PRICE: Preorder $109, RRP $149
TYPE: Digital modeling mini amp with internal rechargeable battery and Bluetooth
OUTPUT: 5 watts
SPEAKERS: 1x 4.5cm speaker with passive radiator
EFFECTS: 33 Amp Models, 48 Effects
WEIGHT: 0.36 kg
Pre-order at Positive Grid
When Positive Grid contacted us about getting a first look at their latest amp offering, we couldn’t wait to get hands-on with it. Taking all the features of their ever-popular range of amplifiers, Positive Grid Spark GO sees the company move into mini amp territory, packing an unbelievable amount of functionality into an absolutely tiny, take-anywhere enclosure.
Despite the small size, it doesn’t skimp on any features, sharing the exact same amount of hardware presets, practice tools, and Bluetooth connectivity as its bigger sibling the Spark Mini. Using the accompanying Spark app, you can customize your sounds, play along to backing tracks, and learn your favorite song all with an amp that’s no bigger than your average smartphone or digital camera.
We were given a pre-production version of the Spark GO by PG, which has a few differences from the final model that will be available to customers. Of course, we’ll update our review once we receive a final production model, but the differences are mainly aesthetic, so there’s still plenty we can learn from this first look at how Spark GO performs.
Positive Grid Spark GO review: Features & looks
Upon unboxing the Spark GO we were shocked at the size and the look. It’s positively tiny, smaller than our audio interface, and looks more like a digital camera than a guitar amp. It shares the same black and gold aesthetic as its predecessors, matching perfectly with the Spark Mini that already sits on our desktop, with that splash of red on the carrying handle and the PG logo on the front grille.
The buttons will be familiar to anyone who’s used the Mini as well. There’s a gold button that cycles through the four hardware presets, with more available via the accompanying app. Separate volume controls determine the level for any music you play through it via Bluetooth whilst a large, gold rotary control with the guitar input on the inset lets you increase or decrease the volume of your guitar. It rotates infinitely, so there's no way of knowing what volume it's on when you come back to it.
Placing it on top of our Spark Mini that sits on our desk, the pair look like a head and cabinet combo with their matched styling, and it reaffirms just how tiny this amp is. Loads of companies proclaim that their products are ‘pocket-sized’ but the Spark GO will actually fit in your pocket – provided you’re not wearing skinny jeans that is. Our smartphone is larger in terms of height and width, it’s just the depth that makes the Spark GO bigger feeling overall, but it’s easily the smallest amplifier we’ve ever held in our hands.
It feels fairly hefty despite weighing just 0.36kg, and it’s got a nice solidity about it – like it’ll put up with being dropped accidentally when you’re out and about. The textured rubber of the case grips onto any surfaces you place it upon in lieu of traditional amp feet, whilst a small carry handle attaches via a gold button on the side for easy transportation. The final version will have an additional black grille for the front, but our pre-production version only has the traditional gold grille.
Positive Grid Spark GO review: Performance
After charging our Spark GO we plug in our hot-humbucker-equipped Ibanez RG and set out to see what this mini amp is capable of. There’s a slight snag straight away though, the Spark GO doesn’t want to sit upright with an angled guitar cable plugged in. Our cables are pretty heavy-duty for regular gigging, and the weight drags the amp over so it lies flat. Swapping the ends over we get a better result with the straight head into the GO and proceed to cycle through the hardware presets to see what's what.
The first thing we note is that this thing is loud. Given the size of the Spark GO, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s more a toy than a proper guitar amp, and you’d be totally wrong. Switching through to a high gain setting and cranking the rotary knob, we’re no more than two minutes into some blistering lead work when a noise complaint ensues from our partner working upstairs. There’s even some incredulity when she sees the size of the culprit is smaller than the average paperback.
The sound quality is absolutely brilliant and we’re in awe at both the depth of tone and the volume that emanates from this tiny unit. The presets are every bit as good as those on our Spark Mini and although there’s a slight lack of low-end fullness that’s unavoidable due to the size, it’s easily forgiven in the wake of the GO's punchy clarity. Even at higher volumes, it remains crisp sounding, and although we did manage to overload the guitar presets with a drop-tuned baritone, plugging in our Mustang bass and selecting one of the bass guitar presets delivered an excellent, round bass tone with a depth that belied such a tiny speaker.
The selection of presets is really usable, offering a fantastic starting point for your own sonic sculpting with everything from spacey ambiance right through to tight high gain covered. Some of the effects are absolutely phenomenal, and we spent far too long playing with the realistic oscillations of the multi-head tape delay. The sound quality is staggering considering its tiny form factor, and there are loads of emulated gear to pick from when creating your own presets. If you're looking for a specific tone from your favorite song you can search the user-curated ToneCloud library to find everything from EVH to SRV tones.
The Spark GO has got all the same great practice tools as the larger Spark and Spark Mini via the accompanying app. You can jam along with an ever-morphing backing track courtesy of the Smart Jam feature that responds to your playing dynamics, or connect to your Spotify or Apple Music and have the Spark GO automatically generate chords for all your favorite tunes. Add in a whole bunch of backing tracks in various keys and tabbed songs and you have all the practice features you’ll ever need.
With its insane volume level and excellent portability, Spark GO is also the perfect Bluetooth speaker. Whether you fancy taking it into the great outdoors to enjoy some tunes, or just cranking it when you’ve got some friends over, it’s a phenomenal-sounding speaker in spite of all its other features. We blasted everything from our favorite bass-testing track in Lil Wayne’s ‘A Milli’ right through to more esoteric offerings from Radiohead’s ‘Kid A’ and the Spark GO far exceeded our expectations for something so small, offering a punchy tone as well as an excellent depth of sound in more complex mixes.
Positive Grid Spark GO review: Verdict
We can’t think of a better way to practice on the go or at home than this fantastic mini amplifier. It won’t take up loads of space whilst simultaneously filling the room with its impressive volume and satisfying any guitar player with a high-fidelity sound. For guitarists just getting started, or those looking for a small practice amp, Positive Grid’s Spark GO is a fantastic option.
Last chance to get your Positive Grid Spark GO at the special pre-order price.
Positive Grid Spark GO review: Specifications
- PRICE: Preorder $109, RRP $149
- TYPE: Digital modeling mini amp with internal rechargeable battery for guitar, bass, and acoustic with BIAS Tone Engine, and app integration
- OUTPUT: 5 watts
- SPEAKERS: 1x 4.5cm speaker with passive radiator
- CONTROLS: Preset, music volume, power on/off
- ONBOARD EFFECTS: 33 Amp Models (additional available to purchase via Jimi Hendrix add-on), 48 Effects
- SOCKETS: 1/4” guitar input, 1/8” headphone out, Bluetooth audio, USB-C connectivity for recording
- WEIGHT: 0.36 kg
- PRE-ORDER AT: Positive Grid