Positive Grid’s Spark Amp is a very cool practice amp, with a futuristic twist that involves amp sims and your phone. But is the Spark Amp battery powered?
I remember when Positive Grid’s Spark Amp launched at NAMM. I watched the launch with high expectations. But what Positive Grid unveiled was way beyond what I was expecting – the damn thing looked and sounded amazing.
After NAMM, I immediately pre-ordered one. It took an AGE for my unit to be delivered, but once I had it in my possession, it quickly became my go-to practice amp. And that still stands today – it has everything I need and more from a practice amp, including an AI drummer and bass player.
Powered by a 40W speaker, the Spark Amp is about the same size as Orange’s Tiny Terror head, measuring in at 7.4 x 13.7 x 7.0 inches and weighing 11.4 pounds. Designed to be used at home, or in the studio, the Spark Amp doubles as a USB audio interface too, so you can connect it to your Mac/PC and things like Ableton and Garage Band.
Is The Spark Amp Battery Powered?
Many people assume the Spark Amp is battery-powered. It is designed to be more portable than a standard practice amp. But the Spark Amp is NOT battery powered. Instead, it runs off the mains via a plug, just like any other amp or practice amp.
And because of this, you don’t have to worry about battery life. Ever. Mine lives on a shelf in my office. It stays connected to the mains, so whenever I want to use it, I just switch it on, pick up my guitar, open the Spark Amp app on my phone, and I’m jamming.
The New Spark MINI is Battery Powered Though (UPDATE)
Thanks to the success of the Spark Amp, Positive Grid has now released a new version of the amp called the Spark Mini Amp. As the name suggests, this model is a lot smaller than the OG Spark Amp and, unlike that model, it DOES run on an internal battery. The Spark Mini is powered by a built-in 3,000 mAh rechargeable Lithium battery.
The Spark Mini is designed to be portable, so you can take it with you when you’re traveling. The amp itself measures 146.5 x 123 x 165 mm and it weighs 1.5KG, so it is pretty compact and pretty lightweight too. With its internal battery, you’re good for around 8 hours of playing. Not too shabby. Especially when you consider that there are cellphones on the market with bigger batteries.
The Spark MINI is also cheaper, packs in all the same features and tones, and is still VERY loud, thanks to its 10W speaker. Check out all the images and latest details for the MINI here.
How Loud is The Spark Amp?
Positive Grid didn’t just create a practice amp. The Spark Amp is way more than that – it runs Bluetooth, for starters – and it can be used as a smart speaker too, playing music from your phone or PC wirelessly, and, thanks to its 40w speakers, it’ll run rings around your HomePod or SONOS speakers.
How loud is the Spark Amp? It’s REALLY loud. 40W is a lot of power. For playing guitar, even recording guitar, you have more than enough power and volume. And when it is in smart speaker mode, the Spark Amp can fill a large room with loud music, making it ideal for house and loft parties.
Is The Spark Amp Wireless?
Part of the allure of the Spark Amp is that it uses your phone, via Bluetooth, to add effects and tones to your guitar. The amp itself is wireless in how it connects to your phone and how it processes effects, but you do need to connect your guitar to the Spark Amp via a lead.
Once your guitar is plugged into the Spark Amp, and your phone is connected to it via Bluetooth, you then open the Spark Amp app on your phone and you can start browsing through guitar tones, amp sims, and effects. And once you find something you like, you can then start augmenting the amp and pedal settings on your phone.
And when you find a sound you REALLY like, you can save all the settings for later. You also have access to tens of thousands of guitar tones inside Positive Grid’s ToneCloud.
What is ToneCloud? It is a repository where you can search for and try out other Spark users’ saved guitar and amp sounds. You can search by name – so, Tool, or Mick Thomson – and some are really good, while others are utterly terrible, as you’d expect.
ToneCloud is great for quickly finding new sounds, though, especially if you’re after something specific. For instance, I really wanted to jam out with James Hetfield’s guitar sound from …And Justice For All.
All I had to do to find this specific guitar sound was search for …And Justice For All inside ToneCloud on my phone, and I found multiple options for this exact sound. I tested a few, found one I liked and added it to my saved sounds.
I have a bunch of practice amps, but the Spark Amp has been my new, daily driver ever since I bought it. It has everything you need, and way, way more. I love that I can use it to transcribe YouTube music, play along with an AI drummer and bass player and that it doubles as a USB audio interface for recording and demoing new stuff in Reaper.
I basically tell everyone I know that plays guitar to get this amp. It really is that good. And for the price – $299/£180 – it’d be cheap at double the cost given everything that it can do.
RichardRichard has been playing guitar for over a decade and is a huge fan of metal, doom, sludge, and rock music in general – though mostly metal. Having played in bands and worked in studios since the early 2000s, Richard is a massive music production geek, a fan of minimalist recording techniques, and he really likes old-school guitars.
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