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Difference between Spider IV and III
by astrosaki on 2009-10-09 23:49:53.7060

What is the difference (soundwise)? is it better?

Re: Difference between Spider IV and III
by Crusty_Old_Rocker on 2009-10-10 00:10:12.5220

Yes you have a better variety of amp models and more effects with much greater control over the effects.



Re: Difference between Spider IV and III
by Rowbi on 2009-10-10 13:53:03.2870

aparently the Spider III tones are based on POD2.0 tones.  the spider IV tones are based on POD X3 tones...

so I'd say the spider IV tones will sound more accurate.  there's also more FX and features, as well as the IV being updatable in the future (if you have an FBV MKII pedal), which is great if there's any bugs found.  with the spider III any big bugs would need a service center visit for the fix.

Re: Difference between Spider IV and III
by Nick_Mattocks on 2009-10-11 10:37:02.1550

I bought a Spider IV 150 about three weeks or so ago.  I already had (and still have) a Spider III 150 which I plan to sell on.   I have done a few basic direct comparisons using some of the factory presets from both amps where the preset names are the same.   Perception of sound quality and authenticity is somewhat subjective anyway, so what I might think sounds better is going to be based on the sounds that I personally prefer.  My Spider IV came with v 1.01 firmware which I've since updated to v 1.04 using the FBV Shortboard Mk II.   Physical differences in the style of cabinet and whether or not the speakers have been exercised at volume for sufficient time to break them in will have a bearing on what I heard from the Spider IV at relatively low volume when I first tried it too.

Both amps use Celestion speakers made for Line 6, but due to differences in the labelling, I can't say whether the speakers in the Spider IV are built to a different spec from those in the Spider III.  However my Spider IV has not been played at loud volumes yet, whereas my Spider III has.  The Spider III 150 cabinet is almost totally open, whereas the Spider IV cabinet is 3/4 (approx) closed with approx 1/4 of the back open, and this will have a bearing on the sound.

I suspect the power amp sections of both amps are very similar, if not totally identical - I haven't cracked either amp open to check and I'm not going to :-)

The Spider III has a set of models and presets based on the POD 2.0 and the Spider IV has its models and presets based on the POD X3, so I would assume from that that the digital signal processing components differ.  The Spider IV has a range of amp models and factory presets that are similar to those found on the Spider III in sound, but there are differences (to my ears at least).  The addition of new FX such as the pitch based FX inc intelligent harmonising have made the biggest difference in terms of what the amp sounds like for me, but the ability to update the amp's firmware from a computer when used with the FBV MkII pedals and who knows what else might be possible in terms of maybe a preset editor - in time - is a real plus (that's wishful thinking on my part and nothing else!).

Factory presets are not necessarily the best way to get the best out of a modelling amp and I would only normally ever use a factory preset as a starting point before tweaking to taste anyway.  Factory presets in my experience tend to be used by manufacturers as a means of demonstrating some of the possibilities available with the amp, but are by no means the only possibilities.  Factory presets are designed by humans and given the differences in DSP between the Spider III and Spider IV, it is likely that a degree of reprogramming has had to be undertaken to match presets on the Spider III with presets of the same name on the Spider IV.  It's also likely IMO that some different people were involved with doing this on the Spider IV than were involved with the development of the Spider III - so although a lot of the modelling process will rely on digital audio analysis, different ears will probably have been in play at the listening stage of the Spider IV's development.

My first impression of the Spider IV with the factory presets was that it sounded generally harsher than the Spider III, but I wasn't sure, so I got my Spider III out side-by-side with my Spider IV and compared some of the factory presets, and to my ears the Spider IV did sound sharper and somewhat more gritty than the Spider III.  I updated the Spider IV's firmware to v 1.04 and I felt that some of the harshness had been removed and the grittiness was less too - that might be imagination, but when compared directly again with the Spider III the sound I was hearing from the Spider IV was much closer to what I have been used to.  Further tweaking of the presets on the Spider IV enabled me to get even closer to the sound of the Spider III.  For me that's what I wanted to be able to do, but whether or not the Spider IV sounds closer to the original amps and FX its models are based on than the Spider III does is a matter of personal preference and opinion.  OK comparing factory presets is not really a true test of the Spider IV, but it did give me a rough idea of the differences in sounds.

