NAMM 2024: Positive Grid already conquered the concept of the modelling practice amp with the Spark 40, Mini and Go, but last year's Spark Cab hinted at new ambitious; guitar amps for the stage. It was no red herring because the company is going all-in with the 150-watt, four-channel Spark Live and PA System for electric and acoustic guitar, bass and vocals.
That's not all; PG wants you to pair your Spark amps with two new products to make its smart rigs even smarter; the Spark Control X Wireless Foot Controller and the Spark Link Wireless Guitar System. Positive Grid is going all-in for 2024!
Spark Live could have been aimed squarely at electric guitar players, but Positive Grid wants to go further and offer a live and practice solution for bassists, vocalists and acoustic guitarists too. It's a four-channel guitar amp and PA with a lot to offer.
Alongside the amp and effects emulation of the previous Spark modelling amps, there's an onboard mixer, simultaneous instrument inputs and what PG calls 'Sonic IQ computational audio'.
This is a feature the company describes as 'a groundbreaking fusion of hardware and software technologies such as dynamic range compression, vocal clarity enhancement, virtual bass augmentation and more – driven by a dedicated computational audio chip.' Right now it's exclusive to the Spark Live and the promise that it 'dynamically adapts to different inputs and placement' could be crucial to the four-channel setup here. And you can find out more in our Spark Live review.
The Spark Live is smaller than we would have expected for a 150-watt amp/PA – which bodes well for travelling to gigs and rehearsals
The amp has a 'g-sensor' that automatically detects where you place it and tunes the EQ accordingly. Similar to how the little Spark Go changed its character according to whether it was placed upright or flat, and the Live offers a punchier response vertically and a wider stereo effect when placed on its side.
The Spark Live is smaller than we would have expected for a 150-watt amp/PA – which bodes well for travelling to gigs and rehearsals. While the first channel has the dedicated electric guitar models we're used to from Spark, Channel 2 has new features.
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That channel is designed for vocals, bass or acoustic guitar and features a new collection of models, preamps and custom presets for those instruments. With that in mind, there are eight onboard presets for users to edit. This could be a huge resource for street performers and duos – especially as there's an optional rechargeable battery with up to eight hours battery, the ability to mount it on a 35mm speaker stand and angle it with the multi-position tilt stand.
Channel 3 and 4 of the Spark Live allows you to amplify any other instrument, with stereo inputs to pedalboards, keyboards and more.
Spark Control X
With all these features, players may want more control – and Positive Grid has thought about that too with its second new release. The Spark Control X is compatible with all Spark series amps (and future releases) and allows players to wirelessly change presets and effects.
The rugged aluminum case with silicon cover features multi-colour LEDS for the six footswitches that can be assigned to presets, effects and stopping and starting music for backing tracks and the Spark App's Smart Jam. The pedal also comes with transparent overlays for you to label your switches on the top panel.
Impressively, the Spark Control runs on a rechargeable battery to offer over 150 hours of playtime on a single charge. There's also TRS connections for expression pedals.
The Spark Control X is $149 and available for preorder at positivegrid.com
The missing link in all this is connecting your guitar, and once again Positive Grid is on it; the Spark Link is a simple, compact wireless system.
I'm actually surprised wireless guitar systems haven't taken off more for home use in a world of modelling options and compatibility. The idea of removing a lead from the equation and freeing up the player seems the obvious extension for the house practice amp experience. The Spark Link could be the solution to demystify going wireless for guitar and bass players.
The $129 compact system features a 110-degree hinged plug to fit most instruments and built-in rechargeable battery offering up to six hours from a charge, and it can be powered via the charging cable too.
A range of 70 feet (21 meters) should cover you most stage or home situation with 2.4G wireless transmission technology and 24-bit/48kHz audio quality across a frequency range of 20Hz to 20kHz.
Positive Grid is also stating less than 3ms latency for the Spark Link.
Preorder at positivegrid.com/products/spark-link