Positive Grid Spark Amplifier Review

There are a lot of stigmas attached to the humble practice amp, and not entirely without reason.

While we don't necessarily want to relive those bygone days of screeching feedback and angry housemates, many of us have found ourselves spending a lot more time at home in the past few years, yearning for a great-sounding amp we can use to practice electric guitar at home.

Enter the Positive Grid Spark 40W smart amplifier.

Positive Grid has created what is possibly the best desktop amp for home use available today. It simply features everything you could possibly want in a practice amp.

Not only does it boast tens of thousands of incredible-sounding amp models and effects, but it also contains some truly unbelievable smart features.

The Spark is not only the amp of the future -- it stands to revolutionize the way we play, write, and record music at home.

Read on to learn more about this amazing piece of amp technology and why you're probably going to want to give a Positive Grid Spark amp a new home atop your home studio desk.

Overview

Positive Grid Spark Combo Amp

While the Positive Grid Spark offers myriad compelling features, it is, first and foremost, an incredible-sounding amp.

The Spark uses Positive Grid's BIAS tone engine, the very same modeler used in their top-of-the-line products. That means you get tens of thousands of guitar tones powered by the world's most powerful amp modeling software and controllable via the fully-integrated Spark app.

You could spend your life customizing tones on this thing and not even come close to hearing them all.

And while this amp sounds unbelievable through the pairing of its 40 watts of power and twin 4" speakers, you have the options of a headphone jack, Bluetooth audio, or USB to suit your own individual output needs.

And, as if incredible guitar sounds weren't enough, the Positive Grid Spark 40 boasts a set of unique functions that make a case for this amp as one of the most revolutionary practice tools to hit the market since, well, ever.

The Spark 40 is the first amp that gives you the tools to stream millions of songs from your choice of streaming platform and instantly transcribes the song, giving you the chords as well as the option to slow down or loop sections as needed.

It also features an intelligent built-in "band" that jams along with you, sensing your chords, tempo, and feel and delivering a bass and drum track that jams along with you.

This combination of features makes the amp an incredible tool for players of all experience levels to hone their chops, write their own music, and add songs to their repertoire, all while putting to use the expansive and great-sounding Positive Grid tone library.

But you'll have to try one for yourself to truly understand why Positive Grid had over 25,000 preorders for the Spark 40. And why they've sold over 100,000 units within the first year of Spark's release.

Pros:

  • Positive Grid BIAS tone engine lets the good tones roll
  • Smart jam backing tracks are a really fun and useful feature
  • Tons of cutting-edge tech packed into a portable desktop amp
  • Incredible value; there is no explanation for how affordable this amp is

Cons:

  • You may never leave the house again
  • Your bandmates will wonder why you never call them to jam

Features and Benefits

The Positive Grid Spark amp boasts what is hands-down the most expansive and innovative set of features available in a practice amp today.

Between the nearly limitless tone bank available courtesy of the BIAS tone bank and the Spark app, and the onboard Smart Jam feature, you get everything you could want.

Amp and Effects Modeling

Straight out of the box, the Spark features a number of onboard modeled amps ready to go. Choose from Acoustic, Bass, Clean, Glassy, Crunch, Hi-Gain, and Metal presets and customize from there with its array of built-in effects.

Use the programmable preset buttons to override and save your own custom tones.

Pair with the Spark app, and you really start to see why this is the ultimate amp for versatile tones. Choose from 30 classic amps and customize with five compressor pedal models, nine overdrives, 10 modulation pedals, six delays, and nine reverbs.

Or login to the Positive Grid ToneCloud to access more than 10,000 (and growing) amp and effect presets created by industry professionals and guitarists just like you.

Whether you want creamy blues tones, a nice boost, and reverb for acoustic guitar, high-gain metal crunch, or just to try out tons of famous amps, you can do it all on the Positive Grid Spark 40.

Auto Chord Recognition Feature

One of the most mind-blowing and innovative features we've ever seen on an amp, the Auto Chords feature makes learning and jamming along to your favorite songs easier than ever before.

Simply stream from Spotify, Apple Music, or the streaming platform of your choice, and the Spark app will instantly transpose the song, displaying easy-to-follow chord blocks in real time for you to jam along. You can even slow down or loop tricky sections as needed!

The Auto Chord feature is by far one of the best tools for beginner guitarists available today, and let's not forget—it comes with the most expansive collection of guitar tones ever compiled, so you can dial in just the right sound as you learn. Seriously cool!

Smart Jam Feature

The Smart Jam feature is a really great way to hone your chops without the worry of coordinating around busy schedules. This band is ready whenever you are! Just start playing, and Smart Jam will create a bass and drum backing track based on the feel, key, and tempo of what you're doing. Amazing!

Of all the winning traits of this great little amp, the app integration and corresponding interactive features for jamming and learning really set the Positive Grid Spark apart from the crowd. It's no wonder there are already over 100,000 Spark users and growing!

Things to Consider Before Buying

positive grid spark amplifier review

If you're shopping for a desktop practice amp or digital modeler, there are a few things to consider before you make your final decision.

