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Tech: Roland Mobile Cube amplifier

Will Fly 03 Sep 13 - 08:21 AM
GUEST 03 Sep 13 - 09:46 AM
GUEST 03 Sep 13 - 09:56 AM
Will Fly 03 Sep 13 - 11:45 AM
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Subject: Tech: Roland Mobile Cube amplifier
From: Will Fly
Date: 03 Sep 13 - 08:21 AM

I've got to the stage now where I'm tired of lugging a large amp around for stage work - particularly when the main sounds are DI'd into the PA system. So, rather than lug my 80w Laney from garage to car, from car to stage - repeated backwards - for each gig, I've been looking at little battery-driven amps.

Eventually I plumped for the Roland Mobile Cube:

Mobile Cube

which arrived this morning. I'm very impressed. It can sit on a butchered mic stand and is perfect for me to hear as a stage amp. Inputs for guitar, mic, keyboard (stereo), mini-jack and phonos; with separate channels for acoustic and electric guitar, plus distortion, chorus, overdrive (not needed!), delay and reverb. 2 x 2.5" 2 watt stereo speakers. It's a sweet little thing and I'm going to love it. 6 AA batteries drive it for 15 hours...

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Subject: RE: Tech: Roland Mobile Cube amplifier
Date: 03 Sep 13 - 09:46 AM

many favour the AER unit. £500-£800 how does it compare?

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Subject: RE: Tech: Roland Mobile Cube amplifier
Date: 03 Sep 13 - 09:56 AM

£125! The first thing I did was to prise off the Roland badge on the front, not because I took offence to it, but because it partially blocks the left hand 4" speaker; the benefit of doing this is small, but if you're a sound purist like me then you'll want to take any steps you can to improve the sound. Luckily the Roland badge prises off fairly easily as long as you use a flat, blunt edge to lift it off.
The stereo effect of this product is fairly unnoticeable, in fact you have to put your head up against the speakers to hear any stereo effect at all, but in a product of this compact size that is always going to be a fact. The longer 'ghetto-blasters' of the past had a better stereo effect but they were naturally more cumbersome to carry around.

After initially inputting music through the 3.5mm AUX socket (the twin Phono sockets are also AUX) I decided that this is fine with MP3 players, iPads and certain other devices, but my preference now is to input via the guitar/ keyboard L/R twin inputs using a 3.5mm to 2 x 1/4" jack lead; the advantages of doing it this way are that you can then use the volume knob on the Mobile Cube, as well as having control over TONE and other effects if you want to try them. If you input via the 3.5mm AUX or twin Phono sockets then this bypasses all the control knobs on the Mobile Cube and you have to adjust your volume on the device you are feeding music from.
Another reason for not using the AUX input is that you can actually put though a stronger level signal via the other inputs and then drop the output with the volume knob; this means you pick up less noise and get a cleaner signal because of a better SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio). In fact when I tried using the Mobile Cube with the earphone socket of my TV to watch a film, I found it impossible to get a decent sound unless I used the 1/4" inputs.

I think battery life is very good with this product, 15 hours is not unreasonable at all, and despite the manual and internet product description notes saying "only alkaline batteries can be used in this product" I was glad to find that AA rechargeables DO WORK in it; so far I have only tried ENELOOP rechargeables (because of their superb low self-discharge rate) but I expect other brands of NiMH rechargeables will also power the Mobile Cube (after all, products that will work on alkaline but not NiMH are very rare indeed in my experience; it's simply that alkaline cells usually gives you slightly longer usage, but are more expensive for regular use; so I'm going to stick with my ENELOOP AA cells).

Power output is quite impressive; there's a lot of volume there if you need it, but for inside the house I've rarely had to turn the volume up above the quarter mark.
I'm not a guitarist. I bought this product as a portable amp for all sorts of occasions such as enhancing the sound from my iPad and simply playing my iPod around the house, but there's all sorts of other applications it could be used for; connecting to a laptop, desktop computer, presentations... etc.
All in all, for its size, it's about as good as you're going to get, and it's worth having for its portable convenience and it's a very practical bit of kit.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Roland Mobile Cube amplifier
From: Will Fly
Date: 03 Sep 13 - 11:45 AM

The first thing I did was to peel off the sticker!

The stereo speakers are neither here nor there in stereo terms, but the fact that stereo signal input is possible is useful for certain aspects of recording.

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