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MK2 VS MIDI and first impressions
by verbalkint33 on 2010-03-16 00:01:28.9640

Just got my MK2 yesterday and I must be honest, like any new relationship, I have mixed feelings right now.  I really miss the warmth of my MK1 and at the moment feel that this model definitely lacks a bit of character where the MK1 made the cleans feel so warm and the distorted channels had a lot more oomph.  But, I'm not stressing, still have to update to the new firmware and Infusion, so we'll see how that goes.  Also, someone said something about breaking in the speakers?  Will this make the tone better after a while?

I didn't get the shortboard as I'm trying to run a whole midi setup and I'm using the FCB1010.  Must, say, it's been pretty easy to get certain functions mapped to the pedal.  One major concern for me though is the lag between pressing a MIDI footswitch and my amp models changing.  Even when switching directly between settings on the amp there is a definite little gap as the models switch over, which makes it almost impossible for me to do precision switching between clean/overdirve or from one hi-gain model to the next.  Does anyone have a solution for this, is this something Line 6 is looking at?  We also have an MK1 at our rehearsal room and I tested it last night.  The switchover between models is considerably quicker!  Can something be done?

Also, I cannot find any reference in the advanced guide to the MIDI values for switching the looper on and off and using it.  Is this not MIDI programmable?  I really don't want to end up having to buy the FBV just for something like this.  Another question that might be a total noob question, but the MIDI chart refers to "stomp".  What is this?

Cool, thanks to everyone for their help on this forum so far.


Re: MK2 VS MIDI and first impressions
by metalhd77 on 2010-03-16 05:23:35.7430

deleted by user

Re: MK2 VS MIDI and first impressions
by verbalkint33 on 2010-03-17 01:57:18.1560


I might try the tubes thing yeah.  I also contacted Strymon and they are working on a svpre for this model.  I'm pretty disappointed at the moment, really not getting the same feel from this amp compared to my MK1.  Gonna request that they give us the option of installing the MK1 amp models on the MK2.  Why not?


Re: MK2 VS MIDI and first impressions
by Nick_Mattocks on 2010-03-17 10:01:19.6990


Which SV MkII did you get?

I can't help you much with the specific questions you have about MIDI I'm afraid - yet

The lag in changing presets that you're noticing when doing this via MIDI is probably inherent within either the SV or your MIDI controller, so you *may* need to live with it.  If your controller works well with other MIDI devices, it may be due to the responsiveness of the amp.  I have got a fairly rudimentry MIDI foot controller in the form of a BOSS FC-50.  I haven't tried this with my SV MkII yet as I have the Shortboard MkII.

I would assume that the switching on/off of the looper by MIDI control is possible, but don't know for sure, so at the moment at least I can't help you with that

I've also read your newer thread requesting that Line 6 release the old SV MkI presets for the SV MkII.  Good call.  It would be very good.  If you had kept your SV MkI (and I undertsand why you didn't) you could probably have A/B'd the two and used Compare Mode on the MkI to see roughly where the controls were positioned.  The SV MkI I believe used one of two reverbs and I think those were either Spring or Plate and which was used where would depend on what was fitted to the amp being modelled - the equivalents to these two in the SV MkII would be Lux Spring or Vintage Plate - that's what I think/believebut I may be wrong.

Whilst they're not based directly on settings from the Spider Valve MkI, but instead the factory presets from the Spider IV, I have accurately copied quite a few song and artist presets from those supplied with the Spider IV using Spider IV Edit to Spider Valve MkII Edit and effectively put them into Spider Valve MkII format.   I've uploaded them to Custom Tone. I have renamed them slightly from their original Spider IV names so that you should still be able to see exactly what they are, but I didn't want them to be at all confused with any potential future official Line 6 releases.   I have uploaded about four original tones too, but these should be considered 'work in progress'.  They are what they are and your mileage may vary.  I do think that some do sound a little brighter on the SV MkII than they do on the Spider IV, but tweaking the overall brightness may be as simple as turning down the Presence control on the SV.   I've just produced a selection so far and these are not necessarily specifically tones that I would use myself in their factory preset form if I use them at all.   I can and may do more if there are any that you specifically want from the SV MkI and that exist in the Spider IV.  You'll need to update to the latest firmware to be able to download tones from Custom Tone.

I have a few amps and some of them are Line 6.  I have a Spider III 150 and a Spider IV 150, a Spider Valve 112 MkI with Strymon SVpre and Celestion G12K-100 and a new Spider Valve 212 MkII which is stock.  I had the urge to buy a new MkII last week and originally went for the 112, but it was faulty (almost certainly bad output tubes) so took it back and swapped it for the 212.

