PDA

View Full Version : Bad Cat Cub 2 vs Dr Z Max 18 Jr vs Matchless Lightning


MeMota
03-21-2009, 11:09 PM
Hi,

I've just tried a Bad Cat Cub 2, and was pleasantly surprised.

I haven't tried a Maz 18 Jr, and there aren't any anywhere near me (or in the country!)

Matchless Lightning still untried.

Does anyone have experience with these and can comment on the similarities / differences please? I'm in the market for a new amp and have read good things about these amps, and would love to hear comments from anyone who's tried them.

(Oh, and in the bonus round, any comments on the Reverb vs Non-reverb versions? Sounded different in the Cub 2)

Thanks!!

ben_allison
03-22-2009, 09:51 AM
Bump for a good topic.

MeMota
03-22-2009, 08:01 PM
Hmmmmmm, no-one?

msgdsrf
03-22-2009, 08:11 PM
Played a Maz Jr and own a Black Cat. Though not the same output as the Club, it has it's similarities.
I think Z's have very much there own flavor/tone going own that's different from the Bad Cats with those being more similar to good vintage Vox and the Z's having a more forward cutting mid tone. The BC, more softer.
Both are great. Wouldn't mind owning both. The Jr, I felt, needed to be wicked up to get the goods the BC's not so much if low volume is something your after. The Z's have a different feel too, I'd say tighter.

Big White Tele
03-22-2009, 08:31 PM
Ive had them all, The Z does have its own thing, sounds great, fatter mids, not so sparkly, great with pedals. The BadCat sounds more Hi Fi, Tighter bass, more sparkle, The Lightning is in between, nice sparkle, tight tight bottom end, and great raw tube growl. There all great, and you have to try them to find which suits your needs.

Degle
03-22-2009, 08:52 PM
I've owned the Maz JR, and currently have a Matchless Lightning Reverb 1x12 combo. I have not tried the Badcat. The Maz definitely had more bite than the Matchless. The Matchless is softer and smoother. They are not real similar. As for the reverb in the Matchless, it is OK, but nothing to write home about.

Radax
03-22-2009, 09:12 PM
I've had/have 4 Cubs(just 'bout my fav) and 1 Maz Jr., I just can't get the deeper tone from the Maz. Nice Amp but the Bad Cat is more my style.

Mike

MeMota
03-22-2009, 09:54 PM
Thanks guys.

If the Bad Cat's a bit similar to a Vox, then is it possible to describe the Dr Z and Matchless in terms of "known" sounds? They are the two I'm not able to try out at all so it's really difficult. Is the Z a bit more "British" sounding with prominent mids? How about the Matchless?

I should point out that typically I'm into the scooped mid Fender tones but love a bit of tweed crunch too!

impactblue
03-23-2009, 06:40 PM
I have the Maz 18 Jr with Scumback greenbacks, and as most have said its a mixture of Fender, Vox and Marshall...mainly because it is such a versatile amp. The Maz can have very prominent mids especially with greenbacks, or it can sound very scooped and fendery. To me personally, i would say the Maz is Marshall + Vox.

Also with the Maz you wont need dirt pedals if you have an attenuator.

I think the Maz is the cheapest of the 3 amps...so the Bad Cat and Matchless would have to be a hell of a lot better to be worth it!

Here's a good vid demoing the Lightning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTA0CV6ULtU

HeartfeltDawn
03-23-2009, 07:13 PM
Ive had them all, The Z does have its own thing, sounds great, fatter mids, not so sparkly, great with pedals. The BadCat sounds more Hi Fi, Tighter bass, more sparkle, The Lightning is in between, nice sparkle, tight tight bottom end, and great raw tube growl. There all great, and you have to try them to find which suits your needs.

I agree wholeheartedly with your description of the BadCat. I've had mine a week and it is very hi-fi, perhaps too hi-fi for my liking.

teleache
03-23-2009, 07:46 PM
Never tried a badcat, But love the the tone of the maz 18, Works well with my custom cabinet. I reconed two vintage 25's in an old sano cabinet closing off the top and one of the back slots. I get a huge sound live out with my band with my rig. I reconed one with a 444 55hurts cone and the other with a modern 6402 75 hurts cone, much like the 53h 1777 blue bell cone. love that combo. dial my master in for the club i'm playing and let's rock ! low's and high's in one cabinet. You can hear my cover band with that rig on youtube user name teleache. We do all type of textured rock. try this link:www.youtube.com/user/teleache (http://www.youtube.com/user/teleache)

I used a 1995 8mm stereo hi fi camera recoring just the feed from the live mix.

JimmyR
03-23-2009, 09:13 PM
If you think your Bad Cat CubII sounds a bit too "hi-fi", try better tubes. Even just JJ 12ax7s will sound better than the Rubys on board.

