Positive Grid’s Spark guitar amp and app features intelligent technology that offers real-time Smart Jam accompaniment, Auto Chord detection and intuitive practice features for professional players and beginners alike. It functions as a full-range, 40-Watt Class D combo amp with onboard EQ, effects and a built-in tuner, and includes a variety of tone-shaping options plus tone matched amps and effects built upon the company's award-winning BIAS engine. With two custom-made, four-inch speakers and a subwoofer, Spark is designed to be used with electric and acoustic guitar and bass.
Onboard, Spark includes seven switchable amp types ranging from clean to metal, as well as four user preset switches. You can also connect to the Spark app for access to over 10,000 more guitar and bass amp-and-effects presets from famous guitarists, session players, studio engineers and producers from around the world.
The back of the amp includes a 1/8th inch stereo auxiliary input where you can input music from a CD player or other source, as well as a USB out to connect to a DAW as a stereo two-track recording interface. Even though Spark is being primarily marketed as a practice amp, it's loud enough to keep up with a moderate volume living room jam or studio recording session.
The amp is designed to pair with the free Spark companion app for iOS / Android and connects via Bluetooth. The app has lots of backing tracks built-in and they are laid out in a variety of musical styles. With Spark’s Auto Chords technology, the app plays back chords from Spotify, Apple Music or YouTube in real time as you jam along. Once you get the hang of how the controls are set up, moving around between the amp and effects is fast and intuitive. Spark’s Bluetooth capability also gives it the ability to simultaneously pair with any Bluetooth enabled PA, or you can use Spark with your phone or iPad’s audio to playback music.
With Smart Jam technology, the Spark amp and app work together using artificial intelligence to learn your style and feel, and then generate authentic bass and drums to accompany you. It even has the ability to recognize some basic voice commands.
The Spark amp’s tone stack controls are top mounted and laid out like a conventional guitar amplifier along with the addition of controls for modulation, delay and reverb, and a master output level for recording. A Music Volume control is also included, allowing you to adjust the volume from Bluetooth audio, AUX in, or USB audio playback. As a stand-alone amp, Spark sounds as good if not better than amps priced two or even three times as much. The amp has great stereo separation and dispersion.
To really hear how good Spark’s stereo separation is, you need to stand back about 10 feet from the amp. I was amazed at the 180-degree sound dispersion and how the amp puts out great stereo sound no matter where you are in the room. I can see Spark being used in coffee houses, churches, live recording and at least some band practice sessions.
Spark does not currently have a line out for recording or playing live. As a work-around, you can take Spark’s headphone output via a Y insert cable (1/8th mini TRS to Quarter Inch TS “Y” cable) and then run left and right into your board or DI.
Spark packs a lot of flexibility in a great sounding, go-anywhere portable package at a price pretty much anyone can afford. All this innovation earned Spark a best-of-show- award at the 2020 Winter NAMM Show, and for good reason.
Spark is available for pre-order now on the Positive Grid website for $224, $262 with a custom carrying bag, or $284 with PreSonus HD9 headphones. The amp comes with a free copy of PreSonus Studio One Prime recording software.
Find out more at positivegrid.com/spark.