Regarding the warmth of tone, I felt that the original firmware (1.17) installed in the SV 212 MkII was very warm sounding and not a lot different to my SV 112 MkI.  I felt than when I first installed firmware 1.50 (Infusion), that some of the b*alls had gone from the amp - but to be fair I've only used it at fairly low volumes so far and given what Scott Waara has said the new update has been tweaked to perform better at higher volumes and to allow the amp to 'open up'.  I have found it's not too difficult in most cases to dial in a bit more bottom end and drive where necessary to get some or all of that b*lls back.  We are treading on very subjective ground now though, and I'm very aware that everyone hears things slightly differently before even getting into the fact that each and every amp is individual in how it sounds despite supposedly being identical to all the other amps of the same model type in the same series.  I view amps the same way I view Fender Stratocasters - they all look the same, but you can try twenty supposedly identical Fender Strats before you get to one that feels and sound exactly right for you, or if you're Eric Clapton you can buy six and swap all the necks, bodies and electronics around until you have maybe one guitar of six that is the guitar that suits you best - Blackie for example.

OK - going back briefly to the solid state Spider III 150 and Spider IV 150 amps.  Some of the factory presets on the Spider IV have the same names as those on the Spider III.  I A/B'd the two amps side by side when I first got the Spider IV with its original firmware installed because I felt that the Spider IV lacked warmth and felt too spiky compared to my Spider III.  In my comparison exercise it was fairly evident that I wasn't imagining the differences in tone.  The first firmware update though improved the Spider IV's tone and although the factory presets still sounded a bit different, the Spider IV's tone was warmer.

Why am I going on about the Spider series amps?  Well, the DSP section in the Spider III is virtually the same as the DSP section in the Spider Valve MkI, whilst the DSP section in the Spider IV is virtually the same as the DSP section in the Spider Valve MkII.  I don't pretend to know all the specific differences between the two generations of the DSP sections in the Spider III/Spider Valve MkI and Spider IV/Spider Valve MkII, but I do understand that the Spider III/Spider Valve MkI DSP section is based on POD 2.0 technology, whilst the Spider IV/Spider Valve MkII DSP section is based on POD X3 technology and if you have ever compared the sounds of the POD 2.0 against the POD X3 the differences are pretty clear.  I still have a POD 2.0 and still have a soft spot for how it sounds.

Basically, aside from the stock Sovtek 5881 power tubes and 12AX7 inverter/boost tubes, you need to factor in the differences in the DSP sections of the SV MkI and SV MkII.

I installed the SVpre and a Celestion G12K-100 speaker in my SV 112 MkI - not because there was anything wrong with the original stock amp or speaker in my particular amp, but because I like tweaking my sound just like everyone else and like pretty much every other guitarist on the planet, I'm always looking to make my sound better

I never experienced the 'ice-pick' sound with my SV 112's original Vintage 30 speaker, but I don't dispute that some users might have experienced this phenomenon.

I have only ever experienced one major problem with one piece of Line 6 gear I've ever owned, and even though it was only mine for about an hour and a half, that problem was with the Spider Valve 112 MkII and it was definitely tube related (power tube red-plating, crackles, pops, squeaks, really horrible thin nasty sound).  Personally, I don't believe that there is anything wrong with the basic electronics in the SV MkII series amps.  I don't know about the glassware though.  I believe the amps are transported with valves pre biased and installed and I would assume that the quality of the amp's ride from factory to customer will vary quite a bit.  I would imagine too that the factories that make the tubes make them within specified tolerances and that sometimes tubes that make it out of the door may be near acceptable tolerance limits.  I think that all tube manufacturers are capable of producing turkeys - and they probably do, but where some tube manufacturers and end-suppliers gain credibility is in the selection and matching of known good tubes which is only achieved by fairly rigorous testing pre-sale and this all adds to the price.  Of the nineteen different bits of Line 6 gear I own, the reliability and quality of all has been very good so far - my original SV has been gigged and taken a fair bit of stick in the process - but is still on its original tubes - which BTW, appear to be the same as what's fitted in my new SV MkII

The Spider Valve MkII has four FX model banks from which one effect each can be selected at any one time with an amp model: Stomp, Modulation Delay, Reverb.   The Stomp FX bank contains overdrives like Screamer, compressors like Red Comp, Blue Comp and pitch FX like Smart Harmony amongst others.  The approximate contents of the other three FX banks are fairly obvious I think from the names.  You can find a list of all the effects in the SV MkII manual and FX Infusion update documentation

After playing through a new speaker at higher volume levels for approx 30 hours or so, the speaker's cone material will soften slightly and this will equate to the speaker being 'broken in'.  This breaking in will change the character of the speaker's sound - whether you consider that an improvement or not is subjective, but a lot of people do think that a broken in speaker sounds better.   I don't know if this is true or not, but I read somewhere that the late John Entwistle of the Who used to have the speakers in his cabs rotated 90 degrees every couple of gigs or so because he believed that the effects of gravity on the voice coils and the magnets caused a 'sag' in the physical balance of the speaker and he could hear the difference apparently..  Like I said I don't know whether that is true or not, but it certainly sounds like a valid albeit a bit extreme thing to do.

