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Fractal Audio AMP models: Hot Kitty (Bad Cat Hot Cat 30)

yek

Moderator
Moderator
* EDIT: Up-to-date information is available in Yek's Guide to the Fractal Audio Amplifier Models *



HOT KITTY: based on Bad Cat Hot Cat 30

Note: the picture above is of the later Hot Cat 30r amp, not the original (and modeled) Hot Cat 30 amp.

Luckily we’re not limited to Marshall / Fender / Vox / Mesa etc. models. Bad Cat amplifiers became really famous when Mark Sampson of Matchless became their chief amp designer (he left later).

This is their Hot Cat 30 model. Mind you: not the current Hot Cat 30r, which has different controls.
It’s a 30 watts cathode bias head or combo with EL34 tubes, voted by Guitar Player as "the second best combo of all time”.

I owned a Hot Cat 30. I played one in a shop and was so impressed that I took it home with me. But from there were disappointments. The first one became apparent when I lifted it. It was the heaviest 1x12 combo I ever came across. The second one was that it got extremely hot. The third and most serious one: I never got it to sound as good as in that store again, for reasons unknown.​

It's a different kind of amp, unlike all other amps, IMHO. It can do clean-to-crunch stuff als well as high gain tones.

Bad Cat (current Hot Cat 30r model):

"We started with one of the nicest most touch responsive clean channel ever designed enabling the ability to tailor the amp to bright single coils or thick warm double coils. We've added a K Master volume that can be utilized to drive channel one into all shades from clean to soft pushed overdrive and beyond. The little secret that loyal users of the Hot Cat have known for years is that the clean channel crunches like the sounds found on vintage 70's vinyl. Channel two is a pure Class A EL34 high gain. The same sweet harmonically rich gain only now with an added mid-range knob to help you dial into a rich scooped thump. This amp covers everything from clean sparkle to harmonically rich saturation."​

Our Hot Kitty model is based on the amp's 2nd channel. The controls on that channel are: Gain, Edge (model: Bright), Level, Bass, Mid, Treble, Brilliance (model: Hi-Cut), and Master. Note that the tone controls on the amp are pretty radical and interactive. Turning them fully up or down can make mute the amp (not in the model).

Cliff:

"Brilliance is their name for Hi-Cut. I set the Edge control to where I thought it sounded best. It essentially does the same thing as the Bright knob though less precise."​

"The amp has a Hi Cut but it's labeled Brilliance. It's wired backwards so turning it CW gets brighter."​

Review in Vintage Guitar.

I know that some people love this amp and model. But sorry, not me, it's "not my thing". To my ears, it sounds hifi-ish, lacks low mids and reminds me of cardboard. Just like the real amp. ;-) So prove me wrong, please!​

Some players say that you have crank the Master (and HiCut) to make it work, and I do agree that maxing the Master helps a lot.

Here’s the original manual.

Bad Cat uses proprietary Celestion speakers. We have a Hot Kitty stock cab: #85.




 
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Ah yes the BadCat,these amps are truly something different.I owned a HotCat 15 and it was one of my favorites to gig with.It actually got the police called on me one night jammin outside at my friends house.The touch sensitivity is magic.The 15 uses EL84 tubes but still acts the same as the 30.I would tend to run it just to the point of breakup and then hit it with a pedal.Pure tone bliss and sustain for ever.The weight was a killer though,but not as bad as my Kingsley ToneBaron.
 

MSS

Experienced
I owned one of these. Great clean channel but was never impressed with the rest of it.
 

pdup

Experienced
The only amp I'm missing is my old Matchless Phoenix with a Telefunken E806F.
No Stand-By between sets. You could boil an egg on top of it, but it never failed.
Still havent been able to Axe it.
 

kartman

Inspired
My all-time favorite clean channel though. I wish Cliff would model the clean.
We have lots of clean options but more choice is never a bad thing. I'd love to hear this model as "all-time favourite" is a pretty good sales pitch! :) Now, all we need is for FAS to find some spare time! :)
 

VeryBadMan

Experienced
Boxy yes to a high degree. Cardboard is an apt descriptor of its tonal quality. I tried like hell to dial out that cat kneading on a box sound but wouldn't work lol. I realize that is its inherent charm I suppose, if that's your thing. I too would like to hear this clean channel as well.
 

greiswig

Power User
I had an early combo. Totally agree about the weight, but part of the magic was the massive transformers used. Also agree about the cleans: pretty unique tone, and a great one. Try using a Vox-ish amp and sub in the Hot Cat tone stack?

The amp I had was less gainy than the model in the AFX, and the overdrive seemed to have more focus. The other thing I never bonded with was the Vintage 30 speaker "with Matchless treatment." I ended up with an early Weber Blue Dog in there that was really sweet, though.

First amp to make me want a Tele, because it could handle the bridge pickup without getting ugly. Before that I was a Mesa guy.
 

Brownmatthall

Power User
Love this model, crank the master and the mids and set gain to taste for me. Didn't know the bright switch corresponded to sonething on the amp though I'll have to give it a couple twists later!
 

simeon

Axe-Master
Here is a great example in a live setting of how Steven Wilsons amp sounds.
This is back in his Porcupine Tree days and just......kicks...so.....much....ass
i thought to myself "i'll just watch a few seconds of this to remind myself of his tone" and ended up watching the whole thing. it just sucks you in, doesn't it. absolutely love this band. the coda in this (6 mins onwards) is just sublime...gavin (mr displacement) harrison is such a monster.

the bad cat certainly works well for those massive chords...it's thick and abrasive and works well with low tunings, but it's just nasty for leads
 

Gregmang

Fractal Fanatic
Gavin Harrison really is an amazing drummer, isn't he ?

This whole Blu-Ray is in constant rotation here at my house :)
 

dsimms

Inspired
I loved pushing the clean channel as much as the overdrive, and used a stereo pan pedal to combine both channels. My main amp until I got my Axe. Little known fact... Mark reserved all the special ones for blue sparkle. ;)

 
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dsimms

Inspired
Gavin Harrison really is an amazing drummer, isn't he ?

This whole Blu-Ray is in constant rotation here at my house :)
No kidding. I ended up watching PT live YouTube videos for an hour after clicking that first link. Almost as bad as cranking up my Axe.
 

Gregmang

Fractal Fanatic
He is still using the Bad Cat with all of his solo stuff - which is equally as amazing (saw him in DC as well as Montreal last year). I've seen PT in Germany, NC, DC and Baltimore as well.
 

Lifestalker

Inspired
I see Steven Wilson being mentioned, but he uses the Lynx. I wish Cliff would model both channels. :) Was Steven using the Hot Cat at one point?
 
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