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Blues Cube vs. Boss Katana

Discussion in 'Modeling Amps, Plugins and Apps' started by PDman5150, Jan 31, 2017.

  1. PDman5150

    PDman5150 Tele-Meister

    190
    May 24, 2008
    Allen, TX
    I have been interested in buying a Roland blues cube for a while but now I'm confused. The Boss Katana 50 runs $199 but the Blues Cube Hot is still $499 yet it's based on the same technology, right?

    Same Power attenuation. Hoping the price drops on the cube due to the Katanas but it's not looking like it.

    You would think it would be more since katana has more features.
     

  2. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Englewood, CO
    They are based on the same Tube Logic technology but the Katana amps are IC digitally powered whereas all of the Blues Cubes use discrete analog power sections. Therein lies one of the major differences in cost. The Blues Cubes have plywood cabinetry vs MDF for the Katana which would also contribute to some cost savings and their speakers aren't the same.

    Other than that the Katana is based on an EL34 tube amp circuit and the Blues Cubes on a 6L6 tube amp circuit so their basic voicing will be somewhat different as will the number of internal effects available to the user. The Katana has 55 Boss effects which can be used with up to 15 stored at one time whereas the Blues Cubes have just reverb or reverb and tremolo.

    The Stage and Artist Blues Cubes can accommodate Tone Capsules which can change the basic voicing up the amp to replicate other tube circuits such as EL84s and 6v6 Blackface Fenders whereas the Katana simply has it's one voicing with three added gain stages and an acoustic amp for A/E acoustic amplification. The Blues Cube Hot is replicating early Tweed Amp circuitry and cannot accommodate the Tone Capsules.

    IMHO they're actually designed for different markets and to compliment one another rather than to compete. The Katana will appeal more to users of modeling amps looking for better tonality and simpler operation and some tube amp users looking for a convenient grab and go amp with built in effects. The Blues Cubes would tend to attract the more traditional tube amp user possibly looking to replace an aging tube amp with something more maintenance free and possibly lighter. JMHO
     

  3. PDman5150

    PDman5150 Tele-Meister

    190
    May 24, 2008
    Allen, TX
    What a detailed response. I appreciate that. Blues cube is essentially what I need. I just can't find one locally to demo. Looking for a clean amp to use as a pedal platform. Not a modeler. I'm hoping the clean channel will accept a few higher gain pedals I have (Wampler velvet fuzz, catapulp, jhs Andy timmons). I originally went with a tube amp but it gave me all kinds of problems.
     
    chemobrain and soulman969 like this.

  4. ct_anthony

    ct_anthony Tele-Meister

    102
    Sep 8, 2014
    germany
    The Blues Cube takes pedals extremely well (using the BC Artist with/without Ultimate Blues Tone Capsule and the Angry Charlie myself). Just a hint, when you find one in a store, try the following: put the gain at the edge of breakup (stock amp usually around 3-4 from 12 :D), then activate the boost function and finally kick in any sort of tubescreamer and listen to what it does...
     
    soulman969 likes this.

  5. Grandy

    Grandy Tele-Meister

    156
    Sep 18, 2010
    Finland
    I have to agree with soulman. I've played both at a store and they are both nice amps just different. I would consider what other amps are there for the same price. I would compare the Katana with the regular Cubes, Vox Valvtronix, Fender Mustangs etc. and Blues Cubes with similar tube amps and Tech21 Trademarks and such.
     
    soulman969 likes this.

  6. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Englewood, CO
    I guess what helps in addition to being a fan of Roland amps is that I'm an owner and player of an original Blues Cube 60 and have owned a Cube 40xl.

    The Katana actually replaces the higher powered version of the Cube amps so once those are sold out there will be no 40w and 80w Cubes. There is a very long thread (over 4500 posts) on the Katana amps in The Gear Page forums with comments and demos from many users as well as commentary from Boss/Rolands US Product Manager who also goes into detail about the difference between the two amp concepts. It'll take some time to read through it all but it's informational enough to be worth it. Many of the demos come later in the thread so skip forward if you like.

    Roland has long been known for their powerful cleans and I can say from experience that my BC 60 takes pedals very well. Two of mine are a lower gain Wampler Ecstasy and Fulltone OCD but I also have a Vick Audio Lotus OD that is a higher gain pedal. I call that one Neil Young on steroids because it gives that kind of Tweed amp on 12 breakup that's totally controlled with guitar volume. So yes, the Blues Cubes are great clean pedal platforms but so is the Katana. Both amps produce at their rated wattage as well meaning they both can get quite loud.

    I don't think you could go wrong with either but it seems to me that Boss/Roland has created enough differences between them to make the choice quite clear. If I didn't already have a BC 60 I would lean toward that amp myself but for me having only a head works best since I have speaker cabs. That's why I've decided on the Katana for now.

    Hope all this helps. :)
     

  7. PDman5150

    PDman5150 Tele-Meister

    190
    May 24, 2008
    Allen, TX
    Update. I ended up getting to play a blues cube stage. Had to drive a ways to find one. Sounded much better in person than on any YouTube video. I can see why these are renowned for sounding like a clean tube amp. Could never get the overdrive to sound quite right but if you keep it on the clean channel and use pedals, it sounded great. The only thing with that is I felt like the louder I turned it the more tube like it was so on the .5 wide setting it sounded really blanketed. Like someone threw a towel over the amp. On 15 W motor sounded amazing. Was still a little loud for what I needed so I ended up walking out with a Blackstar HT1R stack.

    If I ever start digging or playing out again I would definitely snag one of these.
     
    soulman969 likes this.