I have a Cub IIR which I got last year and it is one of the most amazing amps I have heard - most who play it agree. Now I build amps as a hobby so don't own many amps not built by me! The two I do own are both Bad Cats. I find the Cub IIR to be fuller and less sizzly inthe top end than the Matchless eqivalent. I also find the low-end fuller and smoother. The Reverb on mine is excellent if a tad splashy. But it's easy to get it to sound subtle if you want.

I played a CubII when they first came out and was less than impressed. But the newer version (which I have) blows me away - warm, sweet, clear, perfect biting OD tones, sounds amazing with any guitar I plug into it. I really can't say enough good things about it. It does sound a bit Voxy but much tighter and if anything chimier.

I haven't played a Maz but my other experiences with Dr Z were less than stellar. But hey, everyone likes something different, so take it all with a pinch of salt.

shark_bite
03-23-2009, 09:58 PM
Whoa, great thread to pop up now... these are three of the four or five amps I just looked at on my last amp hunt, and I also ended up with the Bad Cat. So far there's been nothing but good things to report. I pulled out the V30 and swapped in a 30W Blue Dog, but I think I'll be reversing that - while I'm not a wild fan of the V30 it might just be the right speaker for the amp.

Anyway, here's the rundown - I played a Maz 18 reverb and it sounded good. Not great, just good. By itself it was okay, but then I played a Goodsell Super 17 next to it and it was clear I'd never buy the Maz. It had the headroom I wanted but no heart to the sound. It was kind of dry, flat, and 2-D in comparison to the S17 which seemed to be in the warm sweet spot all the way up the dial. A little more headroom and a little less mids, and that Goodsell would have been my amp. I'd still like another crack at the Custom 33 since I think it was the one I liked best besides maybe the Bad Cat. Anyway, they carry Bad Cat at Willie's in St. Paul and they had a used Lightning and a used Spitfire as well, so I tried all three. There was NO comparison - the Bad Cat is exactly as described. Beautifully touch responsive and wonderful 3D cleans. Killer grind when cranked. And with the tone stack options you get, there's a lot of shape available for the sound. Great reverb too. I could not recommend an amp more if you're looking for this sound.

bmcmusic
03-23-2009, 10:06 PM
Teleache, I check out the sound of your rig on youtube. Very nice tone.

GearOnTheBrain
03-23-2009, 10:52 PM
i used to own a CubII NR...........very nice, sparkley, chimey and plenty of volume.
it didn't like certain overdrives to my ears at times, but it was a great amp and im curious as to how the new ones sound.
I eventually had to sell it and i started getting into a different style of sound anyway.
The Maz is nice.........but like all Z's it has the trademark stiffness that you cannot dial out. The eq is kind of flat but they grind nicely when pushed and seem to be pedal platform amps. Ive never been blown away by any of his amps and the controls always felt a little cheap to me.
The Matchless Lightning is a nice amp, but not much clean headroom at all. Mainly a dirty amp, but a very nice overdrive indeed.
Very fun.

I'd go with the Cub all in all.
And James(owner of badcat) is a decent guy, good customer service.

jacobhf
03-23-2009, 11:26 PM
I pulled out the V30 and swapped in a 30W Blue Dog, but I think I'll be reversing that - while I'm not a wild fan of the V30 it might just be the right speaker for the amp.

Anyway, they carry Bad Cat at Willie's in St. Paul and they had a used Lightning and a used Spitfire as well, so I tried all three. There was NO comparison - the Bad Cat is exactly as described. Beautifully touch responsive and wonderful 3D cleans. Killer grind when cranked. And with the tone stack options you get, there's a lot of shape available for the sound. Great reverb too. I could not recommend an amp more if you're looking for this sound.

I was talking to James about a custom cub and I was going to go the blue dog route, but after a bit of chatting I figured I leave it to the man's choice speaker.

I was over at willies and played both the cub and lightning, the cub won out by a long shot. The lightning didn't get to me like the cub did. Plus it loved every guitar I plugged in(tele's, rick's, sg's).

