I had bought a current generation modeling amp earlier this year so when I saw the Line 6 Spider V on offer I was a little hesitant. But curiosity got the better of me and I’m glad it did even though it seems to have received mixed reviews online. The guitar playing community in general can be quite traditionalist and Line 6 as a brand seems to get a very divided reception because their focus has almost always been on digital modeling over more traditional tube amps.
The Spider V arrived in a dark red box covered in point of sale advertising and featuring a gimmicky huge black spider which is either cool or likely to bring out the arachnophobia in you but does give some indication of the target audience. The 60 is a decent size for a 10” combo amp and is fairly light weight for its size. The design is distinctly modern, clean, simple. It has a fairly minimalist control panel that looks very HIFI. A tough woven silver and black mesh grill cloth cover the speakers to complete the look. Unlike a lot of other amps, the Spider has two speakers, both a guitar speaker and a tweeter providing a fuller range so backing tracks can be played through the amp without the harshness you normally get from an ordinary guitar speaker.
Inputs include a ¼ inch instrument jack, an 1/8” 3.5 mm headphone jack while on the rear you have a USB port that works as an interface to your Mac, PC (Line 6 have ASIO drivers for the PC). While you can use a preset editing app with android or iOS, there is also a RJ45 socket for hooking up one of the line 6 pedal boards in the FBV MKII series or the new FBV3.
The Spider V 60 and higher models are wireless ready with a built-in G10 receiver so all you need is a G10T wireless transmitter (sold separately for $100).
The Spider V control panel looks pretty minimalist and uncluttered compared to most. My initial impression before using it was that it would be fiddly. This is my first Line 6 product and I was quickly impressed. It’s obvious that they know what they are doing when it comes to interface design. The standard row of equalizer knobs have a dual function and two rows of labels with separate Amp and FX buttons on each. The Amp button illuminates the top labels in white displaying your standard Drive/Gain, Bass, Middle, Treble and Volume controls while the FX button lights up the effects labels in bright, easy to distinguish colors that correspond to colors on their app and pedalboard. These include a dedicated Comp (Compressor) knob, FX1, FX2, FX3 and a dedicated Reverb knob. So you can mix 5 effects simultaneously.
You also have a main dial for scrolling through what must be close to 100 presets which are displayed on a small LCD display. The preset knob is also used to navigate menus in edit mode and has a push function that works like an enter/ok button when editing presets on the amp. Other than that there is a home button to bring you back to the top level of the current preset you are in, an edit button that lets you navigate and edit the current preset, a Play/Pause and loop buttons that let you interact with the built-in looper pedal, metronome, and drum loops to play and practice with. And last of all you have a Master Volume.
As you can tell, there are a ton of features in this amp, more than I can possibly cover in this review. Needless to say, there are millions of combinations of tones available when you consider that there are models for 78 amps, 101 effects pedals and 128 presets can be stored on the amp.
There are 128 factory presets on the amp that show off its capabilities. As usual, they are pretty diverse with some gimmicky ones but they are well laid out with the first few being pretty solid general purpose ones followed by a handful for popular Genres like Rock, Jazz, Blues, Punk, Indie. These are grouped together with Clean, Lead and Rhythm options. In the middle you get a lot of weird synth and loop effects while the latter half of the presets emulate popular artists with names that hint at the bands they try to emulate. There are a lot here and at least dozen really good ones that are usable with any guitar. Some will need to be tweaked depending on the kind of pickups you have. Tweaking them is simple. There are also some acoustic presets for acoustic guitars which is a handy bonus.
I have several android devices so I was interested in the editing app for Android, Apple phones and tablets. There isn’t a standalone editor for PC or Mac at this time. Unlike some newer amps the Spider V doesn’t support Bluetooth so you have to hookup via USB. For PC and Android (which I have) there is a sturdy, large Type B USB port (commonly used with printers). For your Android device to recognize the Spider V you need an OTG adapter. I have a $6 Remax one that worked flawlessly with a handful of Android devices. You have to install the Line 6 Spider Remote App on your mobile device and plug in the USB cable with OTG adaptor for the app to recognize your Amp. Once it’s hooked up, editing is really simple and there is a searchable online cloud library of user created presets. I found some REALLY good ones that made great starting points for some fabulous tones.
Despite there being no preset editing software for the PC. The USB hookup does work as a digital interface complete with low latency ASIO streaming drivers allowing audio to work in both directions. So you can use it for digital recording or even use effects plugins and output the sound to the amps own speakers.
As an avid Yousician player who incorporates an hour or so of practice a day and occasional Rocksmith player, I can say with all honesty that the Spider V really shines with these apps. Especially when combined with the wireless G10 transmitter. With Yousician you get full ASIO support through the amp with real time feedback of your note and timing accuracy so you get to hear all the backing tracks through the Spider V speaker. You can modulate the volume of the backing track with the Amps Master Volume knob and mix in the your guitar via the EQ Volume knob. When you combine it with the wireless G10 it’s a completely different ball game.
The sound from the 60 is easily big enough for practice in a 15 x 12 room like my study. With some tweaking, the presets sound convincing and have pretty good dynamics. The bottom end lows are not as big as a 12 inch speaker so you do need to turn it up a little higher than my Marshall CODE 50 to get the full dynamics. You really need both the Master And EQ volume knobs past 9 o’clock (1/4 turn) to get the full range and make it sound really good. Then you can hear the picking dynamics and subtle details in your sound. Cleans are decent, crunch for hardrock through 80’s metal is really good while the real high gain takes a bit of work depending of which affects you are using. Fortunately, the amp is really easy to edit even without using the app.
The G10 wireless which requires a G10T ( $100) to transmit the signal to the Spider V 60 and higher models is phenomenal. It’s small and even fits the awkward, slightly recessed jack in my newest guitar. It’s basically plug and play with no fiddling and incorporates a cutoff switch for easy guitar swapping without any pop when unplugging.
I actually have a two instrument switch pedal on my Amazon wishlist and extra cables which total more than the cost of the G10T and I no longer need them. The wireless works for at least 40 feet and has 8 hours of play time on a single charge. It charges when plugged into the amp jack and sounds as clear as my best 10 foot Mogami cables with Neutrik plugs.
The Line 6 Spider was an impulse order that left me a bit apprehensive after buying the Marshall code earlier this year especially after reading the forums and seeing how Line 6 seems to be a brand that is quite divisive in the guitar community. Fortunately the amp easily beat my expectations. Originally it was going to go into the living room and I was going to keep the Marshall in the study. But after two weeks, the Spider is still in the study because when you factor in wireless, ease of use and decent sound including recorded music through full range speakers the Spider is an amazing piece of kit. Going back to a wired setup just isn’t an attractive proposition. I have three guitars on display in the study that I can swap between in seconds without any pop or trailing cables. With three small pugs no cables is a godsend. The amp also has all the effects pedals I could possibly need built in. I don’t need a splitter or interface and the jumble of dozens of audio cables, multiple USB and power cables cluttering one corner of the study. It’s tidy, convenient and sounds really good in a medium size space. I Really like it a lot.
Wireless, easy to use and sounds good--I love it
Product Name: Line 6 Spider V 60
Product Description: Line 6 Spider V 60 Wireless Ready Modeling Guitar Amplifier 60 Watts