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BAD CAT LYNX 50 AMPLIFIER

BAD CAT LYNX 50 AMPLIFIER
September 11, 2008 | Reviewer: Marcel Yammouni
Distributor: EGM DISTRIBUTION (03) 9888 6687 or info@egm.net.au

lynx50The team at Bad Cat have been producing quality tube amplifiers out of their facility in Corona, California since 2000. They are primarily known for their class A designs in various models. From Brooks and Dunn to Greenday, the Badcat Company is now globally recognised as a leader in both amp design and manufacturing.

About six or so years ago I visited Eastgate Music in the Melbourne suburb of Balwyn to check out these amps called Badcat, which at the time were relatively new to the market. I took a few of my guitars along, not knowing what to expect. It was to be my first experience with a real boutique, class A, hand built, hand wired amplifier. Mind you, I had played and owned some great amps at this point in my life, but these Badcat amps took things to an entirely new level. I remember the guitar sound being one of the best I’d heard.

Since those days I’ve been fortunate enough to have a play through some amazing amps. When Australian Musician invited me to check out some new Badcat releases, I was intrigued to see what had developed since my first Badcat experience. Consequently, in this issue I’m testing The Lynx 50 amplifier.

With the Lynx 50 model, Bad Cat has taken their line up in an entirely new direction. Unlike anything previously available from them, The Lynx is capable of delivering convincing sounds right across the tonal spectrum. I’d suggest this is Badcat’s answer for those in need of some extra gain in their sound (e.g Mesa), but I also discovered The Lynx is a lot more than just a high gain amp.

Let’s explore channel one’s sound first. The Lynx proved that articulate ‘cleans’ are easily obtainable. I began tweaking with the use of the Lynx’s 5-way Rotary Tone switch and single volume. I found this simplistic design fool-proof in pulling a great clean tone. When playing a Strat© I could easily dial in the right amount of thump that single coil pickups usually need. Switching over to a darker sounding, higher output guitar like a Les Paul simply meant twisting the rotary tone in the opposite direction. It really was that simple. I increased the input gain of channel one and started getting that sweet bluesy break up. With inclusion of my favourite tubescreamer I’d be happy to use this channel alone in battle conditions. However, channel two is really when this amp gets interesting.

Channel 2 provided some radical tone shaping via treble, bass, midrange, and again a separate 5-way rotary mid sweep, edge, and a master volume. With all of these tools at my fingertips, this channel has the power to take you on a tour through the history of guitar tones. I thought I’d try some more modern tones first by picking the Les Paul back up, tuning the low E string down a tone and chunk out a few Nu metal riffs. This is where the Lynx was at home with its pumping tight bottom and face slapping highs, not to mention volume surprisingly deceptive for a 50 watt amp. I would never usually play this loud but it’s nice to know you can have it if you want it. I was able to radically reduce the gain on channel two to a world where I was I bit more familiar. I found the Lynx equally convincing in sweet blues/rock tone. Now here is the interesting part. With the use of the 5 way rotary I was able to change the characteristic of the amp yet again.  I’ve yet to come across any other amp which does this so convincingly. Damn it, I want one!

Despite being well aware of the high quality of the Bad Cat amps, I have to say that I wasn’t expecting the Lynx to knock my socks off to such an extent.  A quality product like this comes at a price. You have to experience The Lynx 50 to get an understanding of what a killer, versatile tone is all about.