Price paid: $ 150
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 8
I primarily use a Jackson with EMG Hz pickups with this amp, and the sound is overall very good. I typically play a mix of metal, hard rock, and classic rock. My L6 Spider III has even done some duty hooked up to my acoustic. The sound leaves something to be desired when compared to the rich, clean classical sound that a dedicated amp would have, but it is acceptable. There are lots of possible combinations with all the effects on the amp, but honestly, unless you play some very avant garde style, most of the time you'll be sticking to a basic preset. All in all, effects on amps are good for fooling around, but for serious playing you need a pedal board to change effects on the fly, rather than stopping to adjust the amp. The effects here aren't the things of which unique tones are made. The Clean channel is distorted at nearly all volume levels. The Crunch setting is muddled. The Insane setting is chaotic. I leave it on Metal most of the time, as it matches the distortion needed for most metal and hard rock. It's tough finding much in between metal distortion and the clean sound. Overall tone quality is good for a digital in this price range. I played in large halls to several hundred people with this amp on a few occasions, and it proved itself capable every time. I'm sure a more powerful amp would be better, but at 15W, this amp can go a long ways, and it's not even maxed out.
Overall Impression — 8
I typically play metal, hard rock, and classic rock. I wanted an amp that would sound good, be usable for the odd gig here and there, and provide a minimum of hassle. The Line 6 Spider III 15W fits the bill, and is a pleasure to use. It's easy to find an amp that sounds better if you step up the price ladder (especially if you go with a tube amp instead of digital), but in this price range, the amp delivers, and then some. The only real knock against it is the effects. I believe that effects are best resigned to pedals and such that can be operated on the fly, rather than dials and buttons that take time to adjust and break the rhythm you build up while playing. I'd rather Line 6 focused more on presets if they wanted to put variation in this amp, but you have to spend considerably more money on a much more powerful amp before yoiu're afforded that luxury. Overall, the Spider III 15W is a reliable and good-sounding amp for metal and hard rock players that's good for practice and light gig work.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I knocked this amp around an awful lot in the past year and abused it, but it still works fine. I relied on it without a backup and it did not let me down. It's a solid amp that performs as expected every time. It can stand being knocked around in a trunk or jostled on a subway car or bus; that's a testament to how well built this thing is.
Features — 9
I bought this amp during one of Guitar Center's Christmas sales a little over a year ago. It has the standard setup of an inexpensive amp. It has bass, mid, and treble dials, two knobs to control effects (you can run two effects simultaneously), a master volume, a Drive dial to control distortion, a channel volume, and your standard guitar input, line input, and headphone output jacks. You can select from one of four distortion levels: clean, crunch, metal, and insane.