Bad Cat Cub 30RT

One of Bad Cat’s custom models, the Cub 30RT ($3,739 retail/$2,990 street) is basically a 30-watt version of the standard Cub II. Built using classic, high-end-audio techniques, this costly amp has no circuit boards. Instead, it features a point-to-point-wired circuit with most of the caps and carbon-comp resistors painstakingly hand wrapped to solder posts. Huge transformers, a thick steel chassis, and a 13-ply birch cabinet add up to an amp that not only sounds amazing, but could also withstand a nuclear attack—something you’ll be reminded of whenever you have to lug it for any distance. The soft vinyl covering is neatly applied, and every aspect of the Cub’s construction looks more than ready for life on the road.
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The 30RT is as straightforward as it gets. Plug into one of the two inputs (the lower one is slightly attenuated), crank the Volume knob, and prepare to bask in a wave of gloriously girthy chime. The amp pours on the rich, juicy distortion as you turn up the wick, and the presence is just unreal. With the Master bypassed, the volume is quite impressive. You won’t have any trouble being heard with this amp.

The Bass and Treble controls offer dramatic sweeps, although it’s virtually impossible to find a bad sound no matter where they’re set. Like most Bad Cats, the 30RT is a thick-sounding amp, and you’ll likely find yourself regularly using the Cut control (which adds or subtracts high-end sheen at the power stage) to dial in just the right amount of slice needed to make your parts punch through.

The 30RT’s tube-powered tremolo produces gobs of deep throb over a broad range of speeds, and the tube reverb—which gets nice and splashy when you turn it up—has excellent color and character. If you’ve got the coinage for this high-end amp, the 30RT will not disappoint. Sonically it sets a standard that few EL84 combos can match. In terms of build quality, it’s in a class all its own.

Kudos Lush, complex tones. Amazing dynamic response. Beautiful point-to-point circuitry.

Concerns Heavy.

Contact Bad Cat, (951) 808-8651; www.badcatamps.com

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