Tell me about the TopHat Club Royale

Tele81

Member
Messages
577
I have the opportunity to trade into a Top Hat Club Royale 2x12 combo. I currently have a BadCat BlackCat 30r that is my main amp; is the TopHat different enough to warrant owning both? What types of tones do these amps excell at? Any and all input would be great. Thanks!
 

sonicmessiah

Member
Messages
325
Never played a BC but the CR is 1/2 the power of the BC so i guess you could count on some earlier breakup w/the CR. The CR is a single-channel amp & whereas the BC appears to be a two channel amp, but that said, the CR is very versatile, like most el84-based amps it tends towards bright & chimey, but it can do smooth & mellow as well. i think you'd find the CR to be a simpler, more sensitive circuit.
 

oldhousescott

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,248
I've got a 2000 model CR2. Great amp. Sounds best with the master wide open. Adjust the gain for the sweet spot, roll back the guitar volume to clean up. As stated, chimy, punchy, touch sensitive.
 

Rod

Vibrato & String Bender on Overdrive
Gold Supporting Member
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24,941
I've owned a few Club Royales and also a Black Cat 30.... IMHO they are very different sounding amps.. The CR sounds very Marshally in the mids with a tighter bottom end and more breakup earlier which the Black Cat can't acheive due to its more Vox like voicing and being 30 watts ...Different animals, but both great amps.
 

kingdavidy2k

Member
Messages
2,301
I've got a Club Royale latest version. I'd say if you like your dirt from your amp, this is probably one of the best amp for you. But if your looking for a clean pedal platform amp, it might not be the best option for you.
I'm more of the later, waiting for my Jackson Amoworks Newcastle 30 to arrive. Then will only keep either the Too Hat or Jackson.
 

Teleplayer

Moder8er
Staff member
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20,524
I just received a new 2x12 CR that I bought directly from TopHat. It is the seventh Club Royale I have owned since 1998. I've used them for gigging, recording, jamming, playing around the house, etc. I even wrote a lengthy review of the CR for Doug Roccaforte's former online amp magazine.

I'd gladly answer any questions you may have about the amp if you want to PM me.

Here are a couple pics of the 2x12 I just received, it's a gorgeous amp in person:





Here is one of my former CRs (loaded with a Celestion Heritage G12H and a Blue):



This one's even older:



You should note that each "era" of Club Royale sounds a bit different, with the current build being - by far - the "girthiest/brawniest" ever, due to the larger OT. Brian is currently using Heyboer transformers, wound to his specs.

I loaded my current CR with all NOS preamp and rectifier tubes, and it runs dead quiet. At idle, you don't even know the amp is turned on.

Great amps, by the way.
 

DanR

Member
Messages
3,815
In '04 I bought a slightly used Club Royale. Since then, I have quit trying new amps as they come out, which I had always done before. I don't care anymore because I am totally satisfied with my Club Royale. Mine has a ss rectifier with a 'soft' switch to induce sag and gives a bit less headroom when activated. TopHat later increased the depth of their cabs, added a tube rectifier among other things. But I am just so darned happy with what I've got that I have not considered upgrading to the latest specs.
 

Teleplayer

Moder8er
Staff member
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20,524
Dan, my first CR was tube rectified (in 1998). My second one was ss rectified. Interestingly enough, the ss rectified CR was on stage with me longer than any of the tube rectified CRs I owned. Great amps.
 

ahab

Member
Messages
1,826
I've owned a few Club Royales and also a Black Cat 30.... IMHO they are very different sounding amps.. The CR sounds very Marshally in the mids with a tighter bottom end and more breakup earlier which the Black Cat can't acheive due to its more Vox like voicing and being 30 watts ...Different animals, but both great amps.

I would add that the Black Cat, if I'm remembering correctly, uses an EF86 preamp tube, whereas the Club Royal is all 12AX7s. By the way, some of us here have written extensively about our love of the Club Royale, so you might to look to some of our previous posts on this amp. There is a lot of detailed information about the Club Royale in earlier posts that might help you to further inform your decision.
 

ahab

Member
Messages
1,826
I should have mentioned in my previous post. I bought my 2001 SS rec. Club Royale new in 2005 (I traded a Superlead, in part, for it) and it has been my only amp since. I have gigged it all over Chicago, rehearsed it twice a week for many years, and recorded it with two vastly different bands. It's the finest, most usable amp I have ever owned.
 

