Other Amps

Positive Grid’s Spark Practice Amp anyone?

26

Got that notice about 2-3 weeks ago (sorry, pandemic fuzz-brain).

A follow-on more recent update said it was due to arrive yesterday (Friday). then at 3pm I checked the FedEx tracker - it's been pushed to Monday.

27

Mine arrived today.

I hope to get a chance to play with it this evening. Though I doubt it will generate the smiles like my dyna-club through my ‘59 (Magna)Tonemaster did last night

28

Mine arrived today. I didn't get to do much more than unbox it (no video though!).

I didn't really expect it to have tubes but I could swear the Guitar Player review said it had 12AX7's and EL84's.

29

Got mine today. Good sound very quickly, but it will take a few days to figure it all out. Changing stuff with the software on my iPad works best.

30

I knew I wasn’t imagining things. Of course there are no tubes.

31

Well...digital tubes!

That's a bizarre happenstance there, a magazine sliding a tube complement into the specs of the newest of nu-skool gear, by a company devoted to same.

You wonder if it was left over in a template (or, more likely, last month's InDesign page) and a harried and/or lazy and/or designer-working-from-home-and-distracted-by-the-cat filled in all around it with specs we may (or may not) trust...and somehow failed to remove the tubes.

Superbly weird. You might also theorize it's some sly editor's commentary on...something. I'd love to know the story...sit in on the Zoom meeting where it's discussed...be in the email chain.

Pretty funny!

32

I’ve had fun with mine, though I’m not even close to realizing it’s full potential. It sounds surprisingly good given its size. The effects are fun to play with. Never having experienced anything like it, I certainly can’t comment, or compare it to other modeling amps.

I’m pleasantly impressed and see a beneficial application in my practice routine.

33

I'm about where you're at Sourpuss, mine arrived on Monday (so about a week ago) and I've had a few turns with it but haven't explored much beyond the knob presets. I'm liking what this tabletop unit has to offer, but it's taken me some time to unpack what was going on. What I mean is — I guess because of the digital amp model profiling I was finding that normal settings end up sounding kind of crappy. But if I dialed stufrf outisde of that presumptive box, things get a lot better and happier. For example, with the preset knob turned to metal (sounds over the top with normal settings) if I kill a lot of gain and trim back other levels, I get a great overdriven Fender tweed crunch tone.

I'm only getting started and there is probably too much to explore. I haven't tried the play along feature or the song look up function. And I'll be interested to see how the downloadable app and other preset models/profiles work and sound. Time to check out the online manual.

34

It's not a universal rule - as there are notable exceptions - but most modelers and multi-fx presets are just ridiculously bad. Sometimes they're not even good starting places.

They typically come with amp preamp and dirt pedal gains cranked to ridiculous levels. You gotta turn the knobs on every amp model - and experiment with different cabs and virtual mics (if the Spark lets you) - to really evaluate the environment.

I find it helps to get the lay of the virtual land by pretending it's the real world inside there. Start anywhere - but turn off all the effects, build an amp sound you can live with by tweaking gain, tones, and output...then dial through the cabs till it gets better (or not). Then start adding effects as if they're pedals, most familiar first - and, if you have this level of control, in the order you'd use in so-called real life.

There aren't many really good modeled compressors, but every box has at least one that's usable. I've found that modulation, delays, and reverbs - generically speaking - behave very much like their real-world counterparts. That's not to say they nail particular famous branded pedals, but they generally capture the flavor. You can start with knob settings you know work on physical hardware, but be ready to tweak the settings to different configurations to get exactly what your ears are looking for.

Overdrives and distortions can be an exception to the works-much-like-the-real-thing rule. I find great dirt in these boxes, but I've learned to try every model offered and turn the knobs in every combination - because sometimes a great tone emerges from a much different configuration than you'd think to use in meatspace.

Also (pro tip!) combining dirt pedals you'd never have on hand (because you'd never spend money on something so outside your usual domain)...into amps you'd never have on hand (ditto)...can yield a great tone that satisfies all the familiar bones you'd like to tickle.

Main thing is turning down gains and dirt levels on everything in a given signal chain. I've experimented with factory presets I absolutely despise, and find that by backing things off and re-doing some EQ/cab settings, I get something highly entertaining.

Can't stress enough how crucial it is to experiment not only with every dirt/gain algorithm offered, but with every combination of knob setting provided. I think most of us have the instinct to set up an amp for the best tone we can get, then enhance it with pedals. Many times in modelers I find an amp can be set up to sound dry, flat, generic, weak, uninspired, whocares - and be brought to raging, sparkling, juicy life with a virtual pedal in front of it. Sometimes the difference is ludicrous - like from broken to OMG.

In real life, we might consider it cheating to get a foundational tone like that. But you're already far into the cheat zone with a modeler, so you're free and clear to mixenmatchentweak whatever works. All that matters is what comes out the other end.

35

Well, I bit the bullet and ordered one. I deliberated a fair while as they won’t sell it to me without charging VAT, something that normally happens at the import stage, but they assure me I won’t get charged again so time will tell...

36

Got word yesterday it shipped - expect a full review...


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