What Makes Spider IV 15 and 30 the Best Practice Amps?

By Mike Levine

Guitarists are on a constant quest for great amp tone. One way to try to get it is to crank your tube amp to 10, but, realistically, there just aren't that many situations where that’s practical. If you’re at home, or even in a rehearsal, turning up to full is likely to cause issues with somebody: bandmates, roommates, neighbors or landlords. There is a solution, though: the Line 6 Spider® IV family has the best practice amps on the market. Spider IV amps give you a variety of awesome tones—modeled on some of the most revered amps of all time—that sound great at any volume.

When it comes to practice amps, nothing could be better than the 1x8, 15-watt Spider® IV 15 or the 1x12, 30-watt, Spider® IV 30. Don't just take my word for it, guitarists all over the world are voting with their wallets: Over a million Spider amps have been sold! So why are so many guitarists flocking to these portable powerhouses?

There are numerous reasons, starting with tone. Line 6, which perennially offers the best amp modeling, has outfitted the Spider IV 15 with four advanced amp models including a clean, warm jazz-amp sound; a crunchy tone inspired by* a '68 Marshall® Plexi; a high-gain, harmonic-rich sound that emulates a Mesa/Boogie® Dual Rectifier®; and a super-distorted, head-slamming shredding tone based on a Dual Rectifier® set to the red channel.

Spider IV 30 supplements those four models with eight additional ones, for a total of 12, providing tones for a wide range of musical styles from jazz to country to heavy metal, including emulations based on* a range of classic Fender® amps, a Hiwatt® Custom 100, and several additional teeth-rattling, high-gain amps.

Because these are digital modeling amplifiers, you can get the same superb tone whether the amp is on 1 or 10, which makes both the Spider IV 15 and Spider IV 30 perfect for rehearsing and practicing. Both also offer a 1/4-inch headphone output, which allows you to rock the house at 3AM, without disturbing a soul. The output also doubles as a direct out for recording. What’s more, you can plug in your CD or MP3 player through a dedicated 1/8-inch stereo input, letting you jam along with your favorite music.

But there are plenty of other reasons why the Spider IV family is considered the best modeling guitar amp line on the market. Spider IV 15 and 30 give you a 3-band EQ, a dedicated Drive knob and four switchable channels. You also get impressive selections of Line 6 Smart FX effects models including reverb, tape echo, chorus, tremolo and more. Tempo-based effects can be synced to the song using the tap tempo feature. You even get an invaluable built-in tuner. Purchase an optional Line 6 foot controller (the FBV2™ and FBV Express™ MkII), and you can switch on and off effects and amp models without taking your hands off your guitar strings.

As an additional bonus, Spider owners also get access to Spider Online, a free, web-based repository of lessons, artist-created amp tones and backing tracks.

With all those great features, perhaps the most important reason that Spider IV 15 and 30 has become the best practice amplifier on the market is value. You get all of this great tone and all these useful and handy features for a surprisingly affordable price.

Mike Levine is a NYC-based guitarist, composer and music journalist.

*All product names used in this webpage are trademarks of their respective owners, which are in no way associated or affiliated with Line 6. These trademarks of other manufacturers are used solely to identify the products of those manufacturers whose tones and sounds were studied during Line 6’s sound model development.