Roland blues cube artist

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by fancychords, Aug 15, 2016.

  1. snow and steel

    snow and steel Supporting Member

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    :dunno

    I've played mine in tiny clubs with 20 people playing jazz and backing people for singer-songwriter stuff, to outdoor rock and blues festivals for a couple thousand people. It's always worked well for me, and many times better than my tube amps that are 2 and 3 times as much. Then again, I'm a "listen to the whole band", and not a "listen to the guitar sound" guy - because what often sounds great at home by ourselves sounds terrible in a band mix, and what sounds great in a band mix sounds pretty terrible by itself at home.

    I've even had folks ask me "what tubes are you using in that?" - and you certainly can't tell which is the tube and which is the SS by the "guess the real plexi" clip I posted earlier.

    FWIW - if you're listening to a Rory Gallagher record I will still say what you are hearing is absolutely nothing like what was in the room - that's the joy recording. The mic and room play a part, then they EQ the channel, then they EQ the mix as a whole, then they normalize it, then they master it. Unless you were one of the very fortunate people to catch him when he was alive I'd say there's a good chance you might be stunned to try his exact amp with his exact settings [which were very bright].

    The eyes have a hell of an effect on one's ears.

    I still suspect a Mesa might be exactly what you're looking for - a liquid gain of cascading sections with a smooth response.
     
  2. Barquentine

    Barquentine Member

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    I'm 61. I saw Rory four times. Best live performer I ever saw. His live tone cut your head off. I like a fair bit of bite in my tone but the Cube strayed too far into harshness.
     
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  3. breogan

    breogan Member

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    I agree that is not 100% like a tube amp, it has kind of his thing going on, but I can not feel or hear any digital fizziness.

    I did had the katana (for the record I have and have had a number of tube amps), and you can really hear the digital engine going on. Something like a disconnection between what you hear and the feeling. It sounds right but something is lacking. That didn’t happen to me with the blues cube artist. It kind of makes me play it again and enjoy every time.

    That said, if it is not for you, it is not for you!!
     
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  4. bluegrif

    bluegrif Member

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    I played the BCA for two plus years at all kinds of venues and I never heard any digital fizziness. In fact, I hear way more fizz and slightly ragged breakup out of my Marshall, but of course it disappears in a band mix. I went back to tubes for a bit of a reality check and now, guess what, I have a Blues Cube Stage on the way. For day in day out work, at a wide variety of venues, the advantages just tip the scales way in favor of the Roland. Is it my ultimate sound? No, that'd be the vintage Super Reverbs I played for years. But if I try to chase that sound again, every one of the options involves either carrying something way too heavy, or something that requires volume to sound it's best. Even if I had a roadie who would carry and set them up for me, I'd still have an amp that would have one very specific sweet spot on the volume spectrum and truth is, I almost never need that kind of volume and often can't use it at all (more often than not these days). The Blues Cubes are hard to beat when factoring in all the variables. Super light weight, great sound at virtually any volume, and all the feel you could ask for.

    Really, the only unknown for me is whether I'll miss the Artist. I chose the Stage this time because with my chronic pain issues, the lighter the better. That 6 lbs. or so difference is actually significant in my case (getting old, can't recommend it). And with the BCA, I mostly used the 15 watt setting, only kicking it up to the 45 watt setting for outdoor shows. So the power difference is of no significance whatsoever. But if I feel the quality of tone suffers at all I will sell it and go back to a BCA.
     
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  5. bluegrif

    bluegrif Member

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    Well thank you. Funny thing, when I recorded my last album, I didn't expect to use the Roland much. It's a brilliant gigging solution but I was sure I'd use Fenders for the recordings. Well, I did use my old Music Man for some of the tracks, but the BCA found it's way on there quite a lot. It records really well and was just so damned efficient thanks to it's ability to dial in the right amount of breakup at virtually any volume. So no need to do the old studio trick of cranking up small tube amps.
     
  6. snow and steel

    snow and steel Supporting Member

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    I posted this in another thread, but it might be useful to some folks here too.

    About pickups and dialing in an amp;

    I require versatility because I may play 10 different styles over the course of a month, depending on what job I get. To that need I find low output pickups will let me get great cleans, and when high gain is required I can get it from the amp or amp and pedals. I also find pickups with bright, clear highs and a healthy mids are helpful. I can scoop mids if needed but I can't add it back in if its not there to start -same with the treble; I can cut treble or roll a tone knob back but can't add it if its not there. Cutting both will make it bassy if that's required too.

    In that regard - I choose the Seymour Duncan Jazz neck and '59 bridge. they match each other tonally and output wise very well, and give me everything I need. Matched with 500k pots and either 50's style wiring or modern wiring with a "treble bleed" [bandpass], it should deliver the goods.

