Spider Valve 212 review by Line 6

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (89 votes)
Line 6: Spider Valve 212
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Purchased from: AmericanMusical.com

Sound — 10
I play Epi Les Paul standards because they are built like tanks, sound great, and are 1/5th the price of their big brother Gibson LP standard. I've two. One with Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates pickups I use for blues and classic rock. The other I put in EMG Zakk Wylde 81/85 set for metal. I just got the amp a few days ago but have already spent many hours with both guitars. To put it in a nutshell, I can find every tone I'm looking for. I found it best to browse through the presets, which is really easy to do, and when you find something close to what you want just stop there and tweak it to get exactly what you're looking for. With my blues les paul I easily found Vaughan's texas style tone (Texas Flood, Pride and Joy). I also easily found Hendrix both clean (Hey Joe), slightly dirty (Red House), and really nasty (Purple Haze, Voodoo Chile). With my metal les paul I found Black Sabbath (early, iron man, war pigs), later (Heaven and Hell), Van Halen (brown sound), Iron Maiden, Metallica, Pantera, etc. This amp is the most versatile I've ever owned and I've owned just about every decent mass marketed tube amp (Fender Twin, Marhsall JCM800, DSL 100, TSL 100). You can quickly dial in crystal chimey cleans then Switch straight to face melting shredding leads to bottom heavy chunky arpeggio death metal riffs. I have not been able to reach the headroom of this amp. I've rehearsed with it in a very loud club setting and I didn't need to turn it past 4. It's really amazing. This is truly a high-end tube combo that could gig anywhere for $830. I really think this is the only amp you'd need in your rig. Add an FBV shortboard to have it all at your feet and it's perfect.

Overall Impression — 10
I've played for 30 years (since I was 10, I'm not that old). Overall, for $830 this is the best amp I've ever owned. The amazing flexibility of Line 6 modeling PLUS an all tube circuit designed by Reinhold Bogner himself. You can really get every tone you're looking for with amazing tube tone quality. Whatever style of music you like, you'll find it. Add a footswitch (I'd recommend the FBV shortboard) and you're in heaven. My favorite feature is the amazing tone. We're all guitar players here and we're all in that endless search for killer tone. I'd easily put this amp up there with Marshall, Mesa, and Fender. Actually, buying this amp gives you all 3 of those amps plus more at only $830! I'd definitely recommend buying it. I'd replace it if it was stolen. It's one of my favorite amps all time.

Reliability & Durability — 8
It is built way better than my Flextone III XL and that wasn't built that bad. This one is built for professionals. It's heavy and the wood is thick. There is a cage around the power tubes to protect them. Only owned it a few days so far so can't talk about longevity.

Features — 8
The same as the spider III but so much better. The Spider Valve 212 from Line 6 features a Spider III engine mated in perfect harmony to a genuine tube amplifier. Designed by famed amp man Reinhold Bogner for unmatched performance and responsiveness. The amp is built around 2 - 12AX7 preamp tubes and 2 - 6L6 power tubes. You can choose from 12 amp models and 7 Smart Control Effects. 36 user-programmable channels save your settings, or you can play through over 300 artist-created presets. All the tones are voiced by the legendary Celestion Vintage 30. Finally you can have the unrivaled versatility of Line 6 amp and effects modeling with the performance and feel of a world-class tube amplifier. Unlike flextone, no midi! That kind of sucks. Also, like all Line 6's, no footswitch. The nice thing is Line 6 has a big range of footswitches that fall in all price ranges.

81 comments sorted by best / new / date

    led,rainsong
    i dont really like the idea of having a bunch of presets stuff on an amp because you cant really switch through them especially if there are 300!
    HELLSHREDD
    You are a tard ya jacarse , why dont you go blow a goat.
    TDAJGuitarist wrote: "I'd easily put this amp up there with Marshall, Mesa, and Fender. Actually, buying this amp gives you all 3 of those amps plus more at only $830! " Most ridiculus claim i have ever heard....thats like saying First Act is right up there with Gibson...Totaly ludicris....
    AnalogBob
    DGriffin91 wrote: Uh, distortion in analog tube amps is created by tubes clipping (ie overdrive), distortion in old pedals like the boss DS1 is done not by tubes but not digitally either.
