Review: Roland Cube-10GX

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The new Roland Cube-10GX approaches the company’s popular Cube-concept from a slightly different angle.

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The 10-watt Roland Cube-10GX (Finnish price approx. 125 €) slots into the model range right between the 3-watt Micro Cube GX and the 20-watt Cube-20GX combo.

Despite its very affordable price, the 10GX is built as sturdily as the larger Cube models, featuring chunky corner protectors, and the metal grille typical of this series.

An eight-inch speaker has been installed into the closed-back, front-ported cabinet.

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The backpanel sports connections for DC In (the PSU comes included), Aux In, as well as a combined line level output/headphones jack.

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The Cube-10GX combo’s architecture differs somewhat from the rest of the GX-models:

The 10GX doesn’t feature a built-in tuner or an i-Cube-Link, like the rest of the GX-models, but offers a much more open way of offering its COSM-generated amp models.

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The Cube-10GX lets you choose from a number of different amp models via the new Roland Cube Kit app (Android and iOS). At the moment of writing the app offers eight guitar amp models, plus one bass amp and one amp for acoustic guitar.

Despite the fact that the control panel reads ”Clean”, ”Crunch” and ”Lead”, you can load any of the COSM amp models on offer into any of the amp’s three channels. If you’re a Jazzer, for example, you might prefer to use only clean amps, like Acoustic, JC Clean and Black Panel.

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Let me deal with the ”bad news” first: Sadly, the Cube-10GX offers only a single effect section, in contrast to all the other Cube GX -combos. The 10GX gives you the choice between either a chorus or a delay or a hall reverb or a (very wet) spring reverb. And there are no effect combinations on offer.

The new combo’s main focus lies in the easy-to-swap amp models, and improvements in the sound of both the amp and the COSM-models. For a 10-watter the Cube-10GX is surprisingly loud. Thanks to its much larger speaker the new combo sounds much fuller and more grown up than the Micro Cube.

The updated COSM-models sound noticeably more transparent and fresher, without any additional background hiss or noise. The 10GX’ well-designed three-band EQ section lets you tailor the sound to your requirements.

Loading a new amp model into one of the Cube-10GX’ channels via the Cube Kit app is fast and easy, and doesn’t require any special cables. You only need a fitting mini-jack adapter to hook up the guitar lead to your smartphone (or tablet). All the necessary data is then transmitted from the Android- or iOS-device to the amp via the guitar cable. The whole process takes only a few taps and a couple of seconds.

The factory default has the Jazz Chorus amp model loaded into channel 1. I’m playing my Fender Telecaster with a little chorus added from the combo:

Here’s another Jazz Chorus clip, but this time seasoned with some Surf-type spring reverb:

The Classic Stack model is the factory setting for channel 2. It is Roland’s version of a Marshall-stack. I’ve added some delay for this clip:

I loaded the Brit Combo (AC30) model into channel 2, using the Cube Kit app. I’m playing my Telecaster with some reverb from the combo:

”Orng Stack” stands for Orange-stack. This is what it sounds like, played with my Gibson Melody Maker SG:

The factory default for channel 3 is the R-fier Stack model. First a clip using the Telecaster, and then an example Played with the Melody Maker SG:

The Cube Kit’s Acoustic model provides an easy solution for amplifying your acoustic guitar. I’ve used a Tanglewood dreadnought equipped with a magnetic soundhole pickup by Seymour Duncan:

The Cube-10GX even sounds surprisingly good as a tiny bass combo (all audio clips have been recorded with a Shure SM57):

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Roland’s Cube-10GX (and the cool Cube Kit app) makes it possible to turn this little combo into the amp you really need. A Blues player will probably load his (or her) Cube-10GX with the Black Panel-, Brit Combo-, and Tweed-models, while a Metal guitarist will prefer the chunkier COSM-models on offer (like the Classic-, Metal- and R-fier-stacks).

The Cube-10GX sounds great and is a real little shouter. Despite offering fewer built-in effects than the rest of the GX-range, the Roland Cube-10GX still offers a lot of fun at a very competitive price.

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Roland Cube-10GX

Price range in Finland approx. 125 €

Maahantuoja: Roland Scandinavia

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Pros:

+ fair price

+ powerful

+ wide range of available amp models (via the Cube Kit app)

+ three-band EQ

+ sturdy build

+ sound

Cons:

– only one effect section

spring reverb offers only little scope for adjustment

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