Funny Thing Happened on the Way to a Top Hat...I Fell Over A Black Cat

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by B Vance, Aug 8, 2005.

  1. B Vance

    B Vance Member

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    I want to start by thanking all the Top Hat lovers out there who provided their insight and encouragement to me in my recent post "Dr. Z, Top Hat or Tone King." I found the fact that Top Hat users were very passionate about their amps to be a huge selling point, and the fact that the raves were coming from accomplished players and long-time poster was an added bonus.

    On my recent vacation to Nashville I was able to try out several amps, including the Maz, which I was considering along with the Top Hat, as well as several Bad Cats.

    Well to make a long story short, I made some contacts, and through these contacts I was made aware that I could get some smoking deals on Bad Cat amps. In the store I had played a Cub II which I absolutely loved. In talking to my contact as well as a fellow tone-junky I decided that the Bad Cat Black Cat was the way to go. One of the most decisive features to me is the half-power switch. The switch will be especially useful seeing as to the fact that I was appraoched by a girl in my church to sit in as a session guitarist for her on her upcoming recording project. Not only does it have a great tone, but the features seemed to just fit my needs to a tee.

    I do wish that I had been able to play a Top Hat before I had played a Bad Cat. If I were to play one now I don't think that it would make a difference because I have already made up my mind and my opinion is no longer impartial.

    Just wanted to say thanks to all those who provided their insight, experiences and suggestions. If you have any suggestions, comments or insights for me now I would love to hear them.

    Thanks again guys,
    B
     
  2. Brion

    Brion Supporting Member

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    I had a Black Cat 2x12 with reverb. Skip the reverb it's very subtle. The amp sounded great. The half power switch does cut the volume, a little not much. The amp sounded better cranked up in full power mode. It was heavier than my old twin with JBL's. I'd make sure you play one a whole bunch before buying and try to carry the darn thing around the store. If you still end up with one, Congatulations.
     
  3. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    B Vance, have you played the Black Cat? I'm guessing it will be quite a bit different than the Cub. Even in 1/2 power mode, the Black Cat still has those big trannies which will add volume, bandwidth, and headroom compared to the Cub.

    I had a Black Cat Reverb for a couple of months.......it's a fine amp. It's gone now, my preference is for the TopHat vibe. Of course, your mileage may vary.

    Best of luck in your Tone Quest!!!! :dude
     
  4. TimH

    TimH Member

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    I always thought the CubII had huge trannies for a 15 watter. I don't think you can go wrong with a Bad Cat....proud CUBIIR owner here....tone to the bone for sure.
     
  5. clarkram

    clarkram Member

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    congrats on the Blackcat. I've had the head and 2x12 cab for 2 years and still consider it a keeper. Only caution is keep it well ventilated......if you run at moderate to high volume levels for any lenght of time you will generate enough heat to keep your room warm in the winter.

    clark
     
  6. B Vance

    B Vance Member

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    Luckily I did get to play one and I absolutely loved it. I saw some people here mention about the weight. I have heard that they weight between 75 and 90 lbs. That's fricken heavy! I was going to build a platform with casters for it to sit on. That way I won't have to fix the casters to the amp itself. I thought about the head/cab option, but I just like the idea of the 2x12 combo much more.

    Thanks for the good wishes.

    B

    PS. to those out there with Black Cat history please fill me in as to your experiences.
     
  7. Boogie92801

    Boogie92801 Member

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    Great amp and good choice.

    Interesting, I think when you start talking about the " boutique-type" of an amps the final detail or opinions start to be very personal. All of these are very "touch sensitive" amps. Each one is capable of great tone. But the difference between them comes down the player’s unique touch and preference. I have heard Top Hats and Bad Cats that sound great, in other people’s hands. In mine they aren't as smooth or refined. There is one thing to be said for the mass produced Fenders and Marshals. They are easier to sound good at the hands of the average bear. The high-end amps that you are speaking about can reveal a lot of your fingers and the Guitar you are playing. I think that a lot less amps deserve the reserved status that they receive in chat forums. Once you start playing one of these or a Z or a Matchless you are in the presence of very capable gear. No better, no worse it’s all-good.

    I really wanted to like the Z products I had read about. Then I played them; I think I suffered from too much expectation. I found that for me a Matchless was my favorite. Just funny how we love to justify our opinions… see, I did it too.
     
  8. B Vance

    B Vance Member

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    I really wanted to like the Z products I had read about. Then I played them; I think I suffered from too much expectation. I found that for me a Matchless was my favorite. Just funny how we love to justify our opinions… see, I did it too. [/B][/QUOTE] \

    I wanted to and I did like the Z's but... The Maz Jr I tried had the shimmer I love, but I thought that my Deluxe had a better shimmer. I then tried the master volume to get it to warm up and give me a bit of drive, but I liked the tones I got with my HAO Rumble MOD through my Deluxe better. I loved the Maz, but I loved the tones I already had in my Deluxe more. The difference with the Bad Cat was that there was an extra dimension to the sound that wasn't there with my Deluxe. A fat bottom end with shimmering highs to boot!
     
  9. Boogie92801

    Boogie92801 Member

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    I agree, I thought that the gain on the Maz was very, well, "less" than I had expected. It was like going from silver face clean to black face clean... but come on, it is still clean. Actually the Top hat and the bad cats have a much better gain and everdrive sound IMHO.
     
