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Old November 16th, 2010, 11:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Impressed by the Cube. 80X or 80XL

I played a Roland Cube 80X the other day and was really blown away by the clean blackface and tweed tones, especially with all of the low-end thump.

I'm thinking about getting the 80X, but I know that the new 80XL is out now.

It seems like Boss occasionally updates their COSM technology; they apparently updated the amp models between the cube 60 and 80 and (unlike some), I really prefer the 80. Does anyone know whether the 80XL reflects a similar jump in modeling quality over the 80X? If there is a tradeoff, I'd rather take the better amp models over other "features."

The only other additions of the 80XL are:

1) an "extreme" model that I will never use;
2) a "heavy octave" effect that I will never use;
3) 80-second looper instead of 40 - I probably wouldn't notice;
4) NOTE - the new 80XL's delay section only has "delay" and "looper," while the old 80X has both "warm" (analog) and "clear" (digital) delay, as well as a looper.

Anybody compare the two?

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Old November 16th, 2010, 12:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Anyone?
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Old November 16th, 2010, 12:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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No idea, but I know the 80 is getting a lot cheaper over this side of the pond now the xl is out..
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 11:48 AM   #4 (permalink)
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My new Cube 80XL just arrived last night. The other guitar player in our band is using an 80X. After every practice I'd A/B it against my aging Fender Deluxe 85 (solid state) It really blows the Fender away. I'd been on the fence about purchasing the 80X...but I was waiting for a sale. Then I saw the new 80XL for $50 less and that tipped the scale.

I haven't had a chance to play it beside my bandmates yet for comparison which will be the true test. My initial feeling is that the existing amp models haven't changed...they just added the "Extreme" model....which I'll never use either. If I find out anything different after next practice, I'll update this.

The classic Fender models are okay, but they still pale in comparison to my real vintage Super Reverb. (If it only didn't weigh 70lbs) The fact is that I'm really impressed with the JC Clean channel...and that was the selling point for me. At gigs, I'll most likely set up the clean channel to my taste and continue to use my dinosaur Korg G3 stomp box for effects.

It's not that I don't like Rolands on-board effects..I do....but without a master volume, channel switching amps are a PITA at gigs. (are you listening Roland?) The Cube 80X and 80XL effectively have 3 channels: Clean, Lead, and Solo. You can program one setting each from the Clean and Lead channels into the Solo channel giving you 4 settings to choose from: Clean, Clean saved to Solo, Lead, Lead saved to Solo. The problem for live situations is that there are 3 volume controls to balance. That's all well and good until the bar owner comes and tells you to turn down. Now you have to re-adjust everything mid-set. Since I'm the only guitar and frequently switch effects mid-song, it's crucial that the relative volumes are properly balanced.

For me, I intend to find one amp setting I like...whether I use an amp model or the clean channel is yet to be determined...and continue to use my stomp box. The on-board effects will be handy for practice and at home so I don't have to set up the stomp box.

Bottom line is that after one day of fussing with the 80XL, I'm very impressed and have yet to find a difference between it and the 80X that matters to me. At $349 for the 80XL and $399 for the 80X...well it's a no-brainer for me.
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 02:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks Tommymc. Let me know your observations as time goes by.

I spent another 30 minutes playing an 80x in the back room of a music shop last night. I'm still really impressed with the Twin, Deluxe, Tweed, and Marshall clean tones. I'm not a huge fan of them when they distort, they're ok, but not as good as a tube amp. I also REALLY like how HUGE it sounds, maybe that's just because I've never had a closed-back amp before and I'm always maxing the bass on my Fenders. Also, I love that you can get a consistent tone at different volumes.

It definitely covers a lot of bases pretty well, but I'm wondering if I'd rather pocket the $400 and use it toward an amp that does one thing (blackface) perfectly.
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Old December 1st, 2010, 12:04 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I went to practice tonight and had a chance to A/B my 80XL against my buddies 80X. I sat the amps side by side and put the controls at the same settings. I didn't go through all the amp models, but I can tell you that the Black Panel sounded identical. There are a few cosmetic differences. The control panel on the 80XL has different colors. The grill on the 80XL is a little more silver colored and the plastic corner pieces are a different pattern. The big surprise was that I actually used the Heavy Octave setting and it sounded great. If you like the 80X, then either wait for the inevitable price drop, or grab the 80XL.

