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Cramming every possible option and configuration for every possible situation is a recipe for failure. However, Positive Grid has somehow made a unique and practical small format amp that’s option-laden for practicing, recording, playing live and doing videos.
The Spark Mini is app driven, and paired to a smart device with the app, there’s plenty of selections of virtual amps and effects on tap. The choices are thankfully not generic, however the names are altered from their real counterparts, probably for legal reasons, but the visual representation is very spot on, and there are some nice boutique versions here, along with more common options. Sound wise they are very good, and definitely deliver the flavor that’s desired. The player can make pretty much unlimited combinations and save them to be recalled as well. While the app is a big component of this mini rig, it’s not always needed, as the 4 presets on the control panel are always available for use.▼ Article continues below ▼
The overall audio quality is pretty amazing; stereo effects still have great presence, adding dimension with modulations and delays are certainly felt. The amp and overdrive tones are shockingly realistic and reactive to playing. There is an adjustable EQ, but right out of the box there was no need to make any changes. It used to be that any amp with a speaker smaller than 8” would just sound crummy, but the fullness and clarity is quite impressive, and certainly blows away the usual bedroom practice amp.
Connecting it to a computer; it’s now a guitar interface and works with pretty much every recording software platform. With Bluetooth, it can act as an external speaker on its own, playing music for recreational use, but syncing it with Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube, there’s a chord diagram and play-along feature allowing the user to figure out songs easily and, well, play along.
Portability-wise the size is brilliant and can easily fit in a standard backpack. With two pins mounted on the sides, the included strap can be attached to a belt loop for busking, and portable live performances.
It can also act as an audio capture/interface for videos as well. It syncs up and uses the smart devices camera for video, but the Spark Mini as the audio input, and allows for backing music too. For guitar YouTubers doing lessons, this can make getting into content creation easy, without a lot of hassle or learning curves.
There are a lot of app-based guitar systems, but this one is very comprehensive. Overall, it’s a practicing and learning device, but it’s not limited to beginner levels. Using it to work out parts on your own band’s new material makes perfect sense, and it’s a simple, all in one device that can do all of that with ease. Add in the portability and video functionality and it’s a content creator’s dream. Of course, the sound quality and realistic amp and effect tones make it more than just a learning or practice tool, it makes playing something it should always be: fun.
Great sound, practical and easy learning tool, small format