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Anybody used a Bad Cat Unleash with a Fender Princeton 65 Reissue?


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I love the Princeton tone, but I'm not sure it will be quite loud enough for some of my gigging needs (it's not always possible to mic up at some of the shows around here). I've read that with the Bad Cat I could boost the 15 watts of the Princeton up to 50 watts and get the extra volume I'm looking for. Has anybody tried that? Is there a noticeable difference?

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I had never heard of the Bad Cat Amps Unleash, so I went looking to see what I could find on it... 

 

 

Interesting looking product.

No, I've never used one. I'm curious as to whether they would increase the wattage going to the combo amp's internal speaker, or whether or not they'd present a speaker load to the amp so you could run it sans speaker, or while using only an external cabinet. The stock Fender speaker in most Princeton Reverbs isn't going to handle 100W on its own... if I'm understanding how this product works correctly, and if you planned on only using the Fender's internal speaker, you'd need to install something that was capable of handling a lot more wattage. 

 

 

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19 hours ago, Phil O'Keefe said:

I had never heard of the Bad Cat Amps Unleash, so I went looking to see what I could find on it... 

 

 

Interesting looking product.

No, I've never used one. I'm curious as to whether they would increase the wattage going to the combo amp's internal speaker, or whether or not they'd present a speaker load to the amp so you could run it sans speaker, or while using only an external cabinet. The stock Fender speaker in most Princeton Reverbs isn't going to handle 100W on its own... if I'm understanding how this product works correctly, and if you planned on only using the Fender's internal speaker, you'd need to install something that was capable of handling a lot more wattage. 

 

 

Yeah it definitely seems like a great product. Having something that's an attenuator AND can boost the volume of an amp seems amazing. Means you could get a lot more clean headroom from a lower-powered amp. Just find the sweet spot you like, then use the Bad Cat to increase the volume. 

The Princeton I'm looking at has a Cannabis Rex speaker which can handle 50 watts. From a bit of searching around I've seen a couple of other people have mentioned that they use a Bad Cat with one, but they just have to be careful. Sounds a little risky and perhaps a speaker replacement to 100 watts would just be the sensible move altogether. Bad Cat's aren't easy to track down though I've noticed. 

I'm also looking at the Tonemaster series and perhaps one of those on its own would just be the safest option...

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If the Bad Cat has a 100W RMS output, I'd recommend going with a speaker that can handle at least that much. Your Cannabis Rex isn't going to cut it if you push things, although ithe Bad Cat Unleash would be fine running with something like my 20W Princeton Reverb II, which has the factory stock-option 200W RMS EVM-12 speaker in it. I could run a Marshall Plexi through that one single speaker without risk of blowing it. 

As far as the Bad Cats, I saw at least a couple of them for sale when I went looking for information about them the other day. Either on Ebay or Reverb... I don't recall which... but they showed up in a Google search. I was surprised by the relatively low prices for them too - IIRC, they were in the ~$280-$400 price range used, which made me decide not to suggest an alternative (such as running a slaved power amp and extension cab along with your Princeton) since the alternatives would probably cost more. 

 

 

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9 hours ago, Phil O'Keefe said:

If the Bad Cat has a 100W RMS output, I'd recommend going with a speaker that can handle at least that much. Your Cannabis Rex isn't going to cut it if you push things, although ithe Bad Cat Unleash would be fine running with something like my 20W Princeton Reverb II, which has the factory stock-option 200W RMS EVM-12 speaker in it. I could run a Marshall Plexi through that one single speaker without risk of blowing it. 

As far as the Bad Cats, I saw at least a couple of them for sale when I went looking for information about them the other day. Either on Ebay or Reverb... I don't recall which... but they showed up in a Google search. I was surprised by the relatively low prices for them too - IIRC, they were in the ~$280-$400 price range used, which made me decide not to suggest an alternative (such as running a slaved power amp and extension cab along with your Princeton) since the alternatives would probably cost more. 

 

 

Yeah I had searched online but only found two; one on eBay that cost over $1,000, and one on reverb that cost $450, which still seems a little on the pricey end. 

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1 hour ago, Mooncat84 said:

Yeah I had searched online but only found two; one on eBay that cost over $1,000, and one on reverb that cost $450, which still seems a little on the pricey end. 

There are three on Reverb right now... one for $240 (+$30 for shipping), one for $285 (+$25 for shipping), and one for $347 (+$80.17 for shipping). The last of those three is from Mexico, the other two are in the USA. 

https://reverb.com/p/bad-cat-unleash-black-2010s

 

There are a couple of insanely-overpriced ones on Ebay (both shipping from Japan and priced at over a thousand bucks, plus shipping), but also one in the USA that is a more reasonable $250 + $21.15 shipping. 

https://www.ebay.com/c/1718801509

 

 

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Doesn't Fryette make a re-amp/attenuator? Probably expensive, but IIRC it was equipped with a tube pre and power pair...rather than class D like the Bad Cat.

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7 minutes ago, daddymack said:

Doesn't Fryette make a re-amp/attenuator? Probably expensive, but IIRC it was equipped with a tube pre and power pair...rather than class D like the Bad Cat.

