Spider Valve 112 review by Line 6

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.9 (80 votes)
Line 6: Spider Valve 112

Price paid: $ 299

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 9
I play praise and worship music and rock ranging from stuff like "Can't Find My Way Home" and "Wild Dogs", a lot of Zep, a smattering of 80s, and many originals, power ballads and classic rock. The Celestion speaker is a MUST-HAVE for me. I tried 6 or 7 new amps at GC, and this was the only one that didn't freak out when I used the Tele's neck pickup. The amp is pretty loud for its size. It's a little noisy when I use my pedal but not distracting. Using the on-board stuff, it is very quiet. The clean channel doesn't distort at high volumes. The on-board effects leave a bit to be desired. The distortion is okay but not up to the level in my pedal. The amp offers six kinds, 2 crunch, 2 metal, and 2 "insane." The distorted sound is cardboardy, even when I eq out bass and mid. The chorus is okay but there's very little room for customizing depth, mix and rate. Likewise, the delays and echoes offer mix (level), but no customizing for time or feedback. I set up presets in case I play someplace that hates my effects pedal - I co-host an open mic in a place that has terribly dirty power, and when I use my pedal, I get not just single-coil hum, but a very loud, distracting hum, that is omnidirectional - usually I figure out where the trouble spots are and face away, but there's nowhere to hide in this place! I will otherwise use my pedal, and for that, this amp is great, delivers lots of power and doesn't distort at high volumes.

Overall Impression — 10
I own 2 Peavey VK 100 tube amp heads, 2 Marshall MG100 4 x 12" loaded with Celestions, a Zoom G2.NU effects pedal, 2 Strats and 2 Teles (I keep one pair in standard tuning for things like open mics or playing with guys who don't want to tune down, and the other pair is tuned down a half-step to save wear and tear on my 52-year old voice). I've been playing guitar since 1976, and started singing long before then. I can play the piano a bit, drums a bit, and am a pretty good bass player. The amp complements the music I play very well. My favorite features: 1) it's a tube amp, 2) it has a Celestion, 3) it delivers great power for an amp this size, and 4) it's not noisy and is very clean. If this one were stolen I'd get another one ASAP. I compared this amp against a Peavey VK 112 and thought I'd like the Peavey, because I have the amp head and like it, but the speaker was lacking. Tried a Marshall Haze. Marshall doesn't load Celestions in solid-state amps and I couldn't afford a tube amp. The speaker in the Marshall I also found lacking. I tried a Fender Frontman 212. The speakers were lacking also. I tried an older, smaller Fender combo amp, and it sounded great for its size but it wasn't loud enough to serve in a mid-size capacity. I'd have bought a brand-new Spider Valve 112, but Line 6 doesn't make those anymore, and it didn't occur to me to try its successor because I was so happy with this one. The on-board effects are not fantastic, and compression would be a nice feature to have, but I will only use the presets in an emergency. I didn't have to create a new patch set for it either. It handles my pedal patches very well and sounds a great deal like my VK100/Marshall MG100 rig. It's better than I'd hoped for and I would recommend this amp to anyone looking for a scalable mid-size amp that will work from small applications to open mics.

Reliability & Durability — 10
I can't say yet about its durability. I ordered new power tubes since I have no idea when they were last changed. The preamp tubes seem fine, no evidence of them being microphonic. The amp seems very-well constructed and solid, no rattles, and it's a bit heavy but not as heavy as my Marshall MG100 cabinets, which I'm going to need help lifting soon. Also, the amp has very sturdy casters, a blessing. I believe it will prove to be durable and reliable and will provide an update after I've had it for a few months.

Features — 10
40 watts RMS, 1 12" Celestion G12, 1 channel, 36 user-defined presets, on-board chorus, flange, tremolo, delay, tape echo, sweet echo, 6 distortions to choose from, noise suppressor, tuner, lots more. I use the clean channel and run my Strats and Teles through a Zoom G2.NU. I made three presets, for chorus/clean, distorted rhythm, and distorted lead with more delay. This amp is great for mid-sized applications (open mic, church band) and probably could keep up with my secular band. So far I really like this amp and have no complaints. I bought mine used at GC and ordered new tubes for it, since I've no idea when they were changed last.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Just took a chance on this amp. It just simply doesn't sound nearly as good as the Bogner badge would lead you to believe. A Line 6 modeler through a Bogner tube amp is exactly what it sounds like- a really expensive way to amplify a cheap digital modeler. Really disappointed with this amp.
    I played both the 1x12 and 2x12 at GC. The 2x12 sounds better due to having 2 drivers and that gives it a fatter rounder low end, which I prefer. But, the 212 is heavy, and the reason I wanted a small home practice amp is for small size and lightness. So, I ordered the 1x12. Ordered earlier today and got email that it's already been shipped. The other amp I am considering is a Bogner Alchemist which is no longer being made, but I found a source that still has new ones in stock for a great price. The Alchemist is more of a Bogner tube amp with some Line 6 effects, namely reverb and delay. The Line 6 valve is a line 6 modeler and effects with a Bogner tube amp. So there is a difference. I hope I made the right choice. I like the added affects and modeling of the Line 6 valve, but I'm afraid this amp won't have it's own "voice" as it seems to be more about emulating other amps, rather than being it's own amp voice with the added ability to alter voicing. In contrast, the Alchemist seems to be more about a Bogner tube amp and it's sound, and then you can add some verb and delay. Maybe I should have got the Alchemist instead? I'll know more when my Line 6 gets here in a couple days. The test at GC was cool as I was playing with all the cool effects and modeler, but I hope that doesn't wear off quick and I'm left wanting for just a pure tube amp with effects. Can this amp be played as just a Bogner tube amp? IOW, can the modeler and effects be turned off and just let the natural sound of the tube circuit and great Celestion speaker come through?
    I was on Line 6 website and it wrote that these amps can be run in 'manual' mode. It's a button right there on top of the eq buttons. Line 6 says in manual mode the amp runs as a regular tube amp. Basically, it looks like manual mode simply takes the digital modeler and effects out, we're now using the Bogner tube amp. Can anyone confirm this? If true, then my biggest fear has been quelled, and all is well with the world.
    I have a 112. Manual mode just makes it like a normal amp, that is the settings are what the knobs are pointing at, instead of switchable presets. So it'll be on whatever amp model the knob is pointing at, definately doesn't bypass the amp models, I don't know why it would say that on the line 6 website. Okay now I got a question, does anyone get that loud pop or bang on the first note you play on cleans sounds pretty much anything between clean and blues? I can minimalise it by having the gain turned right down but then it doesn't have nowhere near enough volume to be up with say metal amber at half volume, this happens on both my schecter C1 and my LTD EC1000, both with EMG's, the C1 having coil taps. Edit - also only one of my valves lights right up red hot (the left one looking from the back), the other gets a little bit red but is fairly dim compared to the other. Is this normal or do I have one these valve issues that have reportly plagued these amps.