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User Review

Line 6 Spider V 60 MkII: With New Firmware, the Spider V sets a new Standard for Integrated Amps

Value For Money : Excellent Audience: Anyone
SOUND
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.