In the world of guitar amps, war is raging. The transistor forces from the digital world are fighting the tubes army. Turning itself into a peace dove, Fender tries to put an end to this war by introducing a hybrid concept: the Super Champ X2. This new amp made in Mexico combines digital technology with tubes has finally seen the light of day. It's on neutral ground so I can start examining the beast. Hopefully this leads to a peaceful co-existence. read more…
User reviews on Modelling Combo Guitar Amp products
Duoverb - Hidden Gem (Line 6 - Duoverb)
By etm1109, 03/06/2018
I consider myself more of a 70s guitar player in the sense I play a lot of styles like Rush, Led Zeppelin, Steely Dan, etc. So my comments about this product may not be as pertinent to people playing heavier music.
I know this is an amplifier most people will love or hate. I wanted to approach a few features about this amp that I really like. Because the amplifier supports two amps at the same time, I have found a unique feature of the amp if you have a Line 6 pedal is the ability to switch between the two amps on the pedalboard itself. That means you can program each slot with two amps and flip between them. This really doubles the stored combinations of amps and allows you to toggle between a cleaner tone and a heavier tone for louder passages or leads.
The other interesting thing I like is the output features. By plugging in a headphone, this turns off the speaker. With the XLR Balanced outputs, I can record directly to a console DAW and that is a nice touch.
Regarding the sounds. Like a lot of people, I play a lot of styles and this is where this amp shines. Having the ability to get a nice early 60s Beatles tone or a heavy tone is great. I've played tube amps and owned them over the years and I also own a Peavey Classic 50 4/10. I really have compared the tonal quality of the Duoverb and the Peavey and I find the Duoverb holds it's own with the Classic 50 though I would agree there are some tones the Peavey seems to nail a little better at louder volumes. Being the Peavey has 4-10s and I use a lot of hollow/semi-hollow body guitars, I believe the cabinet and tube is responsible for that.
Overall, for $200 this is a great amp even for beginners and has some interesting features that shouldn't be overlooked. If it broke or were stolen, I'd get another one. If I win the lottery, I'd probably buy a couple of backups. I also own the Flex III which is nice, but having the ability to mix two amps does present a lot of interesting tones one doesn't usually find in an amplifier.
Small Katana amp offers offers great value for money. (Boss - Katana-50)
By Sylvain.Powerchords, 14/08/2018
I first bought this Katana 50, then a few days after I returned it to get the Katana 100 instead as I had regrets. I’ve used the Katana 100 as my regular working amp for 6 months now, and I’ll also mention that I own two other amps besides it: a Fender Deluxe Reverb and a small Yamaha THR 10.
Let’s now get back to this Katana 50 which I’ve had the opportunity to use for a few days.
The amp seemed to me very easy to use. If you like old-school amps, this one will ring a bell. No Bluetooth, screen or complex settings, it follows the same philosophy as the Roland Cube series: very easy to use.
It features 5 sounds based on the GT1/GT100 technology. Some geek geniuses have found the way to unlock the sounds of the GT1 / GT100’s 28 amps on the katanas. Lol! In short, forget about Boss's marketing chat about Tube Logic or Wazza technology. Boss has made us a good series of unexpensive amps with the good old GT100 chip inside.
It features 5 sounds: clean, crunch, lead, brown and acoustic, each of them based on a sound from the Boss GT100 pedalboard.
Don’t hesitate to tweak your guitar’s knob to modify the grain – the amp reacts to such variations.
The clean sounds very well and works for every style. It’s based on that featured on Roland’s jazz chorus 120.
The crunch sounds is a tad fatwhen the gain is pushed, and you soon get into lead territory. Again, don’t hesitate to use the guitar’s knob to get convincing crunch sounds, even with the gain setting at ¼. If I remember correctly, the crunch sound is based on a Fender Tweed.
The Lead is modelled after a EVH 5150. I really love it! It sounds very fat, too.
I’m not too much into Brown sounds, but at least there’s something for every taste. IIRC, it’s modelled on a Soldano amp.
As for the acoustic model, well… it’s almoist full-range to plug an electric acoustic guitar in. The sounds is very convincing using my own electric acoustic, but not only it.
