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View Full Version : Top Hat ( Club Royale), Dr Z (Maz 18), or Bad Cat ( 15 watter)?


tubes2bits
11-16-2005, 01:30 AM
I am looking to buy one of these amps for recording. Could anyone comment on there tone and build?

riffmeister
11-16-2005, 05:01 AM
they all do similar things......clean to crunch. voicing is slightly different, Club Royale is Vox-Marshall, Maz is Vox-Fender, no experience with the Cub. build quality is high for all of them.

SLG
11-16-2005, 05:53 AM
I own, or have owned, all three of the amps. Build quality on all three amps is very good. I don't think there are any issues with any of these three amps as far as durability.

For lower volume home recording I would recommend either the Bad Cat Cub or the Tophat Club Royale. The MAZ 18 is a good sounding amp, but doesn't do it's best work at low volumes. The MAZ 18 I owned didn't sound its best unless it was at almost full voume. It is a loud amp. It has the most clean headroom of the three amps mentioned. If you were choosing an amp primarily for live gigs, and wanted an amp that did not require miking, the Dr Z MAZ 18 would be the best choice.

Between the Tophat CR and Bad Cat Cub it's simply a matter of personal choice. I prefer the Bad Cat Cub, I still own two. IMO it is the best sounding of all the Bad Cat amps. The Cub has a unique voicing that works well for recording and small to medium gigs. Think baby Matchless. (The Cub is based on the Matchless Lightning). The tone controls are about the most usefull I ever found on any amp. They let you dial in anything from dark and smokey to clean and glassy. The only drawback to the Cub is the limited amount of clean headroom for larger gigs.

The Tophat CR is also an excellent amp. It does not have the tonal versatility of the Bad Cat Cub, but if you are looking for a great, refined Vox tone, then the CR should be given serious consideration. The CR I owned had a bit more clean headroom than the Bad Cat Cub. For Vox tones is a small, low powered package, the Tophat CR is tough to beat.

If you are seriously considering buying one of these three amps you really should try each of them out before making your choice. They are all well-built, great sounding, low power amps, but the tonal differences between each amp is more than subtle.

tthompso7
11-16-2005, 07:29 AM
I've played all three amps and I've come very close to buying the Top Hat CR several times. It's a nice amp for the buck, but I agree with the post above. I think the cub maybe one of the sweetest 15 watt amps out there. I've owned two, the original "Cub" vol, treb, bass, master 2 x 10 and now the current "Cub IIR" 1x12. You can get some of the nicest chimey cleans and very dynamic overdrive with the vol/master combo, especially with p90's and hb's. It's reasonably lightweight for a Bad Cat (50lbs) and works nicely for smaller gigs. The build quality is second to none.

You can't go wrong with a cub and you'll find them cheap on ebay.

dzeitlin
11-16-2005, 08:52 AM
I agree with all the above, and have owned all 3 at one time or another. I would HIGHLY reccomed trying them out if you can as they all sound different. I think the Bad Cat is probably the most versatile of the bunch. The Tophat is a little finicky when it comes to pedals (especially OD). I found that the Maz had a very focued sound that would change drastically depending on where you stood in front of it. For example, if I was directly in front of it, it had a really nice "in your face" tone with loads of headroom, but when I stepped to the side, the tone got muffled and darker, less focused. Much more so than on any other amp.

tubes2bits
11-16-2005, 12:13 PM
Originally posted by tthompso7
I've owned two, the original "Cub" vol, treb, bass, master 2 x 10 and now the current "Cub IIR" 1x12.

Do you prefer the 1x12" over your 2x10"?

I have a 2X12" cab with G12H and V30, and a 1X12" cab with v30. Perhaps the 2X10" would then give me more options?

Thanks to all for the great input!

tthompso7
11-16-2005, 12:57 PM
Originally posted by tubes2bits
Do you prefer the 1x12" over your 2x10"?

I have a 2X12" cab with G12H and V30, and a 1X12" cab with v30. Perhaps the 2X10" would then give me more options?

Thanks to all for the great input!

I like them both and wish I never got rid of the 2 x 10. However, If I could have only one it would be the 1 x 12. It has better bottom end. I haven't seen any of the 2 x 10's in a while. Sometimes I output to my 2 x 12 and that sounds awesome! Very cool.