Khromo

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,514
Here's my CR. I bought it with a mismatched 2x12, and used it that way for years. I got lazy and subbed in a TH V30 after I blocked the second hole in the baffle. Now it travels with a Nano pedalboard back there.

XHBMWIU.jpg


This is a fantastic amp, loud enough for anything I do. It has a hundred sweet tones in there!
 

JimmyBrungus

Member
Messages
227
They are my vote for the best value in the world of boutique combos. They have some of the cleanest wiring I've seen, and can cop your favorite vox and Marshall tones without much effort. Their circuits can be very similar to a dr z maz amp, depending on the era, so if you've played a maz, you'll have an idea of the tonal ballpark, though the tophats tend to be a little dirtier, as Brian doesn't like to compensate that initial coupling resistor for more headroom/less gain. Aside from hardcore metal, there's not a genre I wouldn't feel at home with using a club royale. This is my supreme 16, which is essentially a club royale head with an ef86 channel.

gfPOU77.jpeg
 

kingdavidy2k

Member
Messages
2,301
It’s seems like we’re up to V5 now with “Extra Clean” switch. This might intrigue me to buy one again. -According to Brian’s latest YouTube demo on the CR.
Has anyone tried the V5?
Also just notice it comes stock with G12H cream back now instead of the Anniv.? According the website.
 

brandon cur

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
449
I just got a 2x12 from 2001. It sounds excellent. Can’t find much info on the speakers. Mine has two switches on the back near the fuse - one labeled soft. Not sure what that’s about.

The preamp switch settings are all pretty usable. I liked them all with humbuckers and p90s. Just dime the master and adjust volume to taste. Really tasty Brit sounds - I emailed Brian g for info on the switches.

I’m kind of blown away by it.

Edit - the second switch by the back is a polarity switch and the speakers are g12h types. Brian G is a true gentleman.
 
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ericb

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
11,260
I just got a 2x12 from 2001. It sounds excellent. Can’t find much info on the speakers. Mine has two switches on the back near the fuse - one labeled soft. Not sure what that’s about.

The preamp switch settings are all pretty usable. I liked them all with humbuckers and p90s. Just dime the master and adjust volume to taste. Really tasty Brit sounds - I emailed Brian g for info on the switches.

I’m kind of blown away by it.

I had mine so long ago I can barely remember details but I do remember the 2 speakers were a Greenback and a Weber C12B(made for Tophat) . . Meanwhile, does yours have a rectifier tube? IF so the 'soft' was using the tube rectifier, and the hard was using the SS rectifier. (maybe I'm wrong as my memory isn't what it used to be) I also kinda remember mine was a late 90's version :)

Eric
 
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NB_Terry

Member
Messages
3,813
The CR is a great little amp.

I liked with MV and gain at halfway and it worked great with clean boost pedals.

I sold my Rivera 30-12 to get my Tophat, and then I sold that.

I wish that I had back both of those amps.
 

brandon cur

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
449
I had mine so long ago I can barely remember details but I do remember the 2 speakers were a Greenback and a Weber C12B(made for Tophat) . . Meanwhile, does yours have a rectifier tube? IF so the 'soft' was using the tube rectifier, and the hard was using the SS rectifier. (maybe I'm wrong as my memory isn't what it used to be) I also kinda remember mine was a late 90's version :)

Eric

Nah, no rectifier tube here. I assume it’s some kind of voicing switch. No clue about the other one nearby.

I don’t like h magnet speakers but these are pretty good. I do think this amps Marshall/vox lineage crave a blue/greenback mix. I’ll be putting some scumbacks in.
 

brandon cur

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
449
Nah, no rectifier tube here. I assume it’s some kind of voicing switch. No clue about the other one nearby.

I don’t like h magnet speakers but these are pretty good. I do think this amps Marshall/vox lineage crave a blue/greenback mix. I’ll be putting some scumbacks in.
It’s a rectifier voicing switch. The other unlabeled one was for polarity.
 




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