I know that metalhd77 has been suffering a bit with his new SV MkII .amp not delivering the sound he wants/needs which is a shame given this amp he's currently got is his second after his first was faulty, and I know first hand what that's like, but I don't think it's necessarily a widespread issue - although nevertheless unfortunate for him - particularly with this popping he's getting when switching presets.  I would say however that there are undoubtedly slight differences in how the SV MkII sounds when compared to the SV MkI, but that the basic amp models can be tweaked by Line 6 to compensate for this in future firmware updates.


Re: MK2 VS MIDI and first impressions
by mtrash14 on 2010-03-17 14:37:29.9380

nickmattocks wrote:

used Compare Mode on the MkI to see roughly where the controls were positioned.

Hi nick, nice reply, long, but nice.   (just kidding man).

IMO _ _ compare mode would be of little help.  These DSP sections are so different that even the same settings would not give the same tone or feel.  Getting the same tone, if at all possible, should requre different setting all together.

IMO the tube sections are the same,  but even then I can't see how these two amps are going to sound alike.  I'm not saying it isn't possible, but I am saying it would be tough to get, and compare mode should be of little help.

Again, this is only IMO.

See ya later nick.

Good luck guys


Re: MK2 VS MIDI and first impressions
by verbalkint33 on 2010-03-18 00:40:20.7470

Thanks for the epic reply.  Was quite helpful in understanding what's  happening within the DSP of my MK2.  Doesn't seem like Line 6 is  replying on any of my questions, is there another way of contacting  their support directly?  Anyways.  I see another thread has started  asking for more amp models.  I wonder if Line 6 will heed the call.  And  even if they release the MK1 amp models, will they even sound the same  on the MK2?  My band's other guitarist has the MK1, so tonight I'm gonna  see if this whole tone thing is just in my head or what.  But damnit if  I can't get the same feeling from this amp as I used to from playing  the MK1 I'm just going to have to get rid of it.  Maybe I can pick up an  MK1 again somewhere.  But that seems like a step backwards.

The lag issue is definitely not my MIDI.  Even if I switch channels straight on the amp there is a much longer noticable lag on the MK2 to the MK1.  This is almost a dealbreaker on its own.  I play psychedelic progressive metal and I switch between clean/overdrive/insane distrotion all the time.  A lag as noticable as this really compromises my live performance.  I hope Line 6 can iron it out.

So tonight is D-night.  We'll see how it goes.  I play a Fender Squier Tele Custom P2 and it seems that the MK2 doesn't respond as well to it as the MK1 did.  I played an Ibanez Satriani on the MK2 though and the humbuckers really gave it a better tone overall, so maybe the thing to do would be to get a different guitar even, with some humbuckers.  There is a local sale on PRS guitars.  20 000 South African rand.  My girflriend just bought a car for that price.  Sigh.

I'll report back tomorrow on my playtest for tonight.  Now if only I can get Line 6 to answer some questions for me...

Re: MK2 VS MIDI and first impressions
by metalhd77 on 2010-03-18 04:39:56.0180

I am in the same boat as you as far as the amp being buggy and problematic.  The lower you set your patch volumes, the amp will make a very loud audible popping noise when switching patches while holding notes or ringing out chords.  If you have a high volume setting on the patches, then the pop goes away, but then the master volume get super touchy, and the slightest movement can make the amp go from bedroom volume to concert volume.  They should have used a different volume pot that isn't so touchy.  So, I think this amp will go down the road, and I will play my X3 live until I find something else.  Very nice amp otherwise besides the cheap tubes, and vintage 30's.  Just way too unpredictable and I can't be havin' that!

Re: MK2 VS MIDI and first impressions
by Apologist on 2010-03-18 06:36:40.8620

I guess I feel lucky as I haven't experienced the lag issue with my shortboard MKII.

I also Don't notice any pop (except when I was using edit but it turns out its pc noise) ..but then I the lowest I have my channel volume is around %50.

