Other Amps

Roland Blues Cube Artist - MIGHTILY IMPRESSED!

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Golden rule: if it sounds good, it IS good... I don't care what they call it!

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OK guys... I just HAD to check back in...

This amp is fukkin AWESOME. No joke. I'm a tube amp guy (I have a Bad Cat 40R incoming), but this SS Roland box is the REAL DEAL. I've had 3 LOUD rehearsals with it now, and here's the punchline:

I forgot I wasn't playing a tube amp.

No joke. The tone, the feel, the touch sensitivity, the 2 channels, the fx loop, the (lack of) WEIGHT... it's PERFECT for my classic rock band. This is with the Ultimate Blues Tone Capsule, which I needed mostly for the cleaner clean channel because we do "Sultans of Swing". If it were "just a home amp", I might like it better stock (which is a Tweed Bassman). Both are awesome.

I'll always have tube amps, love 'em, but for tone, ease of carry, versatility, and sounds-good-in-any-room-at-any-volume, the BCA is a home run.

Now... I'll also be completely honest and say, it's not 100% "tube amp". But Roland is 90%-95% of the way there, which is far more than anyone else is imo, and also is more than enough for a loud rock band, I'm blown away. I also thoroughly enjoyed playing it at "home volumes", stock or with the UBTC. It doesn't sound or FEEL like a solid state amp.

I'm in a small state of shock, as I am one of those guys who has said for years "it'll never happen." Tubes: Roland is nipping at your heels... for those of you "traditionalists" who think "nothing will ever surpass tubes" (with the required religious-like zeal)... if you listen with your ears and not your eyes, I think you will find the clock is ticking....

And : apparently the Roland stuff is NOT modeling (not the Blues Cubes anyway). they are solid state recreations of tube amps. It's not the Mustang or Katana- it's an AMP, it just has transistors instead of valves.

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But the amp has a dumb name.

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Yeah I'd much rather have a "Bassman" or a "Vibro-King" (sounds like one of those old hotel beds where you put a quarter into it and it vibrates you into relaxation LOL)

"That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”

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I've owned tube amps that didn't sound anywhere as good as the Roland Blues Cube amp demos I've seen.

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I've owned tube amps that didn't sound anywhere as good as the Roland Blues Cube amp demos I've seen.

– stratman

I have owned and played many tube amps that did NOT sound or feel as good as the Roland Blues Cube Artist. If I had to play a backline amp, I would breathe a sigh of relief if I saw a Blues Cube sitting there, instead of a DRRI.

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Hmmm... I'm with Prot. I want to be cubist to play blues? Square?

But I am curious... does it take pedals? How would that work?

K

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Here be a glorious thing...an amp that can be made to sound the same at varying volumes. That way, it can be played in the bedroom (I sleep in mine), at rehearsals, at bar room gigs and bigger stages with a mic.

With that set up, I'd like to leave my pedals at home. So I wouldn't be trying to twist a backline Fender Twin into submission or worrying about my 5w booteek amp sounding puny at home on volume 1.

If you need 'always on pedals' to make your £1000 amp sound good, really? I do that of course. A lot of us do. Just sayin'.

Which all leads to my desire to try Rolands Blue Pubes. Sorry, couldn't resist. Dad joke . Just back from the dentist.

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Hmmm... I'm with Prot. I want to be cubist to play blues? Square?

But I am curious... does it take pedals? How would that work?

K

– Konrad

Not only does it take pedals fantastically, it takes them BETTER than some tube amps I've owned over the years. You have to get it out of your mind that transistor pedals into transistor amps = old transistor radio. The new solid state tech has come a long way. The Roland sounds, FEELS, and REACTS like a tube amp. Play soft, it cleans up. Hit it hard, it crunches. It has sag. I've been through alot of tube amps over the years, and the Roland could go toe-to-toe with any of them... beating quite a few.

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Vince:

the volume thing is the PRIMARY reason I got one. Then I got even more than I bargained for. This thing will replace THREE of my amps (a 22W tube, 60W tube, and a small modeler for the bedroom).

