Gear Review: Line 6 Spider Valve 1x12 Combo Print
Thursday, 27 March 2008 08:21
spider_valve_112_112_left-facing_-_lo_rez.jpegBy Ken Volpe - Guitar Jam Daily
It was just a matter of time before the marriage of a tube amplification giant and a DSP modeling giant came together. Who better to head up this unification of these two technologies than Line 6? Since the 90's, Line 6 has clearly been the leader in the world of guitar amplification modeling and beyond. They have an incredibly creative R & D department and have always shown a willingness to enter new territories. Joining forces with Bogner amplification is a brilliant move. Bogner tube amps have been well respected since the ‘90's. Being an owner of both previous Line 6 and Bogner products, it's cool to hear both camps in one amp. The amp contains 2 - 12AX7 preamp tubes and 2 - 6L6 power tubes. It also features a Celestion Vintage 30 speaker. My Spider Valve is a 1x12 40-watt combo and is extremely well laid out. They really thought about the ergonomics and practicality of the controls. The combo shell is beefy in both construction and projection of sound. The Spider Valve contains hundreds of presets and each preset is easily accessible through a variety of selection options. Amp settings and assorted effects are easily tweaked with the slight turn of the front panel knobs. I really liked the general amp/tonal categories such as Clean, Twang, Blues, Crunch, Metal, and Insane. The titles say it all; this is very straightforward but intuitive at the same time.

Let's jump into the presets. I really loved the preset, "50 Ways," an amazing big, airy clean tone with a perfect blend of assorted EFX. Another great clean preset is, "Albert Lee." As you can imagine this features a tasty, slap-back echo; along with a lot of top end chime. This preset is extremely useful for both Country lead and fingerstyle tones. For medium gain tones I loved the "Def Tones" preset. I found this one particular useful for classic rock crunch parts, ranging Zeppelin to AC/DC. For a blues-type crunch tone, my favorite was "Dirty Bird." My Strat was loving this one. I also tweaked "Dirty Bird" with a little less gain for one of my own custom presets. One of my other top favorite presets is called, " Sweet Lead." The name says it all, rich sustaining single note timbres were a breeze with this preset. Once again, I did a minor tweak by reducing the delay for another one of my own custom presets.

I must admit the response of the Spider Valve seems to be more natural than prior models. The attack and decay of the note(s) is much more tube-like. This amp also sounds great at bedroom volume and has a very useful global master volume control. Another global feature that is incredible is the Presence control. I was able to alter both Low Mid and Upper Mid frequencies with the Presence control. If memory serves me correctly, this reminded me of the Presence control on the Bogner Uberschall. The one feature that didn't work for me was the Gate control. Even though the Gate reduces hiss from extreme gain, my ears picked up on annoying digital artifacts on the tail of the notes.

This amp is so deep that one could only scratch the surface of possibilities in a single review. The Spider Valve is very portable for live gigs and is an extremely valuable tool for the studio. In the studio it can be miked or used with the DI option. You can also purchase a separate floorboard unit to increase the amps "on-the-fly" versatility. In all honesty, the Spider Valve will not beat my Dumble amp or my Komet amp at their own game but I don't think anyone expects it to. At a street price of $699, this amp is seriously deep and amazingly useful. And last I checked, you can't get a Dumble for $699. In it's price range, there is no single amp on the planet that can even dream of doing what the Line 6 Spider Valve can do. So, if you need to purchase one killer "Do it All" amp, this bad boy is for you.