Bad Cat Black Cat 15 vs. 30

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by TheBouc, May 10, 2015.

  1. TheBouc

    TheBouc Member

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    Hey, guys! I am looking to acquire a Bad Cat Black Cat head/cab this summer. I was set on getting the 15 when I read a thread about how using the 15 watter sounds less full than the 30. I was mostly considering the 15 for a few reasons:

    1. Price. I don't want to spend insane amounts of money, and am trying to get the head/2x12 cab for $2500 or under. Also trying to buy new. I have been bitten too hard by buying used amps.

    2. Break up. I like to set my amp upon the verge of breakup/into light breakup territory. Also like the ability to run clean. I use drive pedals to get the most of my overdrive, so I don't need the ability to crank it necessarily. I will be gigging with the amp, mostly small bar/club type stuff. Nothing huge.

    Has anybody been able to compare the Black Cat 15 to the 30? Or any of the Bad Cat 15 watters to the 30 watters? Any input will help. Just trying to figure out what I want to do!
     
  2. SirGilmour

    SirGilmour Supporting Member

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    My Black Cat 30 will be here this week. I'll compare it to the Cub III 15 and report back.
     
  3. Aslan

    Aslan Supporting Member

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    Go for the 15 and get a Unleash and you can play anywhere! I own 5 different Bad Cat amps but now I most often gig with a Mini Cat II & a Unleash, also be sure to checkout the new Bobcat 100 (great amp for $1500) and yes I am addicted to Bad Cat amps!
     
  4. TheBouc

    TheBouc Member

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    SirGilmour, have you played your Cub III 15 with a full band including drummer? Was it able to keep up without you having to drive it into major breakup?

    I think I might be alright with the 15 because the Black Cat 15 is Class A, and Class A amps are loud as hell.
     
  5. SirGilmour

    SirGilmour Supporting Member

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    I have. Ive even played outdoors un mic'd with a drummer(a pretty good dynamic drummer. Not gonzo) and while it wasnt spanky clean, it definitely wasnt full on overdriven with my strat. The 15 should be plenty for a small club.
     
  6. joeprs

    joeprs Member

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    I think you answered your own question. I have a Cub II and a Cub III and they are louder than my class a/b amps for sure.

    You'll have no problem in small clubs with the 15 watts. Keep in mind, this amp is not going to get the pristine cleans of a DRRI, but, it has it's own thing going on, very chimey.

    Edit: Don't be afraid to buy used, (1-3 years old), because they have a transferable lifetime warranty. If you don't want to, given your experiences, I understand. I just wanted to let you know.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2015
  7. jlane11

    jlane11 Supporting Member

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    I went from a 15 watt Cub 2 to the 40 watt Luca (same front end with 2 el34s) and I prefer the higher wattage Badcat at any volume for the extra fullness, low end, and clean headroom available.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2015
  8. boyce89976

    boyce89976 Supporting Member

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    For me the 30 has the right amount of headroom.
     
  9. Kitten Cannon

    Kitten Cannon Member

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    If you like headroom, you shouldn't buy either amp. I had the 30 and couldn't sell it fast enough. I had the Cub IIR and sold it even faster for the same reason. I like headroom. It had next to none on stage. And an Unleash is most certainly NOT the answer. A 100W class D power amp is barely louder than a Deluxe Reverb.

    The only EL84 amp I've been happy with is the Jackson Newcastle 30.
     
  10. SirGilmour

    SirGilmour Supporting Member

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    I'm thinking I don't agree with this. I don't think the unleash statement is Acurate either.
     
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  11. TheBouc

    TheBouc Member

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    How early did the 30 break up? Could it have been a tube or bias issue?
     
  12. mileseven

    mileseven Member

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    I have owned a Black Cat 30R for the better part of 10 years. It is switchable between 15 and 30 watts and I prefer the 30 watt mode even if I need to be a little more quiet than usual. To my ears, the 30 watt mode is much more full.
     
  13. Kitten Cannon

    Kitten Cannon Member

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    That's because you are completely incapable of seeing any fault in a Bad Cat product. Sorry, but I've owned and gigged with both of these things, and neither really stood up to the hype.

    Brand new tubes. Cathode biased amp. It broke up too early for me to get good cleans over a drummer. It sounded like crushed glass. Some people like that sort of thing, I guess, but I'm not one of them. The amp sounded fine at home, but I never could make it work on stage.

    Again, my impression of these amps is that the people who like them are obviously going for that exact thing (or are all deaf), but all I wanted was something I could play clean and push into dirt territory with pedals, much like I've used a Deluxe Reverb for next to forever. The Black Cat 30 did not do it.

    As with all things on this board... your mileage may vary. But that was my experience. I highly doubt I'll be buying any more Bad Cats in the future, at least of the EL84 variety.
     
  14. voxylady

    voxylady Member

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    Lol, it has nothing to do with "seeing fault in Bad Cat amps". It has everything to do with your perception that an EL84 amp will have the cleans of a Deluxe Reverb. Vox-ish style amps are just about never sparkly clean, no matter the wattage. And it's absolutely false that a 30 watt Cub or Badcat won't have enough headroom in a band setting. It's just that the "headroom" of those style amps aren't really ever super clean. I've gigged my 15 watt Cub at bars and had enough headroom to stay "clean".
     