As I said- I love tubes, and am not giving them up. I have a Bad Cat Cub 40R incoming right now. But for the light weight, good tone at any volume, ability to replace multiple gigging amps, and reliability, the Blues Cube (I have the Artist because I need an effects loop, and I think the 80W is better than the 60W of the Stage model) wins.

But by all means- you guys who "enjoy" hauling Bassman heads and 2x12 cabinets in and out of tight spaces and up and down stairs, continue your enjoyment!

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The "romanticism" of tubes is warranted... even I ascribe to it.... but I won't let my emotional/voodoo "connection" to tubes override my actual ears and hands.... being too "precious" about gear and tone is what these forums are built on, I get it... it's a fun hobby. But when the rubber hits the road, especially for working musicians, the answer is always "if it sounds good, it IS good" (doesn't matter what's under the hood). Hey that rhymes! LOL

I just wish people would open their minds -no wait, scratch that- open their EARS, that's what you should be listening with anyway.... to new tech, instead of having a cult or religious-like zeal against it. Don't base your "opinion" (I put it in quotes because many of these opinions are based on NOT even having played the amp, just that it has no tubes in it) on old tech. The new Blues Cubes are NOT the SS amps from 20 years ago.

Besides... transistors were good enough for BB (Lab Series)

I should have my Bad Cat Cub 40R next week It'll be sitting right next to my Roland Blues Cube Artist

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I should have my Bad Cat Cub 40R next week It'll be sitting right next to my Roland Blues Cube Artist . ruger9

Your thread, IMO, is totally great news! I've been a tube guy for all of my 60+ years of playing. But I've been hoping for the advent of SS amps that will equal the sound qualities of tube amps. That may be difficult in my case -- my main amp is a Standel 25L15. However if I found an SS amp that is the equal to the 25L15, I'd sell the Standel in a New York minute.

I'm anxious to read your comments and observations comparing your Roland and your Bad Cat.

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I should have my Bad Cat Cub 40R next week It'll be sitting right next to my Roland Blues Cube Artist . ruger9

Your thread, IMO, is totally great news! I've been a tube guy for all of my 60+ years of playing. But I've been hoping for the advent of SS amps that will equal the sound qualities of tube amps. That may be difficult in my case -- my main amp is a Standel 25L15. However if I found an SS amp that is the equal to the 25L15, I'd sell the Standel in a New York minute.

I'm anxious to read your comments and observations comparing your Roland and your Bad Cat.

– senojnad

Standel? That'd be a tall order, that's a unique beast.

Bad Cats are also unique-sounding... they USED to be just hot-rodded Voxes basically, but they've stretched out over the years, and have their own sound... most people describe it as somewhere between Vox and Marshall. So I'm not expecting the Bad Cat and Roland to sound similar... the same thing would be said if it was another amp vs the Roland as well: Gretsch Playboy, Fender Supersonic, etc etc... sounding AS GOOD AS a tube amp doesn't mean it sounds LIKE a specific tube amp.

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Just popped back in to say...

THESE AMPS (non-tube) HAVE ARRIVED.

I just received a Bad Cat Cub III 40R yesterday, and I have been A/B/C-ing with my Fender Supersonic 22 (a highly UNDERrated amp, imo), and my Roland BCA.

Not only does the Roland have no problem "keeping up" with the tubes amps, it's BETTER in some respects. (I won't go into details, because now you're getting into subjective stuff: tone types needed, volumes needed, uses, etc...) I know many of you think you have golden ears, but I'd give anyone $100 who could tell which amp the non-tube amp was, blindfolded. I DARE you.

At least with the Roland, it's THAT good. Perhaps Fender has also cracked the code with their new Tone Master series...

If I was walking outta' here tonight to a gig, the Roland is the one that would be going.

I love tubes as much as anybody... the glow, the smell, the mystique, the "old-school" romance... but don't paint yourself into a corner with religious-like zeal; open your EARS ('cause your eyes are lying to you) to some of these new amps...

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Ok I have to try one now. I love Badcat amps and a Cub III 40R would be my choice were I to buy one now (BTW what is the trick MV like?)

My only reservation is that I have spent years getting good at building tube amps - now a Roland amp may replace them?? I do love my little tweed homebrew amp - it sounds so good with anything I plug into it and is my testbench for all the crazy pedals I build. It's loud enough for modern gigging (and probably loud enough for all those gigs I used to lug a Twin reverb to) but I can still play it at home. I am fortunate enough to have very understanding neighbours. I could tell some stories about that...