    I should note that I've always dialed in my amps the old fashioned way; dialed to the neck pickup set for a clear, bell like rhythm tone. This usually means the bass is cut back and the treble is a little high. Then I'll select the bridge pickup and see if I'm getting any pick noise or "icepick in the ear" tones, and if so I roll the tone knob back on that pickup until it sounds right to adjust the presence.

    Several times I've had guys look at my amp and say something like "Wow, you like a really bright tone. That's got to be murder at high volume!" and they haven't heard me play a single note yet. Whenever that happens I know they don't dial for the neck pickup, and they are usually the players that live on the bridge pickup.

    The downside to that in my mind is there are all kinds of great tones you can get out of a clear neck pickup that you've completely lost when you dial your amp for the bridge only. Generally, these type of players bump the bass up trying to get some thump out of the bridge, and have the treble more towards noon or even under on some amps - which means they only have two tones - bridge and "woman tone" neck - because essentially this technique usually makes the neck pickup pure mud. I firmly believe guitars do not need 'thump'. Let the bass guitar and bass drum do their job. Stop angering the sound guy. Stop making your mix awful. Most of all - get more tones out of your instrument! Most 'classic' set ups [page, Clapton, VH 'brown sound', etc etc] were actually very bright with lots of treble, veryheavy mids and the bass turned down.

    With that being said - if your amp is set this way, and you dial to the bridge pickup and your aren't cutting through with the tone on full - there is something very wrong.
     
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  7. Jim234

    Jim234 Member

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    The THR100HD is very versatile and can be a lot smoother than the BCA stock.

    With the BCA, running the gain on 8 and at gig volumes (i.e. like last Saturday) I have never noticed fizz of any sort, if anything I could do with some because I need a more Marshall Tone for some of the songs! Maybe I am immune to fizz since I ran a DSL50 for years...
     
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  8. Tone Loco

    Tone Loco Silver Supporting Member

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    :rotflmao
     
  9. TA22GT

    TA22GT Member

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    Well the BCA head arrived earlier today but unfortunately it is going back. Really sorry to post this as I was so looking forward to starting a new journey of fun with this amp.
    It's not for me I'm afraid. I found the sound quite brittle and although I use 11 gauge strings it sounded like I was using 8's to me. I had to really reduce treble and presence to get any body in the sound.
    Tried different cabs but I know it's not for me.
    Thanks for all those that posted because I have really enjoyed this thread.
     
  10. Jim234

    Jim234 Member

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    Damn I was looking forward to you telling us all how you were going to use the two fx loops :)

    At least you can send it back.
     
  11. TA22GT

    TA22GT Member

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    I was really, really hoping to like it. It doesn't mean its a bad amp it just means it wasn't for me. We all have our own tastes and it would be boring if we all played through one amp! I have a G2 and was looking forward to routing different delays to the loops!

    This thread is still a great thread and a great read so please don't take any of this personally. :)
     
  12. bluegrif

    bluegrif Member

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    I can't imagine anyone taking it personally. I have a good friend and former music partner who tried the BCA when they had one at GC a couple years back. He immediately said it just wasn't his cup of tea. Of course I suspected he spent nowhere near enough time dialing it in to his liking, but regardless, like any piece of gear, it's not going to have universal appeal. In fact, I'm slightly surprised how much appeal it has across a range of genres. IMO, Blues Cube is a apt name because it excels at those styles.

    I've never even seen the head, but I think perhaps an experience I had with the Nextone might be slightly telling. Unlike the Blues Cubes or the Katana combo, the Nextones have speaker outs. I have a large 1x12 cab with a greenback which I use for my Marshall. Huge bottom end since the cab is literally the same one they make as a 2x12. I have the little Nextone Stage and I fully expected it to sound much bigger out of that big cab. My thinking was, should I have a tube issue on a gig, I'd just plop the Nextone on top and plug into that cab. Well surprise, surprise. It sounds way better through it's internal speaker. I highly suspect all these Roland products are designed as a system, speaker(s) included. I'd be willing to bet that Blues Cube head sounds best through the matching 4x10. I'm guessing of course, but I doubt I'd lose that bet.
     
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  13. TA22GT

    TA22GT Member

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    Yes it occurred to me that being solid state it would have a speaker designed specifically for the frequencies the amp produces. I tried 3 different speakers and it just didn't deliver.
    I know what you mean about taking time to dial it in but I knew right away that the overall "voice" wasn't to my liking. I kind of plug in to any amp and try and dial in my sound right away so that I sound like me but it was just a different tonality.
    I went for the head because it was on blow out and seemed to make sense as I have a few speaker cabs.
    Never mind it was a journey and an itch scratched!
     
