Positive Grid Spark Mini Review: Best Portable Guitar Amp


Acoustic guitars are a ache within the ass to journey with. They’re larger, frailer, and infrequently costlier than their solid-body electrical guitar counterparts—and so they make us look lamer too. So why do many people lug them on airplanes or toss a tough case behind the SUV for a tenting journey? Volume. Ain’t no guitar amps in resort rooms or the woods.

But, like … what if there have been? That’s the place the brand new Positive Grid Mini is available in. It’s an app-controlled Bluetooth speaker that permits you to play your favourite tunes and your favourite axe on the similar time. It has USB-C recharging for straightforward juice-ups, and it even comes with buttons for a guitar strap, must you wish to play on the transfer.

As far as moveable guitar apply, efficiency, and even recording goes, the Spark Mini is a one-stop store for non-studio jams. Bring alongside a beater solid-body electrical guitar (or bass) and an instrument cable, and you can also badly imitate Eddie Van Halen anyplace.

Positively Simple

Photograph: Positive Grid

The Spark Mini has a ton of performance out there inside Positive Grid’s app, however the machine itself may be very plug-and-play. Unbox the 6-inch dice, cost it up, and the small amp (which actually does appear like a shrink ray hit your favorite Marshall) is able to rock. Much like its predecessor, the full-size Spark (8/10, WIRED Recommends), it was designed for apply and recording use in bedrooms and small studios. This newer model is smaller and has a battery.

Press an influence button on the again and maintain the Bluetooth pairing button to connect with your cellphone. Now you’ve bought your self an incredible little stereo Bluetooth speaker, with quantity managed by a knob on prime that is labeled “Music.” Plug your guitar into the quarter-inch jack on prime, choose between one in all 4 amp presets, and you’ll play alongside to your tunes, utilizing a “Guitar” knob to match the music quantity. It’s a easy, elegant system that may have you ever enjoying in underneath a minute.

The little amp has toes to regular it and guitar strap holders on either side to tote it round, with something from a string to an precise leather-based strap. It is available in white or black, which is a pleasant contact for matchy-matchy folks with white guitars. You may even swap the usual gold and black speaker grill for a crimson one if you need it to look a bit extra steel.

Beyond that, it doubles as a guitar interface for recording, by way of the USB-C port or line-out jacks on the again, which is massively useful for sketching out tune concepts in case you’ve bought a laptop computer in tow (see under for some fundamental recordings).

Tone Zone

Photograph: Positive Grid

Ten watts of solid-state amplification push sound to 2 small angled drivers, aiming to provide you first rate stereo results even once you’re sitting fairly near the amp. The 4 foremost presets linked to the far left knob (Custom, Solo, Lead, and Rhythm) provide fundamental sounds with varied quantities of crunch, reverb, and delay, however you’ll actually have the ability to get probably the most out of the Spark Mini by utilizing the Positive Grid app and customizing your tones in there.

Inside the app, you’ll be able to select between (and edit) hundreds of various presets, with tons of simulated amps and pedals, for actually any guitar tone underneath the solar. You can map new sounds to the preset knob, which makes it tremendous simple to modify between rhythm guitar and lead tones for soloing. You simply want a free second to twist the knob. Positive Grid additionally makes a footswitch, however at $100, I’d save the money except I used to be enjoying reside lots.

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Testing the Rhythm preset.

The app additionally enables you to play together with songs, and it could possibly even detect chords in case you’re struggling to determine find out how to play one thing. These are options I do not actually use, however if you’re a beginner they might be useful. It’s good that they are simply bundled at no cost. You also can tune your guitar utilizing the lights on the preset knob, however to be trustworthy it is fairly troublesome, and it will not let you know in case you’re tuned to the unsuitable word completely. Stick to a headstock tuner or an app in your cellphone.

I’m extra impressed with the sound itself. It’s superb how far guitar amp-style digital sign processing (DSP) has come previously decade, and the Spark Mini is a shining instance of the leading edge. I personal and usually play via classic Fender and Roland guitar amps, and the Spark Mini does exceptionally effectively at replicating these tones—albeit with a bit much less oomph than I hear out of two 10- or 12-inch audio system.

Out and About

Photograph: Positive Grid

As the climate has been getting nicer right here in Portland, Oregon, I’ve taken to enjoying with the Spark Mini out on my patio towards the tip of the day. It’s a welcome respite from the windowless room I often apply in. A change of place can typically be the important thing to ending a tune I’m battling, or for letting go after an extended day on the keyboard. Having cool electrical guitar tones (and precise songs to play alongside to!) makes me really feel a lot much less like a poor man’s Jack Johnson.

Bass gamers will like that it is a strong possibility for them, too, although low finish from the small included woofer is considerably restricted. Still, it’s ok to listen to your self (and has first rate tone at decrease volumes).

As an interface, it provides stereo outs, and the recording high quality is strong. For studio classes, I’d nonetheless attain for my Universal Audio OX and an actual tube amp, however lead traces or single-note stuff from the Spark Mini might completely make it onto a remaining observe. I’ve included a number of sound samples so you may get an concept of what I imply. (Pardon my noodly blues enjoying and out-of-tune barre chords, I’m a drummer first!)

For underneath $200, it’s actually robust to call a guitar-playing software I like extra. I want that it bought greater than eight hours of battery life, however in any other case I can’t discover a lot to not love. If you want enjoying electrical guitar alone (or with a small band) exterior of your bed room or studio, that is the way in which to go. 



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