Bad Cat Cub iii 15

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smudge_ladsmudge_lad Frets: 148
hey Guys,

So following on from my recent post about Vox amps, @Wazmeister kindly put me onto the scent of a Bad Cat Cub iii that’s for sale on here. I didn’t really consider it at first, but now I am really tempted by it.

My only concern is that with it being only a 15 watt amp, will there be enough headroom in it for playing live. I would mostly be running the amp on edge of breakup/crunchy but still need that wee bit extra volume for some solo’s etc.

What’s are people’s thoughts on using them in gig situations?

Am I right in thinking @StuartMac290 uses one? I also seen some posts from @miserneil but that might be a 30 watt beastie?

I’d love to hear all/any feedback anyone has with this so I can hopefully make a decision 

Cheers in advance

Keir

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  • miserneilmiserneil Frets: 5268
    @smudge_lad I do have the 30w Blackcat but have had a 15w version too, BadCat are notoriously conservative with their volume ratings, 15w will be fine for live, its just a little more 'spongy' that the 30w. But they excel at the edge of breakup/crunch thing IMO :)
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  • olafgartenolafgarten Frets: 1408
    I'm not sure what venues you are going to be playing, but if the audience is big enough, you are going to want to mic the amp anyway, in that case, you are basically using the amp as a monitor. Vox type amps also tend to be quite loud relative to their power ratings so I think it should be ok.
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  • DominicDominic Frets: 4094
    They are a bloody loud amp like the Matchless that they are based on
    You will probably find that you never get it past 6 
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9737
    It's an amazing amp. It's probably the loudest 15W I've ever had, and a nice big cab so it sounds "big", for want of a better word. That's assuming you don't want clean-clean like a Twin or something, not least because it's at its best at that chime point between clean & definitely-not-clean.

    That said, I'd want to mic it up to better control on-stage and FOH volumes far before it go to the point it wasn't loud enough for FOH
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  • WazmeisterWazmeister Frets: 4105
    Bad Cat/ Matchless have that unique, wonderful ‘best of Fender/best of Vox’ kinda sound, imho
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  • pmgpmg Frets: 219
    I haven’t played a cub but only have good things to say about the black cats and classic deluxe models
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  • smudge_ladsmudge_lad Frets: 148
    I’ll be playing venue’s ranging from small pubs (50 people?) to mini festivals of up to 500 folk. 9 time’s out of 10 i’ll be mic’d up, but occasionally I’ll either have no monitor so will need to turn the amp up, or I won’t be mic’d up at all.

    I guess I could always stick an EQ pedal in the FX loop I suppose, to boost the mid’s and maybe a wee bit of volume for any solo’s?

    I used my 15 watt Laney at practise last night to try and get an idea of volume with a drummer etc, but it’s only got a wee 10” speaker so it didn’t really blow me away. It still had some volume available, but I’m guessing the bigger cab/speaker in the Cub would handle things a lot better. The amp in general is probably miles better too I’d imagine
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  • BluesyDaveBluesyDave Frets: 303
    I had a Classic Cat for a while.  Great tones at home and studio but if you're playing with a drummer......hmmmmm.  No.  Not if you want any clean headroom at all.
    No Darling....I've had that ages.
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  • pmgpmg Frets: 219
    Classic cat is based on a tweed deluxe isn’t it?  So clean headroom -or lack of wouldn’t be a surprise 
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  • BluesyDaveBluesyDave Frets: 303
    I think so.  It was 2  6V6 for sure.
    No Darling....I've had that ages.
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  • BroccoBrocco Frets: 28
    I have a 15w Matchless and can confirm it is loud, however I don't gig. Calling @slacker for his perspective.
    Circumstances do not make the man, they reveal him ~ James Allen
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  • richardhomerrichardhomer Frets: 19260
    I used to own a Cub IIR about 15 years ago.

    For ‘edge of break-up’ it was very loud - and sounded epic. For ‘true’ cleans - it had very little headroom - certainly nowhere near loud enough for live use.

    Still an amp I wish I’d kept....  
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  • algroves1algroves1 Frets: 14
    I had a 15 watt Black Cat combo that I traded for a 30 watt Cub III head (purely because I wanted a head rather than a combo).  I've only ever used them in my studio, but I'd agree with the above that they are loud for the wattage, but more importantly have tonnes of depth, sound huge and really fill a room.

    I would say that neither amp really has much clean headroom, once you get the speaker moving they are chiming and starting to break up.
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  • StuartMac290StuartMac290 Frets: 655
    edited June 16
    Sorry, Keir, I'm late to respond here!

    I do indeed have an early Black Cat 30 (not 15) and it's probably my favourite amp. It IS loud though, to the extent I only use it in the studio - being an early model, the master volume isn't very good at all.