I do believe Line 6 addressed someone's lag issue a a while back by stating it wasn't a "known" issue with their test board so it shouldn't be happening but your dilemma would be like mine ... who want s to keep driving some distance to a store or ordering boards until the one that works arrives

Re: MK2 VS MIDI and first impressions
by Nick_Mattocks on 2010-03-18 07:21:24.3070

Hi M>trash

Yeah - the amps will sound somewhat different you're right, but Compare Mode will probably sort out some settings that put you roughly in the right ball park and then the tweaking starts. 

The Spider IV presets I've copied over however should be a bit closer.


Re: MK2 VS MIDI and first impressions
by mtrash14 on 2010-03-18 13:54:14.1190

Nick, my thinking on this is ----

                                              all the presets, both saved and factory, begin with an amp model then are tweaked from there.  Change the amp models (like in the MK2) then everything else also changes.  Get my point? .  To recreate the MK1 you first must recreate the tone of the amp model which I tend to doubt is possible to do (at least exactly), and in my mind,  isn't practical.

The DSP section in the MK2 is not like the DSP in the old amp.  They are completely different.  The MK2 is an upgrade and its going to have its own tone.  I base this on my opinion that the amp models in the MK1 doesn't sound like other amps, they sound like an SV-Mk1 modeling those other amps.  (hope that makes sense).  So modeling a modeling amp thats doing a piss poor job of modeling another amp   - - - I can't see that as being practical.     (having fun here)

Besides I ask this..... "Why would anyone want to recreate the old MK1...... It's obsolete". 

Why not learn to tweak the new MK2 amp so it too will sound like a modeling amp modeling another amp.  Then it'll be worthy of being in the Mk1's family.    (sorry man but I couldn't resist)

(don't nobody get all tore up, I'm only trying to have some fun here)

Later nick


Re: MK2 VS MIDI and first impressions
by Nick_Mattocks on 2010-03-19 01:27:19.2550

Hi M>T

You old wind up merchant you

Yes I pretty much agree with your way of thinking.  I think it's a bit like 'Who moved my cheese?'.  Users get used to a particular sound, and some find it difficult to move away from that - particularly if it's perceived as a 'good' sound by them and/or their listeners.  Whether that 'good' sound is actually anything like a Mesa Dual Rectifier or whatever in reality is subjective.

I never actually use factory presets raw myself.  I might find an odd one or two that are close to what I want and then I tweak a bit here and there.   When I went from Spider III 150 to Spider IV 150 last September - at first I found the IV a little harsh in comparison, but a later firmware update fixed that, and it's pretty much the same story with the Spider Valve MkII for me.  I've only just had my SV 212 MkII for a week and a half and haven't really had time to do any serious tweaking yet.  Having got both a Spider IV and the SV MkII I was hoping that I could transfer some of my own presets across directly without having to recreate them manually, however that is not currently possible - and even then I was expecting to have to tweak them a little.  In doing that I simply took a little additional time and copied some of the Spider IV presets as they stood from factory settings just to see what they sounded like on the SV MkII and to share them as they are with other SV MkII users whether the presets sound as good, better or worse than they do on the Spider IV.  From my perspective some sound better, some sound a little on the thin side in their raw form.  The only way to tell properly is to crank the amp in a rehearsal or gig scenario.

I'm only having a bit of fun messing with the amp at the moment and just seeing what it can do that the SV MkI couldn't - it's too early to have properly refined a set of around 8 presets that I will use seriously like I did/do on the MkI.  I would like to get close to those sounds or improved versions thereof, i am a little fussy about my sound but I'm not ultra picky.  If it sounds good, then it is good.

As you know the SV MkII is only one of a selection of amps for me and my reasons for getting it were simply portability and editability with the bonus of being able to back up to PC.  Portability is an interesting one - have you felt the weight of a SV 212??? LOL

I thought my Boogie MkIII was the heaviest amp for its size ever made.  I'm now reconsidering that thought....

Why anyone would want to emulate a bad emulation? I don't know, but it's all subjective and the bigger part of any player's sound is in their fingers anyway.


Re: MK2 VS MIDI and first impressions
by verbalkint33 on 2010-03-19 05:29:03.6850

So last night I tested my MK2 against the MK1, with 2 different guitars.  It's sad, cause everytime I plugged into the MK1 I just loved it so much.  Especially the clean channel.  On Clean Amber and Blue on the MK1 I can push the gain to about 75% where it just delivers a really punchy and warm clean tone that distorts if I really strum hard.  On the MK2 I have to stop around 25% before my whole tone starts distorting.  Turning the gain down then leaves me with a very shallow sounding clean tone with hardly any punch to it.  Overall I find that after the firmware update the gain and overall loudness of this amp is just way too crazy.  I know they said they want to make it sounds better at higher volumes, but this is ridiculous.  I finally found 2 settings between Clean and Twang that kinda work for me, but I think that the MK1 also has way better sustain than the MK2.  Metal Blue gave me an OK distortion at louder volumes.