MeMota
03-23-2009, 11:37 PM
What are the different versions of the Cub II? Isn't it the Cub, then the Cub II, or are there two Cub II's? (Try saying that fast)

Any differences between the Reverb and Non-Reverb versions of the the Cub II? The sales guy reckons the non-reverb is tighter and simply better

jacobhf
03-24-2009, 12:03 AM
What are the different versions of the Cub II? Isn't it the Cub, then the Cub II, or are there two Cub II's? (Try saying that fast)

Any differences between the Reverb and Non-Reverb versions of the the Cub II? The sales guy reckons the non-reverb is tighter and simply better

You can email james and he should steer you in the right direction.

teleache
03-24-2009, 11:51 AM
I've tried a budda,not bad. it's not a Z, too much gain the one i tried. And i played bad cat "what i would call" Enough low end to be a bass amp, Although my Route 66 has lot's of low. No where near the too much iron power transformer bad cats. I think the maz 18's cut control allows for brite alnico's or dark 55 hurtz celestions. Ok, guess i biased to dr. Z.... I have three gain pedals that all work great with the amp. 1: addrock ol' yeller 2: Blackstone appliances mosfet overdrive 3: Aramat soul patch RIP Keith S. All those gains work great with my maz 18. Hear for yourself on the youtube link.

shark_bite
03-24-2009, 12:03 PM
Never tried a badcat...

I've tried a budda,not bad. it's not a Z, too much gain the one i tried. And i played bad cat "what i would call" Enough low end to be a bass amp, Although my Route 66 has lot's of low. No where near the too much iron power transformer bad cats.

?

There's a pretty even response in the Cub, but according to your first post, you've never played a Bad Cat. Now it's a bass amp?

I think the maz 18's cut control allows for brite alnico's or dark 55 hurtz celestions. Ok, guess i biased to dr. Z....

Sounds like you are... the Bad Cat has a cut control as well... functions pretty much the same way.

Of course, to be fair, I'm pretty biased toward the Bad Cat myself, but after putting all these amps up side by side it seemed pretty obvious. I guess it depends on what the OP is looking for, and how he wants to use it. You don't any of the three dimensional cleans from the Maz that you get from the Bad Cat, but based on your clips and the effects you listed, it seems like you pretty much always push it with dirt pedals. In which case the Maz probably is the most appropriate amp of the three. But, if you're looking for big chimey cleans as well as EL84 grind, the Maz really falls short of the others, in my opinion.

nek
03-24-2009, 12:13 PM
I have owned both a Maz 18 JRNR and a Lightning. The Lightning is remarkable in the way it effortlessly achieves great tone. I wish it had a cut control. I have been threatening to convert the master volume to a cut. Haven't got around to it yet. One of these days...

teleache
03-24-2009, 12:16 PM
Wrong, I'm just saying in general...Badcats have lot's of low end that's not always needed. Your right i never tried the cub II. Is it also fixed biased ? or does it run push pull class A like a carman ghia ?

shark_bite
03-24-2009, 12:26 PM
Wrong, I'm just saying in general...Badcats have lot's of low end that's not always needed. Your right i never tried the cub II. Is it also fixed biased ? or does it run push pull class A like a carman ghia ?

Lots of low end maybe, but then extremely interactive tone controls that allow for some serious EQ shaping at the ends of the spectrum. I could probably make that thing sound like an AM radio if I tried hard enough. It does have a pretty deep sound though, probably due in no small part to the cabinet as well.

I'm guessing since it's EL84s it's probably cathode biased, but it doesn't say on the BadCat website.

teleache
03-24-2009, 12:33 PM
Sound really cool ! Have to try one soon ! On those live youtube videos it's just different textured cover rock tones. Your right, no where near the chime of my Ghia. We do tom petty's "need to know" and yes... it's no ac30 ! lol/ But dang it's so hard now to go to any club and play with anymore than 20 watts ! So with that said, Chime or punchy drive ? I have maz 18 and a ghia.

cfdude
03-24-2009, 12:57 PM
Never tried the Badcat. I own a Lighting head and have owned a Maz jr 18. Of the two the Lightning is in another league. It is the loudest 15 watts you will ever hear. Not a bad thing though, clean headroom. Attenuates nice too with a hotplate. The Maz jr was nice, but the Matchless takes it to another level. Similar in tone if tubed right. If you didn't compare the two head to head I would say the Maz is fine, but when you hear the Matchless it's game over. I sold the Maz as soon as I got the Lightning.

HeartfeltDawn
03-24-2009, 02:00 PM
If you think your Bad Cat CubII sounds a bit too "hi-fi", try better tubes. Even just JJ 12ax7s will sound better than the Rubys on board.

I have a Cub IIR which I got last year and it is one of the most amazing amps I have heard - most who play it agree. Now I build amps as a hobby so don't own many amps not built by me! The two I do own are both Bad Cats. I find the Cub IIR to be fuller and less sizzly inthe top end than the Matchless eqivalent. I also find the low-end fuller and smoother. The Reverb on mine is excellent if a tad splashy. But it's easy to get it to sound subtle if you want.

I played a CubII when they first came out and was less than impressed. But the newer version (which I have) blows me away - warm, sweet, clear, perfect biting OD tones, sounds amazing with any guitar I plug into it. I really can't say enough good things about it. It does sound a bit Voxy but much tighter and if anything chimier.