    I did have a Cub III 30 combo too, which was much more useable live because of the K Master. Actually, my favourite of the more recent Bad Cats I've tried was the Black Cat 30 just before they started fitting the K Master, if you can find one of them.

    Slightly controversial opinion here perhaps, but I personally strongly prefer the 30 watt models. Even in half power mode they sound bigger and more 3D to me.

    For edge of breakup tones I think they're unbeatable, and actually with my old one the cleans are unbeatable too. I've never quite been able to get a newer one to sound like that, particularly the EF86 channel.
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  • svejksvejk Frets: 142
    Just to give you a below the radar option have you come across bluebird amps? E.g. https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https://www.ebay.co.uk/ulk/itm/142503118654. 

    I have no link except that I own one! An 18w handwired bestie with an ef86 channel and el84s. Sounds like it might be ballpark the same kind of thing. Easily giggable (I barely have to turn it up even for garage rock gigs) but not massive super clean headroom of course. I think the build quality is great though I can't compare with bad cat. If you're near york you're welcome to give it a try.
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  • miserneilmiserneil Frets: 5268

    Slightly controversial opinion here perhaps, but I personally strongly prefer the 30 watt models. Even in half power mode they sound bigger and more 3D to me.

    For edge of breakup tones I think they're unbeatable, and actually with my old one the cleans are unbeatable too. I've never quite been able to get a newer one to sound like that, particularly the EF86 channel.
    Totally agree with this @StuartMac290 ;
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  • pmgpmg Frets: 219
    My black cat 30 is a 2013 I think.  Don’t think that it’s k master (unless it’s an earlier incarnation before it was branded as such) bu5 the master volume is decent on it.  I had a 15r which I’d use wide open but I missed the oomph of the 30 and sold it  :/ 

    my classic deluxe runs wide open (no master volume fitted). I also tend to run a matchless lightning wide open when using one
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  • slackerslacker Frets: 981
    edited June 16
    Brocco said:
    I have a 15w Matchless and can confirm it is loud, however I don't gig. Calling @slacker for his perspective.
    The matchless or bad cat 1x12 combo is a great choice and portable for most bands, but is going to run out of clean headroom in a  very loud band. I have a matchless 15w head. I run it with a 1x12 marshall with an ev or a 2x12 tone tubby alnico theile open back hybrid. The tubby don't beam.

    I don't know if you can add another cab to the combo.


    Slightly controversial opinion here perhaps, but I personally strongly prefer the 30 watt models. Even in half power mode they sound bigger 
    I also have an early bc30 2x12 that stays in 15w mode most of the time. Again and imho its the two speakers that provide the bigger sound. It's too much amp for me really but I don't need to sell. I wish it was lighter.
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  • miserneilmiserneil Frets: 5268
    slacker said:

    I wish it was lighter.
    ...said every 2x12 Bad Cat combo owner ever! ;)

    There's definitely a noticeable difference in feel between the 15w/30w mode. It's all personal presence but i leave mine in 30w most of the time. Mine's a 2002 and full of Matchless branded parts, I wouldn't say the Master was bad though to be honest but I haven't tried a K Master model to be able to compare.
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  • slackerslacker Frets: 981
    edited June 16
    @miserneil ; Do you have the master circuit in or out?
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  • StuartMac290StuartMac290 Frets: 655
    pmg said:
    My black cat 30 is a 2013 I think.  Don’t think that it’s k master (unless it’s an earlier incarnation before it was branded as such) bu5 the master volume is decent on it.  I had a 15r which I’d use wide open but I missed the oomph of the 30 and sold it  :/ 
    Apart from the very earliest ones (which are essentially a Matchless HC30) those are my favourite versions of the BC30. If you're ever selling...
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  • pmgpmg Frets: 219
    @StuartMac290  not planning to sell but you never know so I’ll bear that I’m mind.  The lightning on the other hand...
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  • StuartMac290StuartMac290 Frets: 655
    slacker said:
    Brocco said:
    I have a 15w Matchless and can confirm it is loud, however I don't gig. Calling @slacker for his perspective.
    The matchless or bad cat 1x12 combo is a great choice and portable for most bands, but is going to run out of clean headroom in a  very loud band. I have a matchless 15w head. I run it with a 1x12 marshall with an ev or a 2x12 tone tubby alnico theile open back hybrid. The tubby don't beam.

    I don't know if you can add another cab to the combo.


