Review of the Roland Micro Cube Bass RX

Please note I am Amazon Affiliate and receive a commission for any sales they recieve from this site.  Also, please note you may find a cheaper price at Guitar Center, though you may have to pay sales tax, which could even the price out.  I would recommend trying out the amp first.  But if you were to buy a battery-powered amp without trying it first, this might be the amp to get.

Roland Micro Cube Bass RX Battery-Powered Bass Combo Amp

I love the RX Bass amp.  I play guitar mostly.  My steel string and my nylon string sound good.  And my fretless bass sounds good.  I like the fullness of the sound.  The Roland Street Cube and most of the battery-powered amps for guitar sound thinner/tinnier.  The Bass RX is great for duets because it covers the bottom end.  And when I am playing solo, the sound spectrum feels wider than on most guitar amps.  Obviously if you want a lot of high-end, you would look elsewhere.  But I always like mids and bass more than treble.  And it doesn’t really get that muddy either.


Update – April 2016

I currently use two Micro Cube bass amps as a battery-powered PA.  I use a battery-powered mixer, and a battery-powered reverb pedal.  Since I was usually using this amp as a part of a duet that plays commonly on the street, I figure we might as well try it as a PA.  The mixer (Behringer Xenyx 1002B) costs about $100, the rechargeable 9V batteries cost about $30, and I already had a stereo reverb pedal.

Street Setup

The improvised PA sounds way better than the two MicroCubes individually. Total cost – about $1000.  And about $350 to upgrade from the two Cubes to the mixer.

I’m actually planning on taking up the street sound another notch.  I hope to get a deep-cycle boat battery and DC-to-AC inverter and then use my regular PA, which is another step-or-two up the chain of live sound.  Some people like the sound from whatever source the sound comes from.  And it is true music does come from the fingers and heart.  But having good sound reinforcement usually really helps both the musicians and the music.

Solo Guitar Setup

One of my musician friends told me that the playing acoustic guitar through the Cube didn’t really sound that good on the gig.  It’s true.  It doesn’t sound as good as a $700 amp.  So I decided to up my game.  Since I alreay had a great speaker in the form a PA (RCF FD12A Powered DJ Speaker), I got an acoustic guitar preamp with XLR output and effects loop (Fishman Platinum Pro EQ) and a stereo reverb pedal (TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverb Pedal).  It sounds great!


I just discovered that I can use the octave bass effect and my jazz guitar sounds like an organ.  It adds an octave below the low notes so you can get decent walking basslines.

It’s light-weight (15lbs plus another pound for battery weight) and runs on 6AA batteries.  I got the eneloop rechargeables and I’m set for 8-12 hours at a time, though I generally recharge after every other use.  It fits in a grocery bag.  In fact, I carry the RX around in a reusable grocery bag.

Today besides using it to play outside, I used it as a boom box hooked up to my phone using an 1/8″ cord.  It sounds pretty good, though it doesn’t amplify the signal very much, so your phone’s batteries might get drained.

Pros

  • portable
  • battery powered and easily rechargeable
  • good, full sound for guitar, electric and upright bass, violin, and viola for size of amp
  • has decent reverb
  • has decent eq
  • has decent compression
  • has stereo input jeck
  • has a metronome and tuner
  • can fit in a backpack
  • loud
  • sturdy
  • Output jack you can use it as a preamp for recording or for live sound
  • Amp modelers are decent. The octave bass is good.
  • tap time with metronome
  • drum machine is cool
  • looks good – clean, simple design

Cons

  • no amplification for stereo input – i.e. the gain doesn’t work for your iPod
  • only one 1/4″ input and no XLR
  • cheesy beats on the drum machine
  • when you use the record out, it mutes the amp, so you can’t use it as a monitor (b/c it’s paired to the headphone out)
Here’s something from Roland’s website:
  • Stereo power amplifiers and four newly developed 4-inch (10cm) speakers
  • Eight COSM® amps, six digital effects,
  • Rhythm Guide function for practical rhythm training
  • Stereo AUX input for CD/MP3 player, Phones/Recording out
  • Battery driven (6 x AA, up to 13-hour continuous use),
  • Compact body with carrying strap
I will try to post some videos at some point.  I just don’t have experience with making a video of a gear demo.

 

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