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#873763 - 06/25/09 06:34 PM Line 6 Spider Valve 2x12 (Strymon Modified)
Celebrity1 Offline
Planeteer


Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 224
Loc: Chicago, IL
OK, I bit the bullet and went for it. Being a Line 6 user for a while now, I really like the versatility and built in effects.

So, I stumbled across the Spider Valve 2x12 with the Line 6 shortboard on EBay for $700.00, shipping included in the price. So my thinking “Buy it for $700.00, if I hate it, I can always sell the amp for $700.00 and the floorboard for $200.00.”

The Tones:

Plugged it in, and it is a little thin sounding. Mess around with the tones a bit, thin sounding. So needless to say, getting a little disappointed.

But I did notice that all the preset main volumes are cranked, and if the master volume is anywhere above 2 ~ 3, your peeling the paint off the walls (definitely a loud 40 watter). So I dial back the main channel volume, crank the master to get the power tubes working a bit more and there it is…… finally some tone. Does it take away the “digital-ness” completely no, but it is a huge improvement once that master volume is between 50% ~ 75%.

The tones overall are really good, and very useable. Me being a Marshall fan found out that the Marshall-esque pre-sets are good, but not quite what I was looking for. The tone I found that reminds me of that JCM800 tone is the Insane Blue channel with the gain dialed back to about 20% ~ 25%.

The effects

While definitely usable, and very versatile for what they are, they are lacking in the fact that they cannot be tweaked. The only effect that is almost to the point of annoying is the Flange. Not that the setting is bad, or there is something wrong with the sweep or tone, it is just entirely too loud. It almost completely drowns out the guitar. But all the other effects I have been pleased with and did find settings that were good for me.

The Mod: www.Strymon.net

This amp went from good to great with an aftermarket modification I found on the Line 6 forums that costs $150.00: The Strymon SVPre!

What this does is that it replaces the stock solid state pre-amp with a 12AX7 based tube circuit. What a huge difference! It has four modes: Stock, Yellow, Orange, and Red “Push” settings that really make this amp come to life. Feels and sounds like a tube amp should. The mod is internal, and unfortunately in order to change the push settings you would have to break open the amp to change them. But, I found a way to run toggle switches to the back of the amp for the switching, and now it is a perfect mod! What a difference this mod make to the amp. Like I said, the amp went from good to great. Really just improving the overall tone and dynamics completely. I cannot speak highly enough about it. Extremely easy to install (but do not attempt if you are unfamiliar with circuitry and voltages), just a little time and some solder.

Summary:

Stock and out of the box: Good sounds, good effects, with the major downside being that the Flange is way too loud. Overall, and extremely usable amp with more than decent tones.

Strymon Modified: Great sounds, the amp models really come to life (I prefer the Orange Push Setting myself), and even the effects sound more spacious and lush. Modified, I would recomend this to anyone, even a purist tube snob (sorry, if your reading this). For the price of the amp and the mod, you really cannot get a better deal or tone unless you want to drag out all your high end gear all the time. That is, if we could all afford the really nice high end gear.

Unfortunately, flange is still way too loud…..
_________________________
Ryan

Facebook.com/EverydayCelebrity

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#922214 - 11/19/09 03:38 PM Re: Line 6 Spider Valve 2x12 (Strymon Modified) [Re: Celebrity1]
Disgruntled-Inc Offline
Planeteer


Registered: 06/26/07
Posts: 411
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
I have been a fan of Line 6 for some time too, and honestly my feelings were a little mixed about this amp. Overall, it sounds awesome but the built in effects leave me wanting a bit.

We (my brother and I) bought it mainly as a studio amp as we use a Line 6 Flextone II HD as our main show rig. We A/B'ed the two with a Les Paul Standard, using similar amp models, running them both through Line 6 4x12 slant cabs and there is a huge sonic difference. I have always thought that the Flextone did a wonderful job modeling a tube amp, but the Spider Valve definately has a thicker and looser tone to it when compaired to its older brother. The Flextone beats out the Spider Valve on the effects side, hands down, but I really love the tone that the Valve has.

Running both rigs at the same time with an A/B Box actually produces an awesome tone and we're going to record rhythym guitar like that for some songs and probably will use the Spider Valve mainly for solos and leads. We also noticed that a Dunlop Crybaby really comes to life throught the Bogner. Maybe the natural tube compression helps, I don't know, but it seemed to have a longer sweep to it then through the solid state Flextone.

As you know, the Spider family is usually Line 6's low cost "entry" level gear and I assume that the Bogner amp got thrown into the Spider family to keep the price point at a reasonable level, but it came at the cost of a stuff we had come to expect from Line 6 like the ability do deep editing via a MIDI interface as you mentioned.

I could also really care less about how many bands they sent a head to so that they could "dial in" their own sounds. That's just wasted memory to me that could have been used for something more important like models and effects. But that's part of the Spider thing...the cover band's ultimate tool. Just dial up the band you're covering and you're set.

So overall, it sounds great. I am disapointed that it's a Spider and would have gladly paid more for it had they built it into one of their more mature (for lack of a better term) product lines. I know you can hook up a POD to the back of it, and that may remedy what I feel are the short comings, but since I don't own a POD and don't want to lay out the cash just to experiement, it is what it is.

Line 6 recently released the MkII version of the Spider Valve and I've been told that the power section is the same, but they added the MIDI connections, 4 more amp models, some more effects stuff, and a looper.

Thanks for pointing out the Strymon Mod, I hadn't heard of that. Once the warranty period runs out I may to give that a go!
_________________________
Thanks,

Wes
www.hyak-ro.com
www.myspace.com/hyakro

Q6700, 4GB RAM, WinXP, Reaper, PreSonus Firestudio 2626/Digimax FS/MSR, M-Audio Tampa, Audiophile 2496, Art Pro VLA II, KRK RP-8/RP-10S, Rode, Audio-Technica, Audix, Shure, Sennheiser, Heil, Yamaha...

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