Bad Cat Black Cat

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Mojoman, Feb 14, 2006.


  1. Mojoman

    Mojoman Supporting Member

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    I played one of these Black Cat 30r's in a store this weekend. Liked it a lot.....but did not have a chance to really turn it up or anything....
    So can you guys tell me a little about it?
    How is it with pedals?
    NOS tubes help it out?
    Good cleans and crunch?
    It sounded kind of voxy to me? Is this correct?

    Thanks a lot guys.
     
  2. wsaraceni

    wsaraceni Member

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    this amp has been talked about a lot here. do a search and find some good stuff. specifically the differences from this and the c30 matchless amps. To me, the bad cat is similar to the vox/matchless but barely. it has its own thing going on. it excels at cleans and mid gain. not really a high gainer. but for medium gain and cleans its tough to beat in my opinion. bad cats in general are a little hard to dial in, but they cover a wide range of tones. they are heavy as hell as well. no experience with pedals or nos tubes but i know the cub II head i had liked gain pedals in my opinion.
     
  3. Stormin

    Stormin Supporting Member

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    Hey Mojoman,

    I have a Black Cat 30 (non reverb) 2x12. Like wsaraceni said, it's definately a clean to mid-gain amp. This amp is a VERY loud 30 watter with a 1/2 power switch and a defeatable master volume. Using different combinations of the power switch and the master really change the feel and punch of the amp (in good ways). The only negative to this amp is that it's heavier than TWO m#$%er f*&@ers. To answer some of your questions,

    Pedals: most people recommend a Crowther HotCake to go with EL84 amps, but I really disliked this pair. I use a Fulldrive2 and a Marshall Bluesbreaker2 both simultaneously and separately to very good end. This gives me a great palette of tones for the blues / classic rock / southern rock cover band that I'm in. The other MUST HAVE pedal for the Black Cat is an A/B/Y. So much of the magic in this amp comes from switching to and from the 12AX7 and EF86 channels. Pairing them in the "Y" mode just gives you even more of a good thing. I set my 12AX7 channel clean, and the EF86 channel for a little grind.

    NOS tubes: My experience was that the EF86 and the GZ34 rectifier benefitted most from NOS tubes. When I tried NOS in the 12AX7 slots, I really didn't notice any improvement over the JJ's I've been using. I never did try NOS EL84's.

    Sound: I guess it's a little Voxy, a little Matchless DC-30, and even a little JTM-45 at times, but it's really got it's own thing going on. IMHO, the sound is mid-heavy with sparkly high end. What you'll notice is that there is sound "everywhere". It really surrounds you from this amp. I typically play a '52ri Tele and a '68 Strat through it. I like these better than my humbucker equipped PRS's.

    Hopefully Jimmydeez will chime in here, since my Black Cat used to be his Black Cat.
     
  4. Mojoman

    Mojoman Supporting Member

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    Thanks a lot for the responses guys.
    I am liking what I have been reading about this amp and I really did like the tone I was hearing, even at lower volumes at the store.
    Any one else have anything to add?
    Is this a cathode based amp, where the el84's can be changed without a rebiasing?
    Thanks.
     
  5. wsaraceni

    wsaraceni Member

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    it is cathode biased. i'd just like to add that they rock. everyone should own one.
     
  6. Jimmydeez

    Jimmydeez Supporting Member

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    Yeah it is really a great amp. It is heavy as hell.

    I loved it with my HB I. It only sounds better and better as you turn it up. I used the amp in full power mode with the master on. I could never play it without the master... way too loud.

    Here are some songs I recorded with the Bad Cat.

    http://www.myspace.com/palereason
     
  7. Mojoman

    Mojoman Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the information guys.
    I was looking at aby type boxes as mentioned above and was wondering if the third dimension from Nick Greer or the Voodoo Labs Amp switcher could be cool - where I could hook two of the channels into the Bad Cat and then the other to my Maven Peal's (Tusk and RG88). Now that would be fun. :dude

    Also Stormin' - What rectifier tube did you change to that made a difference?

    Thanks.
     
  8. Mayflower

    Mayflower Supporting Member

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    Master always off.
    15 watts generally at the beginning of a gig,
    They really they get hot and soft with alot more hair after a couple of sets.
    Then I switch to high power setting at the end of the night backing the input down for the original headroom I had with the 1/2 power setting.
    Rock and blues..channel 2 w/EF86
    Pop and country..Channel 1 w/12AX7.
    Use a Keeley comp. and a A/B box on the 2 channels if you want channel switching between the 2.
    Or, a Tube Screamer ( put the the 2 together, comp first with the A/B box or channel of choice... wow!!! ) at it's near lowest drive setting ( TS ) on your channel of choice.
    Black Cats need very little on the front end to sound good.
    Matcless /Bad Cats are all about rage IMO.
    Hope you enjoy it, I own 2 Black C's! Eh......3, a Trem Cat as well!
    All my Matchless are quite similiar. they set in a mix so well and provide stage rage, an important urgency in your tone ( a little hair on your tone and the ready to explode tone with it never happening ).
    IMO.
     
  9. Stormin

    Stormin Supporting Member

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    Mojoman,

    When I got the amp from Jimmydeez, it had an original Mullard rectifier tube. I tried swapping it with a JJ, and the response was not at all as smooth, so I went back to the Mullard.

    To touch on what 90wreck said about "rage" and "urgency in your tone", I'd like to put it this way. The Bad Cat sounds great and somewhat in-your-face by itself (esp the EF86 channel). When I add the Fulldrive2 to it (3/4 vol, 1/2 gain) it gets so "liquid" that it sounds like the amplifier is actually going to melt. Not in a high gain way, just that it's pumping like a nuclear reactor ready to explode. I don't know how else to express it. Hopefully you can understand what I mean.

    ...Stormin!
     
  10. Jimmydeez

    Jimmydeez Supporting Member

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    Yeah that Mullard really made the amp better. You can also get some pretty drastic changes when you switch EF86 tubes. The Phillips that was in the amp I sold to Stormin' gave a real in your face crunchy tone. The Mullard I have in my Dr. 6545 gave a cleaner smoother tone.
     
  11. Mojoman

    Mojoman Supporting Member

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    Thanks guys for the replies.......it helps out a lot.
    Will my idea about a "amp switcher" work, or do you have to use a aby box on the Black Cat exclusively (ie do not connect the box to any other amp)?
    Also, did you guys use both rectifier tube sockets or just the one?
    Thanks again.
     
  12. Jimmydeez

    Jimmydeez Supporting Member

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    Your amp switcher idea will work fine. I would make sure that the switcher allows you to have at least 2 amps going at once. Like Stormin said the Black Cat sounds really great with both channels going.

    I stuck with one rectifier for more sag. I really loved how that amp sounded with the NOS mullard.
     

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