Below, we'll outline a few of these important factors and help lead you to make an educated and wise purchase.

Size and Power

If all you know is it's a practice amp you're after, you might do well to first make sure what type of amp best suits your needs.

For example, tube amps sound great, and there are some amazing tube amps in smaller sizes available. But there's no way to get the best sound from a tube amp at low volumes.

Digital modelers are, for our money, the best option when it comes to practice amps today.

Modelers like the Spark 40 tend to come with a huge number of great-sounding amp voices that will scratch the tone itch, plus you'll have a lot of other great tech features that can otherwise improve your practice experience.

The power rating and volume capabilities of the amp are important considerations if you have home use in mind.

For practice purposes, a lower-wattage amp may be sufficient, but if you plan to play with others or perform in small venues, you might want an amp with higher wattage and volume options.

Higher-wattage digital amps will generally have attenuators or other means of dialing down the volume to a level suitable for practice while managing to dial in the same great tones you'd have at a higher volume.

The size and portability of the amp are important, though to a perhaps lesser level. If we're really talking practice amps here, any reasonable option is going to be relatively compact and lightweight.

What you really want to consider is whether a desktop amp or a more traditional combo amp chassis is the way to go.

Features and Effects

If you want a practice amp that's loaded with different amp models and effects, you're in the right place. Today's digital practice amps, like the Spark amp, come packed to the brim with cutting-edge features and great-sounding guitar amp sounds.

There are a few different types of modeling technology used in these amps. Popular options include digital signal processing (DSP) and amp modeling software, which aim to replicate the sounds of different amplifier models and effects.

Assess the amp's tone and sound quality by listening to demos, reading reviews, or trying it out in person if possible. This way, you can ensure that the amp can produce the tones you desire for your style of music.

Interface and Connectivity

Do you need any specific connectivity options on the amp? Be sure to look out for features like headphone jacks, auxiliary inputs, USB ports for recording or firmware updates, and compatibility with any external pedals or footswitches you have in mind.

Digital modelers can be pretty complex to operate due to all the onboard tech and the vast and customizable tone banks they tend to feature.

Evaluate the usability and intuitiveness of the amp's control layout and user interface and ensure that it provides easy access to the settings and adjustments you need.

Social Proof

The reviews are in: people all over the internet are loving this amp. There's nothing quite like a Positive Grid Spark review from a happy buyer to convince you that this amp is worth your money:

Spark users far and wide LOVE the tones and the features this amazing amp has to offer. Whether it's the hours of endless tone-shaping fun or the useful learning and jamming tools, the people have spoken: the Spark amp is the end-all-be-all of practice amps.

Alternatives

If you're still not sure that the Positive Grid Spark 40 is the digital modeler/practice amp for you, there are some other great amps on the market that offer some similar features that you might want to check out.

1. Yamaha THR30II

Yamaha THR30II

With 15 guitar amp models, 3 bass amp models, and 3 mic models, the Yamaha THR30II gives you a ton of versatility for your bedroom studio needs. It’s got USB connectivity, so you basically get an interface and a practice amp all in one compact and stylish package.

Plus, it’s Bluetooth compatible and sounds as good streaming your favorite tunes as it does, giving voice to your favorite electric guitars.

If you're looking for great tones and an easy-to-use interface without getting bogged down with tons of smart features, this desktop amp is a great option.

2. Fender Mustang LT25

Fender Mustang LT25

The Fender Mustang LT25 features tons of options for endless hours of fun jamming at home. Plus, the interface is super easy to use, and the price just literally cannot be beat.

The extremely intuitive interface allows you to modify any of the preset amp tones and effects. Simply switch between 20 different amps and customize with 4 available effects for each. It allows you to save your settings for custom preset tones across the board — you can make this amp truly your own.

If you think you might be into a more traditional practice combo amp that still has tons of amp voices and effects, the Mustang LT25 could be your best bet.

3. Boss Katana 100 MkII

Boss Katana-100 MKII

If you think you need a bit more power for band practice and even gigging while still having access to a massive tone bank, check out the Boss Katana 100.

While a first glance at the panel can be a tad overwhelming (5 amp presets + 5 effects @ 3 variations each), the controls are actually really intuitive. The ability to EQ and set FX parameters manually allows you to dial in custom tones for any setting — the possibilities are quite literally endless.

Plus, it features a power attenuator that allows you to rock as hard at home as you do onstage, as well as an effects loop for even more customizability with your own favorite pedals.

Conclusion

You're tired of blowing down the walls with your tube amp every time you want to scratch the overdrive itch.

Or maybe you're getting dismayed at your bandmates' busy schedules eating into your own practice regimen. Or, even likelier still, you just want to screw around with guitar tones for hours on end!

If you recognize any of these scenarios, the prescription is a simple one: get a Positive Grid Spark amp.

We have said enough times at this point that we think the Positive Grid Spark 40 is the best digital modeling practice amp out there right now -- the only thing left is to see and hear for yourself!

Now, do yourself a favor and head on over to Sweetwater. They'll handle the rest.

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