Roland Blues Cube Artist 1x12" 80-Watt Combo Guitar Amp
The Roland Blues Cube Artist looks and sounds the part of a vintage tweed tube era amplifier, but the innards tell a different story, being a solid-state amp with Roland's Tube Logic technology. And for something with tube amp modeling and USB direct recording, the amp comes with a streamlined set of features, having just two channels, clean and crunch, both of which have boost switches.
Interestingly, this more traditional setup helped the amp score high points from users who want a pedal friendly amp that has the feel of tube without its usual drawbacks.
Giving it a bit of an edge over older amps, is its built-in power attenuator that lets you lower the power rating from 80W down to 0.5W.
For a bit of tone experimentation, the amp comes with a "dual tone" switch for blending the two channels in a way that's musically pleasing. Roland also equipped this amp with tremolo and reverb that complements its simple setup.
Finally, the Blues Cube Artist lets you expand your tonal palette via its swappable "tone capsule", which is an analog component that you actually switch out to give the amp a different sound. There are currently three available tone capsules, two of which are artist signatures from Eric Johnson and Robben Ford, and the third one being Roland's own rendition of the Blues sound.
- Power: 80W/45W/15W/0.5W
- Speaker: 1 x 12"
- Amp Modeling: Tube Logic 2-Channel (Clean, Crunch)
- Effects: Reverb, Tremolo
- Input: 2 x 1/4", 1 x 1/4" (Headphones)
- Outputs: 2 x 1/4", 1 x USB Type B
- Weight: 35.31 lbs.
Most reviewers are simply floored by how good the Roland Blues Cube Artist sounds right off the bat, with many commending its organic tube-like tone for being so life-like. It's vintage aesthetics and familiar controls also gets a lot of thumbs up, especially from experienced players who are in it for the sound, and not for the bells and whistles. It should also be mentioned that there are many reports of it working well with different types of guitars and pickup configurations. The flexibility provided by its power attenuation is also well received, which in conjunction with its pedalboard friendly nature, makes switching from performance to practice volume levels a breeze - no more need to switch gear.
Value for money seem to be a common thread among the few who gave the amp lower scores, they are wishing that for the price Roland should've included the footswitch in the package. With its fewer tone options, some consider this amp a bit too expensive for what it can do. If having multiple tones right on the amp is important to you, then this will not fit the bill.
If you're looking for a solid state amp that behaves and sounds much like old tube amps - without the complication of tube maintenance and consistency - then do check out the Roland Blues Cube Artist.
Although this was previously on our recommended list, there are now more highly rated options available which you can see in our guide to The Highest Rated Solid State Guitar Amps.