Why are Roland blues cubes so expensive?

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

  1. rangercaster

    rangercaster Friend of Leo's

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    Reminds me of the old joke ... Why is divorce so expensive ??? ...
    Because it's worth it ...
     
  2. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

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    Roland's product line is confusing and IMHO their marketing is a mess. The low end stuff seems to "do more" than the high end stuff. There's the Katana, that other new one I forget the name of and then the "Blues Cube" series, which itself is confusing (artist? Stage? hot? WTF?) What's the difference? Does the "hot" one play clean? The "blues cube" name and logo is kinda dumb. The fake tube tone plugin/module thing seems dumb to me. Like I need to pay extra to get the thing to sound like Robben Ford. Huh? Gimmicky

    I know some of you are rolling your eyes and thinking "Dude it's obvious!" but i've looked at the website several times and I get irritated and bored at confusingness of it. They seem to recognize it's a problem, because they have a website explaining it

    https://rolandcorp.com.au/blog/the-roland-blues-cube-range-explained

    But it says comical nonsense like this:

    "Just like the classic tweed amplifiers of the 1950’s, each Blues Cube amp carries its own unique personality that appeals to different players – meaning that every amp in the range from the diminutive Blues Cube Hot to the authoritative Blues Cube Tour, is a professional-grade amplifier worthy of any stage."

    So they are ALL distinct with a unique personality but they are all worthy of ANY stage? If they're so versatile why do I need the "tone capsule?" I probably want the "blues cube HOT!" but the name makes me think it's only going to produce a lot of overdriven tones

    I had roland cube amp years ago, the plain black one, and it was a really good amp. It went away in a trade, but I was always impressed with it. I never used a lot of the crap on it that wasn't to my style/taste.

    I believe they're really good amps, I just think the marketing is a disaster and you're paying a relatively high price to A:, wade through a lot of bad marketing and B; wonder why you don't just buy a Katana for half the dough. I mean I don't want a Katana, I'm not interested in sounding like 50 different guys, but the blues cube series is kind of a modeling series--the "tone capsule" bit--or at least it's close enough to be confusing, so if I want a swiss army knife amp I'm going to wonder why I'm spending more for the "blues cube" series
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
  3. Sparky2

    Sparky2 Friend of Leo's

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    The sun would be up soon, and there was much to do.

    Giovanni Rolando switched on the lamp above his work bench, and set his verveine tea to the side.

    He flipped the power switch on the G Marconi Radio Italiane a Valvo to the On position, and waited for the tubes to warm up.
    Ever mindful of the family sleeping upstairs, he set the Volume to just that of quasi silenziosa.

    The Master settled into his magnifier and began soldering relays and potentiometers.
    The sounds of Vivaldi emanated from the old speakers, and he smiled.

    A soft rap on the door, and in walked the grandson.

    Without looking up, the man spoke. "Luigi, good morning. What brings you to my shop so early? I have no work for you just yet."

    "I'm just visiting, Nonno. Do you want some toast and eggs to go with your tea?"

    "That would be lovely, Luigi. Thank you."

    The young man started to turn to go, but paused in the doorway.

    "Say, amati Nonno; may I ask you a question?"

    "Any time, grandson. What is it?"

    "Why do you make the Roland amplifiers by hand, and why do you charge what you charge? I am told the price is off-putting. Surely you could hire a crew of lavoratori, and stand up an assembly line. Then you could charge a little less, sell a whole lot more, and then make much more money."

    The Master squinted sideways for a moment, then returned to his work.

    Luigi coughed. "I have been studying 'economies of scale' in school, and...."

    "I understand, grandson. Really I do. But this is how I have done things since we started the company in the Old Country. I am content to keep things as they are. There is pride in hand-wiring these objects of art."

    He turned, and continued. "I'm making fine guitar amplifiers, not Egg McMuffins, I guess that's what I am saying."

    Luigi shrugged and smiled. "Just trying to help, Nonno."

    "Say, speaking of eggs and muffins, why don't you go up to the cucina, and get started on that toast and eggs. I'm getting hungry."

    "Yes, of course."

    The lad turned to go, and The Master returned to his labor of love.

    Vivaldi's Le Quattro Stagioni set the mood for a happy Saturday morning of work.

    :oops:


    plumbers-workshop.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
    JimInMO, drlucky, soulman969 and 4 others like this.
  4. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

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    And so just to add on, I have a gig today where my modified pro junior with a 12 inch speaker will be totally fine, more than loud enough to do what needs to be done and it won't be too distorted.

