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The Spark Mini Might Be the Perfect Guitar Practice Amp

Small, mighty and totally cute.

main learning point

  • Positive Grid’s small coffee table amplifier is battery powered and controlled by a smartphone.
  • He is the younger brother of the original Spark.
  • The Spark Mini will be available for pre-order on March 2.

positive grid

Think of a handbag-sized guitar amp that offers more power and flexibility than the most premium amps of a few years ago. You’re just imagining the Spark Mini.

The Spark Mini is the successor to Positive Grid on Spark, a combo guitar amp, speakers and USB audio interface for home recording equipment. The mini uses beautiful modern technology to make small speakers sound better than the larger speakers of the past. In terms of functionality, it does pretty much everything right, which is why even professional guitarists have a reason to buy one of these little powerhouses.

“I have the original Spark and it’s a really good practice amp. It’s also surprisingly loud, I took it to play with a friend (no drummer) and it was more than enough,” guitarist and electronic musician Porkloin via Forum post told Lifewire.

“I might get” [the Spark Mini] Because I already have a good real performance amp and the mini is closer to what I need than the original Spark. I want something that runs on battery power so I can put it on a shelf when I’m not playing with it. ”

full zoom

In the beginning, guitar amps were designed to make electric guitars loud enough to be heard on stage. Then guitarists find that they twist to the extreme, and they like it that way. Electric guitars sound exciting, dirty and addictive, but those distorted, shattered tones mean volume levels that violate your apartment rent and make your neighbors violent.

There are many solutions to bring distortion and coverage to guitars at more ear (and neighbor) friendly volume levels, but the biggest solution today is computer modeling. Even your phone can output convincing reproductions of the most expressive vintage guitar amps, and that’s exactly how Sparks work.

The Spark and Spark Mini allow you to switch between many different amp models, as well as use different virtual stompboxes to change your sound. All of this is controlled via a combination of buttons on the device and a companion app.

bright spark

For guitarists, a good amp can provide tone and feel. “Pitch” is the term used to refer to the quality of sound you get. It’s hard to define, but you know when your tone is good. And “feel” is what you think the amp is responding to all the complexity of your playing. Again, this is hard to define, but absolutely necessary.

Once they’re gone, everything else is just a bonus.

“I want something that runs on battery power that I can put on a shelf when I’m not playing.”

The Spark Mini has a 10-watt full-range speaker and runs for 8 hours on a USB-charged lithium-ion battery, just like a laptop. The companion Spark app for iOS and Android provides fine-grained control over amp and stompbox models, as well as bookmarking backing tracks, and even using AI to create backdrops for anything you play.

For me, the best part is the portability. If that sounds as good as the larger models, the combination of size, power, and battery-powered independence is as easy as picking up an acoustic guitar to practice.

Negative grid

However, there is only one downside to all this. Browse the internet and you’ll find that Positive Grid is known for taking products off shelves surprisingly quickly. The current software is no longer updated, eg a new version is released. This can be a problem for teams that rely heavily on software.

“I left PG a while ago when they said ‘We can’t fix bugs in the current version because we’re 100% focused on the next version. Once that’s done, we can look at the previous version,'” he said, Audiobus forum member BigDawgsByte.

Person taking Spark Mini out of backpack

positive grid

But the device itself and the app (if new) are top-notch. And since the full Spark costs $299, it seems likely that the Mini will be enough for most guitarists to use for practice.

There are many other options. Yamaha’s THR-II series is excellent and highly regarded. Another option is to use a simple battery powered speaker, such as IK Multimedia’s iLoud, and pair it with a smartphone amplifier simulation app. It sounds just as good, if not better, but you have more cables to deal with. In the end, the Spark Mini looks pretty good.

“Don’t expect the moon and the stars,” Porkloin said, “but given the price and convenience, I think they do well. Of course if [heck] beyond what I started [terrible] practice amplifier and [an abysmal] Digitech Multi-Effect Pedal! “

Content

The Spark Mini Might Be the Perfect Guitar Practice Amp

Small, powerful, and totally cute

Key Takeaways
Positive Grid’s tiny coffee-table amp is battery-powered and smartphone-controlled.
It’s the little sibling of the original Spark.
The Spark Mini launches for pre-order on March 2.
Positive Grid

Imagine a tiny, purse-sized guitar amp that packs more features and flexibility than the fanciest amps of a few years ago. You just imagined the Spark Mini.

