Why are Roland blues cubes so expensive?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Mike Eskimo, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    20,047
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    It’s just how my brain has been trained - and hasn’t made the transition yet.

    Vintage PTP tube amps were always the most expensive, then some modern PTP tube amps, then PCB tube amps, then SS amps, etc.

    But - it’s an excellent point on all the different power levels available in one amp. That’s part of the reason some segments of the vintage tube amp market are falling.

    Younger musicians expect their amp to do more than one thing/have options.

    That’s why I can drive 5 minutes from my house and pick up a 1970 Twin Reverb that still hasn’t sold at $650 . Imagine telling someone 40 yrs ago that a Twin is $250 cheaper than a SS amp.

    I def plan on checking out both the Nextone series and the Blues cube series - in that order.
     
    soulman969 likes this.
  2. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,174
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    Hudson Valley, NY
    Yeah, crazy to spend that kind of money for a different sound out of your amp! It's almost as ridiculous as buying a pedal....
     
  3. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    22,582
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Location:
    Englewood, CO
    Gimme my amp back then you cretin!!!! :lol:

    It won't compare with those two 65 amps models you've got but how many do? That's $5k worth of amps and a single $1K BC Artist can cover much of the ground both of those do. It may not sound quite the same and it's not intended to but it's one amp that can cover two or three others on a gig.

    Roland's forte has always been an ability to build a loud clean amp that's a terrific pedal platform. The newer versions have improved a bit on how they get their overdrive in a way that makes them a bit more versatile and player friendly and the tone capsules can be used to completely change it's basic character.

    The basic voicing is that of a 6L6 amp but the use of the various tone capsules produces 6v6 or EL34 or EL 84 voicings that may be more what given situation calls for. When you add in onboard reverb and tremolo that's a lot of versatility out of just one amp. The 30w version offers models with different voicings.

    IMHO Roland designed them from the start to be an effective club amp with great features and enough output to meet almost any need for that purpose. It's still one of the best club amps ever made and they are about as bullet proof as they come with no need to worry about a blown tube or transformer wrecking a gig. That's the kind of dependability some enjoy having in their backline when playing live.

    But I will also admit that in my own experience as good as they have become I have yet to hear any SS amp that sounds exactly like a top of the line tube amp in a studio or the quiet of ones home. But live in a band mix most if not all of those subtleties are lost and what's most practical wins more times than not.
     
  4. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    17,238
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Location:
    The North Coast
    This reminds me of the old saying- “good tattoos ain’t cheap, and cheap tattoos ain’t good.”
     
  5. gitold

    gitold Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    5,052
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    Greeley Co.
     
    soulman969 likes this.
  6. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,425
    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    Location:
    Marion, NC
    Gotta agree on this one. Solid state amps have made some signifcant advances in recent years. So much so, that I no longer own a tube amp.

    I now own a Yorkville AM150 that I bought used (almost had to pry it from the seller's hands), a Roland BCH (Fender Bassman Tweed) and an Orange Crush 35RT - and I'm quite content with all 3! :)
     
  7. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,947
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2015
    Location:
    Winchester, VA
    I guess the "you get what you pay for" saying applies here. It applies pretty much everywhere, I guess. Except pickups. In some cases you pay for a lot more than what you actually get.
     
    drlucky likes this.
  8. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    42
    Posts:
    2,686
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    It's actually super illogical for tube amps to be more expensive than well made/designed SS amps.

    One guy who is not even an engineer can design and build a new tube amp on his own. The only reason a lot of these tube amps, particularly boutique ones are expensive is due to inefficient manufacturing techniques. And amazingly the market has been convinced that inefficient manufacturing leads to higher quality. There might be some truth to the idea that a lot of the parts in tube amps are basically obsolete to the rest of the world and so parts costs are higher. But while tubes might cost a lot compared to a transistor they are still tiddlywinks compared to the total cost of a $1000 tube amp.

    They've got an army of engineers behind some of these computerized SS amps. The development costs are extreme. The only reason they're affordable at all is they're using every modern manufacturing trick in the book to bring the cost down. That circuit board someone posted from a roland amp was probably pick and placed by a robot and wave soldered.. so near 0 human touch to build that board. That's a huge cost to set up but once you've made the capital expenditures and got it up and running you can build lots of stuff faster & more reliably than old school methods. Small time guys just can't afford to set that up and their volume doesn't support it. A company like Roland is probably doing everything they can to be clever and use similar chips and software across pianos and drums and guitar amps as well to bring costs in line.

    I'd echo what others say.. Roland amps are not toys.. the quality is there. I have a really modest one, a Street Cube, and it's still built like a tank. I got the Street Cube to replace my THR that was breaking... 2 SS amps that cost the same amount. The build quality difference is pretty extreme in the 2 amps. The THR might be the better sounding amp but it's downright fragile in construction compared to the Roland. The THR has a fancy metal facade but underneath it's all plastic and any pressure on the pots or switches goes right into the circuit boards as the metal facade is actually quite flimsy.
     
    soulman969 and 3-Chord-Genius like this.
  9. EspyHop

    EspyHop Tele-Meister

    Age:
    45
    Posts:
    212
    Joined:
    May 28, 2018
    Location:
    Dayton, OH
    True, but then neither do tube amps comparably priced to the Blues Cubes.
     