 

Yes, they make the Power Station, which is a similar type of product - attenuator / reactive load / booster. The've made two versions now, with the latest being the PS-2. 

 

 

https://www.fryette.com/power-station-integrated-reactance-amplifier/

 

They retail for $699 new, and as you noted, the booster / amp is tube-based, as opposed to Class D. 

 


 

 

 

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Something else to consider. Figure $300 shipped for the Bad Cat Unleash + $250 shipped for a Blackbird 10. That's $550 to make your Princeton 65 louder. If you shop carefully you can find a used Blues Deluxe for another $100-150 or so, have a whole 'nother amp and 40 Watts for when you want to get seriously loud, and keep your Princeton stock. (And there I go having a good ol' time spending someone else's money, right? ;))

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On 3/4/2020 at 6:23 AM, Phil O'Keefe said:

 

Yes, they make the Power Station, which is a similar type of product - attenuator / reactive load / booster. The've made two versions now, with the latest being the PS-2. 

 

 

https://www.fryette.com/power-station-integrated-reactance-amplifier/

 

They retail for $699 new, and as you noted, the booster / amp is tube-based, as opposed to Class D. 

 


 

 

 

Cool video! Yeah the Fryette would actually be ideal in terms of its functionality, though fairly pricey and weighty. Definitely something to consider though. 

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, DeepEnd said:

Something else to consider. Figure $300 shipped for the Bad Cat Unleash + $250 shipped for a Blackbird 10. That's $550 to make your Princeton 65 louder. If you shop carefully you can find a used Blues Deluxe for another $100-150 or so, have a whole 'nother amp and 40 Watts for when you want to get seriously loud, and keep your Princeton stock. (And there I go having a good ol' time spending someone else's money, right? ;))

Haha I appreciate the opinion though! Thing is, I havent actually bought the Princeton yet, so I could technically just put the extra cash to a Deluxe Reverb, or even spend nothing extra and get one of the Tonemaster series. I'm just exploring Princeton options first though as it has the tone I like best :)

Edited by Mooncat84
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FWIW a Deluxe Reverb, while having a larger (12" vs 10") speaker, isn't dramatically louder than a Princeton is. Remember, "volume" is a matter of not just the amp's wattage, but also speaker efficiency... 

 

I do hear what you're saying about how good Princetons sound - I'm a big fan of them myself! :philthumb:

 

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20 hours ago, DeepEnd said:

Something else to consider. Figure $300 shipped for the Bad Cat Unleash + $250 shipped for a Blackbird 10. That's $550 to make your Princeton 65 louder. If you shop carefully you can find a used Blues Deluxe for another $100-150 or so, have a whole 'nother amp and 40 Watts for when you want to get seriously loud, and keep your Princeton stock. (And there I go having a good ol' time spending someone else's money, right? ;))

The economics is strong in this one.

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I get that you like the sound of the Princeton 65 but a (necessary) speaker swap will change the character of the amp anyway. Some folks buy guitars with the intention of modding them and for the most part I don't get that either. It just seems a bit counterproductive to buy something that won't meet your needs and then try to mod it instead of buying an amp that "works" out of the box.

I hate to keep harping on this but Guitar Center has used Blues Deluxes in "great" to "excellent" condition starting at $500: https://www.guitarcenter.com/search?typeAheadSuggestion=true&typeAheadRedirect=true&fromRecentHistory=false&Ntt=blues+deluxe#pageName=search&Ntt=blues deluxe&N=0+1076+1041+1042+1041+1042&Nao=0&recsPerPage=30&&Ns=pLH&postalCode=63101&radius=100&profileCountryCode=US&profileCurrencyCode=USD For that matter they're about $800 new. You could have a used one shipped to your nearest GC for a nominal fee and still try before you buy. Add a Weber Mass attenuator (they are not bedroom amps) for $250 or so and you're probably at the same figure you'd spend on a Princeton 65.

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23 hours ago, DeepEnd said:

I get that you like the sound of the Princeton 65 but a (necessary) speaker swap will change the character of the amp anyway. Some folks buy guitars with the intention of modding them and for the most part I don't get that either. It just seems a bit counterproductive to buy something that won't meet your needs and then try to mod it instead of buying an amp that "works" out of the box.

I hate to keep harping on this but Guitar Center has used Blues Deluxes in "great" to "excellent" condition starting at $500: https://www.guitarcenter.com/search?typeAheadSuggestion=true&typeAheadRedirect=true&fromRecentHistory=false&Ntt=blues+deluxe#pageName=search&Ntt=blues deluxe&N=0+1076+1041+1042+1041+1042&Nao=0&recsPerPage=30&&Ns=pLH&postalCode=63101&radius=100&profileCountryCode=US&profileCurrencyCode=USD For that matter they're about $800 new. You could have a used one shipped to your nearest GC for a nominal fee and still try before you buy. Add a Weber Mass attenuator (they are not bedroom amps) for $250 or so and you're probably at the same figure you'd spend on a Princeton 65.

