If you play guitar, the Spark amp by Positive Grid solves A LOT of problems for those that like to play at home. But that’s kinda just the tip of the iceberg, as you’ll see below…
Practice amps kind of suck. Well, mostly. I have a little Orange Crush in my office with a couple of pedals and that setup has done me proud the last few years. Innovation in the practice amp space isn’t that fast-paced which is why I was so blown away by the previews I saw of Positive Grid’s Spark amp – for $399 (view all package options here), you’re getting an amazing amount of functionality.
This isn’t your basic practice amp and while there are TONS of decent practice amps available, the Spark amp does things VERY differently. It uses a dedicated phone app to augment and control thousands of different custom amp setups and tones. Wanna sound like Metallica? Just search for a Metallica song and it’ll replicate the guitar sound. Need a backing track? The Spark amp will play along with what you’re playing.
And because the Spark amp uses Positive Grid’s BIAS technology, you can (and will) get a realistic tube amp sound without having to shill out for one – it’s all done with software (just like the uber-expensive Kemper Profiler, only here you’ll pay $399 for the privilege, not $3000+).
“”The Spark app provides over 10,000 killer guitar and bass amp -and-FX presets from famous guitarists, professional session players, expert studio engineers and hit-making producers from around the world.”
And best of all, you can do all of this from your phone. You don’t even have to mess around with switches on the amp itself (although you can if you wish). The Spark will also connect directly to your PC via USB, so you can send the signal straight into your recording software which makes recording PHAT guitar sounds a lot simpler with fewer wires and I/O.
For me, though, the thing that really separates the Spark amp from pretty much anything else I have seen on the market is its embrace of technology. You can use an app on your phone to dial-in tones and sounds, setup backing tracks, augment the tempo, and pretty much everything else in between.
Find The Chords For ANY Song…
And if that wasn’t enough to give you a guitar boner, get this: the Spark phone app can listen to any song and show you the EXACT chords used in it which are then displayed via a tab inside the app for you to follow along with. You can play tracks from Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube to the amp and it will transcribe the guitar parts in real-time.
How cool is that?
This thing basically does everything. In fact, if I were dreaming up a concept for a practice amp, I still don’t think what I’d be able to come up with something quite as cool as what this amp can do…
Positive Grid Spark Amp Technical Specs
- FREQUENCY RANGE – 20-20,000 Hz.
- STEREO/MONO – Stereo.
- MAXIMUM SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL – 116 dB SPL @1m.
- CABINET PRINCIPLE – Bass-reflex.
- POWER AMPLIFIERS – 40 Watt Class D Amplifier.
- SPEAKERS – Two – 4″ Custom Designed Speakers.
- TOTAL IMPEDANCE – 4 ohms.
The Spark Amp is Perfect For Home Recording
Because of the Spark amp’s I/O, you can plug it directly into your PC, the kit is perfect for anyone that is looking to record at home on their laptop and/or PC. Add in the “backing track” feature, whereby the amp will generate drums and bass that play in time and in tune with your riffs and you’ve basically got yourself a full band on the go. Ideal for loners that want to make music but don’t like talking to people.
And because of Positive Grid’s library of 10,000+ guitar tones, you don’t even have to worry about using pedals or adding effects post. You can augment any of the 10,000 amps, detailing them to your exact requirements in order to create a bespoke, totally unique sound. Hell, you could even use the Spark amp in live situations.
Case in point: Meshuggah uses the Fractal Axe-FX system in live situations. It plugs directly into the PA system, so there is no need for cabinets. And if you haven’t seen Meshuggah live, trust me, they sound like being hit by 10 tons of concrete in a galeforce wind.
Positive Grid Spark Amp Release Date & Price
The Spark Amp by Positive Grid is now up for pre-order; I literally ordered mine this morning – it cost me $224. Positive Grid is shipping the Spark app worldwide too, so don’t let the dollar currency put you off; I’m in the UK and it worked fine.
As for release dates, the Spark Amp will start shipping to customers that made pre-orders during the latter part of April and the beginning of May. And if you’re interested in this amp, you should definitely think about pre-ordering one because it’ll save you around 25% on the RRP.
Once Positive Grid’s Spark amp goes on sale properly it’ll retail for $399.99. Right now, though, you can pre-order one for $224 – this is the basic setup which just gets you the amp itself. For $284, you can get it with a pair of PreSonus HD-9 Headphones.
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.