  8. nosignal

    nosignal NEW MEMBER!

    Age:
    32
    2
    Dec 11, 2008
    Eugene, OR
    I've just discovered the blues cube series and the new katana series amps this past week and I'm super intrigued! I've been a tube amp guy for a while, maybe a little skeptical toward solid state amps, but these two amps seem to sound pretty great.

    I've been thinking about upgrading/complimenting my fender excelsior with another amp that has more tone shaping controls. I just moved into an apartment and I'm doing more gear demo videos so the Katana and Blues cube peaked my interest with their sounds and power scaling features.

    The guitar center near me has the katana 100 combo in stock but I can't seem to find any blues cubes near me (Eugene, OR). I love both the fender sound and the marshall sound so whenever I'm ready to pull the trigger, it'll probably be for the katana.
     
    paratus likes this.

  9. PDman5150

    PDman5150 Tele-Meister

    190
    May 24, 2008
    Allen, TX
    I finally got to play both. A guitar center 30 miles away had a blues cube stage. I demoed that for about an hour. Also played Katana. The Blues Cube blew the katana away in regards to authentic tube tone. It sounded incredible for a SS amp. Katana had more features but I didn't care for any of the presets.

    Ended up walking out with a blackstar HT1R stack but that's a whole other story. Still would buy a blues cube if the right deal came up. I even brought in two wampler OD pedals to test with it and blues cube took them well!
     

  10. chris m.

    chris m. Friend of Leo's

    That's the right way to buy an amp. Get an opportunity to play it with your guitar and your favorite pedals. No YouTube video or review will substitute. They are good for your initial market research-- help you narrow it down to a few prime candidates, but you still have to actually play them live before you buy, IMO.
     

  11. Hexabuzz

    Hexabuzz Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 13, 2014
    Northeast PA
    Don't sell the Blues Cube short...

    Fender Deluxe = Ultimate Blues Tone Capsule

    Marshall = Eric Johnson Tone Capsule

    Vox = New York Blues Tone Capsule

    Dumble = Robben Ford Tone Capsule
     
    GrantR likes this.

  12. AnAxeNamedBeverly

    AnAxeNamedBeverly Tele-Meister

    Age:
    39
    282
    Jan 6, 2017
    SC
    Good info in this thread. GASsing for a BC Hot for a while now,
    but if I'm already spending that much maybe I should spend a bit more for a Quilter? Of course if I'm already spending Quilter money maybe I should spend a bit more for a 57 custom champ? It's a slippery slope.
     

  13. songtalk

    songtalk Friend of Leo's

    That Katana is so hot right now.
     

  14. NiceTele

    NiceTele Tele-Holic

    957
    Dec 20, 2012
    Australia
    I had the opposite thing, and walked out with the Katana as I thought it sounded more tubey than the Cube! I just use the panel controls as a straight amp and no presets.
     
    Bobbyoso likes this.

  15. nosignal

    nosignal NEW MEMBER!

    Age:
    32
    2
    Dec 11, 2008
    Eugene, OR
    I really like the Blues Cube's ability to change the voicing like you mentioned! Unfortunately, at the moment price is a big concern for me. I may just wait until price isn't so much of an issue.

    Also, I totally agree with what Chris.m was saying above about trying amps before you buy them. I haven't been able to find one near me yet but I'll have to keep my eyes peeled.
     

  16. Hexabuzz

    Hexabuzz Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 13, 2014
    Northeast PA
    Price is always a concern, but with the Tone Capsules, you can look at it as being a great value, essentially getting 2 new classic amps (clean and crunch channel voicings - 3 if you count the fact you can blend them) for 2-300$.

    Certainly a considerable saving over purchasing a whole new amp, and actually even a better deal than getting 2 or 3 pedals (clean, OD, distortion) to replicate the sound.
     
    nosignal likes this.

  17. chemobrain

    chemobrain Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Nov 5, 2016
    oakland ca.
    That was a great explanation thanks Alot
     

  18. Gentle Horse

    Gentle Horse NEW MEMBER!

    Age:
    60
    1
    Mar 29, 2017
    Ireland
    If 300 euro for a 100 watt 1x12 amp that sounds great seems too good to be true, it's because it is. I read the glowing reviews and bought a Katana. Within a week I had sold it. Just my opinion, but I thought it sounded cold, harsh and digital. Zero warmth, tone, or personality. Doesn't compare to even a cube 80X, which although not great, is at least usable in certain situations. My advice is save your money and get a real amp. The Katana is a well marketed toy.
     
    GrantR likes this.

  19. fender4life

    fender4life Friend of Leo's

    Sep 18, 2011
    los angeles
    Thanks for that, i was starting to think i was nuts. Nice to know it's not just me. But even more than sounding like you described, i tried one found it ridiculously bright. i literally had to keep the treble and mids on zero to be usable. And i'm a guy who likes a fair amount of brightness in my tone. Hard to figure how others aren't hearing that. it really shocked me after reading all the rave reviews.
     
    GrantR likes this.

  20. chris m.

    chris m. Friend of Leo's

    I've been looking at the Orange Crush PRO series. Are they IC or analog? They sound very good on YouTube but it's hard to tell. The reviews are very good. I have a closet full of great tube amps, but I'm thinking of unloading a few of them. I own a couple of speaker cabs so I was considering going with their 120 head. You get a lot for $449....curious how folks who have tried them would compare them to Blues Cube, Bandit, Katana, Mustang, etc. I guess they sound like an Orange so if you like Orange you'll prefer these. [​IMG]
     
    GrantR likes this.

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