    Yeah, but what you dont understand is, the signal that is being clipped is no longer your guitar signal as it was converted to digital (1s and 0s) by the analog to digital converter (A/D), if it is even being clipped at all like what happens in normal tube and solid-state (transistor) amps. I seriously doubt it is. I think the distortion is just a computer effect that is being incorporated into the mix, like the chorus, echo, etc. How else could they possibly MODEL different vintage amps? The modeling computer, using software and processors to mimic various amps, creates it digitally. Tube and solid-state amplifiers are designed the same way, basically. Solid-state amplifiers use transistors in the preamp and power amp, whereas tube amplifiers use tubes. Thats not to say there are no transistors in a tube amp, but the preamp and power amp are always tubesunless its a hybrid, of course. Tubes and transistors perform the same function in a circuit, but in a different way. Tubes are made of glass with a filament; transistors are made of semi-conducting material. Both tubes and transistors are analog components, just like speakers and transformers and capacitors and inductors and pickups and all the other items I mentioned are ALL analog components. Any device in an electronic circuit that does not convert the signal into a digital signal (1s and 0s) is an analog device, in a nutshell. Most guitar amps and pedals, up until recently when all this modeling crap came out, were all analog devices. But just because an amp has tubes (analog) in it does not mean its distortion is analog. Just the opposite in the case of the Spider Valve. I wish I had not bought the Valve King 212 as Peavey is coming out with a new modeling amp called the Vyper that will, in fact, have ANALOG distortion. The modeling only comes into play if you want effects like chorus, echo (not sure about reverb), etc added in.
    DGriffin91
    ^ AnalogBob wrote: "The Crate is an analog, solid-state amp meaning its distortion is generated via old school analog components like resistors, diodes, transistors, op-amps" Uh, distortion in analog tube amps is created by tubes clipping (ie overdrive), distortion in old pedals like the boss DS1 is done not by tubes but not digitally either.
    AnalogBob
    Mikey p wrote: Analogbob, which Crate amp do you use? surely if you own a solid state amp, isnt EVERYTHING going through your amp going to be A/D, D/A? hence the name solid state, because of the digital amplification etc.? pls explain your comment above.
    My crate amp is a G40m. And, no, digital is not the same thing as solid-state. There are 4 common terms youll hear when dealing with amplifiers: digital, analog, solid-state, and tube. The Crate is an analog, solid-state amp meaning its distortion is generated via old school analog components like resistors, diodes, transistors, op-amps, etc. That signal is then amplified using large power transistors, which are solid-state components. On the other hand, the Spider valve is a digital, tube amp. Your guitar signal goes into the amp and then its converted to 1s and 0s, which sucks. And because it's digital, it samples the guitar signal every few milli or microseconds, which means some of the signal is lost. My argument is that i can actually tell that something is lost because my Stratocaster no longer sounds like one. I think every guitar plugged into this thing would sound the same. Anyway, Ive since returned the Spider Valve along with the short board to GC. I just cant get used to the distortion. It sounds fake to me. Besides, the 40w just wasnt loud enough. My drummer was drowning me out with the amp turned all the way up. Ive since picked up the 100w Peavey Valve King, which uses analog distortion and sound great to me. But thats me. Just my opinion.
    Moejoe
    One more thing, I've noticed a big difference in finish and build quality with these new amps, much better
    Moejoe
    jmclen wrote: I would not discourage anybody from trying this amp out. It is important to understand that even with a modeling amp, there is no swiss army knife guitar amp. This amp is no different. It excels in some areas and leaves something to be desired in others. It has one of the most beautiful, articulate clean sounds I've heard, not unlike the Bogner Shiva. In the past, Line 6 has been able to deliver some decent sounds in the end, but their gear was a horrible experience to play through. This amp really makes playing a Line 6 fun and this is the first time I can admit that. I can't stress enough that this amp may not work for you at all. On the other hand it may be just what you're looking for. BTW, the presets on this are just as horrible as on any line 6, the key to happiness is to start from scratch. Again to me this is a real amp, a Line 6 first, and it should be judged based on its own merit.
    I agree completely, I dont use the pre-sets, I build my own effects on top of the awsome tone and clean sound of this amp and trust me it's still worth the money.
