Spider Valve 212 review by Line 6

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.7 (90 votes)
Line 6: Spider Valve 212
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Price paid: A$ 340

Purchased from: Private Sale

Sound — 9
Using a variety of guitars with humbuckers, P90's and single coils, there is a vast amount of sounds and textures on tap. The high gain models are up to Line 6's normal high standard but then, these days, most amp modelers seem to be able to to a pretty good job of high gain hard rock and metal tones. Where the Spidervalve really shines is the "on the edge" tones where the amp is just starting to break up - particularly blues type sounds. The clean models are nice and clear with a little added warmth but if you want, you can wind up the gain on these to provide a nice clean but slightly edgy tone that is quite satisfying. After using a POD XT Live through a combo (Marshall VS100 Valvestate) I would have to say the Spidervalve does sound better with more natural valve compression coming into play. The presence control really works well adding that high end sparkle and zing you just can't get from normal eq. Oh, and last but not least, this amp is friggin' LOUD! It says it's rated at 40 watts, but I'd be happy to put this up against a half stack Marshall and I reckon the Spider Valve would compete nicely. With the master volume at 10 o'clock, it is too loud to be in the same room in a domestic house without doing some serious damage to your ears, the plaster, crockery, windows etc, etc, etc! Anyone who says this amp isn't loud enough for gigging is deaf!

Overall Impression — 8
I play mainly heavy rock but do dabble in other styles and as such, the Spider Valve 212 is ideal for me. I can now get pretty much any sound I want without having to resort to external stomp boxes or rack effects. Over the 35 years I've been playing, I've had amps from Roland, Acoustic, Mesa Boogie and a couple of Marshalls (valve and Valvestate) and reckon this amp can do everything they did plus more. The flexiblity to dial in so many different and great tones is a godsend for a gigging guitarist but to get the most out this amp, you really have to buy the Line 6 FBV Shortboard. That is the only downside as the FBV is currently over $329 AUD new and you have to use the Line 6 unit as nothing else will work. But apart from that, I'd have no hesitation in buying another Spider Valve if I ever lost this one. From what I've read, the MKII version is even better with more amp models, a looper, and the ability to do computer editing of the user settings.

Reliability & Durability — 9
This is my 4th piece of Line 6 gear, and as I've never had any problems in the past, I'm not expecting any now. Line 6 gear is built pretty tough and the Spider Valve is no exception. Being a second hand piece of gear when I got it, I stripped it down to give it a full clean and once over. Internally, everything is well built and looks like it would handle gigging without any hassles. The power amp valves are enclosed in a full steel cage and each valve is held in place with a dual spring loaded cap that should prevent them from losening and falling out. The 2 pre-amp valves don't have the same protection but as they are behind the power amp valve cage and are not easy to get at, should be safe from accidental knocks.

Features — 9
This is the original SV 212 (there has been a MKII version out for some time now) but even considering what is available new now, this amp is still right up there with the best. 12 amp models, some great, some good and a couple of slightly "iffy" models but overall, a broad selection to cater for just about any taste. 3 digital effects at a time: modulation (chorus/flanging/phaser/tremelo) delay (delay/tape echo/sweep echo) and a rather nice reverbliven things up somewhat. The reverb and delay effects are very useable but the modulation effect are a little to intense and unsubtle, but then that may be just what you want! 4 quick access channels that are available for selection from the front panel or via footswitch, over 200 "artist" presets and 36 user memory locations that can be accessed via the front 4-way navigation rocker and LCD or from an optional FBV Shortboard. The normal eq controls plus cahnnel & master volume controls and presence plus a few "hidden" functions including boost, noise gate and a finally a wah (only if you have and FBV Express or FBV Shortboard connected). Contrary to some opinions, this is a real valve amp with a 40 watt power amp section designed by Bogner and 2 x 12AX7 pre-amp valves in the pre-amp section. This is then enhanced by Line 6's amp modelling software and effects. Round the back you have an effects loop, and a direct out for recording that also has cabinet emulation. Speaker duties are handled by a pair of Celestion Vintage Series 12" speakers. Cabinet is covered in a heavy duty black yinyl and is surprisingly heavy and well built and tahnkfully comes with a set of heavy duty removeable casters.

