Price paid: $ 125
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
First off, I play mostly "classic" metal. Stuff such as early Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, early Ozzy, and for more modern needs, a little Dream Theater or Chevelle, to stuff like Pink Floyd. All played on a MIM Standard Fat Strat. So obviously, quite a wide variety of tone's to be covered. This little amp can do it though. On the R-Fier (Mesa Recto model) absolute metal goodness ensues. This channel is the star of the microcube. It is just a touch to modern for my tastes, but sounds amazing. Even with the small speaker, low chugging has balls. Turning the model knob around to the "Classic Stack" (A JMP 1987 Marshall model), you end up with a strange tone. I would say its just a little to dark and low-ended for my tastes. You could probably EQ that out or use a boost to remove that, but it's disappointing. The next model, the "Brit Combo" (AC30 Model) is quite a good one. A very wide variety of tones can be had here, just using the gain knob. It really "cleans up"- for lack of a better term, on lower gain. Next is the "Black Panel" (Black Face Fender IIRC) is another good one. Has a somewhat nice and somewhat bluesy tone, as it should. With a Little Big Muff (Used to prevent the horrible solid state clipping, you have to be carefull with it) you can get a decent WYWH-Pink Floyd type of tone. And then there is the JC Clean (Based on the Roland Jazz Chorus 120) setting, and it is CLEAN. And I do mean CLEAN. And an Acoustic setting for extra- Though I dont use it to terribly much, just cause I have no real use for it. All in all though, if your looking for a good little metal amp for practice, this is what you want (Or a bigger Cube if need be).
Overall Impression — 9
When I purchased this amp around a year ago I was forced to try a Spider III, against this (Pesky salesmen). The Spider was MORE expensive and had fewer settings, coupled with the fact that they all sounded VERY digital. Since then, The Peavey Vypyrs have come out. I played on one of them, and honestly I still thought the MicroCube was better. However, the Vypyr did have a 3 band EQ and more options interms of getting a more classic metal tone. But all in all, the Cube's R-Fier setting is more than enough to justify this thing. If it were stolen, well, I'd definantly get another one, No Doubt about it. I only wish that it had a more classic metal channel (Along the lines of a JCM 800 maybe) and a EQ of some sorts. However, you could always just buy a EQ pedal any ways, as you'll have use for something like that with almost any amp. In terms of small convenient practice amps, this guy is still the king. Will honestly make you wonder why people buy the more expensive and less feature packed Spiders.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Well, as a small solid state practice amp this thing requires basically no maintenance at all. I've yet to have a single problem with the amp crapping out on me. However, as loud as it is with the small speaker it has, I'm sure you could probably blow out the speaker- though you'd have to be crazy to try.
Features — 8
The Roland Microcube. Simple little solid state practice amp, and that's about it. Features 6 different models of classic amps. No foot Switch though. No eq, instead you change the dynamics of the amp using the "Tone" control, which actually makes a huge difference on the tone. Headphone/Recording out for silent practice. Knobs for Gain and Volume also. Several onboard effects, such as flanger, phaser, tremolo, reverb and delay. I do however wish that there was an EQ rather than the effects, as I find only the reverb and delay are usable. Also can use battery power- yet to use that though.