Author Topic: Roland Blues Cubes  (Read 7033 times)

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Offline alancarl

Re: Roland Blues Cubes
« Reply #25 on: March 31, 2017, 10:46:57 PM »
Here is another attempt to get a look at the PCBs of my Blues Cube Artist...
In this case Steve asked for a look at the Tone Capsule Board.
In order to really see the component IC's and their numbers I will have to do a lot of disassembly and zip tie cutting...for now this is it...

On the question of what these amps are made of so to speak I have always assumed that the new Blues Cube amps are COSM throughout which is how Roland is able to fairly successfully recreate the feel and sound of the amps of the tweed era... Now it's not a '59 Bassman but I have found the experience of playing this amp is very good..It seems to make the gig go easier as the night goes on somehow:-)

I am sure I will get tired of looking at my lame pics and take this puppy apart but it will have to wait for a little gap in the excitement of shows!
Thanks and have fun!

Offline Elantric

Re: Roland Blues Cubes
« Reply #26 on: March 31, 2017, 11:08:28 PM »
Thank you!

On PCB above, I see what could possibly be array of eight discreet FET transistors. It's possible a large part of the Blues Cube preamp is discreet FET.

Like these:

and the Tone Capsule 9 pin socket ( same as 12AX7A) is close on same PCB here:

It supports a bipolar 24V power rails , same as the front end to the  old 1996 era Roland Blues Cubes ( BC-30 / BC-60) below
« Last Edit: April 04, 2017, 11:32:12 AM by admsustainiac »

Offline KeldAmpworks

Re: Roland Blues Cubes
« Reply #27 on: April 02, 2017, 03:38:08 AM »
I'd say a FET preamp is likely, given the lineage - the older BC's were FET preamp. And of course roland have 'form' for great sounding discrete FET distortion in the Boss BD-2. Is this board near/connected to the input jack?

There's also a shedload of not fit electro caps on the left hand side there - suggesting that they use the same board for different BC models maybe?

Look forward to seeing other pics as they come out.

Great sounding amp.

Offline alancarl

Re: Roland Blues Cubes
« Reply #28 on: April 03, 2017, 06:54:32 AM »
I'd like to add another thought I had about the BC amps.
I had the idea that these Amps have a substantial analog front end... Kinda like the 'mic pre' in front of a digital recorder chain to 'warm up' the results. At first back in the ADAT days I rejected this concept when an online music store salesman told me I 'have' to be using a fancy(expensive) mic pre with my ADATS... as though the system would not actually record anything without it :-0

I am a believer now in the importance of the analog front end in a digital system. I have a Midas M32R and I have done double blind listening tests and the Midas pres are stellar compared to the simpler front ends that are used by the lesser expensive digital boards.
The headroom and then the transition into non-linear timbres are worth the upgrade!

So for Roland to juice up the signal chain with FETs and other analog goodies makes total sense to me.
Thanks for the volley of hypotheses!

Offline Elantric

Re: Roland Blues Cubes
« Reply #29 on: April 03, 2017, 08:09:49 AM »

I'm told by Roland the Tone Capsules are a hybrid design,  Analog Discrete FET design, along with some firmware for the Blues Cube DSP.

Essentially this FET front end provides greater dynamic range   But lessons learned during Blues Cube development were applied to Katana ( Katana uses DSP )
« Last Edit: April 03, 2017, 01:26:07 PM by admsustainiac »

Offline alancarl

Re: Roland Blues Cubes
« Reply #30 on: April 04, 2017, 06:04:40 AM »
Thanks for the clarification Steve.
Do you think you will be able to tell from better pics if the BC Artist is actually analog from input to speaker?

I did measure the input to output time when I first copped the amp and I do remember a very slight offset implying inline DSP.
The mention from Roland of multiple compression curves throughout and the overall sound still leads me to believe that there is at least some EQ and compression tweaking the straight sound.

I must say that Roland really has my ear(and wallet!) these days with the results of their recent hybrid COSM Etc products!
I was an early adopter of the original VG-8 and that box payed for itself many times over:-)
It served quite well for the national TV and Radio spots as I could show up with my strat and VG-8 and QUICKLY  bring fourth any guitar/amp combo.
Quite useful and novel too if the client happened to show up:-)
Well and now the gear sounds so good!
I do miss the version 2 tweak ability though:-0
That part is mostly overlooked by most manufactures.... Now everything needs to be done with one virtual knob:-0

Offline Elantric

Re: Roland Blues Cubes
« Reply #31 on: April 04, 2017, 06:12:42 AM »
None of the current blues cubes are 100% Analog ( but the old 1996 version was)


Consider that they have USB Re-Amping and recording capabilities and DSP reverb and tremolo - these are hybrid designs.

The Katana also has a FET preamp , but far fewer FETs involved in Tone shaping compared to current Blues Cubes

For comparison - refer to the 2016 Boss Katana

or  the 2011 era Roland GA-212 Block Diagram below
« Last Edit: April 04, 2017, 11:34:53 AM by admsustainiac »

Offline telemike

Re: Roland Blues Cubes
« Reply #32 on: April 12, 2017, 06:30:26 AM »
I wonder when someone is going to de-construct a tone capsule and see what kind of guitar fairy dust Roland has placed inside?

Offline Sparkz

Re: Roland Blues Cubes
« Reply #33 on: May 14, 2017, 01:06:11 PM »

Here's an idea to determine extent of analog vs DSP contribution on new blues cubes.  If it is high percentage DSP then Roland could update firmware to enable Tone Studio user software control for access to sneaky amp models and additional effects.

Test procedure: Inject 400hz 100mv rms audio signal into guitar input and with hi-z oscilloscope probe check for audio on high side and wiper of each front panel control pot. If 400 hz audio is present on volume, gain, or eq pots then they are controlling Analog circuits.  If no 400hz audio present then DSP is the active element for that stage.

Does anyone agree with my logical approach to further uncovering tubelogic circuitry and thus determining whether a firmware update could unlock a Tone Studio software module for greater user flexibility from those BC amp stages that exist as algorithms within the DSP?

I'm traveling and will report on this test when I return  if someone else doesn't do it first.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2017, 01:59:41 PM by Sparkz »