WHEN I WAS A CUB
To backtrack, this is an EL84-based 15 watt Class A combo with a single channel – although the foot switchable valve feature essentially gives you two channels. Controls include volume, a five-position tone rotary, a Tone switch which toggles between the tone rotary and an active bass and treble EQ circuit, a bass/treble boost switch, reverb, presence and ‘K Master.’ What’s K Master, you ask? It’s all got to do with Bad Cat’s new method for separating the preamp and power amp gain. Now you no longer need to drive the preamp into saturation as an unwanted side-effect of cranking up the power amp. Basically the way it works is you turn the preamp to the amount of breakup you want, and then use K Master to dial in your desired level. Other features include an effects loop and a footswitch for the boost circuit, plus a Bad Cat proprietary Celestion 12” speaker.
OBEY YOUR MASTER
One of the greatest things about the K Master control is that it lets you get killer tones at home-friendly volumes, which is very helpful when you’re reviewing an amp and you want to not piss off the neighbours any more than usual, hehe. But it also means that if you want to really blast the volume, you can maintain a clear, punchy clean tone. Sorry neighbours, had to test it. Mwah ha ha haaaa. The tones here range from compressed and sweet to brash and angry; all five positions of the tone switch are useful and musical, and you’ll definitely find something in there that’s voiced for whatever recording or live situation you find yourself in. But when you flip over to the treble and bass controls you can get some really unique hairy tones too. Either way, it’s great to be able to find the perfect balance of preamp and power amp gain. And the two preamp valve modes open things up considerably, with one being more gritty and angry, the other sweeter. It really is like switching between different channels while still retaining a consistent feel.
This is a great amp for clean players because it really lets you blast the volume without the tone becoming gritty. So it’s ideal for indie, blues and country players who don’t necessarily want dirt. But it’s also perfect for players who like to get their distortion from pedals. And the gritty tones are great too, almost punky one minute, sweet and singing the next. A truly great amp.