Roland Blues Cube Artist/Stage...5 years gone...what's next for the "big daddy of them all?"

presence

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The Roland Blues Cube Artist/Stage were introduced at Summer NAMM 2014. (The smaller Blues Cube Hot was released at NAMM 2016).

Since then Roland has released a few tone capsules for the Artist/Stage, most recently the Sparkle Clean at Winter NAMM 2019.

Boss Nextone series was released last year which has more functionality but from what I understand with inferior cabinet materials and power amp. I feel like the Blues Cube Artist/Stage is still higher quality and, as some would say, the "big daddy of them all."

Seems like it's time for Roland to update the Blues Cube Artist/Stage. However, the path for updating the platform may be less clear or imminent due to the recent tone capsule and Nextone releases.

I'd like to pick up a used Blues Cube Artist, but it seems a bit late at this point in the product cycle for a techy amp like this. Kind of like buying a new iPhone in August.

So...what's next for the Blues Cube?
 

MartinC

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3,040
Interesting question. Especially given what else is on offer from Roland that's in the same or very similar ballpark. As you've said, there is the Nextone, but arguably the Katana Artist (KA) too ... it's retail price is almost the same as the Nextone Artist (at least in Australia).

The unique aspects of the BC are its approach to tone customisation and a poplar vs some kind of manufactured board for cabinetry ... and absence of external speaker connection for the combos.

The capsule ... I kind of like the idea, but the cost seems prohibitive and compared to the Nextone and KA approach (software editing) a bit cumbersome and potentially limited (you get what you get in the capsule, and then it's back to what you can change on the amp for tweaking). Personally, I would like to see the capsule replaced with an amp control that selects the amp "model" ... the models being each of the tone capsules that exist now, plus potentially other blues(ish) or vintage sounding classics. This would make it more akin to the Nextone with its power amp "tube" selector. I think doing that would at least broaden the appeal of the BC, still without needing the user to edit via software.

Personally I would like see a top shelf Nextone. Nextone Artist, but with larger, wooden (or birch ply) cabinet, power amp with the same beef as the BCA ... and for my own personal preference, an app driven editor (Apple & Android) and an AUX input for music playback.
 

drew365

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I've had a Helix and a BCA for several years. I had a Katana and a Nextone Artist for a short time. I'm not afraid of software tweaking or patch making, but I like the amp simplicity of the BCA over the extra software functions of the Nextone. So I agree with the above suggestion of an upgraded BCA with all of the tone capsule sims available with a knob twist. That would add enough variety to keep the amp interesting for a long time.
 

OPENYOUREYES

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1,651
the katana was a great bang for the buck but the katana artist not so much.The nextone isnt that great a deal as well in the big picture as you get into tube amp price area with those amps. The bca was always overpriced like the waza crap and boss seems to be leaving the lower end area as of late. I had a katana and a katana artist to try fro months and they were overhyped to me but as i said the katana 1-12 is a great bargain for a all in one amp but i wouldnt buy it.
 

tonydee

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106
uh oh....
I've gigged a BCA for 2 years now and love it.
Picked up a Nextone this past Saturday and it sounds like a winner.
I didn't think about the possibility of a new BCA model coming out
this Summer Namm. Maybe I should have waited ?? :eek:
 

presence

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831
uh oh....
I've gigged a BCA for 2 years now and love it.
Picked up a Nextone this past Saturday and it sounds like a winner.
I didn't think about the possibility of a new BCA model coming out
this Summer Namm. Maybe I should have waited ?? :eek:
We'll know in about 8 days when summer NAMM starts, so you're probably ok. It's hard for me to see Roland doing anything so soon after Nextone release. Maybe next winter or summer.
 

presence

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831
Blues Cube Artist/Stage seems to be positioned more as the solid state equivalent of a really nice tweed tube amp, as opposed to a jack-of-all-trades like a Nextone or Katana. I almost think Roland will continue that positioning with an emphasis on higher quality, while maybe giving more tonal options through the tone Tone Capsule technology in some way.

It's hard to see them dropping the Tone Capsule angle as it's great for marketing because it brings in big names like Eric Johnson, Robben Ford, etc. It's also unique and great for product differentiation.

Roland could also upgrade the quality of the reverb and trem and offer some delay options. They could also upgrade the speaker (neo?) and add an extension speaker jack. I'd also expect an software upgrade with IR capability and XLR out.
 
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ruger9

Silver Supporting Member
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Well, I think NAMM is here.... any news? (I hope NOT, because I'm about to buy an Artist...)
 

ripoffriffs

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I think Fender's neew solid state deluxe reverb & solid state twin will finally send the Blues Cube to retirement. Much more simpler controls (no global master volume when there's already a volume control for each channel). Less bloatware features (no tone buttons or boosts).
 

joebloggs13

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2,208
I think Fender's neew solid state deluxe reverb & solid state twin will finally send the Blues Cube to retirement. Much more simpler controls (no global master volume when there's already a volume control for each channel). Less bloatware features (no tone buttons or boosts).
I would wait for a comparison review before taking the plunge.
 

