Price paid: C$ 249
Purchased from: Long & McQuade
Features — 7
Made in the year 2010, the Line 6 Spider IV 30 is a digital modelling amp which includes onboard preamps, modulations, and delays to suit a beginner guitarist for their most basic needs. It allows you to save up to four presets (A through D) of guitar sounds that you can easily tweak with a little bit of practice.
I purchased this amp back when I was in Grade 9 (3 and a half years before I wrote this review), especially when I didn't know anything about guitar amps. Back then, it took me quite a while to fully understand how to tweak the control knobs to get the sound I need. I also found the modulation and delay varieties to be quite limiting compared to other guitar amps on the market. Other than that, everything else on the amp is very basic compared to other solid state amps (Treble, Bass, Volume, etc.). This amp does not allow manual use of the control knobs except for the Master Volume; you'd have to change the presets all the time in order to get more varieties than the four presets you've saved. The distortion preamps come with default settings for gain and tone; you cannot tweak any of the tone settings, although you can manage to work around it somehow. Overall, this amp does not seem to contain a user-friendly nature, but at the very least, manages to provide a basic setting for amateurs to tweak their basic sounds for their needs.
Sound — 4
I play a variety of genres (predominantly power metal), and I use a Fender Jaguar HH with this amp. I just recently bought a footswitch for this amp and tweaked my custom sounds into the guitar amp's four channels. The clean sounds work great; I have seen no issues playing funk or clean blues so far. The distortion and overdrive sounds, however, do not fare as well. All gain channels have a medium noise gain on by default (there is a way to turn it off but I unfortunately lost my manual), and the sound quality seems to contain way too much digital programming that further degrades the quality of the distorted sound compared to the genuine stompbox distortions. Because of this, I frequently have a hard time trying to do hammer-ons/pull-offs, sweep pickings, and speed shredding without the use of effect pedals placed between the guitar and the amp. During the years when I used to have the Zoom G2.1Nu (now decommisioned from my gear due to repair issues) with this amp, I had to use the compression and boost from the processor if I wanted to use the Spider IV's onboard distortion modules. Increasing the master volume of the amp partially solves the problem, but I still have a hard time pulling off complex guitar solos from many famous musicians such as Yngwie Malmsteen and Syu (Galneryus). I now only use the clean channel, and once I get my new set of guitar effects to use with the amp, I plan to discontinue the usage of the onboard distortion modules. Because of the inferior preamp settings and lack of tone, I am rating this a 4.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Despite the lack of good sound quality, the Line 6 Spider IV 30's disadvantages are compensated by its superior reliability. I've used this guitar amp in a total of 8 gigs so far, and none of the amp's transistors have failed ever since. The hardware has lasted very long, and it can be used without a backup amp, despite the fact that it has undergone two power surges. The construction of the amp is well-designed to withstand average human weight, although I would never stand on it.
Overall Impression — 6
As I mentioned before, I play a variety of genres, although I mostly play power metal. I've been using this guitar amp ever since I began to learn how to play guitar for real when I was back in Grade 9 in high school. Because I didn't know much about the guitar amps before I bought the Line 6 amp, I had a hard time trying to cope with this amp's lack of user-friendliness and inferior tone quality. Ironically, this guitar amp definitely withstands major abuses without fail. It has served me quite well to this day, and I probably am planning to keep on using it for the time being until either it reaches its breaking point and malfunctions, or I gain enough money to replace it with a better amp.
Many people who have given a negative rating to this guitar amp mentioned that the quality of the gain sounds were unfixable. The answer I would give to them is this: keep the amp's presets on CLEAN mode, and just simply run any guitar effects you may have in replacement of the Spider IV's distortions. (Don't forget to add Compression and Boost if you need the extra gain.) If this amp was stolen or lost, I'd definitely updrage to a better solid-state amp, but for now, until this amp gives up on me, I'd have to be satisfied with what I have. Overall, I am rating this a 6 because I may be somewhat satisfied with it for now, but there's always gonna be another amp that will suit me ways better than this... Perhaps a Roland amp next time?