9 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Vinyljunkie72
    I gig regularly with a SV MK1 and so far there's nothing to touch it. The lead guitarist plays a black star with a Marshall 4x10 and this 2x12 more than makes it earn it's keep. Unlike comparable Marshalls and peaveys I've used (and trust me, I've used a shed load in the 20 odd years I've gigged) the tone improves the harder you push it. Three recommendations, First. learn how to program the preset banks and line up your sounds so they're convenient. I use 15 presets I've customised and just flick through them as I need. Second, if you're gigging, invest in the FBV short board. It opens the amp up considerably. I've gigged this hard in front of big bike rally crowds and the usual small pub gigs and it's solid as a solid thing. Third. LEARN HOW TO USE THE BLOODY THING-READ THE MANUAL! The people who seem to knock this amp are the ones who've never tried it' don't understand it or bought a cheapie solid state spider and lump this in with them. Well, bollocks to them. If that's the case They don't deserve one in the first place. As for me? I'm keeping mine until it falls apart then I'll probably buy another.
    rak101
    grungelive72 wrote: I must say, when I first got my Spider III, I was pretty happy. That was until it basically exploded a year later. The thing overheated, the input jack fell into the amp, the speaker was blown and it cut out on me halfway through a show. Not reliable. Line 6 amps are toys and I will never go back to them. Once I got my somewhat vintage Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, I knew I would never go back to digital. REAL tube clean tones blow away any Line 6 toy any day, and nothing beats the sound of an overdriven, creamy, smooth, tube amp. Don't waste your time with this brand unless you are a beginner. If you are an intermediate player looking for his/her second or third amp, then spend your money on a REAL amp, not this crap.
    Wrong product, jackass. Spider 3 is nowhere near as nice as the Spider Valve. The SV is in a whole new class and besides, Bogner is a damn good name and he makes really nice amps. If anything, I'd say this is a Bogner amp with a Line 6 name on it, not the other way around. I've owned this for 6 months now and I use a POD X3 through the power amp on the back of the amp. Still Line 6 effects but I like the POD versatility better than the on-board effects. The tube pre-amp and power section really makes this amp shine. Very warm sounds and it really can sound beautiful. Like others have stated but no one listened: don't knock this if you haven't tried it. Notice how almost everyone that played or owned this loves it? It sells itself.
    TheBigDirty716
    Kumanji wrote: I've had one for a couple of months. The man's right, they are mind-bendingly versatile. Just disassociate this amp from everything Line6 has done before, which, to be honest, has not been earthshatteringly good. This amp really is something else.
    Well Said. I started with a POD 2.0 and i thought the tones there were good... but not great. The pod is an amazing idea though.. only its a solid state... So this is the perfect solution. you get all that versatility with the signal actually being sent through tubes. i bought this amp and showed the mesa model to my friend who owns a dual rectifier halfstack. he traded his stack in for this beauty the next day
    grungelive72
    I must say, when I first got my Spider III, I was pretty happy. That was until it basically exploded a year later. The thing overheated, the input jack fell into the amp, the speaker was blown and it cut out on me halfway through a show. Not reliable. Line 6 amps are toys and I will never go back to them. Once I got my somewhat vintage Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, I knew I would never go back to digital. REAL tube clean tones blow away any Line 6 toy any day, and nothing beats the sound of an overdriven, creamy, smooth, tube amp. Don't waste your time with this brand unless you are a beginner. If you are an intermediate player looking for his/her second or third amp, then spend your money on a REAL amp, not this crap.
    RickeyFive
