Help me buy my next amp - Wizard/Diezel/Friedman

Hey everyone,

I have been hemming and hawing between a few different amps. Maybe you can help me decide. I currently have a Diezel VH4 with a Rear Loaded 4x12 that I very much enjoy. I love it because of the versatility. Ch1, the cleans are amazing, Ch2 has a nice low gain option, and obviously Ch3 kills it. Ch4 I do use for lead work as I primarily play lead but still do most of my work on Ch3. I play ambient/ethereal/alt rock/metal-ish. Here's my old band, the music hasn't changed too much but we've evolved a little since this one: https://www.reverbnation.com/elision

Lately I have been listening to a lot of Architects, Tesseract, Coheed. Influences are also A Perfect Circle, Circa Suvive, Tool, Red, Breaking Benjamin, as well as the bands above. I mainly play ESP Horizons and Les Pauls with A5 passive pickups, BKPs: Riff Raffs, Emeralds, A-Bomb, Silo, Black Dog, Impulses but have been looking at some Fishman Moderns at some point as well.

Here are the amps I have been eyeing:
  • Wizard MTL MKII
  • Diezel Herbert MKIII
  • Friedman JJ-100
The Friedman is on the list, but tbh I think it's probably between the Herbert MKIII and the MTL MKII. I know some people might mention the SLO but I've never been super impressed with clips I've listened to, maybe someone can tell me why. Obviously I would be buying the Wizard MTL MKII new for $5.5k. I could probably buy the Herbert or Friedman used and save $2-2.5k which is another factor in the decision.

Thoughts? Opinions? Other options to further confuse me? Should I just get a Kemper?! :ROFLMAO:

Thanks!
 
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mhenson42

Well-known member
couldn't be more opposite on the Diezel/Wizard....

herbert mk3 - smooth, darker voiced, saturated gain, overly compressed and recto-like sag.
MTL mk2 - raw/aggressive, brighter voiced, clear gain, wide open and super tight and percussive. Don't overlook a mk1 MTL. I still have two and the are killer in their own right. Voicing has changed a little over the years and my '16 sounds different than my '20 mk2

Both have a big low end but the Wizard punches harder and is not as boomy as the Diezel

I also own an SLO mk2. It's definitely a killer amp. It lands closer to the Wizard side of things in terms of brightness/clarity, but has more saturation, not as tight and not the same bottom end punch.
 

Fordman65

Active member
The MTL is a fantastic amp, though I'm not shelling out $5.5k for a new one. If a used one were to come up for under $4k, that would be the option I would choose.

I also love my Friedman Marsha, not the same as a JJ, so my opinion on this is likely not relevant.

The Diezel.... not my thing. Heard the Herbert is easily lost in a mix and are so smooth. I'm more a raw in-your-face amp guy. Just me though.

So, not much help here, other than to recommend a used MTL if you can find one.
 

Smashedguitarist

Well-known member
I owned a vh2 and slo at the same time. I think they were two badass amps. If I were you, being that you love your vh4, why don't you get an a/b/y pedal and get a stock jcm800 and play them at the same time. Get the best of both worlds. Be kinda Adam Jonesy
 

MetalHeadMike

Well-known member
The Diezel and Friedman don't even hold a candle to Wizard. Build quality, tone, raw/organic nature, punch...not even close. Not to say they're bad amps at all, but quite the opposite end of the feel/tonal spectrum. Used MTLs pop up quite regularly and you should be able to score an MKI for $3200-$3800 I'd think.
 

Emg77

Active member
Ive owned all the amps thats on your short list. Currently have a MK 1 MTL. Fantastic amp. Love it. You already have the compressed tone going with the VH4. The MTL would be a great addition! Thats my vote!
 

Fordman65

Active member
The Diezel and Friedman don't even hold a candle to Wizard. Build quality, tone, raw/organic nature, punch...not even close. Not to say they're bad amps at all, but quite the opposite end of the feel/tonal spectrum. Used MTLs pop up quite regularly and you should be able to score an MKI for $3200-$3800 I'd think.
While I absolutely agree, the build quality of Wizard is 2nd to none, all three amps are totally different, so I wouldn't agree that the 2 don't hold a candle to the other. Tones really aren't similar at all, so not really apples to apples. While I'm sure another Wizard is in my future, because they are fantastic, I sold the MTL and still have a Marsha FWIW.
 

braintheory

Well-known member
While I absolutely agree, the build quality of Wizard is 2nd to none, all three amps are totally different, so I wouldn't agree that the 2 don't hold a candle to the other. Tones really aren't similar at all, so not really apples to apples. While I'm sure another Wizard is in my future, because they are fantastic, I sold the MTL and still have a Marsha FWIW.
Definitely more apples vs oranges like you said, so depends which flavor you prefer, but the Wizard imo would be the much higher quality fruit in the analogy whether it’s the apple or orange
 

MetalHeadMike

Well-known member
While I absolutely agree, the build quality of Wizard is 2nd to none, all three amps are totally different, so I wouldn't agree that the 2 don't hold a candle to the other. Tones really aren't similar at all, so not really apples to apples. While I'm sure another Wizard is in my future, because they are fantastic, I sold the MTL and still have a Marsha FWIW.

All opinion for sure and I completely respect yours's and the many others! And like I said, they're great amps. But from a pure tone perspective, I feel the Friedmans and Diezels I've owned don't hold a candle to the Wizards I've had....just not even close. But again, that's just me and we're all different.

There's a warmth/organic element and just this pure quality to the notes that the Wizards have, similar to old Mark series amps or some older Marshalls, that the Diezels/Friedmans and many other modern amps just don't have IMO. Just how I perceive the difference. Another example...I LOVE the Engl Savage 120, but that amp also doesn't hold a candle next to a Wizard. It will sound processed, have infinitely less dynamics, feel and sound somewhat sterile/flat.
 

RedPlated

Well-known member
I’ve had 4 Wizards. Two MTL and two MCii. Sold them all. Just not for me.

The MTL lost a lot of clarity with the gain turned up IMO. Neither had the sharp attack I like to get out of the low strings. The Friedmans sound better at a lower volume too.

I think the MCii did it for me more than the MTL. More open and clear. Maybe I’ll have to try one again one of these days.
 

LPMojoGL

Active member
I had a Wizard MC50.
I don't think it's accurate to say that other amps won't hold a candle to the one I had. Plenty of them did.
Naylor is right up there in build quality, as well as tone.
The Butterslax I have right now has kind of the same thing going on as that Wizard did, albeit with a more versatile clean channel, more similar to the Modern Classic II. They both had clean, mean, and meaner modes. The difference to me is in the attack and voicing. The Wizard is razor sharp and open, bright and tight. The Slax has a lil more chug to it, and this heft in the low mids that almost makes it sound like comparing a cello to a violin, if that makes any sense. More weight to the single notes.

I hear a lot about how the Wizards sound bigger than other amps. Not true. I had that amp at the same time as 4-5 other amps. It just sounded like a really good JCM800, with tighter attack and more gain. I will say, it was 50 watts, and it held up with the 100 watters just fine. Well, until the Rev F or JMP 100 got cranked. Then they became massive in a way the Wizard could not.

The effects loop was nifty, too, with the send and return knobs that slightly affected the tone.

Anyway, I dig the Wizard, a lot. I'd love to have another one. The price is a huge deterrent.
The electronic circuits aren't magic and the build quality is being done by plenty of other folks for less.
 
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