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BAD CAT amps - good for studio use?
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MicSlut666
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#1
23rd October 2011
Old 23rd October 2011
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BAD CAT amps - good for studio use?

Anybody here using BAD CAT amps? How versatile are they? Do they record well. Looking for feedback because they are vey rare over here in Europe.
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23rd October 2011
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Bad Cat amps are pretty common here in Nashville, especially on stage, but I personally haven't recorded any. I've played a lot at a dealer and really like the Bad Cat Black Cat 30 2 x 12" combo, if I played in a band that would be the amp for me.
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23rd October 2011
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i will 2nd that... Bad Cat have an incredible line of amplifiers... just find the one that's right for you!
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24th October 2011
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Pretty good. Not as nice as matchless dc30. I owned the badcat cub 2. Sounded cool at first but i grew tired of the sound after a year and sold it. Very specific tone. Really bright yet spongy in the bottom. Cool for that 90s sheryl crow tone (favorite mistake etc). I use vintage fender these days. Guitar tone is all about technique imo.
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24th October 2011
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Those amps are oriented toward a pretty specific kind of tone, right? The chimey sort of indie rock tone descended from the Vox AC30 and associated with EL84 power tubes? They're nice amps, I'm sure, but probably not the most versatile.
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24th October 2011
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Badcat amps are built by the guys who originally owned Matchless. They share a lot of similarities: many cathode biased, EL84 designs for example. They tend to be quite loud for their power ratings but sound really good and generally take pedals well. If your studio allows you to crank an amp a bit, I think you'd be very happy with them! That said, Matchless, Vox, Brit, JMI, Dr. Z and others all build cool EL84 based amps, so you're not stuck if you can't find a Bad Cat to try out.
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24th October 2011
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Great input so far .

I am interested in the more affordable Bad Cat BC 50 with Class A/B EL 34 tubes for example. Can the BC 50 head compete to some extent with their highter priced stuff like Hot Cat and Lynx? Any similiarities in tone?

I heard the BC50 should be in the vein of a Plexi. Would be nice to know if it smokes the usual suspects Marshall JTM 45 RI, Marshall 1959 RI, Orange AD30.....
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24th October 2011
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yes it smokes anything made by marshall anytime in the last 30+ years
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24th October 2011
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any well-made amplifier is a joy for me to record
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24th October 2011
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Bad Cat and matchless are greattt
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13th November 2011
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Bad Cat amps technical specs

Quote:
Originally Posted by MicSlut666 View Post
Anybody here using BAD CAT amps? How versatile are they? Do they record well. Looking for feedback because they are vey rare over here in Europe.
What I find so irritating is the lack of readily available REAL specs on these amps. Personal opinions on qualities such as tone and clean channel quietness are nothing I'd base forking out tons of cash on ANY amp so until I can get some real tech info I wouldn't even consider these amps - especially at those freakin' expensive prices. I have a NOS Peavey Ranger 212 that you can Google not only the owner's manual, but schematics (and tons of reviews and opinions that are easily equal to those about Bad Cat amps), but the manual not only tells you about the amp and how to operate it, it has FULL TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS like THD, S/N ratios, system / power amp hum and noise, input levels, and much more all at disclosed frequencies and re-creatable test settings. Any amp company asking the money these amps go for should be prepared to back up the hype with real repeatable / re-creatable bench testing specs that can be confirmed by others in my opinion. I'd never buy ANY amp on hype and opinions of others, all of which are subjective.

Maybe Heath Berkowitz from Bad Cat would like to elucidate on whether I'm incorrect that specs are not readily available to the general public or whether there are simply no tech specs available to compare with other amps. I've tried ther website and lots of searches / different search parameters on Google and haven't found a single tech spec yet.

To repeat, personal opinions on qualities such as tone and clean channel quietness are nothing I'd base forking out tons of cash on for ANY amp.
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13th November 2011
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I love them for a blues tone
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13th November 2011
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The BC 50 is not on the same level as the true hand wired versions.

The Black Cat is built the way an AC30 should be built after 45 years
of development.

My Hot Cat 100R Custom Shop delivers everything I would expect from
a fine custom hand wired 4 EL34 Marshall, blended with the jangle and chime of a Vox AC100.

Due to the massive high quality transformers all Bad Cats are HEAVY!
My Hot Cat 100R head weighs 69 pounds on it's own and 97
pounds in the flight case.

This may be a benefit for a studio looking to buy clean used,
because many combos end up being sold, not because of tone
or reliability, but due to weight issues.

The only place Bad Cat skimps a bit is on stock speakers
and Ruby Tubes.

The speakers are V-30's with custom doping, so you can certainly
upgrade to far better drivers.

It is also important to replace preamp tubes with the best
glass you can afford. In EU, NOS Mullards or similar quality.

Your choice of amp totally depends on the kinds of tones
you have in mind.
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13th November 2011
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I had a Bad Cat here at the studio for about a year, and I recorded it a good number of times. Sounded really good on rock, blues, country. Killer amp, everybody loved it. Then again, some of the guys playing it could make a Sears amp sing. I know, I have one of those, I've seen it done!! Disclaimer: I'm not a guitar player
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13th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluzmeister View Post
What I find so irritating is the lack of readily available REAL specs on these amps. Personal opinions on qualities such as tone and clean channel quietness are nothing I'd base forking out tons of cash on ANY amp so until I can get some real tech info I wouldn't even consider these amps - especially at those freakin' expensive prices. I have a NOS Peavey Ranger 212 that you can Google not only the owner's manual, but schematics (and tons of reviews and opinions that are easily equal to those about Bad Cat amps), but the manual not only tells you about the amp and how to operate it, it has FULL TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS like THD, S/N ratios, system / power amp hum and noise, input levels, and much more all at disclosed frequencies and re-creatable test settings. Any amp company asking the money these amps go for should be prepared to back up the hype with real repeatable / re-creatable bench testing specs that can be confirmed by others in my opinion. I'd never buy ANY amp on hype and opinions of others, all of which are subjective.