This channel is very transparent, so I also use it with my electric guitar to allow my distortion, overdrive and preamp pedals to come out more transparently, as they would if plugged straight on a PA or poweramp. This feature is all the more interesting on thes Katana 50 that the amp doesn’t feature an effect loop.
The included effects are great. There’s really all kinds of effects and for once I found the result better sounding than on other amps in the same price range. Again, I believe they are the same that can be found on the GT 100 & GT 1 pedalboards as the processor seems the same.
The Katana 50 provides enough volume but lacks a little projection and low end. So, for stage or rehearsal use I can only recommend the upper model – the 100W version which is more suited for such uses. Or perhaps even the 2x12 cab and amp head.
The difference between the different Katana model scan be heard clearly here:
The included power control switch could seem a little useless on a 50W solid state amp, yet it appears practical for home use. Please note that the 0.5W setting already rocks – well enough for playing at home or in an apartment.
Its cons according to me:
- No presence setting. It would have helped to tame this 50W version’s sparkling aspect. If I remember correctly, the presence can be set using the Tone Studio software, but not directly on the amp.
- Limited connectors: no effect loop, no line out, only one pedalboard out. This is the series’ entry level model, and the connectors reflect that.
- The speaker’s quality : the sound is too shrilly to my taste, and the amp lacks projection with clean sounds. However, playing at moderate levels reveals no such big problem, while the highs quickly pierce your ears when the volume is pushed – more than with the 100 version.
- No tuner: too bad on an amp that can be considered as a working tool.
- Its look and name: yeah, I know, it’s all about taste but I love them.
- Its price: not much to be reproached considering the price
- Its size and power, which make it the most suited amp to be used professionally in that series
- The possibility to plug an electric acoustic guitar in: a great, alas rare feature! Plus, this channel’s transparency when used with external preamps.
- The amp’s sensibility and reactivity to the guitar’s setting for a solid state/modelling amp
- The included effects, which are very good as a whole.
- The power control switch
- The MP3 in & headphone out
- The possibility to unlock more amp sounds & effects by tweaking it. Google “katana sneaky amps” for more details – in a nutshell, you can unlock almost all of the Boss GT100/GT1’s amps and effects, for a total 28 or 30 amps and many effects.
Considering its price, it’s a really surprising “small” amp!
With New Firmware, the Spider V sets a new Standard for Integrated Amps (Line 6 - Spider V 60 MkII)
By MGR/Brian Johnston, 30/08/2019
The Spider V MkII is the latest in the Spider line of amps and with a big difference. First, you can select a more produced sound for any of the presets, which is how the original Spider V sounded, but you also can select the Classic mode, which is more of a raw amp tone that emanates from its 10-inch loudspeaker (and without the tweeter).
The Produced sound is ideal when running the Spider direct to DAW, for example, but also when using an acoustic guitar (since this mode uses both the loudspeaker and the tweeter for a more rounded and accurate tone). There are different presets for an acoustic guitar, but suffice to say (as you hear in the demo) an acoustic sounds great coming through this amp. The Classic mode has you playing through the Spider V as you would any other amp/cabinet, which sounds more traditional – and this feature is really turning heads with Spider users.
There are various presets on the Spider, any of which you can edit and save, ranging from super clean to crunch to hi-gain. I was impressed with both crunch and hi-gain as they sound punchy, heavy and thick to varying degrees, but many of the clean sounds (particularly the artist presets) are mesmerizing. And that is the other improved feature with the MkII, in that there are a lot of great sounding artist presets from the likes of Devin Townsend, Ola Englund, etc., but also classic songs that emulate compositions from Led Zeppelin, Metallica, The Beatles and everything between. Although the Spider V MkII is a solid state amplifier, it does have a host of very usable sounds that sit well with both home recording and live gig playing. And when you consider how many different effects accompany all the different amps and cabinets with this amp, you get just about any perceivable sound possible.
FEATURES & SOUND There are two new features with the Spider V MkII. The first is a new Classic Speaker mode that produces a more organic sound and feel, just like a regular amp. What I mean is, if you were to plug into a typical amp/cab combo you get that true-to-life amp sound and that’s just what this amp offers. Conversely, you can select a ‘produced’ sound, which is ideal when running the Spider direct to DAW, for example, but also when using an acoustic guitar (since this mode uses both the loudspeaker and the tweeter for a more rounded and accurate tone). There are different presets for an acoustic guitar, but suffice to say (as you hear in the demo) an acoustic sounds great coming through this amp.