    Moejoe
    phenom1991 wrote: Anyway...you got a RR24 too. Its sweet. Good For line 6 they are finally cleaning up the spider 3 crap and putting some real components into the boxes. I would not use a Spider 3 as toilet paper though. Its not expensive but its horrible sounding. This on the other hand may have gotten better.
    I would say it has, I've tried the old spiders and I know what you mean, but this realy does feel differnt!
    Moejoe
    I have just bought one of these amps and I have to say I totaly agree with the review, it is a completely versitile amp. I use a Boss ME-50 for my effects however, so I barely use the pre-installed effects, but the tone and volume you get from this amp is astonishing and totally makes it's worth the money even if you don't intend to use the pre-installed effects, before I bought it I tried Peaveys and Marshalls in the same price range and for me they did not compare for quality, I highly recommend this amp.
    Mikey p
    Analogbob, which Crate amp do you use? surely if you own a solid state amp, isnt EVERYTHING going through your amp going to be A/D, D/A? hence the name solid state, because of the digital amplification etc.? pls explain your comment above.
    HELLSHREDD
    I own the 112 & it kicks
    stradivari310 wrote: I wish somebody would review the 112.. although I'm sure it's similar. I tried the head today through a peavey 4x12 cabinet and it sounded fantastic.
    HELLSHREDD
    You are a tard F0
    TDAJGuitarist wrote: "I'd easily put this amp up there with Marshall, Mesa, and Fender. Actually, buying this amp gives you all 3 of those amps plus more at only $830! " Most ridiculus claim i have ever heard....thats like saying First Act is right up there with Gibson...Totaly ludicris....
    jmclen
    I would not discourage anybody from trying this amp out. It is important to understand that even with a modeling amp, there is no swiss army knife guitar amp. This amp is no different. It excels in some areas and leaves something to be desired in others. It has one of the most beautiful, articulate clean sounds I've heard, not unlike the Bogner Shiva. In the past, Line 6 has been able to deliver some decent sounds in the end, but their gear was a horrible experience to play through. This amp really makes playing a Line 6 fun and this is the first time I can admit that. I can't stress enough that this amp may not work for you at all. On the other hand it may be just what you're looking for. BTW, the presets on this are just as horrible as on any line 6, the key to happiness is to start from scratch. Again to me this is a real amp, a Line 6 first, and it should be judged based on its own merit.
    Mikey p
    i bought the 112 last year and it actually sounds really great. the 212 obviously has more headroom, but the 112 has a lot of power for its size. it sounds really full and creamy if you keep it on the floor. it tends to sound less full if you put it on a raised surface like a low desk or something, for some reason.
    stradivari310
    I wish somebody would review the 112.. although I'm sure it's similar. I tried the head today through a peavey 4x12 cabinet and it sounded fantastic.
    mcarter@acp-inc
    I agree with this review completely ! I also have over 30 years of playing and have owned about every major brand amp out there including (Mesa Mark IV, Marshall JCM900, 4-peaveys, 2 Fenders, Line6 Spider 30,...) I have been playing a Marshall 30yr anniversary for about 12 yrs and the Spider 30 as a practice amp. Almost all of the amps I have owned sounded good for one or two specific sounds with either a humbucker or a single coil pickup but then you needed an additional effects rig and to adjust the amp to get a decent sound under other situations. When i first played the 212 at Guitar center it really blew me away. I was concerned that it probably didnt sound as good as I thought it did so I decided I would come back early on the next day with fresh ears. I did that and bought it ! Yes there are 300 presets and lots of them are very similar because they were done by a variety of guitarists that universally want some of the same sounds. You have 36 editable locations that you can copy and tweak the presets or save your own sounds.I have saved a good clean,blues,crunch and lead sound for both type pickups and several more for more specilaized chorus, flange effects. I like the other owners have only had it about 45 days but it still amazes me everytime I play it. The Spider Valve is very powerfull and really sounds good turned up unlike the other all solid state line 6 models. For me this is both the best sounding and most versatile amp I have owned. I plan to keep this one a long time !
    Mikey p
    phenom1991 wrote: You can't say its better than anything before you try i guess. Im pretty sure this amp is not better than High end marshalls/peaveys/Mesas or ENGLs. It will maybe have better tone but it will still be digital.
