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—they usually 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, do you have to wish to play on the transfer.

As far as transportable guitar follow, 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 wherever.

Positively Simple

Photograph: Positive Grid

The Spark Mini has a ton of performance out there inside Positive Grid’s app, however the system itself may be very plug-and-play. Unbox the 6-inch dice, cost it up, and the small amp (which actually does seem 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 follow 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 obtained your self a fantastic 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 among 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 can have you ever enjoying in below a minute.

The little amp has ft 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 pink one if you’d like 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 vastly useful for sketching out tune concepts should you’ve obtained a laptop computer in tow (see beneath for some primary recordings).

Tone Zone

Photograph: Positive Grid

Ten watts of solid-state amplification push sound to 2 small angled drivers, aiming to provide you respectable stereo results even if you’re sitting fairly near the amp. The 4 primary presets linked to the far left knob (Custom, Solo, Lead, and Rhythm) supply primary sounds with varied quantities of crunch, reverb, and delay, however you’ll actually be capable of get probably the most out of the Spark Mini through the use of the Positive Grid app and customizing your tones in there.

Inside the app, you’ll be able to select between (and edit) 1000’s of various presets, with tons of simulated amps and pedals, for actually any guitar tone below the solar. You can map new sounds to the preset knob, which makes it tremendous straightforward 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 dwell loads.


This content material will also be considered on the location it originates from.


This content material will also be considered on the location it originates from.


This content material will also be considered on the location it originates from.

Testing the Rhythm preset.

The app additionally permits you to play together with songs, and it could actually even detect chords should you’re struggling to determine the right way to play one thing. These are options I do not actually use, however if you’re a beginner they may very well be useful. It’s good that they are simply bundled without cost. You may also tune your guitar utilizing the lights on the preset knob, however to be sincere it is fairly troublesome, and it will not let you know should you’re tuned to the mistaken observe totally. 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 up to now decade, and the Spark Mini is a shining instance of the innovative. I personal and recurrently play by way of classic Fender and Roland guitar amps, and the Spark Mini does exceptionally properly 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 top of the day. It’s a welcome respite from the windowless room I often follow in. A change of place can usually 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 this can be a stable possibility for them, too, although low finish from the small included woofer is considerably restricted. Still, it’s adequate to listen to your self (and has respectable tone at decrease volumes).

As an interface, it affords stereo outs, and the recording high quality is stable. For studio periods, 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 last monitor. I’ve included just a few sound samples so you will get an thought of what I imply. (Pardon my noodly blues enjoying and out-of-tune barre chords, I’m a drummer first!)

For below $200, it’s actually powerful to call a guitar-playing device I like extra. I want that it obtained 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) outdoors of your bed room or studio, that is the best way to go. 

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