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Roland Cube 100 Versitility

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Thrilbilly, Mar 22, 2006.

  1. Thrilbilly


    Mar 19, 2006
    I intend on purchasing a small combo this week. I have narrowed my choice down to the SWR WM 12 or Rolands Cube 100. It seems MF has found a few more SWR's and still have them for $ 299.00. The Roland is going to be $ 445.00. I can afford either but don't want to spend more if I don't have to. Which one of the above is the better amp.

    Here is my other question. With the Roland having all of the effects, including reverb, would it be viable for other uses. I also play accostic guitar which has a built in pickup. I play electric guitar around the house some and also some keyboard.

    Considering the amps being equal for bass, if the Roland would allow me to use it for a guitar amp also, I am thinking it would be worth the extra $145.00

  2. I used to use a roland cube 30 as a guitar amp all the time and it sounded great. Sounded more than great on bass though!
  3. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    I can't offer any gig experience with either one...

    When I first played through the Cube 30, I couldn't believe my ears!!! It sounded so good...all the models sounded great even the grinding SVT.

    I thought that the Cube 100 Bass would be more of the same is a larger/louder package. I finally came across one at the store but was less than impressed with the overall sound quality relative to the Cube 30...

    I own a WM12 but have only used it at home. I bought it stupid-cheap at a GC List sale and had intended on reselling it right away... Then I plugged it in and enjoyed myself so much, I decided to keep it.

    Personally, I'd go with the WM12 and if you wanted to play guitar through it, pickup something like the Behringer SansAmp guitar amp modeler for $30 from Music123. For guitar amp models with effects you could grab a Behrninger Bass Vamp which includes guitar amp models, bass amp models and keyboard patches as well...they're cheap too..and sound very, very good.
  4. Thrilbilly


    Mar 19, 2006
    Thanks for the info. This decision is really important to me since I tend to hang on to stuff for the long run. I still use my MK III peavey head with an 18/210 that I bought in like 1981.

    I have heard a few negatives about the WM's quality. Is it considered to be as good a quality product as the Roland?
  5. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    I'd suggest doing a search as I think I saw at least two threads on the Roland Cube in the past month or so (and the D-Bass too - which is maybe the big brother to the Cube).

    I think they sonically are superior to the WM stuff.
  6. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    I just picked up a cube bass 100 used and my vote is with the roland. I'm very happy with it.

    I do agree it's pretty expensive, but all things considered, it's not out of line. I just got lucky on mine and found a really smokin' deal on one in pretty much brand new condition for a lot less, so I had to jump on it even tho I had two other small combos (an Eden which is awesome, but a bit heavy sometimes, and a GK backline 110 which I really like, but this replaces due to its features).

    I've played thru the swr's and they're ok, but I think the roland is a lot better, and you don't have that ultra-hissy horn those WM amps are so well known for. The roland's power section is a little hissy, but not like the WM amp I checked out. I basically had to turn the horn off, 'cause it was so obnoxious. Admittedly, however, my experience is with a WM10. If the 12 is way diff, use that grain of salt.

    My other complaint with the SWR, and also the reason I didn't try the 12, is the 12 is way too much of a PIA to carry. The Roland is very easy to manage. Tuki also has a cover made for it as well, which is really nice.

    Not only that, but the efx are VERY clean and the footswitch feature is great. The output is incredible, and it's a nice feature you can drive a second cab with it without disconnecting the internal speaker. Some small combos, like the GK backline 110 and 112 don't support that.

    The recording/headphone out is super clean and with or without the efx, very recording-worthy. The compressor is also surprisingly nice for an integrated feature at this price point.

    The amp modeling, ehhh, meh, whatever. It's kinda' cool, but I don't find myself needing or using it. At least not at this point, but the octaver is fun to mess around with.

    In particular, the compressor and portability of this amp were the big ones for me. I play in a church ensemble, I was missing my compression, and I didn't want to start carrying pedals (I was using a GK backline 110, which I really liked a lot, but no compressor, plus the roland is a LOT louder).