    If you buy a high end marshall or mesa, for example, your bound to be getting what you pay for. the thing is not many people have that kind of money or even need to buy a Marshall stack or something ridiculous like that. lets just get this straight for everyone reading this review. This new range of Spider Valve amps are all one hundred percent tube amps. Line 6 has just combined tube amplification with digital effects moddeling to make an extremely versatile amp. Rant over.
    HELLSHREDD
    Just to say that Anal-Log-BOB up there is like the Dr.PHIL of amps folks, LMAO.
    Mikey p
    yeh anal log bob is really goin crazy with his facts... anyway i love this amp so there!
    Big-loco32
    I like it! Wait, I love it! So many possibilities! A little tricky to learn, but knowing it makes it even better. This baby can scream, cry, talk, and possibly do backflips if your not careful.
    L-Roberts91
    This amp sounds way to cool to be true, what with a spider style set out, and valves, i dont care what people say, this sounds like it could be the best for its price. but still, can't get over the previous spider models, so ive booked a test in a few weeks. im sure it'l rock.
    MESAexplorer
    Uhm yeah....I didn't think it was thaaaat good. I liked it but it's definatly not near as good as this person is suggesting. My review can be found by searching the UG forums (Spider Valve)
    truthfulhero
    korinaflyingv wrote: imo, apart from the crunch channel, this amp is a masterpiece.
    The crunch channel is painful for humbuckers but I borrowed a friends Telecaster which contains an active bass/treble boost. On the crunch channel with the gain pretty high and the bridge pickup running (with or without the treble boost) sounds incredible. P.S. To all those saying "How long have you been working for Line 6, if you had played this amp, you would understand why we have nothing but praise for it. As mentioned in my review, I bought this over amps 5 times the price and have not looked back. There is nothing bad about this amp!
    Andy Axe
    AnalogBob - do you listen to CDs. If yes then everything you hear is 0s and 1s. The Line 6 valve converts the guitar signal to digital and then adjusts it ,according to your settings on the amp, then converts it back to analogue. That signal is then put through both stages of tube amplification, so guess what the distortion created by the tubes is analogue. The only argument here is if you prefer valve distortion or transistor. If you prefer a Peavey Valve king or a crate then your analogue ears need checking.
    mp3stalin
    UG has a collective boner for VK's. they're really not bad... just i mean comeon. the are what they are. the cheapest tube amp.
    ridleyredraider
    I don't understand why anyone would buy or compare this amp to a valveking when valveking's have that "SUCK BALLS" mode on it that you can't turn off. suck balls mode...
    L-Roberts91
    This amp doesn't have a headphone jack - correct? if so damn, have to keep my s**tty MG50 _
    L-Roberts91
    Wheelchair Stan wrote: i love the fact that everyone is bashing this for its "inferior tone" and "shitty quality". guess what guys, not everyone has 3000 dollars to spend of top of the line mesa, marshall, hughes &ketner amps etc. for what its worth this is an excellent amp for a beginner-intermediate player of a relatively tight budget. and the distortion isn't nearly as bad as anyone says it is. its got a great low end (this anit no sales pitch i actually tried it) and for what its made for, it does the job. besides, what are you purist blues/jazz whatevver guys doing looking at line 6 for anyway? did you honestly expect to get vintage marshall quality out of this? i sure hope not or else your stupider than you look.
    Exactly. Best for price.
    Wheelchair Stan
    i love the fact that everyone is bashing this for its "inferior tone" and "shitty quality". guess what guys, not everyone has 3000 dollars to spend of top of the line mesa, marshall, hughes &ketner amps etc. for what its worth this is an excellent amp for a beginner-intermediate player of a relatively tight budget. and the distortion isn't nearly as bad as anyone says it is. its got a great low end (this anit no sales pitch i actually tried it) and for what its made for, it does the job. besides, what are you purist blues/jazz whatevver guys doing looking at line 6 for anyway? did you honestly expect to get vintage marshall quality out of this? i sure hope not or else your stupider than you look.
