Great NAD! (Matchless content).

Randy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,932
Matchless Excalibur 35





I saw this on the Make'n Music website and had to try it - boy am I glad I did! There's almost no info at all on these amps and the few clips that are out there are really not very good.

Still, it had all the specs I wanted in a Matchless - Class A, EL34's, MV, mid and cut controls, and plenty of gain.

This amp kills - imagine a Chieftain on steroids, except that you don't have to crank this amp to get the goods. Tons of gain but still cleans up incredibly well. It's got a MV that can be switched out of the circuit, which is how I've been running it - it's really not needed. Just the gain and volume controls allow you to get great tone at any volume.

I don't know why Matchless doesn't seem to be pushing this amp at all. It debuted at NAMM 2011 and that's all I can find out about it. The one I bought from Make'n is S/N 0001. :banana
 

sparkman

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
654
I own the Excalibur 35 as well and absolutely agree with your comments. It's a great amp!!
 

Randy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,932
Looks awesome. I would like to know more about it.
It's a high gain Matchless - built for rock, but it cleans up so well you can easily do great clean to edge of break up tones also. Huge and incredibly clear sounding with great complex grind. Like the biggest Hiwatt meets Marshall you can imagine. Takes pedals great too, although they're really not needed with this amp.

I started getting into Matchless and Bad Cat amps with a Hot Cat 30R. Great amp, but I had trouble dialing in the highs and mids to where I wanted them, which is present and full bodied without being harsh. There was just not enough control of the mids for me to do that. Still, the rest of the qualities of that amp I loved - it was thick, open and complex and best of all, never felt like it was compressing and hitting a ceiling. It just kept opening up the harder you hit it. That's the quality I love most about Matchless and Bad Cat designs.

Enter the Bad Cat Lynx, which is still my desert island amp. The added mid controls on the Lynx make it easy to get Marshall like mids, with the chimey Matchless high end and tight lows, plus a great clean channel, and all the other tonal qualities that made the Hot Cat so great. Imagine Mark Sampson modding a Marshall - that what Lynx sounds like to me, with an added incredible clean channel.

I also love the Chieftain - single channel (which is really all I need), but the mid control is key for me. I run the amp with mids, volume and MV dimed into an attenuator. Great thick, clear and open grinding tone, but it's running flat out to get there. There are a little less of the Marshall like mids availble then the Lynx offers, but it still has plenty for any application. Also loves boost pedals, FWIW.

The Excalibur is a lot like the Chieftain tonally, but with much more gain available. You can pull off VH even up to chug metal with this amp if you wanted. As with all the Matchless and Badcat designs, the tone controls are so powerful you can radically alter the voice and feel of the amp easily.

I'm really glad I grabbed this amp!
 
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dangeroso

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,564
I would love to hear some clips of this!

I have an Avalon, that started out as a 30 (EL84), but I sent it back to Phil Jameson a year or so ago to convert it to an Avalon 35 (EL34). When I was talking to him about it, he told me that they were developing a newer version of the Avalon that would be a higher gain version of it. It looks like this is it.

Does it have the Y-cable effects loop like the Avalon?
 

unfunnyclown

Member
Messages
569
I heard this at NAMM last year, as well as the EL-84 version.

IMO it's the best-sounding amp I've heard in my life. Congrats!
 

melvins

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
726
sounds like a killer amp. Anyone know why it's not on the Matchless site?
 

Halsey

Member
Messages
445
sounds like a killer amp. Anyone know why it's not on the Matchless site?
There haven't been any website updates since they redesigned it a couple years ago. They've introduced a few new products since. I'd like to know more about the Hot Box 3 too.
 

wordsonyou

Member
Messages
1,121
these new matchless products have some pcb and other shortcuts in them a buddy told me - is that true?
 

dangeroso

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,564
these new matchless products have some pcb and other shortcuts in them a buddy told me - is that true?
The newer ones use circuit trace, point to point and turret board. I wouldn't refer to it as a shortcut. The stuff Matchless is putting out is very well made.
 

David Carlyon

Member
Messages
32
I would love to know how this amp compares to the independence, in terms of voicing, overdrive characteristics, compression/ sag and harmonic content. Seems very cool (they all do really)

Anyone had a chance to compare?
 

Jim S

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
15,130
I would love to know how this amp compares to the independence, in terms of voicing, overdrive characteristics, compression/ sag and harmonic content. Seems very cool (they all do really)

Anyone had a chance to compare?
OK so this was five years ago. I’m still curious to.
 

Randy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,932
OK so this was five years ago. I’m still curious to.
Wow... I can't believe this thread came back to life...! I still own the Excalibur and have played the Independence a few times. I had also called Matchless with a few questions about the Excalibur when I first got it and Phil confirmed for me what my ears heard - that the Excalibur is basically the Independence's high gain channel with an added mid control.

I still love this amp but have not been playing much, if any, at all lately so will likely be putting the amp up for sale along with a few other items soon...
 

Jim S

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
15,130
Wow... I can't believe this thread came back to life...! I still own the Excalibur and have played the Independence a few times. I had also called Matchless with a few questions about the Excalibur when I first got it and Phil confirmed for me what my ears heard - that the Excalibur is ...
I have an Independence arriving tomorrow; acquired a Bad Cat Lynx about two weeks ago which is an incredible hot-rod Marshalle-eque beast.
 

Randy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,932
I have an Independence arriving tomorrow; acquired a Bad Cat Lynx about two weeks ago which is an incredible hot-rod Marshalle-eque beast.
The Lynx is just amazing... Probably my all time favorite amp. It is so incredibly versatile and does it all so well. I've sold SLO's and Cameron's because the Lynx did what they did as well or better, plus so much more... It's tricky to dial in because you have so much range of control, but once you get it figured out, it's almost limitless.
 

Jim S

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
15,130
The Lynx is just amazing... Probably my all time favorite amp. It is so incredibly versatile and does it all so well. I've sold SLO's and Cameron's because the Lynx did what they did as well or better, plus so much more... It's tricky to dial in because you have so much range of control, but once you get it figured out, it's almost limitless.
I had a Cameron Atomica and Friedman BE years ago . The Lynx hangs with those amps but I think has a great tonal palette because of the MID BOOST selector switch (semi-parametric?) and EDGE control. I'm surprised the Bad Cat Lynx isn't repeatedly mentioned in the VH and Brown Sound etc threads. I think it's exceptional for that and more.

It's way differerent than my SLO (and Lucky 13). Apples and oranges.
 

MikeyG

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,129
Jim, I know your tastes from watching yours, and Randy’s posts over the years. You would like the Excalibur better than the Independence. The Independence has a lot of gain if you want, but it’s not Marshally. It’s been a while but I recall it having a big bottom end and being very ‘rounded’. It didn’t have anywhere near the cut of a Lynx. Randy and I agree on that amp 100%.
 




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