Bad Cat - Sampson Era Questions

Jschoi

Silver Supporting Member
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944
Calling all Bad Cat folks!

I picked up a Bad Cat Black Cat, and I believe it is a Sampson Era amp, but wanted to check with others here who might know better.

It has the chrome back plate with two power sockets, and the serial number is 2315

That dates the amp at 2003, but I thought Mark left at 2001? So I'm not sure if I have all of this data correct.

Could anyone provide some feedback or information about these?

Thanks,

Jason
 

Roccorobb

Member
Messages
1,581
I posted this In a thread just about black cat versions a while back:

The bullets below correspond to versions, as far as I can tell. Please help by filling in gaps, which I know exist in this first draft!
  • Sampson Era - Feature set identical to the C30. 4 holes, 7 knobs, power/standby on front, chrome back, extension outlets, half power switch, no loop.
  • Early Post-Sampson (late 2000's) - 4 holes, Switchable T/B tonestack added to EF86 side, Defeatable Master Volume, black back, no outlets, half power, no loop
  • Early John Era (2011?) - 4 hole, 2 mini MV knobs w/ defeat switches on far right. Is this when the loop was added?
  • 2013? (According to John's post above) 1 hole, mini MV knobs & toggles moved to their respective channel strips (along w/ reverb when included)
  • 2014 - 1 hole, aluminum chassis, K master, no half power
 

Jschoi

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
944
Thank you! I did see this with the search function. Super helpful!

Is it safe to assume that a 2003 bad cat is Sampson era? Mine fits the bill immediately with the chrome back panel, but I’m just super curious about when Mark left Bad Cat.
 

Roccorobb

Member
Messages
1,581
I think so, but I don't think you can know for sure. You can always open it up and see if there are any matchless labeled components inside.
 

Wms76

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
530
I think so, but I don't think you can know for sure. You can always open it up and see if there are any matchless labeled components inside.

Worth looking. I have an ‘01 Cub that is full of “Matchless”-labeled components.
 

jeffh

Member
Messages
1,042
Hot Cat came out in 2002, pretty certain Sampson was still there then. First Star press release was 2004. My guess Sampson was there in 2003.
 

Jschoi

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
944
Hot Cat came out in 2002, pretty certain Sampson was still there then. First Star press release was 2004. My guess Sampson was there in 2003.
That’s how I’ve drawn to my conclusion as well. I wish there was some sort of data that just showed when he left each company. But no true data points seem to be available
 

skhan007

Member
Messages
10,535
Cool. Posted a similar question in the Bad Cat mega thread. I was told 2000-2001, as these were the years he was with the company.

I was curious if the Sampson era extended beyond his years at Bad Cat.

So, was the Sampson Era the years he was with Bad Cat or the years his Black Cat model had his original features?
 

Jschoi

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
944
I posted this In a thread just about black cat versions a while back:

The bullets below correspond to versions, as far as I can tell. Please help by filling in gaps, which I know exist in this first draft!
  • Sampson Era - Feature set identical to the C30. 4 holes, 7 knobs, power/standby on front, chrome back, extension outlets, half power switch, no loop.
  • Early Post-Sampson (late 2000's) - 4 holes, Switchable T/B tonestack added to EF86 side, Defeatable Master Volume, black back, no outlets, half power, no loop
  • Early John Era (2011?) - 4 hole, 2 mini MV knobs w/ defeat switches on far right. Is this when the loop was added?
  • 2013? (According to John's post above) 1 hole, mini MV knobs & toggles moved to their respective channel strips (along w/ reverb when included)
  • 2014 - 1 hole, aluminum chassis, K master, no half power
I just stumbled across this article. This might help clarify ambiguity in dates!

“Sampson went on to design amplifiers for Bad Cat, and in 2004 he began working on a new line of “Star” amplifiers.”

 

hunter

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,714
Cool. Posted a similar question in the Bad Cat mega thread. I was told 2000-2001, as these were the years he was with the company.

I was curious if the Sampson era extended beyond his years at Bad Cat.

So, was the Sampson Era the years he was with Bad Cat or the years his Black Cat model had his original features?


I have a 2001 and my recollection is Sampson came and went almost immediately. I can't cite specifics other than a distant memory but if your amp is really 2003, I think Sampson had left the building. Note that there was a time period where "Sampson" amps were in production between BadCat and Star so that makes the timeline even fuzzier.
 

Jschoi

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
944
I have a 2001 and my recollection is Sampson came and went almost immediately. I can't cite specifics other than a distant memory but if your amp is really 2003, I think Sampson had left the building. Note that there was a time period where "Sampson" amps were in production between BadCat and Star so that makes the timeline even fuzzier.
That does make things more confusing. All documents and articles seem to indicate that he was there until 03-04, but what you are saying does sound like a viable answer
 

RAG7890

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,312
Thank you! I did see this with the search function. Super helpful!

Is it safe to assume that a 2003 bad cat is Sampson era? Mine fits the bill immediately with the chrome back panel, but I’m just super curious about when Mark left Bad Cat.

Yes.

This might also help (haven't watched it as yet though): -


I think he left circa 2004, but the Chrome back panels were made while he was working with Bad Cat.

:beer
 

Jschoi

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
944
Yes.

This might also help (haven't watched it as yet though): -


I think he left circa 2004, but the Chrome back panels were made while he was working with Bad Cat.

:beer
Nice clip! Rich history!
 

DCH

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
458
One of the original BadCat guys - I don't recall which one - once told me, probably late 2000s or early 2010s, that they'd bought so many of those Matchless-labeled capacitors that they lasted for many, many years, so they really aren't any indication of an amp being "Sampson era."
 

Jschoi

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
944
Thanks. I’m looking forward to giving it a whirl. I used to own a Matchless DC-30. It was a great modern amp.

I’m curious to hear how these stack up, or if they are identical. Should be fun!
 

RAG7890

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,312
My best friend has a 2003/2004 Bad Cat Hot Cat.

That Amp is beyond awesome. He foolishly sold it & then bought about 3 others but none came close. Blows a lot of 100W Amps that are highly rated on TGP into the weeds.

He finally got it back after many years & we cloned it but the clone is not as raw............it's smoother (possibly due to the use of Takman Resistors, not sure). Same Iron Set ex TDS, even the Choke No.

While I think of it if anyone knows exactly who manufactured he Matchless Yellow Caps that Mark used in the early years of Bad Cat I'd appreciate you telling me.

Anyway, the Amp is anomaly & the only main thing I can see that is different is the Choke, his has the Choke that was ex the small run of 100W Bad Cats that were manufactured (he owns one of these as well by they are not Class A's, they are Class AB's).

Sampson is genius from what I can tell, hear & see. I also have a Star Amps Gainstar which has come back from a service & PT Tap change, so plan to give that a whirl when I get some time.

:beer
 

RAG7890

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,312
One of the original BadCat guys - I don't recall which one - once told me, probably late 2000s or early 2010s, that they'd bought so many of those Matchless-labeled capacitors that they lasted for many, many years, so they really aren't any indication of an amp being "Sampson era."

Phil J. told me those Caps went "missing" after Matchless fell over...........there was no mention of buying them.

I still have the Email when I contacted him to find out where they came from.

:beer
 




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