Micro Cube review by Roland

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  • Sound: 6
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.5 Good
  • Users' score: 8.7 (331 votes)
Roland: Micro Cube

Price paid: € 98

Purchased from: DLX Music (Finland)

Sound — 6
I'm using two guitars with it: Charvel So-Cal and Epiphone Les Paul Standard. My main music style is hard rock. I play stuff like Van Halen, AC/DC, Guns N' Roses, Metallica etc. It suits my music style well and it's very good sounding for so small practice amp. Because of it's a modeling amp it has much more variety than only rock. I think you can play any style you want with it. It's pretty quiet amp so there's no noise but when I'm playing with my Charvel that has high output pickups I get feedback very easily, especially when my gain is full and there's enough volume. With the LP it's harder to get feedback. It can get muddy on clean settings when using neck pickup and I don't like it. Micro Cube doesn't take distortion/other amp modeling pedals well. I have tried. If I want to use my RP355 with it I plug it into the aux input. Otherwise it sounds like crap if I'm using any distortion pedal or amp model with it. The Micro Cube sounds the best with volume at 9 o'clock and when you turn it up past 12 o'clock the volume level doesn't increase any more but it starts hissing more. So I would keep it from 9 to 12 o'clock. That's where it sounds the best. The sound is pretty flat when it's at lower than 9 o'clock and gets rich and full at 9 o'clock. When the volume is full, it's pretty loud for bedroom use but it's too quiet for band practice. You won't be heard over a drummer. I'm going to tell you about the amp models and effects: So my settings are tone: full, volume: 9 o'clock, gain: almost always full, guitar volume and tone: full (my Charvel doesn't even have a tone knob). Amps: Acoustic: This thing hisses a lot so I don't use it and I think it doesn't even sound like a real acoustic, not even close. My DigiTech RP355 has much better Acoustic simulator. JC-clean: Modeled after Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus. This is a nice clean sound that stays clean at any gain or volume level. It sounds the best when gain is full and I recommend you to keep the gain at full when playing with clean amp models. Add some chorus and it sounds much better. Without chorus it's okay but I think this thing needs chorus. Black Panel: Modeled after Fender Twin Reverb. This sound is a bit dirtier than JC-clean but it stays clean. You'll only get slightly distorted sound if you play your guitar very hard. This sound is pretty cool but I rather use JC-clean. It suits my style better. This is more like a blues amp model. Brit Combo: Modeled after Vox AC30. This model can be used for overdrive and clean: Turn the gain all the way down and you'll get a clean sound and all the way up you'll get an overdriven sound. This is another model that I don't use that much. It's more like for blues and classic rock players. Classic Stack: Modeled after Marshall 1987. This sound is my favorite. It gives me the hard rock sound that I need for Van Halen, AC/DC and Guns N' Roses kind of stuff. It can play some Metallica, too. When you turn the gain all the way down, you'll get a dirty clean sound and sometimes this amp model is all I need. The dirty clean fits my style well and you can add chorus to get it a bit cleaner sounding. I can get almost exactly the same sound with this model as on Van Halen's "Women In Love" intro. With my Charvel I use both pickups and the amp has chorus and delay on, gain turned all the way down. When gain is full this is great model for 80's hard rock and for AC/DC and you can play both leads and rhythm with it. R-Fier: The most brutal distortion model, modeled after Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier. Previously I used this model a lot but now I don't play that much metal. I use this model when I need a bit more punch than the Classic Stack can offer. It's an OK sound and does its job. This is the only model that can get noisy and that happens only with my Charvel. Mic: This model is for microphone but when I plug my guitar and use this model I get a distortion sound when gain is at full. I haven't tried it with microphone yet. But I'm not going to use this amp as a mic amp so I don't really need this model. Effects: The effects are made by BOSS. Chorus: This effect makes your clean sound cooler. It adds a detuned sound that is near the original signal. My favorite effect when played on clean but with distortion I don't use it. The clean needs this effect. The chorus in this amp sounds good and better than my RP355's. Flanger: Works the same way as chorus but is kind of stronger. I haven't found use for this effect. What can I say? It's a flanger and does a flanging effect and does it well. Phaser: This is also same kind of effect as chorus and flanger. I use this rather than flanger. It's a nice effect and when played on clean you will get very nice sounds. But for distortion I wish they had modeled this effect before the distortion and not in the FX loop because the phasing is too strong and you won't get that Van Halen lead sound (like on "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love"). Tremolo: This effect creates fast volume fade ins and outs so it sounds like tremolo. Another effect that I don't use. It would be nice if this effect weren't so strong, the volume fades out too much. I would like a milder tremolo. Delay: This is an echo effect and it's very useful. Pretty good sounding but you can only change the delay time so you can't change the repeats or delay level. Reverb: Another kind of echo effect. I don't use any sounds without reverb or delay. But when I use reverb there must be only a bit of it because when you turn it up your sound gets muddy. All in all a very good sounding Classic Stack distortion, JC-clean and chorus effect. Some disappointments like Acoustic Simulator and some models I don't need. The sound is too bassy when your amp tone is lower than full and especially when using headphones. If I need headphones, I'm using my RP355. The Micro Cube sound compared to RP355 is more natural and less digital. Sound is very good for a 2 watt practice amp but there's some useless amps and effects and a horrible Acoustic simulator.