The intelligent harmonising features are very good and great to see, but as an owner of the Digitech Harmony Man, I think the HM definitely has the edge, but in terms of cost, the HM represents about 2/3 the price of the Spider IV, so it's to be expected.

As with the Spider III I wish there was a DI output that didn't kill the power amp section, but if I really want that, then it's not going to be that much of an issue for me to undertake a modification, but for now I'm not going to mess with it - and again for the cost of the Spider IV things like that only add to manufacturing and retail costs.  It's not a biggie for me.

I believe that the Spider IV has more potential and tweakability than the Spider III and as Rowbi has already said that the models in the Spider IV are probably more authentic sounding than those of the Spider III, but I've always liked the sounds that my POD 2.0 gives me against those of the POD X3, even though the flexibility of the POD 2.0 is far less than that of the X3.  The intelligent harmoniser and updatability is what sold the Spider IV to me if the truth be told.  Ideal for rehearsals and smaller gigs - not too heavy to carry although a bit heavier than the Spider III - everything to be able to play a full set built in - loud enough for a full rock set - not a huge amount of money either.  If I had the choice of  buying the Spider III or Spider IV from new, despite the fact that the Spider III is reduced in price where it's still available, I would buy the Spider IV because of the additional and enhanced features it offers - plus if and where necessary I can make it sound very close if not identical to the Spider III presets I have created.  Your mileage may vary of course.

Re: Difference between Spider IV and III
by astrosaki on 2009-10-11 11:24:58.4260

Oo wow that's really in depth. Hmm it definitely looks good and I'm really excited about the new features. currently i use a spider 3 120w combo with a pod xt (is the xt based on pod 2.0?) and I use that to gig and practice but I would like to get the spider IV head and cab and just use the shortboard and amp for all my band's songs. (i really liked Line 6 Edit and the ability to customize presets graphically using the computer and i'm hoping they implement that in the future for the amp) but I'm tired of carrying around so much stuff and having to make so many connections before a show. I just wanna plug in and play!

You're right about the presets. some of them are just not fit for playing right away. (except the Killswitch engage ones. I'm really fond of those)

I personally don't hear it but I always see people hating on line 6 gear saying it sounds too digital. Do you hear this digitalness in the spider IV's tones?

Re: Difference between Spider IV and III
by Nick_Mattocks on 2009-10-11 12:59:23.0800

Personally I don't hear any 'digitalness' in the Spider IV - not sure exactly what that means anyway.  It doesn't matter anyhow as if the amp suits your style and you like what you hear, it will sound good.   I don't hear any fizziness apart from perhaps when the noisegate is engaged on very high gain presets.   To me the amp sounds good.  Obviously it is a digitally based amp and once you know that of course it's going to sound digital   For me the Spider IV is not my only amp, but it is very flexible and more portable than some other amps/speakers that I have and will be useful in certain scenarios if not all -it covers a lot of bases and offers a lot of bang for your buck.  Plug in and play is what this amp is about for me.

Re: Difference between Spider IV and III
by jds22 on 2009-10-11 13:55:37.5950

I have a 75 on order, should be here in a few days.

I currently own a PV Vypyr 75, had it for over a year. My plan is to compare them side by side and keep the better sounding one.

This may sound cheesy but what I am really after is an early VH tone at low volumes. I've tried some the the Vypyr VH suggestions but they never seem to come that close. I've heard some pretty good Spider VH tones and that is what prompted me to give one a try.

I'm trying to do this with modelling as my current situation requires low volume playing.

I'll see how it goes.

Re: Difference between Spider IV and III
by Nick_Mattocks on 2009-10-12 10:07:44.1170

Good luck with your quest :-)

Re: Difference between Spider IV and III
by cgtrman on 2009-10-12 10:56:22.7230

I too own the Spider III and the new Spider IV 75. I have owned it long enough to make some comments about the new Spider IV.

After evaluating the new Spider IV at room volumes as well as louder volumes, the thing that jumps out at me is that this amp actually "breathes", something I don't hear with the Spider III. This is true both on clean tones and high gain tones. This makes the amp have some additional warmth and tube-like tone not present in previous Spider amps. If you take the time to understand all that this amp can do, you can dial in great distorted tones as well.

