Hands-On Review:Spider® IV and Spider Valve™ MkII
A fearless new generation of Line 6 guitar amplifiers
Spider guitar amplifiers are famous for breaking down barriers. Last year, more guitarists chose Spider III amplifiers over all other guitar amplifiers*. Spider Valve is the world’s first guitar amp to combine world-class modeling with a boutique-style, all-tube preamp and power amp. Spider Jam™ is the only jam amp to deliver dialed-in, artist-created tones and a wide variety of backing tracks performed by pro players.
Now we’re setting the bar even higher. Two brand-new lines of Spider guitar amplifiers will shatter your idea of what is sonically possible from modeling amplifiers. Introducing Spider IV and Spider Valve MkII.
Legendary Line 6 Tone
When was the last time you played a guitar amp and heard the care, passion, and attention to detail that went into its voicing? When was the last time you felt the hair on the back of your neck stand on end just by plugging in and stretching out with a few chords and licks?
Spider IV amplifiers deliver a truly evolved playing experience and the most advanced Line 6 amp modeling to date. Artists, producers, engineers, sound designers, and testers spent countless hours discussing, creating, and modifying every last amp and effect model, and tuning the three-quarter closed-back cabinet. The result is sophisticated touch response, complex distortions that jump from the speakers, and tube-style compression that sustains each note and breathes like it’s emanating from a vintage tube amp.
The four top-tier Spider IV amps (Spider IV 75, 120, 150, and HD150) have 16 jaw-dropping amp models that will excite your ears and your fingers as you twist the front-panel knobs. The tonal characteristics and distinguishing nuances of the models—from classic boutique beauties to intense midrange monsters—have been reproduced with blindfold-test accuracy.
A total of 20 addictive effects add color, shape and definition to your tone. Notice the insanely responsive, intelligent pitch-shifter; the vibey auto-wah, and the easy-to-use 14-second looper. The latter can be used for musical effects as well as for hands-free auditioning of your guitar tone: play a riff, activate the looper, and now your hands are free to dial in your tone. Up to six parameters per effect can be fully edited and saved as presets to offer customization unparalleled in a modeling amplifier. You can also choose pre- or post-routing options and up to four effects can be used simultaneously.
The real mouth-watering moment comes when you discover that Johnny Marr, P.O.D., Slipknot, Pete Anderson, Meshuggah, Minus the Bear, Stone Sour, Coheed and Cambria, the Donnas, Steve Stevens and 40 other great guitarists and bands added to the outstanding Spider IV experience by masterfully dialing in over 300+ handmade presets. Take home jangly cleans, signature distortions, swirly effect-laden tones, and everything in-between that were designed by the hands and the imaginations of the hottest guitarists and bands. Plus, get your hands on almost 200 song-based presets, plenty of effect-based presets, and 64 user presets – that’s over 500 total presets!
To get the full story of the astounding Spider IV tone, you need to spin the amp around. The well-tuned, three-quarter closed-back cabinet adds a serious thump and a snappy response to your tone. A tight low-end is produced to add crucial, organic feel to the stunning Spider IV sound. (Lots of amps can sound good but there is no substitute for feel.)
Towering Tag-Team Tone
Many people were surprised by our partnership with Reinhold Bogner, the principal designer at Bogner Amplification. What could a living-legend boutique amp designer and upstart modeling pioneers possibly have in common? A shared vision of a revolutionary new amplifier that delivers the essential best-of-both-worlds experience.
Spider Valve, our first collaborative effort with Bogner, reset the sonic expectations for all other amplifiers in its price range. (In fact, Spider Valve HD100 was the best-selling tube head in the U.S. in 2008!*) Spider Valve MkII amps raise the bar even higher and deliver all the warmth, punch, and response associated with the Bogner name, with the tonal flexibility, deep editing, and world-class modeling synonymous with Line 6.
Spider Valve MkII 112 and 212 (the 40-watt combos), and HD100 (the 100-watt head) let you build your tone from the ground up with 16 evolved amp models that were inspired by the most revered American, British, and European heads and combos. Each one was custom-tuned for Spider Valve MkII amps. The signal from the Line 6 front end flows into the 12AX7 preamp tubes to produce creamy, cascading distortions and enriched tube harmonics. Perfectly matched 6L6 power tubes drive the Celestion® Vintage 30 speakers to provide unprecedented sonic impact.
Unlike some "tube" amps that employ useless, low-voltage marketing tubes to convince you of their tube heritage, Spider Valve MkII boasts authentic Bogner-designed preamp and power-amp sections that run at lethal voltages to produce exceptional depth, tonal coloration, and richness.
Start smart and dive deep with Smart FX. Twenty brilliant effects deliver unprecedented color, adjustability, and routability. You can tweak up to six parameters of any effect—including the intelligent pitch-shifter, pitch glide, and 14-second looper—and route each one pre or post for an extraordinary collection of tone-shaping tools. Plus, you get the required palette of colors and textures: beautiful delays, tangy mods, lush reverbs, and more. Up to four effects can be used simultaneously.
Spider Valve MkII is poised to become every pro’s workhorse with its seamless integration into MIDI rigs, 128 user-programmable presets, and FBV™ foot controller connectivity for out-of-the-box volume/wah, pitch, and preset control. Plus, two output modes deliver easy and effective solutions for direct recording and gigging. Performance Mode lets you send a signal (that provides tube and modeling interaction) via the XLR out to the front-of-house. Studio Mode bypasses the tubes and sends the platinum-album Line 6 modeling only.
Now that the designs are signed off, the artists have finished their presets, and the vinyl is drying, we realize that Spider IV and Spider Valve MkII over-deliver in tone, feel, and flexibility. So much so that we’re not sure how we’ll be able to top them. But I guess that’s the price of resetting the bar.