View Full Version : Roland AC-33 + Baritone Eleuke + Overdrive + Backing tracks = Usable?

10-13-2013, 07:59 PM
Hi all--I was hoping to pick your brains briefly.

I'm wanting to start playing my original songs out live and am trying to finalize my setup. My live set is based upon a solid baritone Eleuke, vocals, and backing tracks from an mp3 player. Being a songwriter and occasional traveller, I want something that runs on batteries (for busking), is compact (fits in a backpack or small carry-on), and has a mic input.

I bought a Roland Cube Street a couple of weeks ago, but the sound is kind of thin and grating. I guess it's due to the amp being really designed for electric guitar and not piezo pickups? Also, the backing tracks sound paper thin. I'm not asking for the performance of a full 1,000,000 watt PA, but I'd like to hear the kick drum at least. For the size of the speakers (even though they're only 2.5 watts a side) I was expecting more. It's literally just as loud as the Mobile Cube I own. Also, the Street lacks a line out.

Then I came across the AC-33. I tried it out with an ac-elec tenor uke and even a Ubass. I liked that I could hear a good bit of the low end off the Ubass, which gave me hope that this would work for my backing tracks. However, I didn't have the cable to test out my backing tracks on me. I'm thinking of returning the Street and getting the 33 instead.

So, two questions:
1. Have any of you tried running the AC-33 with some punchy backing tracks for busking / standalone performance? I mean stuff with percussion, bass, synths, etc. If so, how did it sound? Did it have alright low-end for its size?

FYI: For bigger gigs, I already have a Fender KXR-100 keyboard amp. I'd run the line-out of the AC-33 to the KXR or house PA.

2. For about 50% of the songs, I need a bit of overdrive dirtiness on the uke. For another 25% I need heavier distortion. The last 25% is clean. I've got external FX processors for this purpose, but what I'm wondering is: have any of you tried playing with overdrive / distortion via the AC-33? How did it sound?

I've also checked out the KC-110 keyboard amp, but that's too big. I also think I'll really use the 33's looper for songwriting and practice, which the 110 lacks.

Thanks for any feedback you can provide!

Brad Bordessa
10-13-2013, 08:35 PM
Don't know about the AC-33 for backing tracks. I'd definitely take a cable and hear for yourself on that one. I'd probably take your dirt pedals and try them too. That way you don't need our opinions! :cool:

That said, I have the AC-90 and I think I can sort of answer #2. The AC series is clean, clean, clean. Maybe there is a bit of optimization for acoustic instruments on the first channel, but it's definitely straight up PA clean on channel two as far as I can tell. What the amp hears is what it makes loud. If your FX units sound good out of the box, it will probably be fine through the 33, but if they sound best in front of a guitar amp it will probably sound like crap.

Try it if you can!

10-14-2013, 04:46 AM
You'll definitely hear the bass with a Roland Microcube Bass RX ;)

10-14-2013, 11:32 AM
I've run some distorted sounds through my AC-33. I agree with hippie guy's assessment. When I used a Fender Mustang pedal board it sounded great as it was creating fully simulated sounds. When I used a simple distortion pedal which was intended to fit in front of a regular guitar amp then the sound wasn't so good. As to percussive sounds from a backing track, it will work but remember than "big" percussive sounds will draw power from the batteries rather quickly. Mind you. Recorded percussive sounds will already be compressed so they won't be as bad as live percussive sounds.


10-21-2013, 06:36 PM
Thanks for all of the input guys. I bought the AC-33 and LOVE IT. It's everything I've wanted in an amp: portability, usable effects, decent volume, line outputs, and a looper. I've been having some serious fun with it!