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New amps and effects units outed by Roland

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September 3, 2010

Roland has announced four new additions to its popular Cube guitar amp family and two new ...

Roland has announced four new additions to its popular Cube guitar amp family and two new BOSS effects pedals

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With over a million sales notched up, Roland has announced that the next generation of Cube amplifiers is ready to be let loose. The Cube XL series is available in four sizes, starting at the practice 15W version right up to a gig-worthy 80W model. The amps all feature a host of tones and effects and an auxiliary input to allow a portable music player to provide backing tracks. Features on offer from the new range include amp modeling, channel-switching and a strange-sounding power squeeze function. Roland has also unleashed a couple of BOSS guitar effects pedals – one that offers the player pitch control and voice harmony possibilities and the other squeezing some tube amp sounds into a palm-sized stomp box.

The top of range Cube-XL guitar amplifier is the 80XL which perhaps unsurprisingly knocks out 80W of power from its 12-inch speaker. As well as being able to switch between a JC Clean and Lead channel, players are also offered a third solo channel with memory capabilities. Active channels are controlled at the touch of a button or via a footswitch (which is available as an optional extra).

The top of the Cube 80XL, showing presence and bright controls, phrase looping and numerou...

The Cube 80XL offers a choice of 11 Composite Object Sound Modeling (COSM) amp models, eight effects types (including a spring reverb and a new heavy octaver) and a three-band EQ to nail the desired tone. There's also an acoustic guitar simulator, a bright switch, a built-in tuner and players are given more control over presence. The amp also features 80 seconds-worth of phrase looping to allow you to play along to your own rhythm.

The Cube 80XL carries a recommended retail of US$488.50

The following video demonstration by Alex Hutchings gives a good idea of what the 80XL and the next amp on our list, the 40XL, are capable of:

The Cube 40XL guitar amplifier

No prizes for guessing the output of this model – it's 40W through a 10-inch speaker. Like the 80XL, this model benefits from three-way channel switching, has eight effects to choose from, a built-in tuner and phrase looping. There's one less COSM amp model to choose from but it does have an intriguing power squeezer mode. Enabling this is said to provide you with all of the power and tone of a full gain amp but at a neighbor-friendly low volume level.

The top of the Cube 40XL, showing the JC Clean, Lead and Solo channels, Spring or Plate re...

The Cube 40XL has a recommended retail of US$278.50

The Cube 20XL guitar amplifier

Moving more into practice room territory, the Cube 20XL is a 20W amp with an 8-inch speaker. It offers JC Clean and Lead channels plus a solo boost, six different lead types, nine effects and also has the power squeezer mode.

The Cube 20XL has a manufacturer's recommended retail of US$208.50

The top of the Cube 20XL, showing the effects on offer, Power Squeezer and JC Clean and Le...

Guitar wizard Alex Hutchings also gives the 20XL and the 15XL a work out, which can be seen in the following demonstration video:

The Cube 15XL guitar amplifier

The cheapest of the bunch at a recommended US$123.50, the Cube 15XL offers 15W of output through an 8-inch speaker, both clean and lead channels, a threesome of BOSS lead sound effects and the power squeezer mode. Like all of the new XL series, this model features auxiliary-in socket for adding backing tracks via a portable music player and a record out/headphones socket.

The top of the Cube 15XL, showing 3-band EQ, Clean and Lead channels and Power Squeezer

In addition to the release of the Cube XL guitar amplifiers, Roland has also announced a couple of effects pedals from its BOSS subsidiary.

The BOSS PS-6 Harmonist effects pedal

The BOSS PS-6 Harmonist gives players access to four effect modes that alter the pitch and voice of the sound. To the top of the unit are four control knobs that allow for precise tweaking of the pitch shift and harmony effects, there's a chorus-like detune effect and a new Super Bend mode, which creates huge pitch sweeps across a seven octave span. Selecting 3-VOICE from the SHIFT dial and choosing a major or minor key allows users to create a multi-voice harmony.

Four control knobs at the top of the PS-6 allow for precise tweaking of the pitch shift an...

The PS-6 is available this month for a recommended retail of US$241.50

The BOSS ST-2 Power Stack effects pedal

The BOSS ST-2 Power Stack distortion pedal is said to reproduce "the sound and feel of playing through a large, cranked-up, stack-style tube amplifier." Using just one sound control dial, players can alter both gain and tone character and dial in three distinct tones ranging from "vintage crunch and punchy drive to full-assault distortion" and the inclusion of bass and treble knobs add more tonal character. The remaining level dial oversees the overall volume of the output.

The BOSS ST-2 Power Stack gives players the sound and feel of playing through a large, cra...

This unit could well be helpful to anyone wishing to by-pass the painstaking and expensive process of trying to find a specific stack/distortion effects combination. It's available this month for a recommended retail of US$162.

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag.   All articles by Paul Ridden
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3 Comments

I love my little cube amp! Battery-powered for short gigs in small venues, and all the effects. Love it.

Only downside, is that it's hard to change effects modes "mid-song" with both hands on the guitar...it's hard to reach down and twiddle a knob to change the effect. No biggie, usually, but might be a consideration for someone else to think about.

matthew.rings
6th September, 2010 @ 07:20 pm PDT

Addendum: looks like these new, bigger units have footswitch control! :)

matthew.rings
7th September, 2010 @ 12:59 am PDT

How can you evaluate an amplifier sound when all you hear is awful awful awful distortion?

Terotech
7th September, 2010 @ 03:39 am PDT
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