I feel like a blues deluxe would break up a bit too early for me, I'd need more clean headroom,though using it with a Bad Cat would fix that of course. Though perhaps a Hot Rod would be a better choice if I was gonna go that way and then I wouldnt need the power boost. 

 

I've had some recommendations for  Lil Dawg Wonderdawg; essentially a 25watt Princeton. Would be taking me into a different price bracket though...

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If you're pushing a 40 Watt tube amp to the point that it's breaking up you're running it pretty loud. And the Bad Cat probably wouldn't fix that. You'd go from 40 Watts to 100, a difference of only 4 dB. And you'd still need to replace the stock Eminence speaker because it's only rated for 50 Watts. If you could find the sensitivity spec for the Blues Deluxe's stock Eminence speaker you might be able to achieve more output with a speaker swap for less money. An Eminence Swamp Thang with 102 dB sensitivity would probably do it without breaking the bank. Beyond that, I thought the goal was a Princeton 65 but louder. A Hot Rod Deluxe would sound even less like a Princeton 65 than a Blues Deluxe would.

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I have no experience with a bad cat but I do own a PRRI.  It's a great amp but when I pushed it anywhere past 4 on the volume it always farted out & was basically unusable anywhere north of that.  

I was gonna sell it but decided to give a speaker swap a try first.  After a lot of research I ultimately chose an Eminence 1058 & am so glad I did.  It still sounds like a Princeton but it is noticeably louder to my ears.  Plus the breakup is much more pleasing to my ears with no flub.  I played a few weeks ago with another guitarist who was using a twin, and while he wasn't dimed with it, I was able to comfortably keep up with him.

Also getting the amp off the floor or on a stand will help immensely too...

Legend_1058.pdf

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On 3/6/2020 at 12:55 PM, DeepEnd said:

I get that you like the sound of the Princeton 65

You've mentioned the Princeton 65 a couple of times... just to make sure we're all on the same page, I think the OP is referring to the Fender PRRI - the '65 Princeton Reverb reissue, not the Fender Princeton 65, which was a solid state amp that never deserved the legendary Princeton moniker IMHO. 

 

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12 hours ago, Phil O'Keefe said:

You've mentioned the Princeton 65 a couple of times... just to make sure we're all on the same page, I think the OP is referring to the Fender PRRI - the '65 Princeton Reverb reissue, not the Fender Princeton 65, which was a solid state amp that never deserved the legendary Princeton moniker IMHO. 

Yes, I'm aware that he's referring to the Princeton '65 Reissue. It's right there in the thread title and it's the amp I've been talking about all along. I was simply writing "Princeton 65" as shorthand. Sorry if there was any confusion.

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2 hours ago, DeepEnd said:

Yes, I'm aware that he's referring to the Princeton '65 Reissue. It's right there in the thread title and it's the amp I've been talking about all along. I was simply writing "Princeton 65" as shorthand. Sorry if there was any confusion.

Going forward you might want to refer to it as the '65 Princeton, or PRRI, or '65 Princeton reissue - just a suggestion; any of those would tend to limit any confusion between that amp and the solid state Princeton 65. :)

 

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Posted (edited)
On 3/9/2020 at 8:18 AM, thatsbunk said:

I have no experience with a bad cat but I do own a PRRI.  It's a great amp but when I pushed it anywhere past 4 on the volume it always farted out & was basically unusable anywhere north of that.  

I was gonna sell it but decided to give a speaker swap a try first.  After a lot of research I ultimately chose an Eminence 1058 & am so glad I did.  It still sounds like a Princeton but it is noticeably louder to my ears.  Plus the breakup is much more pleasing to my ears with no flub.  I played a few weeks ago with another guitarist who was using a twin, and while he wasn't dimed with it, I was able to comfortably keep up with him.

Also getting the amp off the floor or on a stand will help immensely too...

Legend_1058.pdf 1.21 MB · 0 downloads

Yeah the one i'm looking at instore has a 12" Cannabis Rex speaker and it seems to negate flub a lot better. Had another test drive of it there and they let me dime it. It's certainly loud enough for practice/gigging, though clean headroom might be an issue. For live though I can probably temper that with the guitar volume pot. At this point I feel like I'm definitely gonna buy it as I'd have tons of use for it either way. Maybe after living with it for a bit I can make a decision on the Bad Cat/different speaker. Some great advice and a lot to think about from this thread!

 

And thanks to others for the other amp recommendations, I did research all of them thoroughly. Thing is, I do a lot of recording at home, so a Bad Cat would have a lot of other uses for me besides just boosting the PRRI volume in a live setting, so I guess I'll just pick one of those up down the line when cashflow allows for it! Or if another alternative comes out in the meantime...

Edited by Mooncat84
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On 3/13/2020 at 11:44 AM, Mooncat84 said:

Yeah the one i'm looking at instore has a 12" Cannabis Rex speaker . . .

That makes a world of difference. The PRRI usually has a 10" Jensen. In fact, I referred to a 10" speaker at one point and you didn't correct me. But there was a "Limited Edition" run with a 12" speaker. There are a number of 12" guitar speakers that will handle the full 100 Watts of the Bad Cat without breaking the bank. Way less than the Jensen Blackbird 10 I mentioned earlier.

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