The other new feature with the MkII is the Artist, Iconic Song and Classic Amp presets. At your fingertips are straight-forward clean, crunch and lead tones (that you can customize), but also several Iconic Song presets, like Whole Lotta Love and Enter Sandman, as well as artist presets from the likes of Jeff Loomis, Bill Kelliher, Vernon Reid and others.
Those two features not only are new with the MkII (previous Spider V owners can download the new MkII firmware for free!), and definite game changers, but there also several great features built into this amp. These include being wireless ready (with a Line 6 G10 transmitter), a built-in metronome, drum tracks and a preset sampler function (pick a preset and hear it in different genres, such as Blues or Classic Rock). There are 78 amps and 24 cabs that range among Clean, American, British and Hi-Gain (from classic Fenders and Marshalls to Diezel and Friedman). And there are several stomp boxes in the categories of drive/distortion (10), delay (14), reverb (13), modulation (24), wahs (8), filters/synths (15), dynamics (8, including compressor) and EQ (1). And you do get a free license to Cubase LE for recording and mixing purposes, but I recorded my tracks in Cakewalk Sonar X3 with the Classic mode via a Shure SM57 mic… and with very decent results.
The various presets on the Spider can be edited and saved, and they range from super clean to crunch to hi-gain. I was impressed with both crunch and hi-gain as they sound punchy, heavy and thick to varying degrees, but many of the clean sounds (particularly the artist presets) are mesmerizing. Although the Spider V MkII is a solid state amplifier, it does have a host of very usable sounds that sit well with both home recording and live gig playing. And when you consider how many different effects accompany all the different amps and cabinets with this amp, you get just about any perceivable sound possible.
All elements can be tweaked via USB and the free downloadable Spider software, but also with the hard controls on the front of the Spider V. The Amp and FX buttons switch between the two, so that in Amp mode you can adjust the EQ, volume and drive of the amp, whereas in FX mode you adjust the compressor, amount of fuzz, depth of reverb, tempo of delay, etc. (each color coded, e.g., blue LED around a knob indicates ‘delay’). Speaking of tempo, you can adjust this manually if desired by tapping the Tempo button, or if hold down the button you access the Tuner. This amp also includes a 60-second Looper, a headphones jack and an AUX input to jam to your favorite music.
Some optional add-ons (not included with the amp) include an Expression Pedal, ideal when using the internal wahs, filters, etc., a foot controller, and a USB cable (to connect to a computer for editing, recording and firmware updating).
OVERALL IMPRESSION Designed to be a one-stop type amp for practice and recording, particularly for the budget-minded individual, the Spider V MkII offers and exceeds anything a person could want in an all-inclusive package. From small practice to higher wattage workhorses for gigging musicians, the latest Spider V MkII series’ sound quality, diverseness and total options surpasses anything else on the market in its category. If you’re tired of lugging amp heads, speaker cabinets and a pedalboard, then you may want to look into this amp line. The model being reviewed is the 60-watt version, which is loud enough for small bands (although it depends if your drummer is a fan of John Bonham’s heavy pounding), and certainly complex enough to serve the needs of any home practice, playing and recording musician. With over 200 amps/cabs and effects, 128 presets (including classic to modern sounds, with iconic songs and signature tones), the Spider V MkII offers a lot. But with editing software, easy-to-navigate hardware (via the LED menu), built-in wireless receiver, a 60-second looper, headphone jack, and all the other options combined, the price ($429 Canadian) of the Spider V MkII makes it a serious contender for Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS). There’s also several other features for the modern musician, including being able to sync up with an iPhone, iPad, Android device or computer (for recording or editing), adding an expression pedal or foot controller, receiving free Cubase LE software upon registration, and being able to choose between Classic (traditional speaker sound) and Full-Range (produced sound) modes. The overall engineering of the Spider V, along with its improved MkII sound and features has brought all-inclusive amp packaging to a new level.