Acoustic guitars are a ache within the ass to journey with. They’re larger, frailer, and sometimes dearer than their solid-body electrical guitar counterparts—and so they make us look lamer too. So why do many people lug them on airplanes or toss a tough case at the back of the SUV for a tenting journey? Volume. Ain’t no guitar amps in lodge 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 moveable 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 anyplace.
The Spark Mini has a ton of performance accessible inside Positive Grid’s app, however the gadget itself could be very plug-and-play. Unbox the 6-inch dice, cost it up, and the small amp (which actually does appear like a shrink ray hit your favourite 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 telephone. Now you’ve received your self an excellent 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 in every of 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 may have you ever enjoying in below a minute.
The little amp has toes to regular it and guitar strap holders on all sides 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 purple one if you would 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 music concepts when you’ve received a laptop computer in tow (see beneath for some fundamental recordings).
Ten watts of solid-state amplification push sound to 2 small angled drivers, aiming to provide you first rate stereo results even once you’re sitting fairly near the amp. The 4 major presets linked to the far left knob (Custom, Solo, Lead, and Rhythm) provide fundamental sounds with varied quantities of crunch, reverb, and delay, however you’ll actually be capable to get essentially 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 may select between (and edit) hundreds 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 simple 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 until I used to be enjoying stay rather a lot.
The app additionally permits you to play together with songs, and it could even detect chords when you’re struggling to determine tips on how to play one thing. These are options I do not actually use, however when you’re a newbie 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 trustworthy it is fairly troublesome, and it will not let you know when you’re tuned to the fallacious notice solely. Stick to a headstock tuner or an app in your telephone.
I’m extra impressed with the sound itself. It’s superb how far guitar amp-style digital sign processing (DSP) has come prior to now decade, and the Spark Mini is a shining instance of the leading edge. I personal and usually 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
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 tip of the day. It’s a welcome respite from the windowless room I normally follow in. A change of place can typically be the important thing to ending a music I’m scuffling with, 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 choice for them, too, although low finish from the small included woofer is considerably restricted. Still, it’s ok to listen to your self (and has first rate tone at decrease volumes).
As an interface, it gives stereo outs, and the recording high quality is stable. For studio classes, I’d nonetheless attain for my Universal Audio OX and an actual tube amp, however lead strains or single-note stuff from the Spark Mini might completely make it onto a remaining monitor. I’ve included just a few sound samples so you will get an concept 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 received 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) exterior of your bed room or studio, that is the way in which to go.