Line 6 is a well-known company that owes most of its notoriety to its wide variety of modelling tools. The original Pod was a bestseller amongst guitarists and bassists worldwide and was the company’s breakthrough product. It offered various amplifier presets, as well as effects and cabinets. This concept was extended from the modelling amplifiers created by the manufacturer. Since 2004, the Spider series has constantly been one of the top-selling lines on the market, thanks to its flexibility and affordability. Now on its fifth iteration, the amps are loaded with more features than ever. I’ve recently received the smaller versions; the Spider V 20 and V 30 that I’m going to review for you.
The Spider V 20 and V 30 are versatile combo amps
The Line 6 Spider V 20 and V 30 have similar specs. Although you have access to presets, you can also edit and create your own in the Spider Remote App. It’s available for Apple and Android devices. Additionally, there are countless artists and user-made tones available on customtone.com to explore. You can also make quick adjustments with the knobs on the front panel.
The 20-watt model has a simpler layout based on 16 memory slots. You’ll be able to adjust their parameters on the fly thanks to various knobs. These include drive, tone (eq), volume, reverb, and FX level. You can then overwrite the original preset to recall your tone anytime. There’s also a master volume for the overall level.
The 30-watt model is a lot more versatile. Thanks to an LED screen, you can deep edit each parameter directly on the amplifier. There are also more knobs, with two modes for each. The first one is for traditional amplifier controls: drive, bass, mid, treble, and volume. The second one is related to the effects: compressor level, effect 1, 2, and 3 level, and reverb. There is a total of 32 banks with 4 presets each, giving you access to 128 slots to save them in. Initially, there are practically all filled with factory and artists presets.
Many amplifiers and speaker models to choose from
The presets on the Spider V amps are built on one of the 78 amplifiers and 23 cabinet models. On top of that, there are up to 4 simultaneous effects, taken from a list of 101. Modelling technology is awesome and is based on various products by different manufactures. In most cases, you have a nice selection of the usual suspects: Fender, Vox, Marshall, Mesa/Boogie, etc.
Line 6 also created many original models to meet the various needs of guitarists in all styles. These usually have descriptive names and offer a great place to start to help you create the tone you need. There are even options for bass players, although they are very limited.
In addition to selecting an actual amplifier, you can mix and match speakers/cabs. Cab configurations affect tone immensely and you can pick and choose what kind of speaker you want with your favourite amplifier. These include various 6, 10, 12, and 15-inch types. They also come in different configurations such as a single, a pair, or a mighty 4 speaker half-stack.
The Line 6 Spider V series features tons of effects
The Spider V line is loaded with many effects—101 to be precise. You’ll have access to the most common types, as well as some extra ones. There’s gain (such as overdrive and distortion), modulation (think chorus, flanger, and phaser), time and space (for delay and reverb). Additionally, there are compressors, wahs, pitch shifters, filters, and synth-style effects. There’s so much territory to explore that you’ll never find yourself wishing you had more.
Digital connectivity on the Spider V 20 and V 30
Not only can you edit your tones through USB, you can also use the Spider V as an audio interface. It’s as simple as plugging it into your computer, laptop, tablet, or even mobile device. You’ll be able to record your own sounds or the one that came saved in the amp. This is a really great feature—especially for a compact practice tool. You won’t need a separate interface and you can even turn off the amp and cab models to use with your own plugins. This is also how you connect to the Spider Remote App.
Extra features on the Spider V 30
Although both Spider V amplifiers feature a single 8-inch, full-range speaker, the 30-watt model also has a tweeter. This offers a more detailed sound, especially when you are playing audio through the auxiliary input. You’ll also get an FBV pedal input. This is used with Line 6 FBV foot controllers to select presets by stomping them, letting you continue to play without pausing.
The biggest difference though is the presence of a rhythm section and a metronome in the 30-watt model. There are several drum loops—19 to be precise—in different styles. These tools are an excellent and enjoyable way to practice your rhythm chops. It’s certainly well worth exploring, because having a solid sense of time is a very important musical quality.
The Line 6 Spider V series produces great sound and is easy to use
The Spider V line is very intuitive and produces great tones right out of the box. Thanks to a full-range speaker, you really get to hear the differences in every amp and cab. It doesn’t colour the model’s timbre as a traditional guitar speaker would. The effects are also high quality and very defined. You can definitely learn how to tweak and create any sound you desire with these amplifiers.
There are many models to choose from and an endless combination of speakers and effects. Everything is easy to edit with the App. The 30-watt design offers deep editing, which isn’t available on the 20-watt version. If you feel like you want to play around directly on the front panel, I recommend going for the more powerful version.
Who are the Line 6 Spider V 20 and V 30 for?
I can highly recommend both the Line 6 Spider V 20 and V 30. They are very versatile and offer a lot of bang for your buck—no matter your level. It’s a great choice if you are just starting out, thanks to all their features. You’ll have a future-proof product that offers everything you’ll need down the road. The Spider V 30 has an interesting bonus with the built-in rhythm tools. Being a really important part of music, this is a skill that requires some practice. Having a drum machine on your amp will streamline the process and help you get better in an efficient manner. Additionally, it can be set to a reasonable volume and used with headphones—something your neighbours and other household members will appreciate.
If you are an experienced player, the Line 6 Spider V models are a great choice for a lightweight, practice amp. You’ll have access to a wide variety of useable sounds and effects. They are easy and quick to dial in, so you’ll spend less time tweaking and more time playing. It’s a great option to take to your guitar lessons or even to give lessons with; since any tone will be at your fingertips. The portability is also very welcome if you are looking for a travel amplifier for rehearsals or rocking out at the cottage.
The LED screen on the 30-watt makes it very easy to edit tones on the fly, without using the app. This is quite useful if you plan on taking the amplifier with you to rehearsals where adjustments need to be made quickly. The drum loops are also a welcome addition for practice and composing. On the other hand, if you won’t take it out of the house, the 20-watt model can stay plugged into to your computer, and you’ll have a great guitar recording studio at home at an affordable price.
The Line 6 Spider V 20-watt and 30-watt amps are available at Best Buy.