Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Busker's Roland Amp


 Top photo: Roland Micro Cube amp + Fender CD-140 guitar.
Bottom photo: Roland Micro Cube amp.
Busking as a musician takes some special tools of your trade. I hope to soon try my hand as a singer/guitar player. I still need to purchase a microphone, but first I have to figure out which one to buy. Yesterday I purchased the amplifier you see here. Yep, it is a tiny amp, but I need something light-weight and easy to carry, but big enough to play for the small crowds that I hope to attract.

The Roland Micro Cube puts out a whopping 2 watts of power from a 5” speaker.  It has AC power, or battery power supplied by six AA batteries.  I purchased the amp at Guitar Center in Oklahoma City. I was not confident that this was the amp that I need, but they let me have a 30 day try-out period.

The amp comes equipped  with a digital “Tuning Fork” with 3 normal tuning key options, and can be used for heavy bottom tunings. Well, ok, I have no idea what they are talking about there, but I am used to tuning my guitar with a digital eNote tuner. The Micro Cube offers six different COSM amp types: Acoustic/JC Clean/Black Panel/Brit Combo/Classic Stack/R-Fier Stack. And, of course, I am too new at this stuff to know what the heck I have just written. But, after about an hour of turning knobs to try different sounds I started getting sounds that I like. So far I have not learned to adjust the acoustic setting to get the acoustic sound I want, but JC Clean, Black Panel and Brit Combo gave me some good sounds for the kind of music I play. And, I have another 29 days to figure this little power pack out. Although I do not know what this will sound like when I have both a guitar and microphone plugged in I have reasoned that if it don’t sound that good I will simply buy another one, possibly a small Vox or Fender amp. I plan to mount them on one of those 2 wheel grocery carts ( I have no idea what they are called.) made something like a suitcase with wheels.

And, it’s packed with more goodies: It accepts a microphone, and 4 types of EFX including chorus, flanger, phaser and tremolo, and a separate “Delay and Reverb” effect in addition to the EFX. Also included is a REC OUT jack for recording and for use as a headphone out. The Micro Cube also offers ¼” jacks and a mini-jack for external input. And, there is a strap for easy and greater portability.

I have spent today running personal errands and buying rechargeable batteries and a battery charger. That made my wallet bite me, but it will pay off in the end. I was tired of shelling out Pepsi money on  AA and 9 Volt batteries.

Although I have only used the amp for less than two hours I think I will like it, and I will probably buy another one, a Vox, Fender or Marchall (if they make one) as soon as possible. However, I do have another 29 days to make up my mind.

Total cost: Roland Micro Cube amp = less than $109.00.
                  Batteries and charger = less than $100.00

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