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  15. SirGilmour

    SirGilmour Supporting Member

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    I do love Bad Cat Amps but I certainly am not so blinded that I think every amp they have ever made was a winner but the Cub and Black Cat series are literally some of the best selling amps on the boutique market for a reason. That being said you are just wrong in this case. I wasn't stating my opinion of these amps. I was stating facts and the facts are these amps DO have clean headroom. Especially the 30 watt version. You not being able to make it work for your situation is just a personal preference and I understand that. So is the crushed glass comment.

    Also and unleash can make a 5 watt amp MUCH louder than a DRRI.

    You seem to have a weird dislike for these amps..
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2015
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  16. Kitten Cannon

    Kitten Cannon Member

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    Eh. I guess it was one of those things. You call a spade a spade and move on. I really can't stand Vox amps or things based off of them so I guess I'm not surprised. Hated the Goodsell Super 17 too, and the Savages I've played and the Voxes I've played and EL84 Morgans I've played and the the Zs I've played... so BC isn't the only one. Weirdly I love my Jackson Newcastle 30 though. So there's that.

    But with the Unleash I think it's just reallllllly frustrating to see all these Class D-based designs come out that are supposed to offer more headroom (after all these years of people making smaller and smaller amps for more breakup sooner) and then to see every one of them fail so spectacularly. I have a 300W hybrid amp for pedal steel that barely outguns my DR, and the builder has insisted repeatedly that it's loud enough instead of listening to my perfectly valid complaint. I did a handful of gigs with it outside of the one band I play in that's quiet enough for me to hear the amp over the drummer, and I've never been more frustrated in my life. Just like a 200W solid state amp isn't going to be nearly as loud as a 200W tube amp, I'm starting to feel like a 200W Class D solid state amp isn't nearly as loud as a 200W solid state amp of some other sort, and likewise nowhere near the power of a 200W tube amp.

    I always get frustrated when fanboys on the internet (not just here but everywhere) repeat the manufacturers claims word for word without ever challenging them or testing them. I used a Deluxe with an Unleash a few times in an effort to get a lighter PSG option than a Twin Reverb, and it didn't even come remotely close to the Twin. I had the two side by side. It wasn't hard to tell. So everyone claiming they can turn a 5W amp into something that's putting out SPL on par with a plexi is regurgitating what I've found to be a pretty misleading claim and I just can't help speaking up.

    Honestly the only class D based power amp device I have that hasn't driven me nearly insane is my QSC K8, and that's pushing 1000W or something, a few feet away from me, aimed at my face, and turned up halfway.

    I'll admit this stuff probably makes me unreasonably grumpy on the internet, but consider the frustration - I've spent a lot of money trying to find lighter stuff with the kind of headroom I need (I mean, I play PSG and a lot of country guitar), and I'm feeling a little taken after everything keeps coming up short despite having incredibly impressive numbers on paper. I bought a Peavey LA400 last week for $180 and it would make a preamp about 10 times louder than the Unleash ever did.
     
  17. SirGilmour

    SirGilmour Supporting Member

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    You hate Vox amps!?!!? What's wrong with you!?



    Just kidding. :)

    About the unleash, I didn't say it could make a 5 watt amp into an SPL monster buy IME it could definitely make it louder than my DRRI. My 15 watt Cub is quite a bit louder than my DRRI. That could be the difference in speaker SPL though.

    Also, I would be very frustrated if a 300 watt amp wasn't loud and clean as hell!
     
  18. Kitten Cannon

    Kitten Cannon Member

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    From what I recall of my Bad Cat Cub IIR, it wasn't loud enough to stay clean for anything except maybe a church gig, and even then only in Focused mode. It never struck me as being much louder than the Star Super Nova 15R that I have now, which definitely bears some similarities despite being, I don't know, also pretty different.

    For what it's worth, I can't really do much gigging with the Star. But it's the best recording amp on earth, pretty much.

    For what it's also worth, I've always been offhandedly curious about trying an EL34 Bad Cat, mainly the Hot Cat. My guess is that would probably have the headroom, too. I play with a guy who uses a Chieftain and it's definitely a cool amp. Not sure how I'd like it, but something tells me it'd be better than EL84s.
     
  19. SirGilmour

    SirGilmour Supporting Member

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    You would probably love the hot cat 30! It's not Voxy at all. Big, fat and clean and nice harmonic crunch on the other side. The Hot Cat 30 is noticeably bigger, fuller sounding than my Cub 15
     
  20. voxylady

    voxylady Member

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    That's just not true though. Tube amps usually have more power than their rating, and are typically rated at the power level of clean headroom. However, if you took the max power of a tube amp, and compared it to the max power of a solid state amp, they'd most likely be the same SPL. Power is power. Doesn't matter if it comes from a vacuum tube or a transistor. It's just that maxing out a solid state amp sounds like ****, while maxing out a tube amp sounds glorious.
     

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