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NAD: BCA

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Tim S, Sep 15, 2020.

  1. Tim S

    Tim S Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    Yes, I bought a new Roland Blues Cube Artist -- the amp disliked by both tube-snobs and modeler-lovers. Why would I do that?

    I have a number of beloved amp tube amps already: Marshall, Mesa Boogie, Tone King. I have a Blues Junior too ;) I also have a Yamaha THR-10 (1st gen), so I know just how good a solid-state/digital/modeling amp can sound and feel.

    I wanted to have a non-tubed combo that did NOT have a ton of options and did not require being hooked up to a computer (I've been using computers since the late 70s -- I want simple when I'm playing). After spending months reading thru forums (including this one), I decided on the BCA because I was especially interested in the Tone Capsule options. The concept seems to rub most people the wrong way -- tube folks hate that it tries to look like a glowing tube and modelers think Roland is ripping people off by charging their customers by enticing them with emulations that should have been included from the start.

    I like the idea of Roland releasing an amp and then having the freedom to engineer additional emulations after the fact. I also like that it takes a bit of effort to change Tone Capsules. If I could change emulations with a twist of a knob, that's what I'd be doing all day -- twisting knobs instead of playing. By having to plug in a capsule, I feel like I need to learn how to make it work for me rather than just quit it and go on to the next emulation.

    Before I ordered the amp, I bought two Tone Capsules that interested me the most -- the Ultimate Blue capsule (blackface 6v6) and the New York Blues capsule (Vox). Both are out of production, so I stalked around on Reverb until I found them at good prices. THEN I bought the amp and foot controller.

    When I got the amp, I plugged it in and tried it out for the first time. Did I just make a mistake? I was underwhelmed. It sounded bland -- no liveliness. Is this what a stock BCA's natural Bassman emulation is supposed to sound like? I have a Carvin SX-100 that sounds better than this. So I plugged in the Ultimate Blues capsule in and fired up the amp. THAT sounds better... I see why people rave about this compared to stock. So I lived with that for a few days. Then I tried the NY Blues capsule. Wow! This amp is now officially a keeper. What a difference! It's *so* chimey and lively. So I lived with that for a few days. Then I pulled the capsule out and went back to stock.

    By now I've put some hours into the amp. In the process, the speaker managed to break-in somewhat. The Bassman sound now is great! Where was that sound on the day I got it?? This amp, more than any other amp I own, is very responsive to the guitar's volume & tone controls. I back-to-back'ed it with my tube amps and discovered that if I want a similar sound, then the power can't be set at 0.5 watt or 15 watts. It needs to be at 45 watts (or 80 watts) to get the fullness out of the bottom end. After the speaker breaking in and me learning how to use the BCA, I went back to my Tone Capsules.

    I no longer care too much for the Ultimate Blues cube. It sounds like someone threw a blanket on top of a stock BCA. Yes, there's more clean headroom but it feels dampened to me. The crunch is creamier and more overdrive is available but it sounds bland to me compared to the Bassman sound. So, I plugged the NY Blues capsule back in. That Vox tone and feel is still there and it's great! Since I don't own a Vox, I think I'm going to keep this capsule in the amp for awhile. (I'll probably end up buying a Vox tube amp at some point now). And I know if I tire of it, there's a stock Bassman sound I can work with.

    So, would it replace any of my tube amps? No. Would it be the first amp I got for the money it cost? No. But I am glad I got it. It is it's own thing and I'm still bonding with it, but for me, it's time well spent.
     
    elihu, Anacharsis, teletimetx and 3 others like this.
  2. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I had one.
    It sounded great.
    I just never gigged with it.
    My Cube 80XL went to all my gigs.
    Still does.
     
    Tim S likes this.
  3. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    Good for you!
    (pics or it didn’t happen applies to amps too!)


    PS...I love it when people find a piece of kit they enjoy but don’t ram it down our throats that we’re stupid for not having one, too...
     
    Tim S likes this.
  4. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    Those are good - I owned all of that stuff last year. Same reasoning, too. I used it for several shows. Portable, plenty loud, got the job done. At the end of the day I decided that the good sounds at home weren't translating to a live setting for whatever reason, so, on to the next piece of kit...
     
    Tim S likes this.
  5. ce24

    ce24 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yeah i get it...my solution is the Peavey Studio Pro......all analog, no computer, dependable and built like a tank and sounds good. Congrats.!
     
    BB and Tim S like this.
  6. Grateful Ape

    Grateful Ape Tele-Holic

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    I've had a BCA for 2-3 years. It's my gig amp. It doesn't sound as good as my tube amps, but it's good enough and the convenience is amazing. Lately, I've been running a Chase Tone Secret Preamp into it and it sounds great.

    I have been looking into tone capsules, but the NYC appears to be impossible to find. I'm probably going to try the Sparkle Clean.
     
    Tim S likes this.
  7. Old Plank

    Old Plank Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    Congrats! My bandmate plays one too and it really sounds excellent.
     
    Tim S likes this.
  8. Anacharsis

    Anacharsis Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    I love Roland amps. I play:

    Blues Cube Hot
    Blues Cube Hot British EL84 Modified
    Blues Cube Hot BOSS Drive Special
    JC-22
    JC-40
    BOSS Nextons Stage

    Great stuff. Enjoy!
     
    Tim S likes this.
  9. Grateful Ape

    Grateful Ape Tele-Holic

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    I would love to get a jc40. I once had a jc77 and ran it alongside a Traynor ycv40 for gigs. That was a massive sound.
     
    Tim S and Anacharsis like this.
  10. Tim S

    Tim S Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    You can find them used. I had luck checking Reverb a couple of times a day. After a few weeks, you should be able to find one.

    I really don’t understand why Roland stops manufacturing particular tone capsules while they are still popular. I guess they like leaving money on the table.
     
    Grateful Ape likes this.
  11. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I've played through a few at jams and loved every one. Congratulations on the new amp!
     
    Tim S likes this.
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