Hands-On Review:The Roland Mighty CUBE


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An inside look at Roland's million-selling amp line

By Jim Bybee
Roland Product Specialist

The Mighty CUBE

Roland has sold over 1,000,000 CUBE amplifiers, and that number continues to grow every day. Drawing on the company's 35-plus years of innovation and know-how, these portable performers combine cutting-edge technology with design and construction features typically found in amps that cost up to five times as much. In this article, we'll take a closer look at what goes into every CUBE amp, and introduce you to the latest guitar amps in the lineup, the CUBE-XL series.

Premium sound and performance

At the heart of every CUBE amp is Roland's Composite Object Sound Modeling technology, or "COSM®" for short. COSM first appeared in 1995 in the VG-8 V-Guitar System, a revolutionary product that introduced the now-standard concept of guitar and amp modeling to musicians everywhere. Roland continues to develop and refine this technology, and every CUBE amp benefits from their ever-expanding expertise in amp modeling.

In CUBE amps, COSM gives you a wide range of amp models from classic American clean combos to vintage British stacks to over-the-top metal amps, all accessible with a simple twist of a knob. Most CUBE amps also feature onboard effects such as chorus, reverb, delay, and more, giving you the ability to sweeten your sound without having to use external pedals. For amp models and effects, Roland designs their own custom DSP chips; this gives complete control over processing power and sound quality, something that's not possible with the off-the-shelf chips that other manufacturers often rely on.

The custom components in CUBE amps don't stop with DSP; the speakers are also specifically designed for use in CUBEs. Because COSM delivers such a wide range of amp tones, standard speakers just won't cut it. Every speaker component is chosen with great care, from the magnets to the paper material used in the speaker's cone. This ensures superior performance with the most accurate sound reproduction possible.

Other useful features found in various CUBE amps include outputs for headphones and direct recording, as well as aux in jacks for jamming along with music from an external music player like an iPod.

Superior construction

Simply put, CUBE amps are built to last. Every design element and component—even the shipping boxes—undergo rigorous stress testing to guarantee years of trouble-free operation. The cabinets are built with direct-joint construction and high-grade plywood, providing rock-solid durability and vibration-free sound performance. The outside is covered with a heavy-duty vinyl covering, with full-length edge guards that protect not only the corners, but the amp's edges as well. Additionally, the metal speaker grille provides superior protection over the traditional soft fabric grille cloth.

CUBE amps also feature a closed-back design that offers many benefits over the open-back designs found in other amps, including punchy tone and rich bass response that belies their compact size. And while many affordable amps utilize plastic feet, CUBE amps incorporate robust rubber feet. Though it may seem like a minor detail, rubber feet give you no-slip stability that enhances audio quality while helping your amp stay put.

The CUBE-XL Series

The CUBE-XL series guitar amps carry the CUBE tradition to an all-new level, offering the same premium quality standard with enhanced sounds and features. There are four amps to choose from, so everyone from bedroom jammers to gigging pros can find a CUBE that suits their needs.

The CUBE-80XL is the top dog in the CUBE range, with 80 watts of power driving a single 12" speaker, while the slightly smaller CUBE-40XL offers 40 watts and a 10" speaker. The sound sections in the two amps are nearly identical: there are a ton of COSM amp models onboard (11 in the 80XL, 10 in the 40XL), including the new ultra-heavy EXTREME, and eight built-in effects with Heavy Octave and COSM spring reverb as the latest additions. Both amps also offer three footswitchable channels, three-band EQ, and an 80-second phrase looper that lets you get your jam on with sound-on-sound recording and unlimited overdubs.

With 20 watts driving an 8" speaker, the CUBE-20XL is next in the XL lineup. It offers clean and lead channels (with six lead types), a Solo function for extra boost, and nine effects, including the previously mentioned Heavy Octave and COSM spring reverb. Finally, the diminutive CUBE-15XL is a little screamer, with 15 watts, an 8" speaker, and independent clean and lead channels. Both the 20XL and 15XL also feature a push-button Power Squeezer function for rich and full tone at bedroom volumes.

Quality you can depend on

When you choose a CUBE, you're choosing the very best value in an affordable amp, hands down. With Roland's meticulous attention to quality and detail, you can be assured your CUBE will still be going strong when other inexpensive amps are on their last legs. But don't take our word for it—take it from the one million owners currently rockin' hard with CUBE amps all over the world!

Features & Specs


  • 4 different amps, with power from 15 to 80 watts
  • New COSM® amp models, including the ultra-heavy Extreme
  • New effects, including Heavy Octave and COSM spring reverb
  • 80-second looper built in (CUBE-80XL/-40XL)
  • SOLO function with memory (CUBE-80XL/-40XL)