The Roland Micro Cube is not microscopic. Let’s just get that out of the way right now, because I don’t want the name to mislead you. It is pretty small, though; probably the smallest amp that I’ve seen, other than those little pocket amps which aren’t actually amps, but rather glorified toys. If you’re looking for a practice amp for travel or to save space, look no further than this little guy.
The first thing I wondered about an amp this small was if it would sound like a real amp, or like a little transistor radio (like that pocket amp sound I mentioned). The answer is the former — it sounds real. I use these amps in my private lesson studio, and turning up the volume just a quarter of the way will fill my 10×12 space right up. The Micro Cube is 2 watts of pure digital goodness, with a nice variety of amp emulators built in to the tiny interface. Each amp model sounds fairly legitimate, and while I don’t think you can get a real JC-120 amp turned down low enough to compare its sound, the JC emulation on the Micro Cube certainly does it justice, for the most part. After all, this is a practice amp, so I don’t think you’re going to be mic’ing it up at your next gig.
The Micro Cube comes with a ‘Record Out’ socket for one stereo cable, and an ‘Auxiliary In’ to house the other stereo cable, if you were so inclined. The Record Out jack also doubles as a headphone input for your late night practice sessions. The Roland website even mentions that the best part of the Record Out aspect is that you can pair it with “the i-CUBE LINK app, providing a built-in audio interface for working with music apps on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.” The Micro Cube uses AC power, but if you travel often you can rely on battery power too, so if you have long layovers in airports you can whip it out (your amp) and start jamming. Just make sure to plug in your headphones if nobody is into your riffs, or you might be detained.
You can visit Roland’s website for all the details about the amp settings and effects, as they aren’t really anything to get excited about. You should get this amp if you need a practice amp, not because you want awesome built-in FX in the smallest amp possible… that’s kind of an oxymoron. I’m not a big proponent of built-in FX on any amp, let alone the Micro Cube, but I will say that if you need a break from your clean or dirty practice tones, having those extra settings built in is a great way to blow off some steam and noodle around in between your exercises. Just be sure to actually practice and not just mess around with the effects, or you might see your guitar skills become as small as this amp.
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