I hear you about saving for a real blackface. My Fender Super Reverb is a blackface curcuit and hard to beat...but most of the time it sits at home. It's heavy and high maintenance. I usually gig with my Deluxe 85 but it's 25 years old and has a few issues. I got the 80XL to replace it as my main gig amp. I guess a man really needs both.....
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Old December 1st, 2010, 01:15 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Haven't heard of the XL, but I have a Cube 80X, and a Cube 60. Since I got the 60, the 80X has been my basement noodling amp. It has not left the house for a gig in many months. I gig the 60 a couple of nights a week.

I dig the 60 more mostly because the eq is so much more useable IMO. My 80X has SOOOO much bass I have to run the bass control almost off or it gets so woofy it really doesn't sound good. The 60 has a ton of bass on tap, but seems to be less low end heavy over all, so when you blend it in, it really works right.

I don't miss the extra features on the 80X live either. I just never use them. I set my 60 on Tweed, clean, dial in the reverb and eq, and that's that.

I honestly think the 60 sounds way more like a regular amp. I bought it to be a backup to my 80X, and really didn't think there would be a noticeable difference. I couldn't have been more wrong.

That said, if the 80's are tripping your trigger, then ride that wave man. I think all of them, the 60, and the 80X, and if it's voiced similarly the 80XL, are great and highly giggable amps. You simply can't beat the Cube series for a size and portability/volume and tone ratio.
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Old December 1st, 2010, 04:29 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm not trying to rain on the thread, I'm just adding my experience.

I've had a Cube60 for years and I like it, although I think some component is wearing out since there's a roughness to the sound that wasn't there before.

I got a Cube80x last year after being impressed in the shop but I soon sold it on. You could get some good sounds but somehow they never blended in to a band properly. Tried it at 3 gigs and gave up.

And the EQ drove me nuts. When I adjust a bass knob I just want to add or remove the bass. I don't want it to alter the way the midrange and treble knobs function as well. That made on-the-fly onstage adjustments nigh on impossible.

Not for me.
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Old December 1st, 2010, 07:47 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jakedog View Post
Haven't heard of the XL, but I have a Cube 80X, and a Cube 60. Since I got the 60, the 80X has been my basement noodling amp. It has not left the house for a gig in many months. I gig the 60 a couple of nights a week.

I dig the 60 more mostly because the eq is so much more useable IMO. My 80X has SOOOO much bass I have to run the bass control almost off or it gets so woofy it really doesn't sound good. The 60 has a ton of bass on tap, but seems to be less low end heavy over all, so when you blend it in, it really works right.

I don't miss the extra features on the 80X live either. I just never use them. I set my 60 on Tweed, clean, dial in the reverb and eq, and that's that.

I honestly think the 60 sounds way more like a regular amp. I bought it to be a backup to my 80X, and really didn't think there would be a noticeable difference. I couldn't have been more wrong.

That said, if the 80's are tripping your trigger, then ride that wave man. I think all of them, the 60, and the 80X, and if it's voiced similarly the 80XL, are great and highly giggable amps. You simply can't beat the Cube series for a size and portability/volume and tone ratio.
Thats interesting Jakedog. As someone who has both, is there any real discernible difference in volume between the two? 60-80 SS watts isnt a great jump and Id be surprised if I could tell any difference..
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Old December 1st, 2010, 09:29 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Thats interesting Jakedog. As someone who has both, is there any real discernible difference in volume between the two? 60-80 SS watts isnt a great jump and Id be surprised if I could tell any difference..
I have not noticed a discernible volume difference. The 60 is capable of ridiculous volumes on the modeling channel. I run it almost exclusively on the "Tweed" setting, and I have never had to run the master over 50%, even in a big venue like the House of Blues. I personally think the power increase to 80 watts was only done to sell amps to people who looked at the "60 watt" label and decided it wouldn't be enough. Yikes it's loud.
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Old December 1st, 2010, 09:50 AM   #11 (permalink)
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There is a common misunderstanding regarding the Cube 80X eq settings, which Roland changed from the 60.

