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Boss Nextone Stage

Guitar Amplifiers
Published March 2019
By Paul White

Boss Nextone Stage

This new range draws on Roland's Blues Cubes and promises to deliver both the sound and the playing feel of a real valve amp.

Priced between the Boss Katana and the Roland Blues Cube guitar amps, the Boss Nextone models lean more in the direction of the Blues Cubes, and add an on-board delay as well as switchable output-stage characteristics. These are emulations of 6V6‑, 6L6‑, EL84‑ and EL34-based Class‑A/B valve amps (see box), and use the Tube Logic algorithms and power scaling switching that were developed for the Blues Cube range. Boss tell us that selecting an amp type on the Nextones physically reconfigures the analogue Class‑A/B output circuitry, as well as the way the preamp and speaker interacts with it, so essentially there are four different analogue circuits that feed into the final Class‑A/B output stage. It's all very different from the various modelling amps of other manufacturers that do all the emulation with DSP and then feed the result through a clean power amp — no doubt this one reason these amps get so much closer to a true valve-amp feel.

Overview

The 40W Nextone Stage — which is the model I was sent for review — is companion to the slightly larger and doubly powerful 80W Nextone Artist, and features a single custom 12-inch speaker mounted in a semi-open-backed cabinet. Everything is neatly finished, with a smoothly textured black vinyl covering, black plastic corners and panel trim, and grey-striped speaker grille cloth. As with the Blues Cube, the controls are designed to be set up just like a conventional amplifier, so there are no menus or LCD readouts to get between the user and the process of setting up a sound. However, if you do like deeper tweaking, the free downloadable Nextone Editor app (for Mac OS and Windows) allows you to create a custom amp setup by tweaking such things as bias, power supply sag, additional EQ, tone stack type, boost parameters (one of which is to have a compressor in place of boost), delay type, reverb type and so on. You can also use it to swap out the delay for a tremolo if you'd prefer, and in custom mode you can have different power-valve types for the clean and lead channels if you wish.

Though the amp is not programmable in the conventional way, it can store one custom setting created using the editor software, and this can be called up by...

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Published March 2019