Overall Impression — 9
As I've said before this is a practice amp and does its job very well. This was my first amp and I got it as a present. I have to admit that if I could have chosen my first amp I would have bought Line 6 Spider because two years ago I knew nothing about amps (our school had a Spider and back then I thought it sounded good, now it sounds too digital for me). I have no other amps and I would like to buy a new amp but I don't have money because I spent almost all my money in the Charvel. I have been playing for a bit over two years now and I own two electric guitars, DigiTech RP355 that I use for headphone playing and recording and Micro Cube of course. If I had been buying this product I would have asked about the Acoustic simulator. I think it's broken or something because everybody else says it sounds very good in their Micro Cubes. So it's the feature I hate the most. There are also features that I don't use as I said before. The best feature is that you can take it wherever you want, it's so small and you can run it with batteries so you can play it in some places that don't even have power outlets near. If it were stolen I would buy some bigger amp, most likely a non-digital amp. As I've said this amp could have a 3 band eq instead of only one tone knob (that I never turn lower than full) and they could have had an independent control for reverb. There could have been some more effects like compressor and some effect tweaking knobs (like delay level/delay time/delay repeats) but how could they have fit in this tiny amp? All in all Micro Cube is a tiny but great sounding practice amp packed with good features. I recommend you to buy it as your first amp or if you travel a lot and always want to have your amp with you. Good features, good sound, I'm very impressed of that coming from so small amp.

Reliability & Durability — 8
It's very dependable. I have had it for over 2 years without any problems. But don't even think about gigging with it. This thing is a practice amp, not a gigging amp! And I would suggest using the ac-adapter every time you can. I haven't tried using batteries with it but I wouldn't depend on batteries. Ungiggable but very dependable.

Features — 7
Micro Cube is a solid state modeling amp. It was made in China but I don't know the year. I got it in 2009 so I guess it was made between 2007 and 2009. There's an option to run it with batteries or ac-adapter. It's a one-channel amp with six amp models and one model for microphone. It has four effects on the "efx" knob and two effects on the "delay/reverb" knob. It also has tone and volume knob, headphone jack and line in. It has 2 watts of power and a 5 inch speaker. Oh, and there's also a tuning fork that plays A, Ab or G. The features are pretty good but I wish it had a 3 band eq and at least two channels or memory slots (for example one for clean and the other for distortion). I'll tell you more about the features later. Due to good features but the lack of 3 band eq and memory slots I'll give it a 7.

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