Maybe Heath Berkowitz from Bad Cat would like to elucidate on whether I'm incorrect that specs are not readily available to the general public or whether there are simply no tech specs available to compare with other amps. I've tried ther website and lots of searches / different search parameters on Google and haven't found a single tech spec yet.

To repeat, personal opinions on qualities such as tone and clean channel quietness are nothing I'd base forking out tons of cash on for ANY amp.
Umm...it's a guitar amp. Guitarists don't give two shits about any of that stuff. All we care about is how the amp sounds.
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13th November 2011
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I'm selling a BadCat Hotcat 30 in great condition if anyone is interested? We have two at our studio and really only need one.. PM me if your interested.
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13th November 2011
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It may be difficult for our Peavy Ranger to comprehend, but
Custom Builders like Bad Cat are forced to limit available specs
and circuit designs on the open market.

This is an unfortunate policy driven by wide spread circuit design piracy.
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13th November 2011
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I have recorded 2 Bad Cat amps, a Hot Cat 30R, and a 15 watt. Both were outstanding-sounding amps. Kind of like an AC30 on the top end, but with this throaty low-mid growl that is really characterful, and gives a much fuller sound. Hard to make them sound bad!

Lovely for all kinds of music, except anything really heavy.
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13th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluzmeister View Post
What I find so irritating is the lack of readily available REAL specs on these amps. Personal opinions on qualities such as tone and clean channel quietness are nothing I'd base forking out tons of cash on ANY amp so until I can get some real tech info I wouldn't even consider these amps...
To repeat, personal opinions on qualities such as tone and clean channel quietness are nothing I'd base forking out tons of cash on for ANY amp.
I would not fork over tons of cash for any amp based on the internet opinions of others either...

However, I might fork over tons of cased based on MY personal opinion of the tone and so on. Regardless of "specs".

If technical specs provided reliable predictive information about what something was going to sound like and play like, we could all buy our amps over the internet without trying them first.
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13th November 2011
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You also need to keep in mind that small custom builders simply can not
afford to outfit entire bands with free or low cost promotional gear the way
the Big Logos do.

The retailers also have a problem floor planning high end amps
and many get damaged as floor models.

All the small builders can do is offer a hassle free,
limited return policy if the buyer is not delighted.

For better or for worse, it's up to guys like me to at least attempt to get some
demo clips out there to help others weed through the gauntlet of available choices.

We can only get a rough idea of how an amp might sound based on the tubes chosen
for the main power section, but from there the variables in the way the pre amp
section is designed make it nearly impossible to guess how the tone stack
affects overall tone.
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13th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
I would not fork over tons of cash for any amp based on the internet opinions of others either...

However, I might fork over tons of cased based on MY personal opinion of the tone and so on. Regardless of "specs".

If technical specs provided reliable predictive information about what something was going to sound like and play like, we could all buy our amps over the internet without trying them first.

i do agree however that the reliable predictive information the specs would provide is the fact that you could get the amp worked on relatively quickly and easily by a local tech if needs be. That should have some amount of weight on the decision.

that said, i don't have any reason not to believe that they would and do take care of their of their customers. for any small boutique company to last more than a few years they must be doing something right.
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13th November 2011
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I have a Bad Cat Cub II 30 R/T combo. It's one of their Custom Shop amps. So it's a 30 watt Cub with reverb and tremolo. El84. It's one of their most expensive models and it sounds just awesome. I use it in my studio and it's a very fat sounding amp as others have said. Weighty sound, lots of low mid oomph. Guess it's that super heavy tranny. Man, the amp is heavy though. Used it on a few gigs and it's kind of brutal to lug around. It's no Deluxe Reverb to carry, that's for sure.
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13th November 2011
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I've had Bad Cats here, Matchless, etc. All nice.

But nothing replaces the player and his relationship to the amp. In other words if I as a player bonded with Bad Cat....or what ever, its the amp for me.

As a studio, any of these high quality boutique amps will find a place, as will any of the vintage amps they are all based on.

Some days it might be the perfect choice, always an ok choice, but not automatically magic.

If the price is good you can't go too far wrong.
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13th November 2011
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It's true. A great player will play thru a deluxe, ac30, Marshall, whatever and find a touch or part that matches the amps strong point. It's knowing when to use what in a session that is tricky. That said I love the bad cat and think it's usable enough in many situations to justify the price.
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16th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimS View Post
Umm...it's a guitar amp. Guitarists don't give two shits about any of that stuff. All we care about is how the amp sounds.
Umm.... I'm a guitarist (and an electronic / computer technician), and unless you can speak for every guitarist on the planet (obviously you can't) guitarists - except maybe for you, DO care about that stuff.

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16th November 2011
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I'm a player and I really only care about what sound comes out of that amp and how i respond as a player. I've won zero awards for playing guitar.
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16th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Winey View Post
I'm a player and I really only care about what sound comes out of that amp and how i respond as a player. I've won zero awards for playing guitar.
that will change as soon as you start paying attention to specs!
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