HI there. I absolutely love the tone I can get out of my Spider Valve MkII 112 combo. I've had it for two years and I keep coming back to the amp. I've owned the MkI 212, and I have tried the DT series - but I still like the feel of the SV MkII best of all.
However, I can't help but be frustrated when it comes to trying to use this in a live setting. When I am at home, I can play with the knobs all day and get very usable tones. And if I leave the amp in Manual mode, I can play the amp as if it were a single-channel amp that's easy to negotiate when playing live.
But I want the preset capabilities to be useful for me!
In a nutshell, here's what I run into:
- Presets sound different in a bedroom setting than they do in a live setting. I totally get that.
- In a live setting, I may need to start tweaking the tone knobs. HOWEVER, I don't know the current position of each tone knob on a preset unless I go into the LCD screen. As I start to tweak things, I tend to get lost and mentally lose my reference point.
- In a live setting, I may also need to re-calibrate the channel volumes for each of the patches (so that patch-to-patch transitions have consistent volume.) But I face the same challenges as I do with the tone knob - PLUS - the Master Volume tends to rattle-and-slide during performances. When that MV position changes on its own, so does the perceived volume deltas between the patches.
- As I make changes, you want the settings to stick around the next time you get to that preset. That forces you to save your preset every time you make a tweak. In my case, I wind up having to re-save presets multiple times in a session. Once again, I kind of lose my reference point. I know I can have a "base" set of presets in one bank, and have my "changed" ones in another, but it requires a whole bunch of button-mashing.
- I think many of us know about the challenges with the MV knob by itself (scratchy at low-volume adjustments, linear-taper makes it hard to dial in something between whisper-quiet and stadium-loud, etc.) - and haven't really heard about any solutions here. At present, I use the Volume pedal in post-position and roll off volume to help dial in some in-between volumes - not ideal at all, but kinda works in a pinch.
Clearly, if the SV MkII's panel was laid out a bit more like a conventional multi-channel amp (DT series included), you can avoid a good chunk of the pain above. But I really enjoy playing through this amp and would hate to swap out my rig just because I struggle with the control layout.
Aside from my complaining here, I'd like to hear what experiences you have had with the amp in live situations (where extensive button-mashing isn't an option when you're trying to reduce/eliminate dead air in-between songs). Am I missing something here? Do you have a better approach to how to tweak things on-the-fly?
Would love to hear your thoughts - thanks!