Roland takes aim at mobile musicians with the Cube Street EX
By Paul Ridden
March 17, 2014
Roland has give its lightweight, battery-powered Cube Street amp from 2007 a powerful upgrade in the shape of the Street EX portable busking amp. Where the original featured two 2.5 W Neodymium speakers and promised 15 hours of use from six AA-sized batteries, the EX has two woofers and two tweeters for up to 50 W of output oomph, and can stay on the street for up to 20 hours on battery power.
The original Street weighed in at 11.5 lb (5.2 kg), and offered mic and instrument input channels, eight COSM amp emulations and six digital effects, and a built-in chromatic tuner. The new Cube Street EX is a little bigger and heavier at 19.3 x 13.4 x 12 in (490 x 341 x 305 mm) and 16.3 lb (7.4 kg), and packs two 8-inch woofers and two 2-inch tweeters for a maximum rated output of 50 W. Its high-strength ABS injection-molded body makes it a good fit for the mobile musician.
The player can choose from three defined output levels, according to need. Max (50 W) is for full-tilt boogie for up to 5 hours on eight AA-sized Ni-MH batteries, Normal (25 W) will offer double the battery life at the expense of some volume, and the Eco (10 W) mode promises up to 20 hours of outlet-free play. A three-LED status indicator should help users keep an eye on battery life.
The Street EX comes with built-in vocal and guitar effects, COSM amp tones (including lead, distorted and clean sounds), as well as acoustic simulation. An AC preamp has been optimized for electro-acoustic guitar and promises a clean, natural sound.
The amp boasts four independent channels. The Mic/Instrument and Mic/Guitar channels, each with its own three-band EQ and reverb effect, feature combined XLR/TRS jacks able to take microphone or instrument input. There's a mono/stereo Line-In channel with 0.25-inch jack input, and a stereo audio-in channel for Roland's i-CUBE LINK functionality via the included cable for two-way comms with an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running Roland's Cube Jam app. The unit also offers an additional Aux-In port to the rear for an extra mono device.
Though there are other battery-powered amps on the market, Roland says that unique proprietary power circuitry allows the Street EX to offer clean headroom and audio reproduction at an unmatched level of quality. It has the same angled shape as the earlier model, which is said to offer good outdoor projection, but might be a little awkward to sit on while busking.
An optional speaker stand (ST-A95) is available for wider dispersion, and two Street EX amps can join forces via the Stereo Link function for stereo performance. The unit could also be used as a stage monitor in an external sound system setup courtesy of the included stereo Line-Out jacks.
We've no official word from Roland on availability and pricing, but Sweetwater is currently showing the list price as US$699. You can judge for yourself if it's worth that rather hefty outlay in the video below.
Product page: Roland Cube Street EX