I recently purchased a Roland Micro Cube. Like it a lot. Is it the best battery powered mini amp? I don't know. [?]
Lots of folks told me they liked it but only one or two had done any "Pepsi" challenges with it against any other similar amp. Plenty of folks chimed in with their favorites but few said they had compared them to anything else.
The usual suspects were all also touted; Vox, Orange, Roland, PigNose, Line 6, Jay Turser, etc., so on...
These affordable amps all fit nicely with the cigar box guitar experience and I suspect many folks experimenting with CBGs and taking them to the next level by adding piezos or mag pickups may be wondering which of these tiny wonders with their built in effects might be the best choice to 'pull the trigger on' to buy for their personal style of music.
My challenge is this; obtain more than two, preferably three or more of these type amps and share your experiences of same with folks here on cigar box nation. Share your views of each amps, strengths and weaknesses as we aren't all looking for the same sound.
I got a lot of folks telling me the one they bought was great...and that's cool, but I think people might like to hear comparisons of these affordable amps inherent qualities to help them choose the right one for their use.
Audio files of different amps would be helpful too.
Thanks Ellwood. Folks here have told me a lot of nice things about the amps they all bought.
My point with this post here was to hear from folks who own or have tested more than one of the small battery powered practice amps available and share a contrast and comparison product review. They all have effects just like your MicroCube. I'm hoping to hear back from people who will tell me how the Roland's effects compare against Vox Da5 or Orange's little amp. I think people would like to hear from someone who has one or more amps in front of them and switching back and forth finds _______ better on Brand X, but _______ better on Brand Z.
Hmmm, Nobody ???
Thanks anyway, I just thought people on this forum might like to hear actual comparisons between some of the inexpensive battery powered amps that are available out there. You know, if you own a pig nose and your buddy owns a Vox. Get together with him/her and play your guitar through both...and let us know what you think!
If someone can borrow an amp or two that's different from the one they own and give us all their impressions of each amp I think folks might find it enlightening to help them decide which amp they may like to purchase to suit their style of playing
Thanks for the tone quality comparison Steve.
The Roland has 6 simulated Amp sounds from a clean acoustic up to grittier Marshall Stack and R-fier simulated sounds plus a clean supposedly unaltered Mic input. It has Chorus, Flange, Phase and Tremolo efx which you can alter further with a Delay/Reverb knob. There is a 1/4" Record Out jack so I believe this would allow the Cube's effects to be played, Pre Amp like through another larger Amp. Is your Line 6 similarly equipped?
Do you play them both on Battery or A/C and which eats batteries quicker?
Flatrat (you're not related by blood *snigger* to Roadkill, are you?),
*WARNING* looooonnnngggg post ahead...
I think I can take this challenge. I went through a "small, low wattage amp is beautiful" phase a couple years ago, and A/B'd pretty much everything then on the market, and have managed to kinda keep up since then.
Here's what I currently own / play out through:
Roland Stereo MobileCube
Pignose 7-100 (still under 100 bucks, just like in the Seventies!)
Fender Champ 600 Re-Issue (since modded with better speaker and new cap and resistors for 50% more volume)
ZT Lunchbox (friggin' LOUDEST 200 watt solidstate amp with a 6" speaker on the planet)
CAO custom cigar box amp made to my specs by Joel Grey of GreyAmps, Chicago
First, the CAO: I was looking to have Bruce Zinky of Fender design fame build me a CB tube Amp. Bruce and I corresponded a bit; he wrote back that, after 10 years, he still hadn't built one for the box that Joe Perry of Aerosmith sent him, but if I was truly interested, I could send him $1500 for a one-off, totally custom job. Not being truly interested enough to explain such an expenditure to my lovely, I went Web-hopping. Contacted Joel through his eBay store, and a month later got a gorgeous little CAO box, based on an LM386 chip, I think it was, with Volume and Overdrive, powered by 9-volt and / or wall wart. It can last for about 2 2-hr performances before fading, and sounds really good for certain songs in a house party jam or cafe' setting.
The Fender Champ: came from Guitar Center, then I got online and ordered a mod kit from a guy in New York. Simple 1 tube design, and can go from clean to dirty, espcially now with the mod. Good for electric blues and rock.
The Pignose: I live in Saudi Arabia, where pork is haram (forbidden) so I just had to have one! Plus, I'm a Zappa fan from waaaay back, so if it was good enough for Frank..Great for blues harp, and slide. Wall wart or 6 AAs; batteries last basically for one 2.5-3 hour show.
ZT Lunchbox: Another online direct purchase, from a bunch of Stanford and Berkley engineers who set out to prove that solid state amps can do anything tube amps can, and that they can make 'em reliable and cheap in China. Portable, loud SOB, 6" speaker, and really likes my Digitech GNX-1 floor processor. I now use this almost exclusively for my local open mic and stage shows, and can easily keep up with the Marshall half stacks and Fender Twin Reverbs some of my colleagues use in too-small venues. They still can't believe it when I tell them that they can have one for only $269 and shipping. This one is not battery-powered; it usually gets played with the Gain set at 5, the Reverb set at 3, and teh Volume at 1.5. My wife still complains it's too loud.
Finally, the Roland Stereo MobileCube: I played lots of different guitars through this, the Vox DA5, the Roland MicroCube, and the Line 6 stuff. And this one got me with the stereo sound, and it was on sale cheaper than the Mobile Cube at the time, because they'd just rolled it out for Christmas. This is my go-to, around-the-house practice amp. Didn't need the modeling capabilities of the others, though I still dig the Vox (price wasn't quite good enough on that one when I was ready to buy). All the Rolands sound warm to my ears. The Line 6 stuff just all sounds too digital and sterile to me, even their big amps.
I have also tried all the mini-Fenders and Marshalls, and they just don't push enough growly air to suit me; speakers too small and too tinny. Neither do the Danelectro Honeytone or the Hodad, even though I know there are plenty of people that love 'em. I have the same opinion of the Jay Tursers. The SansAmp beltpack stuff is nice (I have an old one), but it's too personal, unless you get a headphone splitter for the usual audience of 2 or fewer >:-E. I even looked at the Axl ThinAmp because one of the best local guitarists around here has one, but it still sounds too tinny for me with its dual 2.5" speakers, and it ain't cheap. It's probably also the fact that I have 52-year-old ears, went to far too many high-volume rock concerts in my teens, have had tinnitus since I was 4, and like to play as loud as the rest of the pickup bands will let me get away with:-).
I will be picking up one of Zinky's cigarette pack-style Li'l Smokey amps (about $25-30 at GC) this summer, just for kicks. After my long e-mail conversations with Bruce, it was the least I could do :-)
Hope this helps,
Each of the above amps colors tunes the way I like 'em, and they all sound different from one another, in a good way, to my ears. Your mileage may vary.
Get yer Mom some flowers, and tell her you love her. She's kewl.
Alll the reasons you like the Vox were reasons I liked it, especially the variable powrr settings. I may have to troll eBay for one...