Roland Cube 15XL, a 15 watt all analog solid state guitar amp with an 8" speaker, 3 band eq (Low, Mid, High), 2 channels, clean and lead. The lead channel is split onto 4 different voicings: overdrive, distortion, metal zone and extreme.
Cube 15XLRecently reviewed by: JackSaints, on april 20, 2015 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Price paid: £ 80
Purchased from: Don't know
Features: The Roland Cube 15XL is a solid state 15 watt combo amp. There is, however, a power squeezer to lower the wattage. It's easy to get bedroom level volumes without the squeezer, so I don't really see the point in it. The amp has two channels, clean and lead, which you can swap between by pushing a button. There's no channel-switching pedal, which can be annoying. You only have the standard 3 band EQ of bass, middle and treble, although the lead channel also has a gain knob. The Lead channel is actually just the dirt channel. You can switch it between Overdrive, Distortion, Metal Zone and Extreme. It's pretty basic and simple, all in all. // 6
Sound: Alone, the clean channel is a bit bland and boring. With effects, however, it can sound quite nice. I've used flanger, phaser and chorus effects on this amp and they make it sound a whole lot better. Turning the volume up too high will make it sound pretty terrible, but with a tiny little speaker what do you expect?
The lead channel, on the other hand tends to sound rubbish whatever voicing you use. The weakest of the dirt options (overdrive) sounds... Well, weak. The dirtiest of the dirt options sounds too muddy. There's no real in between. Also, using distortion pedals on the clean channel doesn't tend to give any good tones, either. Of course, nobody in their right mind would expect to get a quality metal sound from a 15 watt solid state amp. Overall, I'd say this amp is good for spacey cleans, funk and blues and not much else. // 6
Reliability & Durability: This was the first amp I ever got, and it's about 5 or 6 years old, but still in great condition. As long as you don't throw it around or attack it with a crowbar, it's likely to stay in good condition for many years. I don't think it's been so much as scratched in all the time I've had it. I've only ever used this for practice and it was probably only designed for practice, but you could gig with it, assuming it was miced up. In fact, I actually saw someone gig with one, once. It looked a bit out of place, on a stage featuring some high-cost tube amps. // 9
Overall Impression: I play different styles of metal (from low doom to a more classic, scooped mid tone), along with spacey cleans, but when I first got this amp I was still learning guitar and was mostly playing blues and funk. This amp suited those styles quite well, but as I started turning towards high gain territory it stopped being useful. These days, I only use this amp as a speaker for when I play along to a drum machine, but for a beginner amp it isn't bad at all. It's a reliable little thing, although as the other review says, I think it could do with reverb/a channel-swapping footswitch. // 7
lukcuturic97, on july 17, 2014 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Price paid: € 99
Purchased from: Feedback
Features: Roland Cube 15XL, a 15 watt all analog solid state guitar amp with an 8" speaker, 3 band eq (Low, Mid, High), 2 channels, clean and lead. The lead channel is split onto 4 different voicings: overdrive, distortion, metal zone and extreme. It also has an aux in (which can be used as an input too), headphone/recording out and a power squeezer button to attenuate the amps wattage from 15 watts to 2 watts. It has no effects onboard and you can't attach a footswitch to switch from the clean to lead channel. // 7
Sound: The clean tone is very nice on Cubes. My guitar teacher uses one when he plays jazz, it also fits great with bluesy type of stuff. A single coil guitar sound very, very good on the clean channel. You can get a very nice Jimmy Page type tone on the Cube's clean channel. Onto the lead channel. I can't find a good use for the overdrive voicing on this amp. It sounds too boxy. I've even tried a couple pedals, but it doesn't get any better. The distortion voicing sounds pretty okay, but it is not enough for my needs. If you're looking for a low gain, classic rock distortion, then the distortion voicing is the way to go. The metal zone channel is pretty bad in my opinion (just like the pedal). Too harsh, nasally and doesn't sustain, even with my Epiphone Les Paul Standard with new strings on it. The extreme channel is a bit better, but it has a stupid amount of high end, but if you fiddle with the eq and your guitar's tone knob, you can get a very nice sound on it. Because I live in an apartment, I keep the power squeezer on all the time, bass around 11 o'clock, mids at 12 o'clock and high between 1 and 2 o'clock. The gain and volume between 10 and 11 o clock. It's still a bit thin but it's decent and usable. The aux in is great, does it's job and when you're playing with distortion, it doesn't distort the aux in. The aux in can also be used as an input, but your guitar will only get cleans (or use pedals). The headphone out is just bad. Recordings don't sound nice either. To put things short, good for cleans, low gain distortion and maybe some metal kind of stuff. // 6
Reliability & Durability: It's a solid state. Of course it's reliable. It never broke down and I doubt it will ever break down. Did never gig with it, just rehearse, but it has never let me down. All the knobs are still on it, everything works perfectly. I have literally no complaints about it. Looking at reliability, it would be gig-proof, but it's only 15 watts, so it's not suited for gigging. Maybe if you mic it. But I wouldn't really recommend that. Besides, it's just a practice amp. You can depend on the amp and use it without a backup, but as I said, it's not an amp for gigging. Only if you have the 60+ watt version. // 8
Overall Impression: I play hard and alternative rock, alternative rock and some bluesy stuff. It doesn't really suit my style, but the amp is not bad at all, just not the sound I'm looking for. I wish it had reverb, a footswitch and maybe an effects loop, but since it's not for gigging, an effects loop isn't very necessary. I love the clean channel and the power attenuator and hate the overdrive and metal zone voicing. If it were stolen, I wouldn't really miss it. I would buy a Blackstar HT-1R instead. Overall, great, reliable practice amp. // 7