    The BC Hot ought to cover exactly the same ground or even more, right? It's the same money than a Pro Jr, but it's got more watts and should be more versatile? Except the name makes me think it's only going to give me blues daddy cliche tones, where what i want is "clean with a slight edge." I DO know what the Pro Jr. can do, and I DON'T know what the BC Hot can do, but the marketing is making leery of it, and making me think i probably want the "stage" model, with more watts, but I don't really want channel switching...
     
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  5. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Holic

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    Roland isn’t alone. Over the years, how many different amps has Fender made with the word “Princeton” in the name? Astute people here on this board know them all, but when I first waded into this it was totally confusing.
     
  6. Dr Improbable

    Dr Improbable Tele-Meister

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    Sarcasm as high art. I love it!
     
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  7. markal

    markal Tele-Holic

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    You pretty much described most companies. Period. It’s all marketing hooch and trying to appeal to your “ideals.” Judge with your ears and your preferences for features. If it’s not for you, let it go and move on. Simple.
     
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  8. Lef T

    Lef T Tele-Meister

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    That really says a lot about the BCA.
     
  9. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Holic

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    I recently decided to add a SS amp to round out my small collection. After listening and reading and researching a bunch, I narrowed it down to two. The local GC had a Roland BC Stage for $450. Some guy on Craigslist had a Peavey Bandit for $150. I got the Bandit. I am really impressed and surprised at how good it sounds. It really kicks butt. I would be very curious to hear a side by side with the Roland to hear the difference. Three times the price? The Bandit is ungodly heavy, so that’s a drawback...
     
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  10. Blrfl

    Blrfl Tele-Holic

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    Right, but paying extra for outboard gear like pedals or buying another guitar or amp to get a different sound isn't.

    Respectfully, if your goal is to understand the product line so you can form an opinion on it and you can't get through the marketing material (which, I agree, leaves a lot to be desired), just ask. If your goal is to be a curmudgeon and dump your spleen all over the place, that's fine, too. Just don't expect anyone to burn time helping you out.
     
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  11. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

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    Im not dumping any spleen. I'm just responding to the question. I'm sure they're good amps, they are just confusing in their marketing--re read what I wrote.
     
  12. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

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    I haven't described most of the companies whose gear I own.

    Yes, I have moved on. I'm just responding to the OPs question. There is no more need for me to "move on" than anyone else who responded.

    But since you've annoyed me, rather than move on I'll reiterate that Roland could sell a lot more blues cubes if their product line was simplified. Having the "tone capsule" feature just makes it seem like the Blues cube is an inexplicably more expensive modeling amp, which leads to the OPs question
     
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  13. Telecastoff1

    Telecastoff1 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    A friend of mine in Branson, swears by his guitar player's Cube 80. So, at his recommendation, I did check one out at our local music store. It was nice, but all of the modeling features scared me off. I don't need all that stuff in an amp and I was just thinking about all that could go wrong with it that I wouldn't be able to fix myself. Nice sounding amp though, I do have to say.
    I have some very nice old Fender tube amps at home that get played at home regularly, but don't make it out to the gigs as much as they probably should. Instead, either one of my old, trusty Special 130's (Bandit's big brother) gets most all of the gigs these days, They're extremely reliable, built extremely well and sound great....easy to dial in. And, if work should ever need to be done on these, they're very easy to work on and parts and components are easily readily available. A little heavy maybe, but very manageable. Roland amp someday maybe, but not yet.
     
  14. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    If selection confuses you that much you might wanna skip a trip to Baskin Robbins. ;)

    The Blues Cube handle has been around for nearly 30 years and prior to that were the Cube Series. I have an original BC 60 as do others here and many also continue to gig even older Cube 60s. So in that respect their pedigree is much the same as many popular tube amps.

    I'll just add that for many who are just as familiar with the various Fender amps now and in the past the BOSS/Roland line is no anymore confusing and their marketing somewhat parallels Fenders. They offer a little something in a SS amp for every professional need and/or tonal taste.

    I'd just chalk it up to not really getting what they're after market wise and also skipping past the fact that as much or more of their market is international not just US domestic. What Asia or Europe like best may not be what US players like best. The result seems to be them selling a lot of amps.
     
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  15. Sparky2

    Sparky2 Friend of Leo's

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    I like Roland stuff.

