Bad Cat Hot Cat 15 - Tell me all about it please!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Nacho Strato, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. Nacho Strato

    Nacho Strato Member

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    hey guys,
    since we all know how great the Bad Cat site is, i'm hoping some of you can answer some questions i have regarding the HC15 combo.

    been seriously thinking about picking one of these up, seems to be pretty close to what i want in a 1x12 combo amp.
    only problem is i'll be forced to buy one off of eBay, and i've never played, or even heard a Bad Cat in person haha...

    i have an A/B/Y box, so i can make the Hot Cat 15 a two channel amp, correct?
    i know it's an EL84-based amp, but what's it voiced towards?
    how clean does the clean channel stay at band volumes?
    how would you describe the clean channels sound?
    how "high-gain" can it get? i'm not looking to play metal or anything like that, but something that will get me into early Van Halen tones would be great.
    i'm a big boost fan, and i currently have a Fulltone OCD v.3. how would that pair up with the HC15? what about fuzzes or reverb pedals?

    sorry for so many questions hah...
    thanks in advance.
     
  2. SvenHock

    SvenHock Member

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    I had one and couldnt get rid of it fast enough. Tried all sorts of tubes from new to NOS, different speakers, different cabinets and just didnt like it. The cleans were very sterile and the gain reminded me of a swarm of angry hornets. Now, other people like the amp so this is just my opinion. I also heard the EL34 version and that was an entirely different animal, it sounded good.
     
  3. Nacho Strato

    Nacho Strato Member

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    i didn't know there was an EL34 version. interesting...
    anyone else wanna chime in?
     
  4. KazJY

    KazJY Member

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    The EL34 version is the Hot Cat 30. It isn't on the website? (sarcasm).

    I've played the Hot Cat 15 and loved it, but only dialed in nice rich AC/DC tones while I was tweaking - I am fairly certain you can get old VH tones with it, though I am just an innocent bystander who happens to wish he had the money for one.
     
  5. sickboy79

    sickboy79 Member

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    Well, I haven't played the 15w version but, I've got a Hot Cat 30R head so maybe I can help a little.

    Yes, you can use an A/B/Y box for channel switching. The R versions (reverb and a tone circuit on the clean channel) are already set up as a switcher if you want to use the footswitch that comes with it. And, with the R version - you can blend the channels together.

    Hot Cats have their own unique voice. Neither Vox, nor Marshall, nor etc. It's just it's own. They can some Vox like chime/jangle/shimmer. But, plenty of Marshall bite and growl, and plenty of it's own Bad Cat thing going on.

    The 30 will start to break up around 11 oclock on the clean channel - depending on how hot your pickups are. It's pretty loud at these volumes. Plenty for gigging. I can't comment on the 15 - other than it will start breaking up sooner than the 30. This channel has a wonderfully rich clean tone that has a nice chime and jangle when clean - but is thick and authoritative due to the EL34s. The 15w version should have more chime/jangle. From there it will go to a nice Stones like breakup, to a great classic rocking overdrive when driven hard.

    They have more gain than I usually ever use. I rarely get that control above noon. You won't have a problem getting into VH levels of drive - although the amp isn't voiced like that.

    I can't comment on using pedals with the amp, as I just haven't used any with mine yet.

    The Hot Cat 30R is one of my personal favorite amps. Lots of big, rich, complex tones and tone shaping options. Again - my observations are based off the 30R version, not the 15w w/EL84s. I hope that helps.
     
  6. Nacho Strato

    Nacho Strato Member

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    thanks a bunch.
    maybe i should think about the 30R... as i love reverb and EL34s.

    the huge price jump is what i'm worried about for just 15 watts and reverb.
     
  7. KazJY

    KazJY Member

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    Sickboy, what cab are you running with the 30R?
     
  8. sickboy79

    sickboy79 Member

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    Well, I've got a matching Bad Cat 1x12 with their treated V30. Fantastic sounding cab! Sounds huge for a 1x12.

    But, my primary cab with the 30R right now is my Marshall 1960BX 4x12. Vintage style w/check grill cloth and Greenbacks. It really delivers the goods with the Hot Cat. I haven't tried it with my other Marshall 4x12 from the mid 70s w/G12H30s. I'm sure it sounds great with that as well. Again - the Bad Cat open back 1x12 sounds fantastic as well.
     
  9. NatDeroxL7

    NatDeroxL7 Member

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    Price jump is worth it. I recently spent alot of time on the HotCat30R, and I loved it, but ended up with the BadCat Custom Shop A/B 50 because I preferred the 6l6 sound.


    (although I thought the whole time it was a mean EL34 circuit....didn't know it was actually 6l6 until after I bought it, but apparently what I was hearing for the first time was the 6l6 sound...which I really liked)
     
  10. jec

    jec Member

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    Just my opinion, but I can't think of any reason to get the 15 unless you want less clean headroom. Both the 15 and 30 are too loud for bedroom use, so I would go with the 30 also. I had a 15 for a while, but in the end I went back to a cleaner amp + pedals. I will say that blending the two channels with an ABY produced some thick sounds.

    Good luck
     
  11. jeffh

    jeffh Silver Supporting Member

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    The front end of the Hot Cat is pretty tough to boost. I have tried several, from my experience, you'll want a clean boost, anything that adds gain just compresses. The Xotic RC works pretty good, things TS like such as a Fulldrive don't work so well.

    The clean channel is completely different, you can boost it with anything. All personal taste

    With the R version and the effects loop there might be a way to boost it through the loop. The R version does not require an A/B/Y it comes with the a footswitch, but you can also blend the channels. The non R version will require an ABY. I use the Voodoo Labs amp switcher with mine, it works great.

    The R version is the 30 only not the 15. Although there are some 15/30R "Custom Shop" Hot Cats. 4xEL84 with a half power switch. I have a Hot Cat head from 2002 and had a 15/30R. Although different power tubes mine sounded similar.
     

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