OPENYOUREYES

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1,651
I think Fender's neew solid state deluxe reverb & solid state twin will finally send the Blues Cube to retirement. Much more simpler controls (no global master volume when there's already a volume control for each channel). Less bloatware features (no tone buttons or boosts).
The fenders are crazy expensive though- as was the BCA
 

Jim234

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1,141
I think Fender's neew solid state deluxe reverb & solid state twin will finally send the Blues Cube to retirement. Much more simpler controls (no global master volume when there's already a volume control for each channel). Less bloatware features (no tone buttons or boosts).
...yes so simple in fact they forgot to put on an fx loop...
 

Jabberwocky

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I don't know if it is any indication of an impending upgrade but I bought the Eric Johnson TC and the Robben Ford TC on clearance sale from Sam Ash Springfield. They are shop demos.

If it is a used BC Artist at a good price I don't see any point in waiting for a new model. For one, you won't be able to buy a new model used for a few months at least. You'd have to pay an upcharge for the latest and greatest bought new. For two, the BC Artist is good as it is now; a new model won't make it worse.

But if you can stand to wait it out perhaps you should. The TCs are expensive conceits; if the new model includes a selector for all TC voices built-in that would be a definite improvement. If Roland allows switching on the fly of more than one TC mounted onboard that would be another improvement. I don't see Roland getting rid of the TC moneygrab.

Tonewise, the current BC Artist is great. No complaints from me. I have all five TCs; bought 3 new and the Artist ones used for a combined cost of nearly $800!! Moneygrab!

As for the iphone comparo, definitely scoop the last outgoing model in August on sale because there is hardly anything worthwhile paying for in new iphones except for an evanescent split second of bragging rights. You feel like a tool for paying so much when the last model offers all the same functionality at a hugely reduced price. One more lens for more bad snapshots? Eff that. Buy a proper camera and a good lighting/bounce kit if you're serious about photography. It is not about the lens; it is about the quality of the light. I have always bought the last outgoing iphone model on sale.

(What I intend to do is to buy a Boss GT1000 and feed it through the BC Artist. I am also considering upgrading the driver to an Eminence 12CX with ASD1001 and 2.5K Xover or a Ciare Coaxial.)
 
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MartinC

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3,040
I don't think the new Fender digital Twin and Deluxe reverb are expensive at all, provided they sound and feel as good as the Andertons review claims. If they do, then surely they are a no brainer, if you want blackface tones. They're 60% of the price of their tube-driven counterparts, with the same pine cabinet, only MUCH lighter, and with power scaling and line out capability.

If they've nailed the tone and feel, then that's better, for less in my book.

I have always hoped that new technology would end up being used to deliver traditional, old school style amps really well, rather than a massive smorgasbord of options and variety through a bewildering interface. Hats off to Fender and Roland I reckon.
 

briwinters

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803
I’ve been kind of surprised the BluesCube product line hasn’t been updated yet but from a business sense it probably makes sense. When people hear the words “solid state amp” they immediately think they should come in at a much lower price point then a tube amp. R&D and manufacturing costs may be significant enough for the BluesCube to not be able to hit that price point.

At the same time, I do think there is a market at the higher price point for an updated BluesCube. I’ve been gigging a BC Stage for years....I have a few adult guitar students who ran out and bought one themselves after trying mine. They are great great gigging amp....professional sounding and looking, lightweight and zero maintenance. Fender seems to see a market for this with their new Tonemaster line....Roland would be in a good position to compete with them with an updated BlueCube.

As to what to update on the BlueCube? A better Line Out option for sure.....built in switchable IRs, EQed to sound like the amp in the room (WAY too dark on the current models). An ability to switch the Tone Capsules on/off without removing them from the amp. And of course tweak the amp sounds with whatever knowledge Roland has picked up in the last 5 years of amp design. Market it as a “pro” amp and get it in the hands of pros who have to cart their own equipment around. People who don’t play live will buy one at a higher price point if they see its what the pros play...
 

BuckshotJenkins

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774
I had a BCA and sold it, and bought myself a Boss Drive Hot. Now that I’m a little bit better at knowing how to dial in the master to get the most response out of the amp, I’d like to get another BCA. I’m interested to see if they do come out with a new model early next year.
 

tonydee

Member
Messages
106
it's hard to tell where Roland is going with the Blues Cube line.
I think they tried to address the common complaints :
1) Purchasing individual capsules to change tones
2) and the pricing of both the amp and capsules

with the Nextone having tube selection and at a lower price.
I've had a Nextone now for a few weeks and although impressed at first,
comparing it side by side with my BCA it just doesn't match up sound wise.
In fact , I'll be returning it this weekend.
If they had the built-in capsule selection in a future BCA model, I'd be all over that
even though the price would definitely be higher. And now Fender jumps into the ring...
Getting interesting for sure...
 




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