  10. Brion

    Brion Supporting Member

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    It's funny how different amps do different things for different players. I kept a Maz Jr and let the BC30R go because I liked the Maz Jr more and it was way more portable. Part of it was the Black Cat was too loud for my needs. It is a great amp. Heck I wish I could have kept every amp I've ever owned.
     
  11. sicktone

    sicktone Member

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    ...and our tastes keep changing:D The Black Cat is a killer amp. I was super close to buying one then happened upon a Trem Cat. I somehow walked out of the shop without hitting the bank, got home and found a killer deal from another TGP member on a Trem Cat. So many tone choices that I've barely scratched the surface. Not better than any other Bad Cat (I've had a Cub and Hot Cat--both great) just diffferent.

    I also happened to pick up a Carmen Ghia from another TGP-er, right before I did the Trem Cat deal. It got here after I pcked up the Trem Cat. I was afraid it would pale in comparison...NOPE--it kills! Way different.

    I'm just glad there's so many great choices. I've had a number of great amps over the last few years. I ended up with a Diezel Herbert that really did it for me--then my tastes just kind of changed. Right now, it's the EL84 amps that are doing it for me.

    Enjoy your Black Cat, B!

    Now...how am I gonna get to play a UG30
    ;)
     
  12. tvegas99

    tvegas99 Supporting Member

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    I have to chime in with my Bad Cat experiences also:

    Bad Cat Cub 2, my favorite amp but alas, not near enough clean headroom to compete in a 10 peice band. Had it 6 mos.

    Hot Cat, a great amp but the cleans don't give you the killer el84 clean goods and the gain channel is just too modern for my taste. Had it a little over 1 yr and I highly recommend it.

    Black Cat R, the greatest flexibility!! Cleans are very satisfying! When you are feeling aggresive just hang out on the ef86 channel all night and let your pedals do the work, in a larger venue run at full power and no need for pedals for gain sounds, when in a smaller venue, half-mode and use your pedals. This amp is IMHO the best amp for the working player who needs a lot of flexibility and is looking for a killer amp not in the fender camp, obviously. There is not a room I can't make this amp sound great in!! This amp and Bad Cat's in general seem to have an awesome low mid thing happening that I really enjoy, a tight bottom end and mid flavor that is very present. Fat girth!! My quest for killer flexible tone ended with this amp and I guess I am lucky it travels with the sound company on my backline, so I never have to move it.:D
     
  13. B Vance

    B Vance Member

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    That's one of the selling points that I just got stuck on with the Black Cat, the flexibility. I play in just so many different venues. My main gig is playing on Sundays at church. The auditorium is a generous 2,000 or so capacity so I have a bit of liberty to let it warm up and play. At the same time I do retreats/summer camps that employ a much smaller, sometime circa 100 seats, space. Finally, I will be spending a significant amount of time recording, not to mention being able to play at home at don't-piss-off-the-wife volumes. I love the fact that it has the half power switch, usable or defeatable master and independent volumes for the two separate channels. I loved the full tone that I was able to get out of the one in the store too.

    Looking for tube suggestions though. I understand that it can operate with either 1 5AR4 rectifier tube or 2 5V4 rect. tubes. What is the difference in tone/sound/power etc. Also looking for preamp tube suggestions as well. Do you like the EF86 in channel 2 or would you rather incorporate the universal adapter to swap in a normal 12AX7?

    Thanks guys.
     
  14. Brion

    Brion Supporting Member

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    The ef86 is wonderful. I don't know anything about a universal adapter, must be a new feature. I always ran mine with the 2 5v4's. You are making a good choice going with the 2x12 despite the weight. IMO it is the best sounding version.
     
  15. haslar

    haslar Member

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    The sheer weight of the Bad Cat combo made it a no-no for me, I just can't imagine myself lugging that beast around.
    However... it sounds great ! However it *definitely* is a case of try-before-you-buy, as it's got its own character that won't please everyone.
     
  16. A friend of mine picked up a Matchless Chieftan head in Tennessee while recording. Shortly there after we stubled upon Mark Sampson's newer line, Bad Cat. He bought the Hot Cat 30 which in turn drove me to recently order a Hot Cat 30R 2x12. The versitilaty of this amp is incredible. Although it is very sensitive, as previously mentioned, it can pull sounds out of my guitar I've never heard before.
    You can flow from clean -> slightly pushed -> hard driven with just your volume on your guitar. I know, you can do that on every amp, but w/ the HC you don't lose much, if any, amp volume. It's like nothing I've ever played through. Very smooth transistions. I love mine and worth all the money it takes to buy one.
     
  17. B Vance

    B Vance Member

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    Thanks for the Bad Cat affirmation. Now if only my wife understood what a great deal it was too. I let her pick the color though. I think that was a smart move. She went with the Burgundy and Creme which was fine with me.

    Thank again guys.
     
  18. Jimmydeez

    Jimmydeez Supporting Member

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    That's not exactly ture. Mine weighes in at 95 lbs. I love the amp but it is a killer to take to gigs. I am taking a Dr. Z 6545 to shows now.
     
  19. Ogre

    Ogre Member

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    A little off-topic, but I was playing a Fender Custom Shop Tele through a Trem Cat recently, and could not believe the fat warm tone coming from 1-12" speaker. A very cool amp.
     
  20. Brion

    Brion Supporting Member

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    Burgundy and creme is a real nice look. Mine was exorcist puke green.
     

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