SLG
11-16-2005, 02:24 PM
I've got an original Cub R 2x10 and a newer Cub IIR 1x12. My 2x10 has the original Bad Cat speakers. The 1x12 has a Greenback. These amps are very sensitive to speaker changes. The 1x12 with the Greenback does have nicer lows than the 2x10, but when I disconnect the original 2x10 speakers and plug the amp into a 2x10 cabinet loaded with Weber Blue Pups the amp sounds much richer than the 1x12 Greenback.

tubes2bits
11-16-2005, 02:47 PM
How does the Hot Cat compare (tone wise) to the Cub?

SLG
11-16-2005, 03:01 PM
Originally posted by tubes2bits
How does the Hot Cat compare (tone wise) to the Cub?

I have not owned a Hot Cat, but I have played a couple. The Hot Cat is a very good high gain amp, but the few I played did not have the tonal spectrum of the Cub or Cub II. It's a bit of a trade-off. The Cub/Cub II have better cleans and moderate overdriven tones. The Hot Cat excelled in the high gain department. I'm not a high gain player. I use a Barber Direct Drive with my Cubs when I need the dirt. The bottom line is it's easier to get great cleans and moderate overdrive with the Cub/CubII, and use a pedal for the high gain stuff. If you're the type of player that turns everthing to 10 and leaves it there, the Hot Cat may be a better choice.

riffmeister
11-16-2005, 03:04 PM
Originally posted by SLG
The Cub/Cub II have better cleans and moderate overdriven tones. The Hot Cat excelled in the high gain department........The bottom line is it's easier to get great cleans and moderate overdrive with the Cub/CubII, and use a pedal for the high gain stuff.

+1

Hot Cat has great hi-gain tones built-in, but not as nice clean and crunch tones as the other amps.

I use my Club Royale in the same way that you use your Cub......clean to crunch from the guitar's volume control and/or pick attack, hi-gain from a pedal.

tubes2bits
11-16-2005, 03:13 PM
Originally posted by SLG
The bottom line is it's easier to get great cleans and moderate overdrive with the Cub/CubII, and use a pedal for the high gain stuff.

I think the Cub would be better suited for my needs then.

I currently use a '64 Blackface Bassman with a Fulltone Fat Boost, and a Keeley modded BD-2. The Cub would seem to be about right for me. I want less volume, more versatility, and more edge.

Thanks, much!!!

meterman
11-16-2005, 03:23 PM
Originally posted by tubes2bits
I think the Cub would be better suited for my needs then.

I currently use a '64 Blackface Bassman with a Fulltone Fat Boost, and a Keeley modded BD-2. The Cub would seem to be about right for me. I want less volume, more versatility, and more edge.

Thanks, much!!!

Unless you're committed to getting an EL84 amp, you may also want to check out the TopHat Club Deluxe. Same as the Royale but with cathode biased 6V6s, it is just about the sweetest sounding amp I've heard and records extremely well. Just a thought, since you're currently playing a Bassman, it's got more of the Fender character to it than the CR due to the power section (6V6 vs EL84) though they share the same preamp...fat, warm, and very versatile IMHO....

tubes2bits
11-16-2005, 03:29 PM
Originally posted by meterman
Unless you're committed to getting an EL84 amp, you may also want to check out the TopHat Club Deluxe.

Good idea! I'll give that some consideration. I think there's a review in GP mag. Thanks.

riffmeister
11-16-2005, 04:34 PM
Originally posted by tubes2bits
Good idea! I'll give that some consideration. I think there's a review in GP mag. Thanks.

The review is for the Super Deluxe, which is also a VERY nice sounding amp! Can use 6L6's or EL34's in the power section. Designed around a lower gain 12AY7 in V1.......swap in a higher gain 12AX7 for more overdrive. I have one of these amps.....it is SUPERB! Voxy-Tweedy-Marshally depending on how it's dialed in.

I also just got a new tube rectified Club Deluxe (see meterman's post)......wow.......it is FANTASTIC!!

Boogie92801
11-16-2005, 04:54 PM
It's a coke-pepsi, bud-miller kinda thing.

I actually prefer the matchless lightning.

I think it has alot to do with you hands and how hard you play too. Your "attak" .

tubes2bits
11-16-2005, 05:00 PM
Okay, folks...

Now I just need to find a place to demo Bad Cats and Top Hats.
Or, buy both on eBay.

Thanks to all for the super comments!:)

dzeitlin
11-17-2005, 05:48 AM
I currently own a Hot Cat 30R, and the 5 way tone selector on the clean channel brings the cleans right there with the Cub. They arte definately different, but I was A/Bing the HC 30R against one of the Cub 30RTs, and I thought the HC got close enough on the cleans. Again, not exact, but very close.