  10. raysachs

    raysachs Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    2,282
    Joined:
    May 21, 2017
    Location:
    Near Philly
    Then again, there's the by now worn out Anderton's YouTube of a blind test resulting in a pick for the $800 Blues Cube over all manner of much more expensive tube amps.

    I'm not saying it's god's own truth, but it's not that much of an outlier either. He was looking with his ears instead of his eyes.

     
  11. Blrfl

    Blrfl Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    793
    Joined:
    May 3, 2018
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    That's excactly what they're doing.
     
    soulman969 and 3-Chord-Genius like this.
  12. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,947
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2015
    Location:
    Winchester, VA
    This is what happens when you truly listen with your ears, not your eyes or your preconceived ideas.
     
    Frodebro, soulman969 and joebloggs13 like this.
  13. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    51,241
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2009
    Location:
    Kelowna, BC, Canuckistan
    I just wish the amp hadn't been right behind him, blasting into his ears.
     
    3-Chord-Genius likes this.
  14. markal

    markal Tele-Holic

    Age:
    45
    Posts:
    742
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2016
    Location:
    Colorado
    I agree with all praises of the Blues Cubes amps. I started with a Blues Cube Hot, and decided to upgrade to the Artist for it’s larger cab (I like the way that opens up the sound) and added features.

    I currently own or have owned a number of amps in my five years of obsessing over amps:

    Mesa Express Plus 5:50 (recently bought)
    Blues Cube Artist
    Blue Cube Hot
    Laney Lionheart L5t
    Peavey Classic 30
    ORange Crush 35rt and 60c
    Peavey Bandit red stripe
    Peavey Studio Pro silver strip
    Peavey Envoy red stripe
    Fender Mustang (the smallest one)

    The only amp that consistently gets me compliments on my tone is the Blues Cube Artist, and it happens regularly. I use it for gigs, rehearsals, and blues jams, and extensively at home. It’s hard to beat. The last few gigs I’ve used the Mesa, but I think I will go back to the BCA (and maybe sell the Mesa).

    It doesn’t crunch as well as my Orange or my Mesa. The clean tone (with UBTC) isn’t as rich or shimmery as the Mesa, but it’s close, it’s got killer blues tones (duh), it weighs 34 pounds, and, so far, after two years of heavy use, it seems really tough (except maybe the tolex).

    The tone capsules are certainly gimmicky and expensive, but, as others have said, they’re no more expensive than quality pedals. I think what makes people revolt against the capsules is that Roland could offer up the same functionality without charging $150-$250. But, hey, companies gotta make money. And, IMO, the capsules are worth it (well, at least, the one I’ve tried).
     
  15. Lef T

    Lef T Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    560
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2016
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    I thought you would have really liked the Mesa.
     
  16. gtroates

    gtroates Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    486
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington (USA)
    I love my JC-40, after I got over the price and bought it anyway I have used it nonstop and it is my main practicing amp. The thing with expensive things is they hurt up front but justify themselves with longevity if they are well made.
     
  17. markal

    markal Tele-Holic

    Age:
    45
    Posts:
    742
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2016
    Location:
    Colorado
    I do, actually. I like it better than the BCA but only slightly. My main complaint is the weight. In reality, it’s unlikely I’d sell it, but I’ve done crazier things.
     
    Lef T likes this.
  18. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    22,582
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Location:
    Englewood, CO
    [​IMG]
    gitold Friend of Leo's

    New
    soulman969 said:
    Gimme my amp back then you cretin!!!! :lol:

    If you didn’t spend all yer money on whine, wymin, and song you could get a booteek amp.

    Those were called divorces.....:p
     
  19. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    22,582
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Location:
    Englewood, CO
    Agreed. If you lined up several amps in the $700-$1000 price range based on the quality of the build, the tone, and the features I believe a Blues Cube could hold it's own with any of them and even best one or two.

    But when you start talking about amps that run $2k-$3k I would sure as hell hope they'd sound a bit better given what I'd pay for one. But it's also like comparing a $30k VW sedan to a $60k-$70 Audi sedan.

    In another forum a member put his 100w Katana Combo up against his Two Rock Studio 35 and played clean with and without effects it was surprising how similar they sounded. But of course the Two Rock edged it out. Tubes seems to have a certain kind of depth or 3D quality to them I don't hear out of any SS amp no matter how good. It's even there in my $400 Egnater Tweaker and my SS can't duplicate it.

    Where I believe tubes have an advantage is in creating overdrive and distortion and this may be where tube amps separate themselves from SS amps. But if all of that is gotten via pedals then that separation may easily disappear or we may even find a cleaner SS platform to be more advantageous.

    It's all just personal taste anyway so my belief is play what you like and what works best for you. One is not always better than another in all instances for all needs. I enjoy having both.
     
  20. perttime

    perttime Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,807
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2014
    Location:
    Finland
    There's a Blues Cube Artist for sale near me. The guy says he is selling it just because it is too big for where he lives now.... I'm sure I could fit it somewhere.

    It has a feature that I love in my old Sessionette: ability to mix the clean and drive channels: some hair for your cleans, or some snap to you drive sound.
     
    EspyHop and soulman969 like this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.