn’t really matter, if you use it as an overdrive pedal, preamp or DI solution!
Connections all over the place
The Diezel Zerrer can be used in a variety of scenarios! If you’re playing with a single-channel amp and you’d like to add more tonal flavors, the Zerrer will work add 2 fully independent channels to your setup. If you’re working with a power amp or the power amp section of an amplifier, the Zerrer will work as your direct-access preamp with 2 channel operation. And thanks to the the built-in FX loop, you can also connect your effect pedals and play directly into the mixing desk…in stereo!
And for the traveling musician, Diezel has also implemented a headphone jack and an aux input. Those jacks make it possible to play in the middle of the night without disturbing your hotel room neighbors, and you can jam along with your backing tracks and prepare for whatever musical task is right in front of you.
For all you guys who like their stuff packed in a rack…the Zerrer also features an external footswitch jack for remote operation. This way, you could also control everything within a MIDI setup.
The first channel offers a wide range of tones between crystal clean and tight crunch. While testing the Zerrer, I also tried to use this channel as a boost in front of my amp. But the Zerrer has a strong tonal character and altered the overall sound a lot, so its main purpose should be to work as an overdrive pedal here. If you’re the classic British crunch type, you will love the channel with a gain setting around 3-4 o’clock.
This is where the real fun begins! Diezel was always famous for their high-gain tones, especially within players that love extended range instruments or play in lower tunings. In terms of distortion, Channel 2 starts where Channel 1 ends. You can get crunchy sounds out of it, but when you enter the 12 o’clock gain area, all hell breaks loose! The treble control has a huge effect on the gain structure, so I needed to dial into the sound very careful. With the mids at around 11-12 o’clock, the Zerrer reminds me to the sound of my Diezel VH-4 3rd channel, which I used for all rhythm guitars on several recordings.
Apart from the overall volume control of the Zerrer, the master section also offers Presence & Deep controls, which you can find on most Diezel amplifier models. Depending on the scenario you’re facing, increasing or decreasing these values will help you to set the sound right for different locations. When using a power amp with identical controls though, you should totally decrease either one of them, as in combination it might sound weird.
Diezel’s Zerrer is a useful tool for players who need a travel-friendly device, which will work in a lot of possible situations. Not only will it expand the tonal range of your setup, it is also a very compact partner for fly gigs when you can only bring the smallest part of your rig and you don’t know what backline awaits at your destination. And for all of you who just like the Diezel tone, but cannot spend a few thousand bucks to buy a Diezel amplifier…just grab a Zerrer and connect it with your amp/power amp!
- 2-channel preamp/overdrive/distortion pedal
- 2 fully individual channels
- controls (per channel): Gain, Bass, Middle, Treble, Volume
- Deep & Presence controls
- Connections: Guitar In, Guitar Amp Out, Power Amp Out/FX Send, FX Return A/B, Console Out A/B, Stereo Aux Inputs, Headphone Out, External Switching Jack
- External power supply included
- Channel select & Bypass switchers
- Dimensions: 318 x 177 x 45 mm (W x D x H)
- Weight: 0,8 kg