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1. Bad Cat Cougar Series
Bad Cat announced a partnership with Hanser Music Group at Summer NAMM. The Kentucky-based distributor of brands such as Kustom and B.C. Rich is offering three new PCB-construction amps designed by Bad Cat’s James Heidrich but offered at more affordable prices than US-made Bad Cats. The Cougar 50 head features two footswitchable channels and tube-driven reverb, and is powered by JJ EL34s. A 2x12 combo is also available, in addition to the 5-watt Cougar 5, which features an EL84 power tube, three knobs (Volume, Master, and Tone), and a Celestion Vintage 30.
2. Wavelength AudioTone Bank AG
Wavelength’s chief scientist Gordon Rankin says the secret to the Tone Bank AG—which uses 100 percent silver wiring (including in the transformers), an EL84 power tube, and an RCA 5693 preamp tube—is that the reactor follower driver directly couples the driver stage to the output tube and takes the amp from class A to class A2, thus increasing output by 40 percent.
3. Little Walter SB5 Head
Little Walter’s new SB5 features one 6V6 power tube for 5 watts, a 6SJ7 preamp tube, and a 5Y3 rectifier for unadulterated tube goodness.
4. ValveTrain Bennington Reverb
The point-to-point-wired Bennington Reverb is a 20-watt, fixed-biased combo that uses two 6V6s and an Eminence Wizard 12" speaker to crank out deliciously snappy, blackface-style tones. Controls include Volume, Bass, Treble, and Reverb knobs, as well as a Bright switch.
5. Moss Amps Kraken
The 6L6-powered Kraken head is switchable between 50 and 100 watts, and features footswitchable clean and lead channels that are handwired using eyelet boards. Each channel has Volume, Treble, Mid, Bass, and Master Volume knobs, while a Master Presence brightens both channels and a push-pull bright function on the clean channel makes things even spankier.