Roland New York Blues Tone Capsule for Blues Cube
Roland expands the tone options of their Blues Cube amplifier yet again with the New York Blues Tone Capsule.
Eric Johnson Tone Capsule
This new Tone Capsule is meant to transform the sound of the Blues Cube amp to the "Class A" British combo amplifier sound, with EL84 tubes flavor combined with the blues sound of New York.
The Blues Cube amp is an interesting approach to amp modeling, combining analog solid state amp designs with digital sound processing to achieve realistic sound and feel. Instead of using pure DSP (digital sound processing), Roland combined DSP with solid state analog circuitry to replicate tube amp nuances like the interaction between the amplifier and the speaker.
The in-depth reproduction of the feel and tone improves fidelity and realism, but it is not without drawback. Since it utilizes an analog circuit, it is bound by the same one-voicing limitation as regular analog solid-state amps, changing the tone requires changing the circuit itself. Interestingly, Roland found a way to make the design versatile by using a modular amplifier circuit, allowing you to conveniently swap out the part of the amp that can change the resulting sound. This particular component is called the "Tone Capsule".
Genuine speaker dynamics and real air movement are just two of the many factors that differentiate Tone Capsule technology from pure DSP amp modeling (like COSM which are used on their sub-brand Boss). While DSP focus mostly on getting the sound right, Tone Capsule aims to get the sound and feel to be as tube like as possible.
The latest Tone Capsule to be released by Roland is called the new York Blues Tone, which changes the voicing of the amp to a traditional British combo amplifier with EL74 tubes. This tone capsule is described by the company as, "a unique tonal fusion that captures the international diversity of the New York City music scene." They add, "It provides all the characteristics that classic British EL84 combos are noted for, including glassy clean chime, creamy power tube distortion, and a distinctive presence that cuts through any band mix. With the Blues Cube’s wide-ranging gain and tone controls, players can also dial in sounds that bring some of the original Blues Cube’s tweed-flavored midrange and overdrive into the mix."
The guitarist that helped shape the sound of this new tone capsule is Oz Noy, a NYC guitarist known for his fusion of rock, jazz and blues styles. It is said that Roland asked him to help them fine-tune the resulting sound and feel, to match his taste and style. Roland Engineers and OZ worked together at the famous Germano Studios in New York, to make sure that the resulting product meets both the company and the artist's standards. The story goes that OZ has used the final version of the New york Blues Tone Capsule himself at his regular nightclub gig in Greenwich Village, and he was happy with the sound.
Rather than describing how it changed the Blues Cube's sound, check out the video below hear the amp for yourself, and hear from Oz Noy himself.
The New York Blues Tone Capsule is compatible with the Roland Blues Cube Artist, Artist 212, Stage, and Tour amplifiers. It is currently available with a retail price of $199. Visit Roland for further details.
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