Sound — 9
I use this amp primarily for practicing in the home environment, with my electric (Yamaha SG1500) and electro acoustic (Yamaha APX-5C) and have found it to give a true, clear tone with no noise at 'domestic' volume levels. The seven amp modelling choices give an amazing array of sounds, from bell-like cleanliness to out and out buzzsaw distortion, via low-down and dirty blues overdrive and mellow jazzy sounds too. The eq is excellent - bright tones in the upper and middle ranges, with superb bass for the size of the box. The effects are wide ranging, and work well, but need to be applied subtly (as with any fx!) - chorus, flanger, phaser, tremolo are 'bundled' into one pot with separate Delay/Reverb combined on another. Frankly a little bit of chorus and delay is as far as I'd go with it.
Overall Impression — 9
I play solo folk acoustic guitar, some electric jazz, through to 60's/70's/80's and beyond, covers and original, with a wide array of clean and overdriven tones. All these are easy to get with the Micro Cube. I've been playing on and off for over 30 years. I would replace this amp, probably like-for-like - I have looked at other alternatives while writing this and for what I want it's still the ideal choice. Not only does it cover many bases, it does each of them to a high standard. Favourite features: - built like a tank. The tough-as-teak grille, the extended corner protectors, and the knobs are recessed for added protection - The tuner - and how it's implemented. One tap on the easily-found button gives a clear note to tune to. The added options (Abb(G), Ab, and A) are real clues that the product has been designed in depth with usability in mind - battery life - awesome. Power to busk all day long on one set. Battery changeover is quick - the compartment cover clips off and on easily and positively. I wonder, given the likely application, if a nice little extra would be a little tether or hinge to prevent losing the cover? - power supply included - high quality jacks - variation in sound - strap connectors & strap included. The connection points are standard guitar strap so you could add something of your own choice if desired Slight concerns - placement of power switch - effects are a bit ott and need to be used with restraint - but I guess that's the same with most fx units!?
Reliability & Durability — 10
I think this is made so well that it would 'bounce' and still work. It has proper rubber feet which provide stability as well as helping with the sound. The aforementioned robustness of the grille, corners, jacks, and the cabinet itself ooze toughness. So, I would certainly use this without backup. I've never had a moment's problem with it in about 4 years of ownership. One of the 7 amp choices is designed for a dynamic mic, adding further durability and versatility. It behaved beautifully with my Shure SM58.
Features — 10
We have here a mains or battery operated guitar combo. The 2 watts rating belies the little beast inside that thumps away via a 5" speaker. For busking, home recording, or a 'coffee shop' gig this really provides ample volume and power to knock your socks off considering its size and weight of 3.3kg (the dimensions are: 25 x 23 x 17cm) The metal speaker grille would withstand a kicking from Mike Tyson (it should be the law that all speaker grilles are made this way!), and the all-round cabinet construction is generally very robust. The corner protectors are chunky and extend from back to front. I'm sure I could stand on top of it and not damage it in any way. I'm not going to try tho! The rear panel features both a rec out|phones output (yes!) and an aux input (yes again!). In addition to some of the their features, these elevate the MicroCube as a useful studio tool as well as a busker's dream. The dc connection and power switch are also located here. The unit is so well thought-out I can only assume the power switch - located on the rear panel and invisible when you're using the amp - was not placed where it is at random, but that's what it feels like to me... I would have preferred it on the top, but perhaps its' placement is to prevent accidental switch-off when adjusting the other controls? Yet equally if you have the amp strapped to you, I could see the power switch being accidentally tripped. Whatever, while it's ok, it's just a little disappointing compared with the overall quality of the unit.