Price paid: A$ 649
Purchased from: Roland clearance sale
Features: This is the Roland Cube-100 Bass combo amp, made in 2008. It is my first bass amp. It has a single 12" speaker. I researched bass amps fairly heavily before I purchased this, and one of the reasons was the features, of which there are many. This amp has eight COSM amp models and five on-board digital effects: chorus, flanger, T-wah, delay and reverb. It also has a 4-band EQ, compressor, and shape Switch for detailed sound adjustments. It has a Balanced output and a Line Out, as well as an output to an external speaker. In short, it has a stack of cool features.
I can't really think of any features that it lacks, really. The EQ is precise and accurate, and surprisingly versatile. The amp models are quite acceptable and the effects are satisfactory.
This is a 100 W solid state amp, and it goes loud. I have never gigged with it (I'm not that good at bass just yet) but I would feel comfortable doing it. It currently lives in my room, and shakes the house when I turn it up. // 7
Sound: I use an Ibanez SR505 which has Bartolini active pickups.
When I first plugged in, I was expecting a fairly decent sound, and I was actually amazed at how good the thing sounded. With a bit of tweaking of both the bass's and the amp's EQs, I was able to dial in tight, fast sounds and classic tones and slap tones (well, as much as I can slap and pop!) and it did it all very well. I was pleasantly surprised by how good it sounded. It was the same sort of feeling I got when I heard my Vox AC30 in the flesh for the first time - "damn, this sounds good!" All in all, I am very impressed with the sound, given what I paid for it. I have found no flaws yet.
The tonal variety is good - the 8 amp models add a stack of variety. Some of the models aren't great, but some are. The digital effects sound satisfactory, not that I really use them other than to check them out.
I daresay a lot of the sound quality comes from the bass itself, but boy do these two work together well. I can say that the amp sounds great with a decent bass plugged into it. All in all, this is a very good sounding amp. // 7
Reliability & Durability: This amp has never once done anything untoward. Admittedly, I haven't thrashed it, but it's never been anything other than perfectly reliable. I also own the Roland Cube 60 guitar amp, and they are as reliable as each other. I've gigged the 60 and it's never failed. Based on Roland's reputation as a quality manufacturer, I don't expect this amp to ever go awry. It's solid as a rock and the knobs are well-built and tight. // 7
Impression: Now, I was vary of rating this amp too highly - after all, I own two very good amps so I do know what a good amp sounds like. And this amp is in a different category to a Vox AC30, but even so, I had a bench mark for quality, with the Vox being a 9.5/10 amp.
My overall impression of this amp is very favourable. It's well built, it sounds very good and it's very easy to use. After playing bass for about a year solidly (and sporadically for around 5 years prior to that) I feel that I can judge this fairly well. I am very impressed with this amp.
If I lost it, I probably would replace it with the same thing. I can really only say that about my Vox - my other Cube would probably get replaced with a 10 W Fender amp or something, if it came to it. But I have no intention of getting rid of this amp.
I compared this amp to other 100 W solid state amps, like the Fender Bassman 100, the Fender Rumble 100, the Peavey TKO 115s, the Kustom KBA 100X, the Ibanez SWX100 and Hartke A100. I found that none offered same value for money, sound quality, level of features or build quality as the Roland. I used a Fender Precision bass to test them, but I would imagine that would hold true for more or less any bass guitar.
In conclusion, this amp is a real performer. It's great, without being brilliant, and I genuinely think it's the best value for money bass amp you can get. It's a perfect bridge between someone who is looking for an upgrade, or someone with a bit of extra cash to burn who can afford something a little nicer to learn with. I would recommend it to just about any amateur bassist, as either a primary or backup amp, because it is reasonably cheap, built like a tank, simple to use and sounds very, very good. Go and try one out today. // 8