Mullards all the way in my Cub II and I've tried it with JJ's. It's not a bad amp at all, just not the sound I was looking for.

GearOnTheBrain
03-24-2009, 04:45 PM
What are the different versions of the Cub II? Isn't it the Cub, then the Cub II, or are there two Cub II's? (Try saying that fast)

Any differences between the Reverb and Non-Reverb versions of the the Cub II? The sales guy reckons the non-reverb is tighter and simply better


the latest CubII's do not have the "focused/spectrum" toggle switch anymore like my CubII did.
now the new models give you a choice between the now familiar 6 position rotary tone switch, OR you can bypass that and just use active bass and treble contros.
i haven't played the new ones but im curious if they sound better.
what the focused/spectrum switch did was, when the toggle was switched to spectrum, the bass and treble controls were active.
when it was in focused mode, the bass and treble controls were bypassed and you just ran the amp with the volume knob and cut knob.
the latter produced a more smooth, less bassy tone and had a little more clean headroom, but lacked the chime and sparkle that was present in spectrum mode.
in my opinion, overdrive pedals sounded better in focused mode.
but........in spectrum mode it had a lot more girth and grind and complexity.

shark_bite
03-24-2009, 05:04 PM
the latest CubII's do not have the "focused/spectrum" toggle switch anymore like my CubII did.
now the new models give you a choice between the now familiar 6 position rotary tone switch, OR you can bypass that and just use active bass and treble contros.
i haven't played the new ones but im curious if they sound better.
what the focused/spectrum switch did was, when the toggle was switched to spectrum, the bass and treble controls were active.
when it was in focused mode, the bass and treble controls were bypassed and you just ran the amp with the volume knob and cut knob.
the latter produced a more smooth, less bassy tone and had a little more clean headroom, but lacked the chime and sparkle that was present in spectrum mode.
in my opinion, overdrive pedals sounded better in focused mode.
but........in spectrum mode it had a lot more girth and grind and complexity.

Ha...... I finally learned about the headroom advantage about 9/10ths of the way into a gig this weekend where I probably should have brought a different amp. Ridiculous stage volume, and I really needed a cleaner tone. Whoops. But yep, once I flipped it up there I realized just how much that amp can do in focused mode when you can dime the master and dime the volume. Before I didn't see the use, not as much at least. Honestly, I'm downright flabbergasted by the array of different tones I can pull out of that amp. That's ultimately the reason I preferred it to the Matchless Lightning Reverb and the Spitfire. Both great sounding amps, but not quite as much sparkle, and not nearly as much flexibility.

GearOnTheBrain
03-24-2009, 10:39 PM
cool.
in my opinion though, you do lost some balls and slight volume drop when you switch to focused mode.
the tones are cleaner but not as thick and chimey and girthy.
both are nice sounds nonetheless.

MeMota
03-25-2009, 04:29 AM
I might go check out the Bad Cat again... just found out there are no more lightnings in the country for a few months. :(

(In Australia that is)

theirflowers21
03-31-2009, 10:53 PM
I love my cubII 2x10 :) I used it mostly on a song on my bands myspace page. www.myspace.com/blackfordcreek (http://www.myspace.com/blackfordcreek) It is a country sound and I did have a divided by 13 ert33 in use as well.

maxolla
10-15-2009, 09:07 PM
I just bought a Cub2. I'm waiting anxiously for it to get here. It is one without the 5 way tone selection non reverb. What did you not like about it? Has the circuit changed since it's original offering?

jokerjkny
10-16-2009, 03:13 AM
the bad cat cub amp i owned was just gorgeous to listen to. voxy clear, sweeten present highs, where i could play an open G all day.

the maz 18 reverb is my fav all time single coil amp. thick cello like thickness that just says dr. z to me. the NR sounds like every other clear el84 amp, tho the overdriven tones are more raw and unruly vs. the reverb'd more smoother compressed sound.

the lightning unfortunately never really floated my boat. sounded thinner than the similarly voiced cub cat, but the cub just had more lower end heft and a very present "I AM HERE" kinda sound that really makes you take notice.

nathandurnwald
01-19-2010, 02:46 PM
Could someone PLEASE post a good demo of a Cub II on youtube? All the ones ive seen thus far are terrible quality!

shark_bite
01-19-2010, 02:48 PM
This one isn't terrible. But yeah, the clips online aren't exactly fabulous. The amp really should be played.

4MYGpmofEe0

nathandurnwald
01-19-2010, 06:53 PM
There is one ProGuitarShop did but its private for some reason! Ah! I wanna hear a tele with some good open straight chords to see how it sounds broken up. Can't find anything.