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Line 6 Spider IV 75 Watt Guitar Amplifier Review
The Line 6 Spider series of amps has sold over 1million products worldwide, the Spider IV is the latest incarnation. There are high expectations for how it performs, does it reach them?
Power: 75 Watt rms
Speaker: 1x 12" Celestion speaker
Size & Weight: 20.75"W x 19.25"H x 11"D, 36 lbs
The Line 6 Spider series of amps are Line 6's range of solid state modelling amps, this means that they include features to trying emulate (Model) lots of different other famous amplifiers models (Such the Fender Deluxe Reverb and Marshal JCM-900). Along with this the amp includes many built in effects to allow you to alter your sound to exactly how you want it.
There are quite a few different sizes of Line 6 Spider IV amps, ranging from 15 watt to a massive 150 watt. The 15 and 30 watt amps have a cut down selection of effects and models, the 75 watt amp and above have the full array.
It's Solid Sate
Many of the amps that the Spider IV is trying to copy are Tube amplifers the Spider however is a solid state amps. This has many advantages in terms of flexibility and maintenance however some musicians will say that solid state amps struggle to capture the warm sound that tube amps give out, especially at high volumes. The Spider IV is priced at a similar price to entry level tube amplifiers however these lack the number of effects the Spider IV has, so if you aren't particularly interested in effects then looking at entry level tube amps may be of interest to you as the sound produced by these sounds slightly more "natural".
Controls and Features
The amount of customization on this amp is one of its main selling points. The amp has 11 control knobs and from left to right these are:
- Amp Model control
There are 12 models to chose from and these are what sets the basic sound of the amp.
- Gain (Distortion)
- Channel Volume
- Effects 1 (Each effects knob has a choice of six effects you can select and chose the amount of that effect you want)
- Effects 2
- Effects 3
- Reverb (This adjusts the amount of echo you have, almost like being an a large hall)
- Master Volume
The amp also has the ability to call up one of over 300 preset settings and save your own presets.
There is a small screen on the front of the amp which shows you what preset you are currently using and the levels of each different adjustment. The screen is also used for the inbuilt tuner on the amp, this feature is very useful and avoids you having to use a separate tuner which can easily get lose/misplaces/run out of battery.
The amp has lots of sockets. There is an instrument jack on the front. On the back there is a 3.5mm aux input, 1/4" line out, power supply socket and a connection for the line 6 foot pedals. These are all very nice and work very well, however there is one slight issue with the line out and this is that it mutes the speakers which can be very irritating if you want to use it for recording or as a monitor whilst on stage.
In short there are a lot of features on this amp, and they allow you to do almost anything you would want to do.
This amp is loud, very very loud. When you turn it on make sure that volume is turned down low because otherwise your eardrums may be in for a surprise. However turned down this amp is very tameable and can easily be used at home without disturbing neighbors. If you turn the volume up however this amp is loud enough for small to medium sized gigs. However if you are looking to gig with this amp you should take into account the fact that at high volumes the amp doesn't sound as good as tube amps do at the same high volume, it's still useable however its sounds quite synthetic.
As you take the amp through the models you will find that as you turn the knob clockwise the effects go from clean to jazz to rock and then metal. This amp whilst is reasonable at clean and jazz really is best at rock and metal music, when playing with little distortion the sound can sound slightly less deep.
Being a solid state amp means that there is very little to go wrong inside the amp, it's all transistors. The body of the amplifier is also very well made, it will easily withstand the knocks and bumps that come from gigging. The material used is wood for around the main cabinet and the almost all other external parts are plastic, not metal. The controls feel solid and have a nice amount of resistance when you turn them.
If you want an amplifier that is full of features, powerful and well built at a reasonable price then this amp is definitely one to look at. (Also look at the Peavy Vypyr as this is also very good in the same category). However if you are very particular about audio quality then I would look at the lower end Blackstar tube amps such as the HT5C.