The bang for the buck as compared to the Spider III is amazing. I always felt that the effects sucked on the Spider III and I rarely used anything other than a little delay. This is something Line 6 addressed with the new Spider IV. The flexibility in tone between the two amps (i.e. III vs. IV) is huge. For example, the new amp allows you to specify a pre-amp boost AND a post amp boost. So you can achieve many more clean to slightly overdriven tonesby having this extra flexibility. The pre-amp boost mimicks a clean boost pedal in front of the amp, so if a given model paired with a guitar with lower output pickups yields too clean a tone, you can crank up the pre-amp boost to compensate..

The effects are considerably improved. For starters, you have STEREO outputs on the headphone jack, which if you record direct or go to a mixer is a big plus. Some of the effects sound really good, especially in stereo. You also get twice the effects and as mentioned they don't just sound a little better, they sound a lot better. IMO, the addition of a compressor (can place it or any effect either pre or post preamp) is huge since I used a stomp box with the Spider III all the time.

To me it's great the effects have been improved but if the amp models didn't sound great, then who cares. Well I think the clean tones and slightly overdriven tones are killer! I own an expensiveall tube Fender amp and I am able to dial in some respectable tones close to what the Fender can do. Now is it the equal of the all tube Fender? Of course not, but for $300, this amp is amazing.

My tone preferences range from SRV, Hendrix, Rush to Vai, Satriani, Lynch,and Eric Johnson so I am not simply trying to get a great clean tone. I am basically trying to achieve tones for anything but country.

Bottom line to me is that the differences between the Spider III and IV completely outweigh the cost differences (between a new IV 75 amp for $300 vs a new clearance III 75 amp for $$ less). The new Spider IV is just an amazing amp, especially for the money. And it breathes!!

Re: Difference between Spider IV and III
by jds22 on 2009-10-12 11:15:09.5640

Thanks for the reviews.

I'm a little hazy on using the boost in a POST config. I understand using it PRE but what would be achieved using it post? Is it similar to pushing the power tubes harder?

Re: Difference between Spider IV and III
by cgtrman on 2009-10-12 11:33:20.6240

The post Boost is simply a way to increase the volume for a given amp model. As you know, if you select a high gain/distorted amp model and crank gain and volume, you will typically have more output volume than a clean amp model with the gain at noon. As a result, the post Boost allows you to compensate and increase the volume.

Conversely, the beauty of the pre Boost is that you can hit the input of an amp model harder, resulting in more gain/overdrive/distortion. So if you are using a strat (assuming single coil pickups) and there is not quite enough gain on an amp even with the gain knob maxed, then dial in some pre-amp Boost.

I hope that answers your quesiton.

Re: Difference between Spider IV and III
by jds22 on 2009-10-12 11:39:17.7580

Yes, that answers it perfectly. I should have my 75 by Thursday. With nothing planned for the weekend, I'll have plenty of time to get familiar with it.

Re: Difference between Spider IV and III
by astrosaki on 2009-10-12 12:50:02.9400

The amp breathes. ITS ALIVE!!! lol wow it certainly sounds cool. Lots of customization. what did you think of the hi gain models?

Re: Difference between Spider IV and III
by Erockk2121 on 2011-12-11 21:12:12.2240

Hey guys, I currently own a Spider III 75W and I'm curious as to whether or not I should upgrade to the Spider IV? I've tested it out in Guitar Center and the Wah/Pitch effects alone made me want it but I had just gotten the III before IV came out so I was kind of stuck. Basically I'm asking for advice on whether or not its worth the upgrade, or if maybe they'll be releasing an even newer model soon or not? Thanks for any help guys

Re: Difference between Spider IV and III
by conar2000 on 2012-02-23 14:15:00.1090

Yes! By far! Especially when you get the FX Infusion freeware download. It is a great investment.

Re: Difference between Spider IV and III
by Jimmikatt on 2012-02-24 22:21:18.3180

I practice mostly at home at low volumes, but when i get to the studio i can crank it up,

I have only had it up to maybe 1/2 volume, but when you get louder, the amps tone changes a slight bit,

which may be due to the celestion speaker, also the cabnet design, 3/4 closed back, as more air starts to move the tone will change slightly.

But this will give you more sound choices during recording, you have the line out + the rear and front of the cabnet to mic up if you like.

on my clean setting, playing my Fender Strat single coil, the amp is very clean, almost acoustic sounding vs a loud volume getting a bit more SRV sound by selecting the neck pickup.

The information above may not be current, and you should direct questions to the current forum or review the manual.