Purchased from: www.Gak.com
Sound — 8
The Guitar I primarily use is a Jackson JS30 Dinky. For those that don't know, this has Jackson brand Passive EMG pickups. I play a diverse amount of genres. This amp has covered all of them to a satisfactory standard. Because this amp has so many different sounds, it has become a bit of a "Jack of all trades, master of none." It will do all of the sounds to a reasonable standard, but none of them are exceptional. I'll go through all the sounds, and say what I think of them. Clean - good round, warm jazzy sound. I think it's a bit flat and lifeless without Chorus and Delay backing it up. Acoustic - if you use it, make sure the gain isn't set past 6. It breaks up ridiculously after this and sounds like a tube amp thats on its way out. Black Panel - good sound, though much louder at the same volume than all the other distortion settings. If I'm playing quietly, I can't set the volume low enough and I have to turn the gain down. Other than that, the tone and clarity of this channel is excellent. Brit Combo - barely use. Good sound of Arctic Monkeys, Dani California-type RHCP distortion. Tweed - great for blues/rock 'n' roll. Perfect Chuck Berry type sound. Classic Stack - Jimi Hendrix sound at lower gain settings, but high gain can just as easily turn it into a Slash-ish type sound. Metal - replicates Maiden's tone pretty well, but only with the gain on 10. I rarely use this setting, prefering the R-Fier setting below. R-Fier - my favourite setting. Bone-Crushing distortion. Replicates the Mesa Boogie sound as well as is possible with a solid state amp. I use this all the time. High volume break-up, happens at about 6 on the clean channel and about 8 on the distortion, which is fair enough. I mean it's only 30w for cryin' out loud. It's perfectly loud enough to practice with a band, or by yourself at home. Noise is an issue if you have on of the following installed or turned on where you play. I've heard rumours that a surge protected plug extension can solve this. Never tried it though. I've given it an 8 because the noise is mildly annoying, and clean channel breaks up at to low a volume for me. All the effects on this amp are the same as the Boss stomp boxes you can get. Listen to the sound samples of those for an idea of the effects' sound.
Overall Impression — 8
This is the only amp I currently own, though I am shopping around for a tube combo. If it were stolen or lost, I would buy it again, simply for the purpose of a practice and backup amp. I love it's reliability and diversity, but I hate it's flat clean channel and retarded acoustic setting. My favourite feature is the Chorus effect, which saves the clean channel's arse. Don't get me wrong. I have judged this amp quite harshly. I'm sure if you're looking at this and wish to buy a cube, you don't want to see how brilliant it is, you want to see what it's weak points are, so that you can judge it accurately. In my honest opinion, this is the best practice amp you can buy at this price. Sure, it's not genre specific, but for a guitarist who likes to branch out into many different styles, this amp will respond to your every need. It's solid, dependable and I recommend you buy it. I give it an 8, because against other amps I have played it is beaten. However, the amps that beat it are double the price, so I forgive it.
Reliability & Durability — 10
If there was a Nuclear War, my Roland Cube would survive. I commute over 30 miles to school on the train. This amp goes with me and has survived rain, sleet and snow, not to mention rush hour packed trains with people kicking and tripping over it. Make sure you register it with Roland when you buy it. Otherwise, in the unlikely event it does break, they'll drop you like a bad habit. I would, and have gigged with this amp without a backup. On one occasion our lead guitarist's amp broke and a friend lent him one of these to play with. He said he preferred the response, and his amp was a Laney LC-30 Tube.