ONE OF A SERIES OF AMPLIFIERS FROM MAHALO, the Katy66 name is a play on the KT66 tubes that are
deployed in the output stage of its hand-wired circuit. The
pots, switches, jacks, and large electrolytic caps are solidly
mounted to the aluminum chassis, which also features a
front panel overlay of white plastic that plays well with
the cabinet’s two-tone covering scheme and white piping.
The rear panel speaker jacks and impedance switch are
hand labeled with a felt pen, which seems a little funky
given the amp’s otherwise classy appearance, and a few
other niggles include the raspy metal screen on the back
cover, the use of drywall screws to hold said cover in place,
and the fact that the chassis doesn’t have captured nuts,
which means you have to use a socket or press the blade
of a screwdriver against them when loosening or tightening
The circuit board is populated with high quality components,
and the amp features a lot of U.S.-sourced elements,
including the transformers (Illinois), chassis (North
Carolina), faceplates and logos (Indiana), and cabinets
(Georgia and Florida). The Katy66 we tested was in standard
trim, though it can be ordered with an effects loop
and/or a slave out for $150 extra (each).
The single-channel amp is easy to navigate, and Mahalo
uses its own tone stack design in the preamp to deliver a
range of sounds that make best use of the Katy66’s gain
structure and dynamic response. The Bass control is very
effective—I found that settings of around 2 yielded plenty
of heft with humbuckers—and the Presence circuit coaxes
enough brilliance from the power stage that I only needed
to barely turn the knob up to put some zing on a PRS SC58.
With the Volume above 2 the distortion is already coming
on, but keeping the guitar turned down allows for plenty of
clarity as long as the Master is up enough to let the bold-sounding
(and extremely rugged) JJ KT66 tubes flex their
muscles. The cleaner tones are bright and balanced with
midrange punch aplenty, and going from pristine to gritty
rhythm tones is just a matter of adjusting your guitar’s volume and/or picking strength.
The Katy66 definitely exhibits some raw British
attitude, but has its own sonic thing going
too, and could be a nice contrast in a band with
another guitarist who uses a Marshall or other
Brit-style amp. A ballsy sounding tube head in
the medium power range, the Katy66 is a cool
choice for classic and heavier rock. The abundant
gain and big low-end is great for single-coil
guitars, yet the amp also has plenty of slice to
let humbuckers stand tall in the mix. All said it’s
a worthy U.S.-made tube head that comes in at
a reasonable price for a boutique product.
PRICE $2,499 retail/street price N/A
CONTROLS Volume, Bass, Mids, Treble,
POWER 50 watts
TUBES Three 12AX7 preamp tubes,
two JJ KT66 output tubes
running in class AB
SPEAKERS Tested with PRS Stealth
2x12 and Bad Cat 4x12
EXTRAS Dual speaker jacks with
4/8/16Ω impedance selector
WEIGHT 24.9 lbs
KUDOS Good tonal range. Hand-wired
for a tube amp of its power.
CONCERNS Some minor issues that have
nothing to do with tone.
Welcome to Bass Player's December 2016 Links Page
Bass Player Live! 2016 Photo Recap
Somewhere Over the Rainbow with Bob Curiano (Nouveau) (WEB EXCLUSIVE)
Pro Sound Effects Releases Tokyo Ambisonics Library
Kaltman Creations Introduces Tablet RF Analyzer
Depeche Mode Announce 2017 Global Spirit Tour
Mark Gray Synth Solo
Output Announces New Exhale Expansion - Indie Vocals
Native Instruments Introduces Symphony Essentials
How Charlie Christian Defined the Electric Guitar and the Guitar Hero Myth
Is Taylor Swift the New Eddie Van Halen?
Paul Gilbert: â€œWhy My String Gauges Are Changing All the Timeâ€
Megadeth's Dave Mustaine Announces Special 'Thrashing Through the Snow' Holiday Acoustic Performance
Photo of the Day: Couple Takes Epic Engagement Photo with Black Metal Band
Whores Premiere First Ever Music Video for New Song, â€œI See You are Also Wearing a Black T-Shirt"
Former Yes Man Trevor Rabin Talks Favorite Guitars, Film Scores and "Owner of a Lonely Heart"
Country-Influenced Application of Hybrid Picking for Blues and Rock
Guitarist Shreds Country-Fried Version of John Coltrane's "Giant Steps"
Copyright ©2016 by NewBay Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 28 East 28th Street, 12th floor, New York, NY 10016 T (212) 378-0400 F (212) 378-0470