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January Clearance 2017

Roland Cube-15 Review

Cube15

“And in this corner, weighing in at a mere 15.6 pounds, the Cube 15!”

The Cube 15 is a feature-packed combo amp that skimps on nothing but the big price tag. This compact, two-channel amp offers four BOSS overdrive and distortion flavors, including “Overdrive,” “Distortion,” “Metal” and “Metal Stack.” A three-band EQ, built-in Recording/Headphone outputs and Auxiliary inputs are also included, which makes it easy to record direct, or use it as an acoustic amp for a piezo system.

Feel Free To Take The Kid Gloves Off!
This little amp is very light and travel-worthy. It is rugged as well, so I didn’t feel bad tossing it into my car, rather than gently laying it down and putting a seatbelt on it. I found the amp’s functionality to be very self-explanatory – I just plugged in the guitar, and a push-button channel-switching system allowed me to change from the clean channel to the lead channel with the various levels of overdrive. The testing was done using a Paul Reed Smith Employee Model (roughly based on their McCarty Hollowbody I model.) The HBI has both magnetic pickups and active piezo pickups built into the bridge saddles.

Taking It For A Test Drive…
For a solid-state amp, the overdriven sounds were not too shabby. They’re not
“tubey”, per say, but for a $100 amp, they more get the job done. The clean channel sounded best with the piezo pickup, and this is no surprise. While magnetic pickups seem to favor power tubes to bring out their harmonic content, the quartz-based piezos clearly favor the flatter frequency response of the transistors. While in piezo mode, the acoustic sounds were clear and chimey.

The overdrive tones sounded killer as well, almost tricking me into believing that I have an OD-3 and a DS1 in line between the guitar and the amp itself. I was shocked to find that I had not just one great sounding lead tone, but rather a selection of them to choose from. I found myself doing less knob turning and more playing, which is what great gear should be all about.

In Conclusion
Probably the most amazing thing I found about this amp is how much they pack into such a little, inexpensive package. After playing with the amp for just minutes I began to ponder how they could’ve possibly put all of this together for so little. I believe this is an amp that a lot of people have been waiting for: a reliable, portable practice amp that doesn’t sound like a plastic belt clip-on, but yet stays lightweight and easy to transport.

Thanks, Roland, for bringing back the Cube!

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