One of Roland’s many new products for 2012 is the GA-112 – a COSM-based guitar combo using the company’s modelling technology to come up with a sound all of its own.
The GA-112 – as well as its larger 2 x 12″ brother, the GA-212 – utilises a specially designed COSM-model called Progressive Amp. Progressive Amp promises to give you the full scale of possible amp tones – from ultra-clean all the way to bone-crushingly dirty – from a single digital amp model, using only the gain-control and the combo’s EQ.
The 100-Watt Roland GA-112’s (current price in Finland: 844 €) looks combine many features from older Roland guitar amps.
The front panel is somewhat reminiscent of the legendary Jazz Chorus combo, while the cabinet’s black vinyl cover, as well as the extremely sturdy metal speaker grille have been borrowed from the company’s long-running Cube-range.
The GA-112’s chunky plastic corner protectors are designed to withstand the rough life of a gigging amplifier.
This Roland is equipped with a fully-digital preamp section offering a whopping five channels – four user-storable selections, plus the current control knob settings in Manual-mode.
Regardless of all the digital circuitry inside, the GA-112’s front panel is very clean and easy to understand. All push-buttons are backlit, and all the knobs for storable parameters (meaning all, but the Master Volume) have been equipped with red position LEDs. This combo’s settings are easy to read even on a completely darkened stage.
Apart from its two input jacks, the front section offers two buttons – Boost and Voice, which adds a slight loudness EQ-curve to the signal.
The Progressive Amp -section’s oblong LED-indicator is a great way to keep you in the picture in regard to the character of the current amp channel/settings, by changing its colour according to the gain setting. A green light, for example, tells you that you are paddling safely in totally clean waters, while purple or white means you are sailing close to distortion meltdown.
The EQ-section is a three-band affair with an added mid-boost for fattening up your tone.
Before travelling onward to the Presence- and reverb-controls your signal can be send to either or both of the GA-112’s effect loops. Both loops’ on/off-status is stored channel-specifically along with all the other channel data, which means that changing channels also automatically switches the loops on or off.
The GA-combo’s only internal effect is its lushly-voiced digital reverb.
Roland’s GA-112 stores all changes to one channel’s settings automatically each time you switch to another channel, which makes the combo quite intuitive to work with.
The effect loops have been placed alongside all the other connectors on the back panel.
You can choose between a parallel and a series signal path for each loop, and set the correct nominal signal level (-10 dB or +4 dB) for your chosen outboard effects.
The back panel also gives you a tuner output and a line level output for connection to a mixer. You can also daisy-chain two GA-112s for large venues.
For full switching control on-stage you have to buy Roland’s own GA-FC-footcontroller, which allows you to switch channels, turn the boost on or off, as well as switch on/off the effect loops and the reverb.
It would have been a nice move, though, if Roland had included a simple up/down-footswitch for channel-switching with the amp.
Roland’s GA-112 isn’t your traditional modelling amp, as it doesn’t feature heaps of different models of famous amps, vintage and new, or loads of different internal effects. The approach has been radically different here.
The GA-112’s main advantages are its healthy basic sound, as well as the Progressive Amp’s huge versatility and tweakability, giving you everything from totally clean to full-on metal.
The Roland isn’t about the authenticity of vintage amp models when compared to the physical originals from yesteryear. This is a modelling amp that isn’t modelling any specific amps, but uses it digital power to offer the guitarist a blank canvas with a large palette of colours.
The Roland GA-112 makes a great job of offering most guitarists their sound with the minimal amount of fuss and a practically flat learning curve.
Warm Jazz-cleans or biting Country-picking can be dialled in in no time. Organic and dynamically rich Trad Blues and Seventies Rock can also be had. And the GA-112’s merciless Metal-riffing will have you headbanging until the janitor takes the main fuse hostage.
Roland’s two switching effect loops open up many interesting possiblilities for seasoning your tones.
I suggest you make a beeline for your nearest Roland-dealer, if you are interested in making the GA-112 your personal command centre on-stage or in the studio.
Here are a couple of examples using the Roland GA-112 without any external effects:
Finnish distribution: Roland Scandinavia
+ basic sound
+ extremely wide scale of gain
+ two effect loops
+ sturdy build
– footcontroller optional