Price paid: $ 299
Purchased from: Local Guitar Center
Sound — 8
As stated earlier, it can't beat a tube amp, which I have never played one, but even I can agree on that. I'm a player that upgraded to the Spider IV 75 watt, from a cheap Marshall MG10. So obviously the sound is rather phenomenal to me, but I won't let that cloud my judgment too much on this review. The range of tones you can achieve from this amp are very good for a single amp. From clean, to dirty, brain-melting distortion. A lot of players say that Line 6 only makes metal amps. While they do sound fantastic for metal, that is simply not true. I play using an entry-level Jackson Rhoads with humbuckers, and sometimes I play on the other amp model settings that involve less grit, like Clean and Twang. Switching to my neck pickup gives the amp a very deep tone, that almost sounds alive to me, and is very pleasing to my ears. I even messed with one of the Blues amp models and the Auto-Wah, and it sounded like I was being taken back to the 60s and 70s, though I'm certainly not that old! The Metal and Insane tones offer exactly what you can expect, face-melting distortion. I'm really unsure on how to go in-depth into such a thing, because it sounds great to me but may not be the distortion someone else is looking for. A few of the Metal and Insane tones have a very nice, crisp sound to it the help a lot with the definition, while the others have a deeper, gritty, muddy tone that I liked at first, but quickly fell in love with the crispy, clear sound the other tones offered. I have attempted to use a distortion pedal on the clean channel with this amp, but it sounded rather inferior. I'm not sure if it's because of the settings I was using, or because both amp and pedal are digital. The amp is friendly with pedals, but may be picky. And what sounds bad to me may be good to you. You really don't need any pedals with this amp anyways. That's it's true purpose! I have only played the amp at high volumes a few times. I sit next to the amp so I never need to crank it to 11. From those few experiences though, the tone stayed consistent. I would like to rate the sound of the amp a 7.5, as I'm sorta stuck in the middle, but I'll have to round it up to an 8.
Overall Impression — 8
Being such a versatile amp with the many features built into it and being $299 USD, the Line 6 Spider IV 75 watt is very much worth it if you're looking for an amp to practice at home with. I highly recommend investing in the Line 6 FBV Shortboard MKII to give you full control of the amp. Would I buy it again? No, I'd probably upgrade to the Spider Valve MKII. Besides, the FBV Shortboard MKII is also compatible with it. Other: I said knob too many times in this review.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I have owned the amp for a month, in which time, I have never spilled anything on it, nor has the amp broken on me. The only thing that comes close to breaking was when I pulled the Amp Model knob off of the amp on purpose, just to see how well they stay on.
Features — 8
The Line 6 Spider IV 75 Watt Amp may not be an organic tone juggernaut like the boutique amps professional musicians play today, but for a learning musician that is on a budget, or perhaps a professional "At home" studio guitarist with limited space, you can not go wrong with Line 6 Modeling gear. The Features of this amp, and other Line 6 amps like it, are the reason behind the versatility of said amps. If you're limited on space and don't want to both with the endless selection of pedals, modeling technology just might be your savior. The Line 6 Spider IV amps, the 75 Watt and up (no experience with the lesser Spider IVs), offer about 16 Amp models. All of which can be accessed with the turn of a knob. You have eight selections - Clean, Twang, Class A, Blues, Crunch, Hi Gain, Metal, and Insane. Each selection has two amp models built in. The amp tells you which setting your on by the Red and Green LEDs. Let's say I want to use the Clean amp. I turn the knob completely to the left, or "0". The LED by "Clean" is lit up red. Turning the nob to the right slightly turns the LED to Green, and loads a separate Clean Amp Model tone, as opposed to the previous one. Each amp model setting works this way. Very easy to use. Each model can be tweaked even further through Drive, Bass, Mid, and Treble. And if you're an effects-heavy player, the amp may have something for you. There are four effects knob. The first three nobs have six effects on them, although glancing at the nobs only shows three names, for example: Gain, Wah, Pitch. The fourth is only Reverb, which offers Vintage Plate and Lux Spring. The effects knobs work in a similar way the amp model nobs work. There is an LED next to each effects name. It will change colors depending on which effect you have selected. So for a short example, I can turn the knob to Gain. I then go over to the LED display and turn the Presets knob beneath the display, this will toggle between Red Compressor, and Fuzz Pi. You can then click in the presets knob, and edit each effect individually to your hearts content. All the way from Pre/Post to Mix and the other settings you would expect to find built-in to such effects. The other features this amp offers is the built-in Looper, which is rather useless without the FBV Shortboard MKII, which regretfully, I do not own. The Amp offers a built-in turn which mutes the speaker and uses the LED display, which by the way is very pleasing to the eye, to help you turn your guitar like a normal LCD/LED display tuner would. I really cannot comment on how accurate the tuner is, I have yet to compare it with my Korg tuner. To the best of my hearing though, it works well. The amps also offers 64 User Banks, which can be edited to your hearts content, although Line 6 had saved presets on these, some of which you may or may not like. Each preset can be named individually so you know what you are using when you select that preset. The presets can be easily accessed through the amp directly, but the optional, but practically required, FBV Shortboard MKII will certainly speed things up, as well as giving you advanced control over your effects. The amp also has other standard features you almost never miss on modern amps today, such as Headphone/Direct Line out, and a CD/MP3 input. Both of which are on the back of the amp. The features section of this amp deserve a 10, but because of the lack of control over certain effects such as Wah and Quick Loop, it will be an 8. In order to get the most out of the amp, the FBV Shortboard MKII is required, which usually goes for about $199 USD. Note: There are cheaper versions of the pedal, but they were generally designed for older Line 6 Gear, and will only give you a little bit of extra control. These are about $99 USD, and aren't really worth it, for the Spider IVs, considering the price.