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Gear Review: Spark Mini Amp—Big Sound Small Size

When Positive Grid contacted American Songwriter about their new Spark Mini amplifier, I assumed it was just a scaled down version of their popular Spark (which we covered HERE.)

The Spark Mini weighs just 3.3 pounds and measures just 5.76 x 4.84 x 6.49 inches. Controls on top of the amp are simple and straightforward with a ¼” plugin for your guitar, Music control know, Guitar
control button and a Preset button to activate the amp of your choice (custom, solo, lead or rhythm). The rear of the amp’s connectivity includes a 1/8″ line out for headphones/headphones, a 1/8″ aux input, a USB input for charging, a pairing button for Bluetooth (which also activates the tuner) and a power button.

The real fun with the Spark Mini is when you pair it with the Spark app, which then gives you access to 43 different effects and 33 amp models, all on your smartphone. Virtual titles include Pop, Blues, Rock, Metal, Alternative Bass and Acoustic. The fun part is dialing in these effects and amps to your personal taste by turning the virtual knobs and saving your settings. There are also other
virtual packages you can buy, like Jimi Hendrix’s, to expand your virtual arsenal of effects.

When you’re not using the Spark Mini as a guitar or bass amplifier, it can act as a Bluetooth speaker and sound great, thanks to the bottom bass port, 2 custom-designed 2-inch speakers and a passive radiator.

Main characteristics: Spark Mini Amp is a small but powerful amplifier that sounds much louder than the 10 watts it is rated for. Includes a carrying strap and charging cable, plus a downloadable Spark app for your smartphone or tablet. Spark Mini also comes with Presonus Studio One Prime recording software.

Manufacturing quality: It is a solid vinyl-covered enclosure that has a removable grill cloth, just like larger amplifiers. Rubber dampening feet on the bottom reduce noise, and the bass port on the bottom is effective. Only simple controls are mounted on the amp since the actual control and capabilities are generated from the APP.

Sound and Tone: I found the Spark Mini sounded best with acoustic or electric guitars. You can also play bass guitar through it, but I’d be careful with your levels so you don’t overdrive it. As a standalone Bluetooth speaker, it also sounds amazing.

Material: Simple amp cabinet with three control knobs and simple connectivity for guitar, headphones and auxiliary input. You can add the Wireless Programmable Bluetooth Pedal for an extra $109 and control effects, amps, and tracks from the APP with your feet.

Advantages: The most versatile rechargeable amplifier I’ve ever played. Built solid and the APP and foot pedal offer a number of options. The price isn’t excessive either considering what you get.

The inconvenients: You’ll have to spend a little more time in the APP to dial in your virtual effects and amplifiers to your sonic tastes.

Verdict: I didn’t expect to be wowed by Positive Grid’s Spark Mini Amplifier, but the more I played with it, the more I wanted to use it and try out different sounds. For the money, the Spark Mini is the perfect amplifier and Bluetooth speaker for the living room or home when you’re not playing your guitar or bass. If you plan to practice with tracks or record with it, I recommend the extra pedal. The only request I would have for Positive Grid is the addition of a carry bag option to protect it. I prefer the Spark Mini over the full-size version simply because it’s lighter, has a smaller footprint, and still has all the options of the Spark app. Fun and addictive little amplifier.