Roland Cube 30 – review of a versatile guitar amplifier
The Cube 30 by Roland is a good sounding, versatile modeling guitar amplifier. The reviewed unit was made in 2005. The whole amp is finished in black, it’s kind of a plastic coating, very sturdy. The sound box was made out of MDF. There are two holes in both of the lower corners below the speaker, they are kind of like bass reflex holes. The speaker is a bright and clean sounding 10″ one.
Versatile little thing
On the top of the amp, there’s a ¼” input jack, a volume control for the JC clean channel, three knobs for the EQ – bass, middle and treble; a channel selector switch with two LEDs, a selector knob for all of the amp models of the lead channel, a control knob for the effects, a separate one for the delay/reverb, and a gain and a volume control for the lead channel. The top panel also have an AUX input jack, a jack for the foot switch (I use a Proel sustain pedal, it works perfectly) and another jack for the recording out/phones. The power switch is in the bottom right corner.
JC – watery clean
The JC clean channel is modeled after Roland’s famous solid state amp, the Jazz Chorus JC-120. It has a very accurate, bright, almost hi-fi sound, with zero distortion or compression. It is so clean that you will have a hard time driving it into distortion with the highest gain boosts. Whatever way you play, this channel will reflect it. It also takes effects well.
Rock it, man
The Lead channel has 7 different amps modeled, they are the following: Acoustic – it’s BOSS‘ acoustic modeler integrated into the Cube; Black Panel – it’s a Fender Twin Reverb, very clean and sparkly, just like the real one. It can also be bass heavy and gets just a touch of distortion with every knob maxed out, including the EQ ones. The Brit Combo is modeled after the VOX AC30, sounds great for either cleanish or overdriven tones, depending on where you set the gain knob. The Tweed model is a Fender Bassman, it sounds just as raunchy as the real one, great for bluesy or old school R&B tones. The next model is the Classic Stack, which is a Marshall JMP1987, ideal for classic rock tones, but it can do Hendrix or SRV too. The Metal model is a Peavey 5150, the amp they designed for EVH. And finally, there’s the R-fier, which is modeled after a Mesa/Boogie Rectifier. It’s perfect for the modern high gain metal sounds.
The effects are chorus, flanger, phaser and tremolo. The further you turn the FX knob clockwise, the more/faster/longer and deeper the effect gets. That’s not a lot of control, but they dialed in their balance nicely, so they are fairly usable.
I think the JC and the Fender models are pretty accurate sounding, but you can get unique tones out of every model. My personal favorites are the JC, the Brit Combo and the Tweed one. This amp is now more than 10 years old, and DSP modeling has come a long way even in this last decade. Yet, this thing works perfectly great, especially if you don’t mind not sounding like an exact copy of some other guy. All in all, if you want a good sounding no hassle amp that’s light weight enough to carry in one hand and can keep up with a drummer, get a used Cube 30.