Whether you are just learning, or simply a musician on the go, travelling with an electric guitar is never easy. Lugging around a guitar amplifier with quality sound is normally an inhibitive process—but not with the Roland CUBE 10GX amp (available soon at Best Buy). This lightweight portable amplifier packs incredible sound and functionality into a surprisingly light frame.
When I was a school age kid teaching myself to play the guitar, I recall lugging my practice amp everywhere. Even for a smaller amp, it was bulky and heavy. Nonetheless, as an eager student, I’d haul it to school, home, friends’ houses, and more. A tired arm is a small price to pay for rock and roll!
Now, in retrospect I truly wish the Roland CUBE 10GX were there for me during those grungy days in the early 90’s. It weighs in at a meager 10 lbs, and at 12″ tall by 13″ wide, it’s barely larger than my 4-slice toaster. The cabinet holds a single 8″ speaker, and I’ll touch more on the surprisingly decent sound further along.
Perhaps my only real beef with the portability of the Roland CUBE 10GX (and truthfully with the amp overall) is the handle. While there is plenty of space on top for a decent one, the handle has surprisingly little slack. Smaller fingers may have an easier time, but I really have to work to wedge mine in between.
Of course, the Roland CUBE 10GX in my possession is brand new. Perhaps over time the handle wears in and develops a bit more slack. Still, given that its portability is such a huge selling factor in this amplifier, I would expect the handle to be a bit more flexible.
Sound and effects
At first I was skeptical that such a small amp could deliver enough punch. However, I am pleasantly surprised by the Roland CUBE 10GX and its output capacity. For a 10 watt amplifier with a single 8″ speaker, it really holds its own. It delivers more than enough quality sound for a bedroom, studio, or even a small jam space.
The Roland CUBE 10GX has standard tone controls for bass, middle, and treble. It also has three preset amp types. “Clean” for a traditional, warm tone, “Crunch” for a bit over heavier overdrive, and finally “Lead” for a piercing solo sound. What’s truly impressive is that while there are only 3 presets, the Roland CUBE 10GX is actually capable of many more. I’ll dig into that a bit further on however.
In addition to these standard presets and tones, the Roland CUBE 10GX incorporates another dial that is especially useful for new guitarists and those with limited space/budgets alike. This dial features three built-in effects, some of which one would often normally achieve through the addition of an external effect pedal. This gives it even more flexibility, as well as ways for new players to experiment.
Firstly, the reverb effect creates an exaggeration of the echoing quality that often accompanies large spaces with excellent acoustics. The chorus effect modulates the signal for a thicker sound—almost as if multiple guitars were playing the same part. Finally, the delay effect creates a diminishing repetition of the notes being played, for a particularly haunting effect.
Additional presets with the Roland App
What’s amazing is that the Roland CUBE 10GX doesn’t even limit itself to all of the presets and tones above. Using the companion “CUBE KIT” app for iOS or Android, any of the three preset slots can be updated. Here, guitarists can choose from a wealth of presets meant to imitate different amplifiers and configurations.
Available to choose from are a variety of classic amplifiers. You’ll be able to choose presets ranging from a towering “Metal Stack” to a legendary “Brit Combo”. You can even select a preset that will mimic the tone of either an acoustic guitar or a bass.
Updating a preset is as simple as choosing from the available list via the companion app, then connecting your phone to the Roland CUBE 10GX via the included adapter. A few simple clicks, and in a matter of seconds you’ll have a brand new tone synced to your amp.
There are a few additional features of the Roland CUBE 10GX practice amp that make it perfect for beginners and pros alike. Firstly, it has a headphone jack, which is of course a huge bonus for those looking to get a little extra late night practice in without waking up the rest of the household.
Secondly, the amplifier also has an auxiliary input that allows users to plug in audio from an external source. This means you can play along with your own music. Whether you are playing overtop a pre-recorded jam track or playing along with music by your favourite artists, this is a very cool feature—especially for newer students of the guitar.
Finally, it’s worth noting that the cabinet itself is very durable and tough. This is ideal considering the nature of the Roland CUBE 10GX practice amp. It’s the sort of amplifier you’re likely to me moving around a lot, and its impressive, durable nature lends to its overall portability.
The Roland CUBE 10GX practice amp delivers great sound and impressive features with a portable design
I came into the Roland CUBE 10GX assuming I may be able to recommend it as a decent guitar amplifier for beginners on a budget. However, my tune quickly changed when I had the chance to test it out. I find its performance and features extremely impressive. I’d strongly recommend it to both new players and anyone looking for a handy portable solution.
On top of being small, light weight, and durable, the 10GX delivers very respectable sound and a wide array of presets, effects, and tones. I’m not exaggerating when I say how badly I wish it had been around when I was first starting out. This amp has incredible value given its specifications and asking price. Even as a grizzled veteran musician I find the Roland CUBE 10GX to have very useful applications, and I’d be happy to have it among my amplifier collection. You can find this amp very soon online at Best Buy Canada.