Here is a link to some tips on how to shape the sound. It's in German, but I'm sure you'll figure it out.
http://www.soundsderhelden.de/download/SDH-Cube-80X.pdf
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Old December 1st, 2010, 10:55 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Does the difference between the 60 and 80X have anything to do with the cabinet ports? The 30 and 60 both have/had a round port in one corner. I noticed that the 80X has two small slit ports above the speaker. Does this matter?
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Old December 1st, 2010, 11:40 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I am very close to pulling the trigger on the 80XL. The looping and ability to run my MP3 thru it is very appealing for my practicing purposes. Keep the opinions coming!
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Old December 1st, 2010, 12:09 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I've had a Dr. Z and some other great amps. The Cube probably doesn't get you that quality of tone, but honestly, it is surprisingly good. I love the size and that it produces such a HUGE tone with lots of bass on tap; I've always been frustrated by Fender amps that never provide good low end.

Side by side, I preferred a 30 over the 80X. I'm not sure if it was the 10" speaker over the 12", the bigger round port over the two small slits on the 80X, or all of the above. That's why I wander if the 80XL has a round port that might make it closer to the 30 and 60 that everyone likes so much.
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Old December 1st, 2010, 01:02 PM   #15 (permalink)
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There is a common misunderstanding regarding the Cube 80X eq settings, which Roland changed from the 60.

Here is a link to some tips on how to shape the sound. It's in German, but I'm sure you'll figure it out.
http://www.soundsderhelden.de/download/SDH-Cube-80X.pdf
Had a look, and I can't see how that would help you when you want to make a subtle adjustment halfway thru a gig...or change to a different amp model....and you can't because your EQ will go haywire.
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Old December 1st, 2010, 05:35 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I have one of the micro cubes. I am blown away at how good that thing sounds. I would try running it into the PA if the thing had a foot switch. Do the larger models include a foot switch?
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Old December 1st, 2010, 06:01 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I found a mint condition Cube 60 on craigslist for $150 and haven't looked back. Very happy with the Blackface high volume clean tones. But I understand you've compared them and like the 80 better. TEHO.
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 09:32 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Had a look, and I can't see how that would help you when you want to make a subtle adjustment halfway thru a gig...or change to a different amp model....and you can't because your EQ will go haywire.
This is just a starting point to figure out how the eq settings differ from most other amps (including the 60). You'll notice that everything starts at 0, and then works it's way up, while the 60 would start at "noon" and then go left or right.

There actually is a way to change eq through a song, and it's by using the "solo" funtion. It will store all the settings (eq, efx) and then you can switch back and forth. Although, I think it can only use an emulated amp model, not the JC.
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 09:47 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I have one of the micro cubes. I am blown away at how good that thing sounds. I would try running it into the PA if the thing had a foot switch. Do the larger models include a foot switch?
Unfortunatley they don't include them and sometimes a footswitch is essential to using all the features.
Instead of getting the expensive BOSS FS models, which only run on batteries, I got mine from Voodooman who build rugged custom switches for almost any kind of amp and they include an AC adapter.

You can see mine at the bottom right corner of this pic.


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Old December 2nd, 2010, 02:40 PM   #20 (permalink)
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This is just a starting point to figure out how the eq settings differ from most other amps (including the 60). You'll notice that everything starts at 0, and then works it's way up, while the 60 would start at "noon" and then go left or right.

There actually is a way to change eq through a song, and it's by using the "solo" funtion. It will store all the settings (eq, efx) and then you can switch back and forth. Although, I think it can only use an emulated amp model, not the JC.
Yes, I realised that. Some settings worked best with the bass way down around 1 or 2.
But my point is that sometimes you need to make adjustments in live situations. What sounds right at home or even at a soundcheck doesn't necessarily work ideally mid-gig. And if you can't just add a bit of midrange or bass without throwing the whole EQ out then it simply isn't a suitable arrangement IMO. I need controls that work independently...not interactively.
I'm not being stupid or a luddite....I just don't like such an EQ system and I'll never again purchase an amp that uses it.
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