Positive Grid has announced a downsized version of its highly popular Spark practice amp, the Spark MINI.
When we say “downsized”, we seriously mean it: the amp itself has undergone an extensive streamlining process, and can now literally fit into the palm of your hand. Of course, that means the onboard controls have been removed, meaning the Spark Mini features only three knobs: Preset, Guitar and Music.
It’s a stark contrast to the original Positive Grid Spark, which had a three-band EQ, as well as onboard controls for Modulation, Delay and Reverb. These now appear exclusively on the Spark app.
Despite the size, however, the Spark MINI still promises the same level of versatility and power as the larger Spark. Highlights include Auto Chords learning – which analyzes songs and displays chords in real time – and Video Capture, which works with the Spark app to record high-quality video and audio.
Dubbed “the biggest smallest rig ever for electric guitar, acoustic or bass”, the Spark Mini also debuts an all-new feature: Smart Jam Live, which analyzes your playing and generates multiple off-the-cuff bass and drum backing lines, depending on your style.
With the stripped-back hardware, though, you’d be justified in thinking usability would take a slight hit.
However, Guitar World Tech Editor Paul Riario has got hands-on with one of the first Spark MINIs to leave the factory and noted such concerns are unnecessary, observing that “the three knobs totally suffice in getting the job done”.
“If you want more flexibility or tone shaping, you can do it from the app and download settings for one of the onboard presets that you can click through if you use it simply as a hardware amp,” he continued.
“The MINI sounds incredibly detailed for such a small amp – it sounds clichéd, but it is a small wonder.”
As alluded to by Riario, the Spark Mini is compatible with Positive Grid’s Spark app. This pairing grants access to over 10,000 tones – some of which can be obtained and downloaded through the online ToneCloud community – as well as more in-depth EQ controls.
Other notable appointments include Bluetooth connectivity and the EQ Scenarios feature, where custom EQ settings are provided while jamming with background music to ensure optimum sound.
The Spark MINI also comes fully loaded with 33 amp models, 43 effects and onboard presets for Custom, Solo, Lead and Rhythm.
As for the hardware itself, the Spark MINI is available in Classic Black or Luxe Pearl tolex, and houses angled, full-range stereo speakers for multi-directional sound and channel separation, as well as an eight-hour rechargeable battery.
There’s also a downward-facing passive radiator that works to pump out “big sonic power and a tight bass performance never before heard in an amp this size”.
And, just like the flagship Spark, the Spark MINI can also be used as a USB audio interface, compatible with any DAW software or platform.
The Spark MINI is available to preorder in March. To find out more, visit Positive Grid.