The Spark Mini is the follow-up to Positive Grid’s Spark, a combo guitar amp, speaker, and USB audio interface for home recording rig. The mini takes advantage of marvelous modern technology that lets small speakers sound better than big speakers of the past. In terms of features, it gets almost everything right—so even professional guitarists are finding a reason to get one of these tiny powerhouses.

“I have the original Spark—it’s really nice as a practice amp. Surprisingly loud as well, I’ve brought it along to jam with a friend (no drummer), and it was more than loud enough,” guitarist and electronic musician Porkloin told Lifewire via forum post. 

“I’m going to probably get [the Spark Mini] because I already have a nice amp for actual performance, and the mini is much closer to what I need than the original Spark. I want something that is battery-powered, and I can just stuff away on a shelf when I’m not playing it.”

Totally Amped

In the beginning, guitar amps were about making an electric guitar loud enough to hear on stage. Then guitar players discovered that cranking them to the limit made them start to distort, and they liked it. The sound of the electric guitar was exciting, dirty, and addictive, but getting those broken, gnarly tones meant volume levels that would violate your apartment lease agreement and turn your neighbors violent.

There have been many solutions to bringing distortion and override to the guitar at more ear- (and neighbor-) friendly volume levels, but the big one today is computer modeling. Even your phone can spit out a convincing replica of the most expressive vintage guitar amp, and that’s exactly how the Sparks work. 

The Spark and Spark Mini let you switch between many, many different amplifier models, and also use various virtual effect pedals to change the sound. This is all controlled through a combination of on-device knobs and a companion app. 

Bright Spark

For a guitarist, a good amp offers both tone and feel. “Tone” is the term used to mean the quality of the sound you’re getting. It’s pretty much indefinable, but you know when you’ve got good tone. And “feel” is when you think the amp is responding to all the intricacies of your touch. Again, it’s hard to define but utterly essential. 

Once those are out of the way, everything else is just a bonus. 

“I want something that is battery powered and I can just stuff away on a shelf when I’m not playing it.”

The Spark Mini has a ten-watt, full-range speaker that can run for eight hours off its USB-charged li-ion battery—like a laptop. Its companion Spark app, for iOS and Android, offers detailed control of amp and pedal models but also lets you dial in backing tracks and can even use AI to come up with an accompaniment for what you’re playing. 

For me, the best part is the portability. If this sounds anywhere near as good as the bigger model, then the combination of size, power, and battery-powered independence is almost as easy as picking up an acoustic guitar for practice. 

Negative Grid

There’s only one downside to all this, though. Take a look around the internet, and you’ll see that Positive Grid has a reputation for abandoning its products surprisingly soon. Current software goes without updates while new versions are launched, for example. And with gear that’s so heavily reliant on software, this could be a problem. 

“I dumped PG a while back when they said something like ‘We can’t fix the bugs in the current version because we focused 100% on the next version. Once that’s done, we may look at the old version,’” says Audiobus forum member BigDawgsByte. 

Positive Grid

But the units themselves, and the apps (when they’re still new), are top-notch. And with the full-sized Spark coming in at $299, it seems very likely that the Mini will be affordable enough for most guitar players to use for practice. 

There are lots of other options, too. Yamaha’s THR-II series are excellent and widely loved. Another option is to opt for a plain battery-powered speaker like IK Multimedia’s iLoud and pair it with a smartphone amp simulation app. It’ll sound as good, if not better, but you’ll have a lot more wires to contend with. The Spark Mini, then, ends up looking pretty great. 

“Don’t expect the moon and the stars,” says Porkloin, “but for the price and convenience, I think they’re doing a great job. And it sure as [heck] beats what I had just starting out with my [terrible] practice amp and [an abysmal] Digitech multi-effects pedal!”

#Spark #Mini #Perfect #Guitar #Practice #Amp

Tài Chính Kinh Doanh

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