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By Jim Dalrymple
Guitarist, CNET Contributor
Finding that perfect tone is a delicate combination of guitar, amp, effects, and of course, the guitar player. Finding a combination that works can be difficult, especially if you play a variety of styles.
Over the years I’ve owned many great (and pricey) tube amps—each provided me with a distinctive, specific sound. A lot of modeling amps have come close to matching Line 6’s sounds at affordable prices but hitting the trifecta of incredible tone, versatility, and great price is a rarity. With their new Spider IV amplifiers, Line 6 has won across the board.
I have the Spider IV 75, and the reason I love it is simple: great tone. That’s the bottom line for most guitar players: it gives me the tone I want, when I want it.
That is where Spider IV amplifiers really excel. They have so many combinations of amps and effects that you can make almost any sound you want—by turning a single knob on this amp, I can go from a clean blues tone to an over-the-top pounding metal sound. One knob, that’s it. The Spider IV 75 also comes with 16 amp models including clean and hot versions of Clean, Class A, Twang, Blues, Hi Gain, Crunch, Metal, and Insane. That’s a lot of amps to choose from when creating a tone.
The other thing to consider is the amount of effects and amp models that are included with most Spider IV amplifiers. They come with 20 effects including a Red Comp, Fuzz Pi, Sine Chorus, Line 6 Flanger, Phaser, U-Vibe, Digital Delay, Analog with Mod, Tape Echo, Multi-Head, Lux Spring, and Vintage Plate, among others. Having those modeled effects at my fingertips gives me a lot of options when creating a tone playing live or in the studio.
The presets offer a great place to start, especially when you’re trying to figure out what effects and amps you want to use. Most Spider IV amps come with over 300 artist-created presets, more than enough to get you started in almost any genre of music. You can find presets based on some of your favorite songs and artists, or organized by year.
The amp offers some nice extras, like a headphone/direct out and an input for an MP3 player in the back. Both are great options to have if you like to play along with your favorite music without disturbing anyone.
You can also hook up a Line 6 footcontroller like an FBV Express™ MkII or an FBV Shortboard™ MkII to control the built-in sound-on-sound looper and the pitch effects like Smart Harmony, access your presets, take advantage of the the volume/wah pedal, and more.
Bottom line: This is a killer amp. There are just too many things to like about the Spider IV not to take it seriously. It’s got great tone, a ton of options, and the ability to be loud enough to make your chest pound. What else could you ask for in an amp?
Line 6 Spider IV Amplifiers