    Everything I have ever bought from them (amps, digital drums, MIDI bass controller pedal) have been rock-solid.

    :)
     
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  16. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    But the Blues Cube is not a modeling amp anymore than my Egnater Tweaker is a modeling amp.

    I can swap tubes in the Tweaker and end up with an EL34 sound, a 6L6 sound, a 6v6 sound, or KT 66 or KT 88 type sound. That's in addition to internal circuitry that can further hone each of those and it's all done with tubes and analog circuits.

    How does that differ from how an analog Blues Cube uses it's Tone Capsules. It's just digital electronics subbing for glass tubes but doing the very same thing leaning the amp more in a different tonal direction is all; 6v6, EL84, 6L6, etc.

    With all due respect I don't believe you really understand these amps which may lead to some confusion because none of them are modeling any specific amp or brand of amp only the basic characteristics of what various amps powered by different circuit designs and power tubes tend to sound like.
     
  17. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

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    Oy. Did you read the part where I said their marketing is confusing? And that i was confused by their marketing? We totally agree
     
  18. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm glad somebody brought up the issue with Fender's confusing amplifier names. I once owned a little 12 watt Fender Champ amplifier, so I figured I knew something about the Champ. But now, thanks to forums like this, I don't even know what a Fender Champ is anymore. There are so many and they're all different. And some of them are 1/2 tube amp, 1/2 digital modeler. The one I used to have? I don't even hear it discussed anywhere. it was black with a silver grill cloth, red knobs, and it was a tube amp.

    My point is that anybody who is confused by the Roland Cube amp names needs to take a look at what Fender has done. Roland is nowhere as confusing as the mess Fender has created. And that is just with one amplifier.
     
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  19. raysachs

    raysachs Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Evidently both Fender and Roland's marketing work pretty well on me. In my early early days playing, back in the very late 70's and well into the 80s I had a big old heavy Peavy Classic. No marketing to that one - I bought it used on the recommendation of a friend who saw it in a shop. It was a great sounding amp as long you played it loud. Which I was happy to do at the time. Then I had a Crate for a while (the one that actually LOOKED like a crate), an early Roland Cube - I wish I remember what it was - it was orange and sounded pretty good. An old buddy I used to play with a lot at the time had one too and I'm pretty sure still has his - he doesn't play much anymore. Probably not a result of marketing on those amps either, but who knows - that crate was pretty cool looking.

    But then when Fender came out with a small amp and called it the Blues Jr. I bought one pretty much right away. It also sounded pretty good if you played it pretty loud, but I couldn't do that quite as much so it wasn't a great match for me at the time, but I liked it well enough. And in my recent reincarnation as an enthusiastic player again, I got a Blues Cube Hot. I honestly played many amps before I chose it and owned a few, so I like to think it was how it sounded and how well the attenuator worked for my current low volume living environment, but who knows. It might just be because it had "blues" in the name and i'm easily led around by my nose. In any case, I love it, rationally or not. I also have a Blackstar HT1R that I also like a LOT, but not as much as the Blues Cube. Maybe if Blackstar had just called it the Blues Baby or something...

    -Ray
     
  20. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I did read it and because I'm not confused I was trying to explain a few elements of it that might lift some of the confusion rather than simply blowing you off as a guy who simply doesn't like them.

    It's just a family of SS amps much as Fender has a family of tube amps but because so much more can be done when combining analog and digital technology their features tend to far outstrip other tube amps.

    I've also found few SS amps to be any more confusing or difficult to use than Fender's Mustang Series but others swear by them. So I simply take the approach that we won't all like or understand the same things. That as much as anything is why we have choices. BOSS/Roland has four basic amp lines; Katana, Nextone, Blues Cube, and Jazz Chorus. I own or have played 3 of those 4 so I "get it".

    So something for everyone just like Toyota sells Corolla and Camry models along with SUVs and Trucks.

    I know guys who won't play a G&L L or M Series Bass because they feel the switching options are more complicated than they want to deal with. I have one of those as well and it doesn't confuse me at all. But they also market simpler passive basses for those who want a simpler instrument. I have one of those too.

    BOSS/Roland's approach to product development and marketing may be confusing to some. I won't argue that. They've always had a strange way of positioning and pricing certain product lines. But it may not be confusing to all and it doesn't seem to be impacting sales much as the Blues Cube Series and Waza Craft derivatives have increased and nothing has been or seems to be on the verge of being discontinued.

    I guess I don't know what else to say or offer other than what I have.
     
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