    trev22
    I love mine....the only problem would be if i didnt get the FBV shortboard footpedal with it....without out it, theres absolutely no way u can change channels/effects. and it would b better if u could change how overpowering the modulation effects are, as you can with delays
    OhOne
    Actually, I liked AnalogBob's rundown of tube vs solid state vs digital, factual and concise. But if his Spider Valve wasn't getting loud enough, I wonder if there wasn't something wrong with the input stage, which would be really bad with single coils. I use a Spider 30 as a practice amp and my biggest complaint is that when I turn down my guitar volume, the tone does not clean up properly. I'm guessing the SV would have the same problem.
    guitargod1965
    this is my last comment for now...I played my tony Iommi Epi through this amp with an alternate tuning (c#) and utilized the Riggs insane preset with minor modifications and it just growled like a caged demon. Absolutely hot...
    guitargod1965
    by the way, I plug a jackson DK 1 with EMG's into this and it tears your guts out on the insane setting. The Riggs Insane preset is a growling, screaming terror. Does anyone know a good Crowbar setting on this amp?
    guitargod1965
    If you really want to blow your head off, dial in the "Sinus" preset and go nuts. It is a total blast and sounds incredible.
    guitargod1965
    This amp is absolutely incredible. I am not overstating, just giving the facts. I have a really hard time finding an amp that satisfies a variety of tones that I want, but this does the trick. I would buy another one in a heartbeat.
    tom_martin_123
    i reli want one. i played on one in my local shop a few days ago and i think it sounds amazing.
    HELLSHREDD
    But if you are sick of spending thousands to get 1 good tone , then give this a try & sound like slipknot acdc priest metallica slayer or any big band & rip on while the others run 4 effects & keep trading in & all that waste of time thing, been there done itah[/b] wrote: I never much liked anything from line 6. they all sound really digital and just lacking UMPH! You can get a decent sound from them, but that's it. a decent sound. If you want a tone that is truly good and all your own, then line 6 is not the way to go. [/quote]
    H_ngm_n
    I'm glad there are some intelligent people posting here now, not a bunch of people who have never tried/heard one talking crap just because its line 6. When you turn this baby up to about 5, the metal channel will literally rip your guts out. Its sounds great fo the price.
    HELLSHREDD
    i did mean to say combo tube amps sorry bout that ..
    phenom1991 wrote: ^No other tube amps? LOOOL! Im sorry mate but thats pushing it. It might be good though.
    tubey69
    i agree that all of the past spiders have been pretty (extremely) bad, but this is really something else, it responds like a proper tube amp with line 6 modeling technology (imagine a POD with a tube poweramp and 2 preamp tubes)
    which ones pink
    [quote=Ky_Guitarman]I just got the amp a few days ago[/quote] And that is a perfect reason NOT to write a review; you haven't learned enough about the amp to make an educated, un-biased review about it. Also, "10" for sound? Please. I don't believe that any amp (much less the Spider Valve) should get a 10 for sound, unless it's a super-boutique or vintage like a Cornford or vintage Plexi or something.
    phenom1991
    Anyway...you got a RR24 too. Its sweet. Good For line 6 they are finally cleaning up the spider 3 crap and putting some real components into the boxes. I would not use a Spider 3 as toilet paper though. Its not expensive but its horrible sounding. This on the other hand may have gotten better.
    phenom1991
    ^No other tube amps? LOOOL! Im sorry mate but thats pushing it. It might be good though.
    HELLSHREDD
    I have owned the 40 watt 1x12 spidervalve for a couple months now & the only thing not good on this amp is the crunch channel , 2 me it sounds like shit through EMG p-ups. Everything else on this amp is pure delight, if you are into metal dont waste your time & go try this out , you will be fully blown away , there are 2 settings for metal & my favorite is the yellow metal setting 2 me it sounds like pure metallica & slayerish. I did pick up the FBV shortboard just to feel even more spoiled & its so nice.Check out my set up in my pics & tell me if you like...If this amp were stolen & i caught the dude who stole it would burn on the cross in my back-yard, there are truly no othere tube amps that could come close to this amp ,,Once again go try it & another thing ive heard is that ive heard people say that they thought they could get better tone out of the 1x12 speaker rather than 2x12, but the 2x12 has a bit more bottom end...both amps put out the same power & im sticking with the single speaker cuz it punches me in the chest just what i like....