Spider III Spider Jam review by Line 6

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8 (84 votes)
Line 6: Spider III Spider Jam
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Price paid: $ 550

Purchased from: local store

Sound — 9
Now that I've had this amp for more than a year, I can say that the quality of the amp modelling is much much higher than in the Spider3 15W and 30W models (which I don't like at all any more). I usually use the red metal channel and the green insane channel for rhythm/lead and green crunch for rock and red clean for pristine cleans. I can't really comment on the effects, as I rarely use them, but they are decent, though not always that versatile. Additionally the speaker has "broken in" and produces very pleasant tone, even at higher volume (in my room with Alpine hearing protection). Overall it seems to me that the Spider Jam doesn't have the Spider3 modelling but rather the Spider4 modelling, especially since it's got 12 models and not only 4 like on my old Spider3 15W. The effects models are more dated than the Spider4's, since Line6 has ceased to release updates to this amp (though I can't complain here, I haven't even updated to v2.0 of the firmware yet.

Overall Impression — 9
Playing mainly rock and metal with this amp, I'd say this amp is a good match for me. I especially love the integrated drum loops and the ease of use with those (one press on a button and you can start rocking... having an FBV Shortboard as well is especially rewarding with foot-controlled recording). I'd definitely recommend this amp to anyone who needs a useful amp for both practising and an occasional gig and would buy it again, since it's never let me down.

Reliability & Durability — 10
During the time I've had the amp, it has never let me down. I've had it in my room most of the time, but have carried it to friends a few times. I'd say I could depend on it under any circumstances and would gig with it if I could gig. With 75W, volume headroom should be enough for any gigs I'd play anyways. I'm pretty sure that this amp will be able to last many years (20 years?).

Features — 8
Most features have been described by jeff.beck before me, so I won't go through them all, just add some sidenotes to what he said: As far as connectivity goes, it's all there that you need: Guitar in, mic, aux, CD in, headphones out, line out and a connector for an FBV pedalboard. There's unfortunately no effects loop, but as I'm not much of en effects guy, I can't complain about the lack. The Aux-connector is meant for keyboards and is affected by channel volume and probably also EQ of the amp and can't be used at the same time as guitar input. The user interface is well made and easy to learn as most knobs are self-explaining anyways. After a while, most things can be achieved without looking at the LCD (i.e. when I don't wear my glasses), like setting tempo of the backing tracks. And this is where we get to the features that I like most about it: The backing tracks. There are both whole backing tracks and simpler drum loops. All of them are recorded in studio quality and offer a wide variety of things, from regular 12-bar blues to exotic ambient stuff and hardcore metal. Personally, the drum loops are where it shines most, since I love to use those either to practise stuff for my band or use my own guitar loop together with a drum loop and improvise over them. It's the main reason I bought this amp (apart from liking my older Spider3 at that time).

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    CronoMagus
    I hear a lot of complaints about these Line 6 Amps. Personally I don't see a problem with them. My old roommate used to have a Spider III 150w Combo Amp with the 400+ Preset Disto's. I like the amp a lot. It had balls for being a combo. Then again, I play mainly distorted guitar so maybe peoples complaints lie with the clean tone.
    Kenjisan231
    Quoteman wrote: isabiggles wrote: I've got this one. It's very good, although i don't quite understand how i'm supposed to make my own sound on it.. That's the only thing that keeps me from these amps, no matter what you do, it sounds like a Spider, too many people own them to get an original sound imo. That said, amazing amp, just not my cup of tea
    I understand what you mean, I own a spider IV. Functionally its great, it has a lot of features that work well. I am glad I bought this amp originally because i learned a lot about sound modulation, how to loop, etc...its a great tool for beginners if you stick with it. Sound wise though, if you are starting out you won't notice a difference. However over time, when I was able to try and make my own sound it doesn't work well, its a tone robber, ive plugged in squiers and custom guitars it all sounds the same. But if you are getting it for its numerous features it delivers.
    Pocopot
    Mine went belly up after 12 days. It was replaced but still some glitches. Advice: buy a decent amp and separate loop pedal, mfx pedal etc. These hi-tech amps get out dated real quick. (as for all the 'built-in' tracks...you can get thousands for free on the web)
    bastards
    The amp suits for what it needs to pretty well. I got one a few years ago and it's great for weekday practice. It comes with every beat you might need (except for a beat that lays double bass stuff). The cleans have gotten exponentially better with each release, but I still prefer to run my sounds through a pedalboard. Recording quality isn't all that great, all of the recordings on my UG profile are done with the jam. It's good for practicing with a drummer, but add a bassist and another guitarist and you'll find yourself cranking up to a 8 or 9, and I've never really felt comfortable doing that. I certainly appreciate the amount of high gain that this amp offers, but my next amp won't be a line 6.
    firstrazor
    Can it record guitar and mic at the same time? If not, do you guys know which other modeling/practicing amp has such feature?
    meard
    Yes it can, this amp is pretty amazing for the price, and also if your going to record mic you have the option to set seperate eq for the mic let us know how you get on with it
    michael.pesole.
    After playing with it for a few weeks now I have to say that it is a very useful practice tool and when I got it home I started writing riffs immediately on some of the presets and the jams certainly pointed out the flaws in my playing and challenges me to play better but they are limited as in I can't really write melodies and songs over them like Satriani or Vai which is what I was hoping to practice doing with them. I found the highs on the presets pretty dry compared to my Zoom G9 and they make me struggle a bit so I can't get really creative but the drum presets help a great deal with that but still a lot of the presets are pretty dry for me. I like the Eric Johnson Cliffs Of Dover preset because I created one just like it with a Leslie type Chorus on it on my G9 so thanks for that Line 6 also I found some of the presets that were "made from the greatest rock anthems" didn't quite match up for example the "Ac/Dc" presets are lackluster and found that the Hawthorne Hights preset much closer to the Highway To Hell tone. And oh yes, I found that if you turn up the midrange too much on some presets things get sooooo muddy it's terrible and unusable!!! I like the built in "P.A." and the record loop where you can record your originals on them and save them. I brought this amp from a Guitar Center and it was a floor model. I asked him if they had one in a box in back and he said "No" that they only got one at a time and that was it. Other than that that's about it. If I was asked about this product by other guitar players I would tell them just what my experience was with this product. I hope mine lasts more than 12 whole days LOL.
    michael.pesole.
    Oh btw. VERY important!!! If you use the headphones for practice, DO NOT TURN YOUR VOLUME UP FULL!!! I tried that and heard nothing but "ocean" for 15 minutes out of my right ear!!! I'm sure it would cause permanent ear damage if you did that over time!!!