    These comments are all outdated. The Axe Fx II and the Kemper are the undisputed kings of the modeling world, but Line 6 has come a long way. Here is the deal with the Spider Valve: I have the original HD100 head with two 4x12 cabs....its a KILLER amp...BUT, here is my secret. I also thought the SV's modeling sounded a bit digital...ESPECIALLY at bedroom volume. The good news? The Bogner designed all tube power amp is absolutely RIDICULOUS. I have a very well tuned rig with a POD HD500 as a preamp feeding the poweramp of the Spider. Wow. This thing sings like a canary. Take it from a 25 year veteran who's favorite band is Dream Theater. The POD HD500 with the Spider Valve head and a GOOD 4x12 (Mesa 4x12 Trad Straight)is an absolutely beautiful sounding rig if you know how to build tones. Extremely versatile...SPOT on Mesa crunch, with the feeling and touch sensitivity to match, sparkling cleans, and leads that sing like a Mark...IF dialed in CORRECTLY. The tone IS in there, you just have to know how to get it out.
    Vinyljunkie72
    Oh and just as a p.s. This is a FULL BOGNER TUBE AMP, NOT A HYBRID! I own a hybrid as well. This isn't one of them. The modelling circuit is pushed through the tubes just as if you used a pedal board through a basic valve amp.
    jrsanvei
    How can i use a Digitech jamman delay (looper) with this amp? Can i play using the rithm and looper of the digitech and the effects of the amp? How i should connect both? thanks a lot
    paulandjools
    I've been gigging this in a rock/pop/indie covers band for three years now. Sure, it's not a Mesa or a high end Cornford etc... but if you want to emulate thirty different bands sounds in one gig and don't want to learn how to do Irish dancing on a pedal board the size of the Titanics deck then it's just great! Each to their own, it suits me down to the ground and I'm just about sick of people slating things when they probably have never played through it 'Live' at venues/pubs/clubs etc. Yeah, it sounds pretty good in a shop, put it on stage and play next to a band at full volume and see how it sounds then! Honestly guys, it's fine, surely it's a case of different strokes for different folks? This thing sounds like all the amps in its presets, it obviously isn't all those amps but for non pro, gigging pub musicians (like me) its fine. If you want to spend thousands on an amp you're gonna hump about from car to pub and back again two or three times a week then you've got more money than sense. Just try carrying a Mesa head and cab about and see how twitchy you get when you catch the door frame on the way into the pub! Leave those of us who enjoy this amp alone and just because you don't like it doesn't mean it isn't good enough for those of us that do! (Rant over!)
    iliafichtlg
      I was jamming with a buddy in a studio (were I first tried the JC-120) and they'd just bought the spider valve. My GOD it was awful, master volume goes from zero to balls out loud (for all its "cleverness" they failed to include an attenuator), has like two usable but totally uninspiring sounds (insane and twang, respectively) and the digital stuff just fails, like actually fails, as in the amp restarted when I turned a knob and then kept doing it so I we had to call it a night (after like an hour of trying to wrestle a good sound out of it).    Just please don't get this amp. Modeling has come a long way and there are way better options than this pile of garbage, for gigs you could get a little THR10 or an ADIO and mic them up, spend some extra bucks for a little Blackstar ID or one of those Vox AV amps. I own a Fender Frontman 212r and I swear to god it sounds like a plexi next to a spider valve, you could conceivably get a Frontman and some pedals and it would sound way better than this bullshit. Shit, even my little old Marshall Lead 12 kills this bullshit. (for the price you could also get an old Marshall MOSFET that would kill it too), I really wanted to like this amp as the other day I tried a little spider combo and it wasn't half bad but holy shit is this awful, did I already say how awful it is?   And if this wasn't enough, on top of its unapologetic awfulness you have to buy a separate MIDI foot controller from Line 6 because fuck you if already have one lying around or if you were unfortunate enough to get your hands on a spider valve. I mean, if you get literally ANY OTHER AMP you get a footswitch included. If you buy a Yamaha THR100HD you get one and if you lose it you can just use ANY MIDI CONTROLLER! Obvious scam. And oh my god don't even get me started on the fx, the phaser sounds like Line 6 took some shitfaced dude off a dive bar and asked him to make his best impression of an ambulance siren. Just awful, get something else that's not a Line 6. LITERALLY ANYTHING OTHER THAN LINE6! For about $1000 bucks you could squeeze in a DSL40C AND a Hot Rod Deluxe, a Rocker32, a JC-120, a used JCM800, some old beat up Fender amp from the 70s, a Lab L5, or save another $1000 to get a Kemper... I mean, you could do so much with that money but please don't use it on the spider, just don't. Just ask Glenn Fricker.