    Slightly controversial opinion here perhaps, but I personally strongly prefer the 30 watt models. Even in half power mode they sound bigger 
    I also have an early bc30 2x12 that stays in 15w mode most of the time. Again and imho its the two speakers that provide the bigger sound. It's too much amp for me really but I don't need to sell. I wish it was lighter.
    Ah, I have to disagree a bit here - mine have been heads, and through the same cab the 30 watt models sound notably bigger and bolder, even in half power mode
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  • miserneilmiserneil Frets: 5268
    slacker said:
    @miserneil ; Do you have the master circuit in or out?
    It depends on the gig really but generally the master is engaged.
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  • slackerslacker Frets: 981
    It's a good master but if you knock it in accidently it can be exciting.
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  • smudge_ladsmudge_lad Frets: 148
    Thanks for all the info guys. Still seems to be a bit of a grey area around gigging volumes though?

    Last night we threw together a gig in a wee pub and we weren’t mic’d up. I had my 100 watt Marshall running with MV at around 10 o’clock and that was just audible for me. Solo boosts were no hassle though.

    How does the Cub take pedals? I’d need to run a Thorpy Veteran into it at the very least
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9737
    i'm not a fuzz guy but I've used a bunch of different drives with no issues :)
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  • DodgeDodge Frets: 337
    Thanks for all the info guys. Still seems to be a bit of a grey area around gigging volumes though?

    Last night we threw together a gig in a wee pub and we weren’t mic’d up. I had my 100 watt Marshall running with MV at around 10 o’clock and that was just audible for me. Solo boosts were no hassle though.

    How does the Cub take pedals? I’d need to run a Thorpy Veteran into it at the very least
    I don't know what a Thorpy Veteran is, but the Cub is basically a 15 watt Vox Top Boost-a-like - and they're a little picky about what drive pedals they play nicely with.  I had a Matchless Lightning 15 which liked the following (and this applies to any Top Boost style amp from Vox, Matchless, Bad Cat, Morgan, Top Hat etc. etc.):

    Clean to mild clipping:  Klon (or clone of).
    Moderate to overdrive:  Hot Cake or Sweet Honey OD
    Overdrive to high gain:  Rat (and go for the 'You Dirty Rat' with the germanium dioides - it's just better in every way)
    High gain to Soldano melt your face off:  Buy a new amp.
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  • pmgpmg Frets: 219
    Dodge said:
    Thanks for all the info guys. Still seems to be a bit of a grey area around gigging volumes though?

    Last night we threw together a gig in a wee pub and we weren’t mic’d up. I had my 100 watt Marshall running with MV at around 10 o’clock and that was just audible for me. Solo boosts were no hassle though.

    How does the Cub take pedals? I’d need to run a Thorpy Veteran into it at the very least
    I don't know what a Thorpy Veteran is, but the Cub is basically a 15 watt Vox Top Boost-a-like - and they're a little picky about what drive pedals they play nicely with.  I had a Matchless Lightning 15 which liked the following (and this applies to any Top Boost style amp from Vox, Matchless, Bad Cat, Morgan, Top Hat etc. etc.):

    Clean to mild clipping:  Klon (or clone of).
    Moderate to overdrive:  Hot Cake or Sweet Honey OD
    Overdrive to high gain:  Rat (and go for the 'You Dirty Rat' with the germanium dioides - it's just better in every way)
    High gain to Soldano melt your face off:  Buy a new amp.
    My Lightning sounds great with a LP straight in, no pedals
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  • Winny_PoohWinny_Pooh Frets: 3067
    Dodge said:
    Thanks for all the info guys. Still seems to be a bit of a grey area around gigging volumes though?

    Last night we threw together a gig in a wee pub and we weren’t mic’d up. I had my 100 watt Marshall running with MV at around 10 o’clock and that was just audible for me. Solo boosts were no hassle though.

    How does the Cub take pedals? I’d need to run a Thorpy Veteran into it at the very least
    I don't know what a Thorpy Veteran is, but the Cub is basically a 15 watt Vox Top Boost-a-like - and they're a little picky about what drive pedals they play nicely with.  I had a Matchless Lightning 15 which liked the following (and this applies to any Top Boost style amp from Vox, Matchless, Bad Cat, Morgan, Top Hat etc. etc.):

    Clean to mild clipping:  Klon (or clone of).
    Moderate to overdrive:  Hot Cake or Sweet Honey OD
    Overdrive to high gain:  Rat (and go for the 'You Dirty Rat' with the germanium dioides - it's just better in every way)
    High gain to Soldano melt your face off:  Buy a new amp.
    I dont think rats or klons are great. Plus not all Vox style amps are like a top boost, just look at the diffs between the Lightning, Spitfire and Nighthawk in 15 watts. Totally different vibe to a vintage Ef86 AC15 or AC30 which have smaller OTs and less filtering in the power stage. 
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