  14. bluegrif

    bluegrif Member

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    Yes, the stock amp, like most amps, has a very specific voicing that won't be right for everyone. In that respect, it once again is very different from solid state modelers that attempt to offer a plethora of different amp types in a box. This is more like buying something like a tweed bassman because that's the sound you want, which may not appeal to someone who'd prefer, say, a Twin Reverb, or a Marshall, or a Vox. Of course that's what the tone capsules are for. They completely revoice the amp. I went with the UBTC for quite awhile but unlike many, I went back to the stock amp, which I found just worked better for me. 90% of the time I'm on the clean channel, turned up to mild drive and use my guitar volume to get cleaner tones. But if a player is one of many who like to have a high headroom clean sound available, that's just not going to work. In that case, one of the tone capsules that provides that would be the ticket.

    But the bottom line is, there are many, many well loved amps that won't appeal to everyone. I can make most good amps work for me, doesn't mean it's the one I'd want day in and day out. It's funny, when I told some of my musician friends that I was going back to the Blues Cube, virtually every one of them mentioned how consistently great I sounded through that amp.
     
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  15. Doomrider78

    Doomrider78 Member

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    The Katana Artist has a speaker out, although I believe the Waza speaker it comes with has been custom made for the amp.
     
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  16. PremiumPlus

    PremiumPlus Member

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    I just swapped the stock speaker for a Texas Heat, and wow. It really sounds great. Meatier and bigger sounding, clearer highs. Sounds really good with pedals on the clean channel but the OD sounds better too.
     
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  17. snow and steel

    snow and steel Supporting Member

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    The heads are $1600 US at sweetwater…. if I lay my hands on one for the prices mentioned earlier some where here states I'd slap my UBTC in it and go hog wild! We've got some early 70's Marshall 4x12 cabs in storage that would rip!
     
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  18. bluegrif

    bluegrif Member

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    So, I got my BC Stage today and, after playing the Nextone for awhile, the differences are very obvious.

    First, as I've said, the Nextone is a more than decent amp. I like it way more than the Katana, though that amp is certainly fine as well, especially for the high gain crowd who'll also enjoy all the built in effects, ability to create presets, etc. But after more than 4 months away from the BCA I played for over 2 years, it was almost shocking how good the Blues Cubes really are. During most of that time I played a Marshall Origin, which I've enjoyed for it's very old school Marshall vibe. And of course I've experimented with the Katana and the Nextone. In the case of the Katana, I bought it for both a backup, and an easy grab-and-go for solo gigs, etc. Great little $200 amp for both those applications. The Nextone I was a little more serious about seeing if it could be a main stage amp. While it works well and can certainly handle the gigs, I found it just falls a little short, and I honestly wasn't entirely sure why until I got the BC Stage. The Blues Cube models are just so much more dynamic and refined. It really feels like you're playing a very robust and reactive power section. I've been reminded of what I'd been missing. The beautiful way slightly driven chords decay. The absolutely convincing way bent notes bloom. It really feels like it has all the dynamic range of a classic Fender amp.
    Well, reality check completed. These are just great amps regardless of the tech involved.
     
  19. Barquentine

    Barquentine Member

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    Afetr the two week trial I replaced my BCA with a Fender Bassbreaker 15. Night and day. The Fender sounded great straight out of the box and even better when I tweaked it for my guitars.

    I tried very hard to like the BCA but once the emperor's new clothes had fallen off I found it unusable. I am at a loss to understand the popularity of this amp. I guess we all hear things differently but I found it to be very obviously solid-state and not at all tube-like. Very harsh sounding. Nothing against those of you that like it but I think anyone reading this thread is entitled to hear all opinions whether good or bad.

    Plugging in the Fender the differences were immediately obvious. Anyone considering this amp should compare it side by side with a similar tube amp.
     
  20. bluegrif

    bluegrif Member

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    There's absolutely no need to try and like something you just don't resonate with. Anything that doesn't ring my bell is moved on. BTW, for me, comparing side by side is only valid when using it in a live setting. That's why I went back to tubes for 4 months. A reality check.

    Incidentally, I was interested in the Bassbreaker as well and finally got to try the 15 combo. I passed mainly because I found the clean and semi-cleans to be very un-Fender like and I wasn't interested in the high gain sounds. For Marshall cleans and mild breakup, I prefer my Origin. I do think the Bassbreaker is a good amp and I would have seriously considered the 30 if they made it in a head (my chronic pain issues won't allow me to haul amps with much weight). I haven't had a chance to try the 30 but it seems to produce a bit more of what I use, at least in the many demos I've found.

    As a practical gigging amp, one that I can rely on to sound great at every venue, I'll take the Roland. I wouldn't say it sounds better in a small room, but it really comes alive with the band and a little volume. In the two years I used the BCA, it never let me down even in difficult circumstances like less than ideal acoustics or gigs that required relatively low volume. I'll probably sell the Marshall, not because I don't like it, but because I just don't see using it any longer.
     
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