But just recently I dug out my tweed Princeton which is just a chassis because I haven't got around to building a cab for it yet. It actually sounds pretty good played through my main cab and sounds good at a lower volume than my Super. But there is a level at which everything sounds better and below it nothing sounds as good. I suspect it's got nothing to do with the amp or speakers but it's all to do with our ears. I prefer for my amp to drown out the acoustic sound of my guitar and that needs a certain amount of volume.

And I wonder if the Roland would benefit from a great speaker?

Thanks for the thread Ruger! I imagine that I would like the Roland if you do because we do seem to like a lot of the same gear. I'll have to see if I can find a Rubiks Cube to try.

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Well, let's see...

REPLACE all your tube amps? Not likely. Why would you want to? If you love them, keep them. But if you have a gig, a great-sounding, LIGHTWEIGHT, amp with no worries about tubes either breaking or going microphonic or power tubes "starting to go" on you (I've had all this happen), sure is a convenience. I will say the Roland replaced my modeler (Fender GDEC) for "quiet" use, as it's a real amp, not a modeler (which always sounds like a recording of an amp to me).

What tweed did you build? I've always wanted a little Deluxe or something for home use, and thought building a simple tweed could be fun...

The Cub 40R. If you ever think of buying, message me directly, we'll talk. It's a great amp, but for someone who wants any amount of gain over slight breakup, I'd recommend the Hot Cat instead. It just depends on "where you live" with regards to breakup. As for the K-Master... at low settings it's much better than the standard MV. As you turn it up, it's just like all the other MVs- it get's much brighter the higher it goes. Honestly, I don't get the hype over the K-Master... except that is DOES sound better turned DOWN than most other MV circuits, from my experience.

Speaker:
I plugged the Roland into my C-Rex cab, and, while I liked it a LITTLE better (just because I LOVE the C-Rex, it's "my sound"), Roland has a very good speaker in this amp, and I feel no need to change it.

If you're going to try one, you need to find either a STAGE or an ARTIST. They are essentially the same amp, with feature differences. IDK if the lower Cubes are the same or not. Those 2 take the Tone Capsules, which could be very helpful... for example, the amp, stock, is a "Tweed Bassman". It breaks up early and the low end is kinda' loose. Just like a Bassman. And it sounds great. But for my 80's rock band, I needed something more Marshally, with tighter low end. The Ultimate Blues tone capsule is a Marshall Super Lead on the crunch channel, and it's perfect. The clean side is a Super Reverb, which sounds great clean or cranked up for more earthy, Americana-type tones. There are several Tone Capsules out there at this point.

For home use, I loved the amp stock, and would not need a tone capsule. The thing sounds great. Even at reasonable home volumes.

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Well my main (almost only!) amp now is based on the Fender 5F4 tweed Super. It's in a solid pine finger-jointed cab made by Mojotone and covered in 'gator skin tolex. It's a 1x12 with a Celestion Gold, runs KT77 tubes, has Mercury Magnetics trannies including a "fatstack" power tranny which means it has way more headroom than a stock Fender, more mids and a tighter low end. I love tweeds in general and this addresses every issue I've ever had with stock tweed amps - mainly to do with farty low end and noise. My amp is super quiet and nice and tight, chimey and clear. It only took me 10+ years of amp building to get there!

With pedals I can get pretty much everywhere I want to go. I guess the only shortcomings with my amp would be tubes and size. Tubes need replacing from time to time and I can make it sound like a 100 plexi tower. But I can get very close.

My interest in the Roland is because (a) my amp is loud, or rather needs to be relatively loud to sound good, (b) can't run on headphones, and (c) will always need maintenance throughout its life. Not really major problems but I'm always interested in alternatives.

The other thing I love about tube amps is that I can tweak them. Endlessly. With the Roland it's kinda it is what it is. Being a tweaker that's a bit boring. I wonder if a solid pine cab could make it sound better? With a tube amp I can try different tubes, caps, transformers, cabs, speakers... That's part of the fun for me. I wonder if building a better cab would make any difference?


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