Weapon: 20Watt Modelling Amp combo
Model: Cube 20x
Price: 155€ in Germany
The Roland Cube 20x is equipped with 20watts and a 1x8" speaker.It has a mesure 335 x 240 x 335mm and a weight of 7.2kg. It contains 6 effects that are splitted up into 2 sections: Delay / Reverb on the one hand and flanger / phaser / tremolo / chorus on the other hand. You can use (only) one effect of each category on the same time. It has also a 3-band-equalizer and a compressor. The channel switch has to be bought sepperatly. It has adapters for recording output and headphone jack.
You have 6 different amplifier simulations which go from "accoustic" to "tube drive" and at another channel the amp simulats the famous JC Jazz guitar (clean only).
Accoustic: nothing special here, a clean sound, that sounds in regard of the price very good, neutral, persons who like the dirty Marshall sounding tone, won't be satisfied here. But although the name says "accoustic" it's a clean eguitar that's simulated not an accoustic guitar.
Overdrive: Here you get a very small, but row sounding overdrive, not for metal-heads but quite good for the blues.
Distortion: One step higher, this simulation sounds exactly like "Overdrive", only like you would turn the gain more and more up. Slowly you reach the distortion from some greenday songs, so rock-riffing stuff. But in my opinion little dry-sounding, and little "lifeless".
Metal: This is the probably most useful simulation; it has a very different sound from the two other channels, very full, happy, a definately better sound as I would expect from an amp in this price range. With the gain-knob you can really change a lot here: from a little barely audible distortion to the typical riffing sounds of bands like Metallica. It sounds very bright and clear but not steril, i like that channel the most. Although I'm not in metal, but in rock, i play all my lead AND riffing stuff with that simulation - only changing the gain and the pick ups.
Metal Stack: As the name says, here you get a lot of distortion, nothing for me, but, if you are in this kind of music, defintately perfect. I personally don't need a distortion pedal with this amp, because I have enough distortion and it sounds quite good. A warm, very high-frequences-rich tone and in the deeper areas it sounds like a plank. Heavy, feelingless, nice:).
Tube Drive: No, not even more distortion here. From distortion level you get "back" to the level of the overdrive channel. Nomen est omen. Here a tube amp on max volume is simulated and - i personally think very good. If you want to sound like Mark Knopfler, this simulation is right for you.
Channel B; the JC Accoustic simulator: Here you get simulated an accoustic guitar, to be fair, i have to say it sounds nice and it's a useful channel - but - it sounds not like an accoustic guitar. It's a big fatter sound than the clean simulation, but, nobody would believe you play an accoustic guitar with that simulation. So nice channel, but not the sound promitted.
Delay: The delay is simply genial, not only for this pricerange, it's nearly as good as original delay-pedal. It's not endless long, just long enough to fatten up your sound. Very useful.
Reverb: Thats also a pretty well-sounding-effect. It's like you were playing in a cistern (or I imagine it would sound like playing in one;)). No extraordinary things too, but, quite well sounding.
chorus: Nothing special here, sounds like a chorus, not a very good one, but it's okay. Only if you use the maximal chorus it destroys your sound and you sound like a keyboard .
phaser/tremolo/flanger: Everything can't be perfect and so is here: These 3 effects are useless. Flanger can be used for long tones, but the problem is, for every note you play the flanger "melody" starts again and if you play solos or "fast" runs with that you have only a "zszszszszsz". The phaser sounds like your strings are close to break, And last AND least the tremolo is much too slow (you can't regulate this) and sounds not like a tremolo, either.
Feel & Overall Impression:
All in all I feel very good with this amp, it's very good, cheap and versatible for practicing and even loud enough to get along with a drum(!). With a little "Knowledge" of the amp you can get a lot of very nice sounds. The sound quality is also pretty good as I mentioned above few times. I like this amp very much because you needn't to have an effect pedal or stuff like that to get an adequate sound out of it. Besides this he seems to be undestroyable and has a very good workmanship. I never got in contact with the Roland Service because I had never anything to complain about.
I could only name 2 cons: the useless phaser/tremolo/flanger effects but I think this isn't that important because you get 3 very nice effects in opposite and, to be honest, these 3 effects alone were worth the money. The second con is the way you plug your cable in => vertically, that seems to make the cables not last forever but I don't know whether it's only a problem I have.
In my opinion there isn't really an alternative weapon in this pricerange - for 150 euros cou can't get something much better I think. But, if you want to avoid this amp you could go for the Fender FM 15DSP or the Hughes&Kettner Edition Blue 15R.