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Thread: Any thoughts on Roland Cubes?

  1. #1

    Any thoughts on Roland Cubes?

    None of my functional amps give me a sound that I am completely happy with when used with my archtop.

    Strangely and unexpectedly, the one that works best is an old Peavey Pacer 100 dragged out from under a desk where it has been long neglected. This very simple, basic SS amp has quite a lovely, nasty, harsh, in-your-face, el-cheapo garage rock sound, which is why I have kept it, and it is quite loud for its smallish physical size and it is built like a tank. Playing around with the tone, volume and master volume controls, I can get an almost nice jazzy sound out of it, but when I dig into the guitar with a heavier attack, the amp drops its sort of nice mannered facade and betrays its true gutter/back alley street-fighter punk nature.

    So I am looking for something smallish, affordable and reliable. I have read a lot of nice press about the Cube 60, which a lot of people claim to use as a small gig jazz amp. But I do not know anyone who owns or who has owned one. My vintage amp restorer/collector friend, always an excellent source of info on all things behind or below the control panels of any name-brand gear, is not responding to email at present. So ......

    Does anyone here any experience with the Cubes, 15, 30, 60 or the newer X series that they would be willing to share?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Default's Avatar
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    I've heard good things about the Blues Cube, but not played one. My kid has a Microcube, but it doesn't float my boat. I have too many tube amps anyway!
    "Steve, you are a man of many goats."~ capnjuan
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    "Alternatively, you could just go the ultra-relic route with it. Basically go for a look that says the amp was on fire and they put it out using belt sanders. "

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Default View Post
    I've heard good things about the Blues Cube, but not played one. My kid has a Microcube, but it doesn't float my boat. I have too many tube amps anyway!
    Thx.

    I have also looked (online) at Peavey Classic 30s and 20s, which seem to have their fans. The 20s have no reverb, though, and they are both a bit more money than the cubes. I have also considered Fender's Blues offerings - but again more money.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Walter Broes's Avatar
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    I hate Roland Cubes with something approaching a passion. In my experience, they're sterile sounding, cold, weird feeling guitar amps.

    -1960 CE100D
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Walter Broes View Post
    I hate Roland Cubes with something approaching a passion. In my experience, they're sterile sounding, cold, weird feeling guitar amps.
    Thx. I definitely won't mail order one then. If one comes up used locally, I may still go look, but it will have to be in my neighborhood now.

    Are you talking about the first series or the X series or both?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Walter Broes's Avatar
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    I had to go check. The X series, apparently. I teach at a place evere week that has Cubes, and I've come to dislike them after all that time.

    That said, when confronted how stupid cheap those things are, I will admit that the amount of features you get for the low, low price are surprising, but then you could say that about almost every practice amp these days. When I was in the practice amp stage, they were cheap plywood boxes with gain, mid, bass, treble, and volume knobs, and you were very lucky there was a cheesy little spring reverb on board. Now all those little amps are a computer with a powered speaker.

    -1960 CE100D
    -1961 Starfire III Special
    -1962 X175
    -1963X175
    -2011 F47R
    -2015 Newark Street X175 BLK

  7. #7
    What is your budget? You can find some Vox 15/7 watt Night Trains for not too much. They have a beautiful clean, with the option to go dirty at the flip of a switch.
    Chris
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Walter Broes View Post
    I had to go check. The X series, apparently. I teach at a place evere week that has Cubes, and I've come to dislike them after all that time.

    That said, when confronted how stupid cheap those things are, I will admit that the amount of features you get for the low, low price are surprising, but then you could say that about almost every practice amp these days. When I was in the practice amp stage, they were cheap plywood boxes with gain, mid, bass, treble, and volume knobs, and you were very lucky there was a cheesy little spring reverb on board. Now all those little amps are a computer with a powered speaker.
    Thanks.

    I have grown increasingly averse to features and effects. I'm not saying that I am simple; I'm just not complicated. I have dumped Berhinger stuff that I had - way too much stuff, too complicated an interface, etc. I still have a Vox VT-30 which I have grown to detest and never use - it followed me home one day. I should sell it, I suppose. But I hate dealing with the Trolls on CL.

    The only thing I really like in this field is a JamVox that I got for $40 new in an online Boxing Day special sale by one of the big Canadian music chain stores. I like the GUI on the computer because you can drag and drop change amp models, pedal models, change how they are connected and get a sonic emulation thereof. Its best use is in convincing me that I don't need this or that type of effect pedal or this or that type of amp whenever I am tempted to go back down than route. LOL. But it is, in my case having got it at such a cheap price, good bit of fun sometimes, too. I suppose one could use it with a laptop on stage feeding the line out into an amp or PA, but I wouldn't want to rely on it and I don't think the sound is always that good.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by AcornHouse View Post
    What is your budget? You can find some Vox 15/7 watt Night Trains for not too much. They have a beautiful clean, with the option to go dirty at the flip of a switch.
    Thanks. Used with a cab, they would be in the same ballpark as the Peavey Classsics and Fender Blues-ish things, I think from a quick peak at CL here. A bit more than the now not so desirable Roland Cubes. I had never really considered them as the Youtube reviews of them were often less than favorable.

    I have a little Night Train like tube head. Something Canadian from the 40s/50s from a company that made tape recorders, but it has gone south now. Probably needs new caps and tubes. It has no reverb, which I do like in moderation, though, nor any easy provision for patching a tank in. I should see what can be done with it, I suppose, but it, having being designed for mic input, has a bit more of an overdriven sound with a guitar than I am looking for at the moment.

    I suppose I should/could actually go to the shop up the road where I have seen Night Trains on display and plug into one.
    Last edited by houseisland; 10-23-2014 at 08:01 PM.

  10. #10
    I have also watched various Henriksen and Jazzkat amps on CL here, but the prices used, while not impossible, are hard to justify for what I would use them for.

    I have not played a gig in probably 35 years and would have to do a whole lot of intense practice to get rid of sloppy bad habits and meter problems that creep in when you do not have the imposed discipline of playing with others or getting paid to play to force you to work and work hard.

    There is a nice Henriksen 110 ER on offer on CL here with an asking price of $750. There was something similar to a Tomkat, but an older model, maybe a little fancier, a few months ago with an asking price of around $800 if I remember.

    By comparision, on CL at the moment, there is a very clean Roland Cube 30 with an asking price of $120 and a Roland Cube 40 Chorus, not that I want the chorus, with an asking price of $175.

    Anything that I formerly owned that had any real value, Fenders, Peaveys, Marshalls, etc, was sold long ago in the marriage, house with mortgage, two kids to feed phase. I miss my late sixtes Fender Twin in particular, though. Mostly what I have now, apart from broken stuff, is junk that wasn't valuable enough to sell or that I acquired in horse trading. What's the difference between a large pizza and a musician? ......

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