    I only have one minor issue with it... there's no aux in for a mp3 player, and there's only one instrument input, so no headphone jam-alongs.
  7. Thrilbilly


    Mar 19, 2006
    I went to two music stores, GC and a locally owned store wanting to hear the Roland. Neither store had one. After reading some more on this board I am also considering throwing the Fender Bassman 150 into the mix. I think I would really like the tilt back feature as this is a bass monitor size amp in the first place. I am thinking the small size of this amp will project most of the sound out around your lower legs and cause you more trouble trying to hear it in the mix if it does not tilt back.

    BTW MF is out of the SWR WM 12's.
  8. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Might not want to rule out the Ashdown electric blue 15 -180. it weighs 48LBS but sounds great. cheap too at $299

    B/n the roland and the swr i'd go for the roland. I have had good quality experiences with roland.
  9. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    The Bassman 150 is actually a pretty large box. It's a whole different size class from the 100, the WM12, and especially the Roland. It's luggable, but it won't be any fun to carry around. However, they do sound nice, and I believe the 150 has a compressor, but the 100 does not. I'd have to double check tho.
  10. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Thrilbilly, where are you located?

    Just don't tell that to any store that will match the price!;)
  11. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I posted a lengthy review of the Roland in an earlier thread. I think mine is post #23:


    I've tried the SWR WM12 and Fender Bassman 150, and I think the Roland blows them both away in terms of power and depth of tone. The SWR sounds decent, but seems weak compared to the Roland IMO. My A/B with the Fender is in the review. (The shop had the WM12 too, but I knew it couldn't keep up so I didn't even bother throwing it into the mix.)

    However, I don't think you'll have much luck with it as a guitar amp. But you never know until you try, so if I get a chance in the next day or two, I'll test it with a Strat and post again.
  12. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    I think this depends on what you need the amp for.

    If you use efx pedals for stuff like distortion, then all you need is a clean amp with a decent reverb, I actually think it will work very nicely. I've seen guitar players use "full range" bass amps like these (or any combo or cab with horns/tweeters) and be very happy. They rarely need a lot of EQ in the amp... just enough for the punch and volume, which I think this amp has.

    I'd look forward to actual tests, but IMHO, I'd be surprised to hear it didn't work well unless you're trying to get it to distort, which clearly it won't do well since that's totally against its design.
  13. Thrilbilly


    Mar 19, 2006
    I downloaded the owners manual on the Cube-100 and noticed that a section on distortion was noted. It indicated to overdrive the preamp by turning the gain to max, and then vary the amount of gain to reach the desired amount of overdrive (distortion). Do this using B MAN on the COSM. Cutting the lows back 1/4 and the low mid, high mid and high raised about a 1/8 will obtain a bright distortion sound.

    I really appreciate all of the input on my purchase. The Roland is looking more and more like my choice. I am also looking forward to Nedmundo testing it with his strat. Also I was asked where I am from. I am from the Central Arkansas area.
  14. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Yeah, I didn't mean you couldn't get it to distort. What I was getting at is, I'm assuming the kind of distortion you'd get out of this amp would not be the kind a guitar player would be happy with, so they'd have to be using an efx pedal for that sound.

    I could be wrong, tho, it's all subjective, but seems to me guitar players are SUPER particular about their distortion sound.


    Jan 25, 2005
    Des Moines, IA
    One other combo you might want to consider is the soon to be released (mid April) Line 6 LowDown series. They have a 150, 175 and 300 watt combo with much better effects, cd/mp3 input, line out to board, plus a built in tuner, among other features.

    I was in the same position as you and was going to go with the Roland....(fantastic box!!!) but the LD 150 has more wattage, a bit larger stage presence (small venues only), and is about $50 cheaper in addition to the tones

    You can't go wrong with either, but the LD is worth considering.

