Spider Valve MKII HD100 review by Line 6

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.1 (19 votes)
Line 6: Spider Valve MKII HD100

Price paid: $ 1400

Purchased from: Audio-Pro (Croatia)

Sound — 8
This baby has a pair of 12AX7 preamp tubes with a matched pair of 6L6 power tubes. The tube section is designed by Bogner and the name speaks for it self. With 16 amp models you can get almost any tone on earth but it has it's drawbacks. Most reviews I've read stated that there isn't enough warmth comming out from the tubes, or that there's something missing in the overall sound of the amp... Is't not a 6505, a Marshall, a Mesa Boogie or a Diezel but it gets close to getting the sound that you have in your head. In short it's not a racing car, more of a turbo charged all-terrain vehicle. I use a Randall cab and a Jackson COW 7 string with a Seymour Duncan Blackout tuned to drop a. Now I play low tuned stuff; Meshuggah, The Acacia Strain ect. and the thing I love about this amp is that all that low end rumble comes out like I'm playing in E strandard on a 6 string. Also I play leads, and they come out clear and full of life. I've tried a lot of tube amps and every one of them had to have at least one pedal in front of it to sound good to my ears. That says a lot about the definition of this amp, and IT'S LOUD! On stage or in the rehersal room my volume is at 3 and it blows everything away. The low end it there, sparkling highs and really awesome mids. I've tried to play some BLS, G'NR, Metallica with my Slammer Exp and my jaw dropped. The definition and the low end was there and it punches out a great amount of bite. For all you djenters out there THIS is the amp for low frequency rumble ;) And the compressor + noise reductor can get you all those precise Fear Factory stops...work's perfect! The drawback is that it's not really for players that want for example a Peavey sound, the sound is kinda digital, therefor it gives you great definition but it sacrifices the warmth and for some players that's not quite what they are looking for. Let's say it like this the sound is awesome, but it doesn't feel lifelike, more compressed and direct but the tubes make it feel powerfull. Also the thing that can get in the way of live playing is that everytime that you step on the shortboard to change the channel (let's say from A to B) you can hear the 0.3s delay of the switching (the sound goes mute for those 0.3sec) and if you are doing a solo you can hear the (mute) channel switching and it can get frustrating. But all in all, the sound is awesome; there's so much definition coming out of this digital/tube amp and the fx can make your rig sound like you're using 25 pedals and 4 spliced heads. But it's not for everyone so the sound get's an 8.

Overall Impression — 9
Right off the bat let me say that this amp is not for your average rock or metal player. Some players are looking for something different and the digital sound of this amp could turn them off of Line 6 HD100. Also, some players are looking for a simpler amp with a straighforward approach. Let me say that this amp is real vesatile and you can literally play anything on it, it has tons of fx, great sounding amp models, a built in gate, tuner... a swiss army knife of amps with it you'll find that your old pedals are great gifts. If it was stolen I would buy 2 because I love it! I'm not saying that this is the best amp out there but I would definitely recommend trying one out... one never knows what you'll find.

Reliability & Durability — 8
Well after the second rehersal with my band no sound was comming out of the speaker cabinet. It turned out to be a small glitch inside the amp and was fixed in one day by the dealer that sold me the head. The dealer said that this was the first one that had an "issue"... the other identical 10 heads that were sold had no problems. Maby I'm 1:11 but still, it was corrected right away and has been working fine after that. (but you still feel kinda bummed because out of the 11 amps that were sold YOUR'S had to have a problem -.-' ) Had no problems with it since, and it's built like a tank - i would suggest to buy a case for it since it is tube powered.

Features — 10
The new Spider Valve MKII HD100 head is full of bells and whistles and is designed for the player that wants a great sounding tube amp with a bunch of built in fx - in short, the swiss army knife of guitar amps! Note: this head has a LOT of features so it's likely that I'll leave something out and for this review I won't be so detailed because there's too much of features and combinations you can do with this amp. I'll write about the basics and what it feel's to use this baby ;) if you want the details go to the Line 6 site and you'll see what I'm talking about :) The amp has 16 amp models going from clean, blues to rock and metal tones. It has gain, treble, mid and bass controls for fine tunning the sound you are using and in no time will you have the sound that's right in your alley. You also have reverb that's lush, a volume for the channel you are using and a master and presence controls that are seperated from the channel being used and they govern the amp's output and definition. From fx you have a gain boost, auto-wah, pitch shifter, chorus, phaser, tremolo delay, tape echo, quick loop, sweep echo, there's about 20 of them. You also have a noise gate and a compressor that can be used together, seperate or not at all. You have 4 independent channels for your desposal and TONS of presets where you can save your 4 channels or use the one's that are offered to you - from blues to metal, like I said - TONS of presets and you can use them, edit them, personolize them, I mean - endless possibilities. You can edit fx and amp mod's and save them via a little forward display to the desired channel, you can also decide if you want to put the fx you are using before or after the amp, yes, this is the fx loop of the amp (no cabels, no battery's, no countless pedals ect.)and it works perfectly with the MKII Shortboard. I found myself going WTF?!? and being totally in awe because ALL the fx pedals that I was using, from Wah's to pitch shifters to noise compressors ect. were all replaced by the HD100 + shortboard...so my million cabels, adapters and what-not are now replaced by 2 cabels...2 cabels...and it works better than anything I've used... The great thing is that you have 4 independent channels and for each od them you can save you presets, for example: on one preset bank I have A clean tone, B rhytam/lead tone, C pitch shifter with delay and reverb and D crunch tone with some chorus on top. Now this is only one preset bank, you have a great deal of them and you can save your sound's as you wish, so you can do one preset bank with only clean tones, the other one with only distorsion sounds ect. Oh yeah, and you have a cromatic tuner. Also you can connect the head to you computer and use the Line 6 program to edit you presets, sounds ect. Here are some inputs on the amp: 1/4" guitar input; XLR out; RJ-45 FBV foot controller input; MIDI in/out; 1/4" pre amp input; 1/4" power amp output; XLR output; 1/4" speaker outputs. You can connect it to 4, 8 and 16 ohm amp boxes. (and you have 2 outputs for each one of them series of parallel) Like I said, tons of features that are great and that deserves a 10 in my book. For the detailed specs go to the Line 6 site cause I've let something out for sure ;)

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    I know you said you'll leave some things out, but you left a lot of things out, no matter still a good enough review for me. Still have to buy that goddamned footswitch seperately wich without it the amp is complertely useles, as far as "digital" sound goes maybe that's is the sound of tommorow. In my experience I think it's better to buy a rack mounted power amplifier and a good quality rack multi-fx processor and i'm sure line6 can't compete with that