    Here's a link:

  16. Ok, my vote would be with the Cube. I haven't played that model but I have played the 30watt version and I must say I was extremely impressed by what I heard. But more importantly I think is that I have played through an old cube 60 watt from the 80's. The finish was all cracked but the thing sounded awesome and I don't think it had been into a shop since the owner had bought it. The owner of the amp lends it to the keyboard player in my Trad jazz band and it sounds awesome with keyboard as well. SO that is why I would buy a cube.
  17. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I just finished my mini-test of the Bass Cube 100 with my Strat, and I think you're right. I have a 2004 Am. Ser. Strat with Hot Gold Lace Sensors (incredible pickups) and maple board, which provides amazing clean tones, and works much better with distortion than a stock Strat IMO. I played for 10-15 minutes (short b/c I'm flying solo today with two little ones) trying the different models and effects, using all pickup combinations.

    I'm surprised how good it sounded. The clean tones are excellent, especially on the "Super Flat" setting, and the neck/middle setting yielded the near acoustic tone characteristic of Strats, so I suspect it would be good with an acoustic. As the volume rises, it gets a little muddy, which is what I would expect, but I couldn't test for extended periods at high volume so take this with a grain of salt. The muddiness seemed more pronounced with the gain cranked, which makes sense. Basically, the cleaner you keep the amp, the better it sounds with guitar. The internal gain sounded harsh and "boxy" to me. It ain't no Hot Rod Deluxe!

    So Vic is right; you want external effects for distortion and overdrive. To that end, I plugged in my Blues Driver pedal, and it sounded better than using the amp's gain. But it's still nowhere near a good guitar amp (like the Cube 60) for this. It's harsher, and less "full" sounding to me. With a longer test and EQ tweaks, I'd probably find better tones with it though.

    The other effects sounded okay, and the T-wah is a blast with guitar. The flanger was good too. But to keep the tone properly balanced, you need to tailor the EQ for each effect. For example, I thought chorus sounded best with a little extra bass, but this was muddy on others.

    It's also fun to play with the models. An SWR tone with a Strat is interesting. Again, it seems you want to tailor the EQ to each model, so finding ideal settings could take some time.

    I was surprised with these results, because other times I've tried bass amps with guitar (Carvin PB-100, G-K rig), I've been disappointed. (The exception was a Hartke B15 with 6.5inch speaker, which was a fantastic low volume guitar practice amp.) It lacks the depth of a good guitar amp, but that's partly because it's SS. And it doesn't "sing" like a good guitar amp IMO. I think it's better than lots of inexpensive SS guitar amps though. Bottom line -- I found it satisfying to play guitar through it, so yes, I think it's versatile in this respect, especially if you want good clean tones.
  18. Thrilbilly


    Mar 19, 2006
    HI Guys, I have been too busy. Here is an update. I decided to go with the Roland Cube 100. Man, I am impressed. I have not a b'd it with my old Peavey MK III head and 18/210 speaker but it is loud, very loud. The tone is amazing. I like most all of them playing by myself but at band rehersal I seem to keep coming back to Concert 810 setting with just a little hi/mid boost. This setting seems to really cut through the mix.

    Only negative I have found so far is a mild harmonic vibration at several of the F notes. I did not try all of them on the neck but it was at all that I tried. Only at F would the cab vibrate. Very annoying once I noticed it. I could put my hand on the front top corner and push down and it would stop. So I started hitting the F and whacking the top fairly firmly toward the front edge. And,,,,it went away. Hopefully forever. I guess something had to get seated in togather.

    I am very happy with my purchase and do reccommed the Roland Cube 100.

    Thanks for all of the input from posters that helped with my decision.

    P.S. I am also really impressed with how it sounds with my flat top...Bonus!!
  19. I was recently in the market for a new practice amp and based on all the info I've found on TB and various forums I opted for the Cube 100 over the Lowdown. The Cube really is an incredible piece of equiptment and Roland is a very underrated amp manufacturer, with a stellar reputation and excellent service to boot. :bassist:
  20. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I hope to try one again this weekend. I am close to pulling the trigger.

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