So, it sucks that Line 6 still hasn't aswered a single of my questions.  Really annoyed about that.  I need to know what their plans are with this amp and if they will make it more effective or even release the MK1 amp models as I have requested.  To be honest, if I don't hear from them by next week it's game over for my relationship with Line 6.  I loved my MK1 so much and I never should have sold it is my current conclusion.  If it weren't for my attempt at a midi rig I wouldn't have, but I now find that midi can also be the biggest headache ever.

Aaargh.  Just so lost and frustrated right now.  Might have to sell a kidney and go for a Mesa Boogie.

Re: MK2 VS MIDI and first impressions
by metalhd77 on 2010-03-19 05:58:48.2480

deleted by user

Re: MK2 VS MIDI and first impressions
by Dino334 on 2010-03-19 08:52:28.7890

I feel your pain bro.   I've learned to live with the "popping" noise and have commented several times about this.  With that being said, I've also learned how to dial in one or two patches great using my HD100 and I use the 4CM with my X3L for everything else.  It's kind of a waste when you think about it.  I mean there's so much to use on the HD100 with the different amps and effects...endless sounds and possibilities, but I'm chained to using another processor in the mix and have to rely on that instead.

I love the rock and metal sound I get on the HD100, so I just deal with it.  I think of it like my old 5150's....there was basically a head I used for a clean and rock sound. So I only had 2 basic sounds using that, which is now what I have with the HD100.  Only the Peavey never "popped" when I went from one to the other.  But I know the HD100 has much more to offer and that's what bothers me.

I've tried the "channel volune at 55%" trick to quell the popping...but you are right about the master volume.  Very sensative.  It's a constant juggling game and enough to drive anyone nucking futs after a while.  I'm just patiently waiting to see what Line 6 will do, if anything, about this problem.  In a weird way, I'm glad you are having the same problem.  In most of my past posts, I was always told "we can't recreate the same problem in our lab" or "you must have a bad amp".  Funny thing is, I went to GC before opting to send my head in to a service center and the HD100 & 112 did the same thing at the store, so I figured it's just the way it is with the amps.

I'll continue to use it for now with my trusty DSL as a back-up. Like I said I am getting a killer sound out of it, but I don't know how long I'll continue to accept the fact I paid good $$$ for a half stack that has so much potential. yet is inferior in so many ways.  Maybe until the novelty wears off or a tube finally goes.  If this issue is not fixed by then, I'll grab another 6505 or just get my DSL modded and be finished with Line 6 in the amp department,   At least with Peavey and Marshall, I know what i'm in for.

Re: MK2 VS MIDI and first impressions
by verbalkint33 on 2010-03-22 02:55:01.8860

Now I get a mail from Line 6 that my thread has been closed cause I've been inactive for 48 hours! This is ridiculous.  They "assume" that my question has been answered, when in fact I've sent two PMs to Line 6 moderators and I haven't got a single response apart from you guys helping me out.  I'm over Line 6 right now.

RE: MK2 VS MIDI and first impressions
by AParedes on 2010-03-22 15:25:56.1160


Sorry about the automated message. We are still seeing this question and will definitely respond. To answer your original questions:

1) Gap in channel switching on SV Mk II: I put a SV Mk I and SV Mark II right next to each other and switched between presets within a bank, and I was not able to get any noticible time difference switching presets on the two units. Please remember that more effects active may have a slight effect on the amount of time it takes to load a preset. I will look into this situation further and let you know if there is anything else I can find on this situation.

2) Controlling looper via MIDI: We have no information on if the looper can be controlled via MIDI at this time, but I will look into this as well.

3) Stomp button: This pedal activates "FX 1" on the amplifier, which are the traditional "gain" based and harmony effects on the Mk II

4) Are the Mk I amps going to be released in Mk II: I highly doubt that the original SV MK I amp models will be released on MK II, as the hardware and processing is so different that it would not be compatable.

5) General tone points: We reccomend setting your cleanest tone at 90-95% of the channel volume, then balancing your other tones against this tone. You can use a FKV Volume expression pedal to help lower the overall output of the amp, or you can put the amp on standby and run into a mixer using the XLR if you need silent recording/practicing volume.

Creating and Balancing Tones

Studio Tone vs. Live Tone

Re: RE: MK2 VS MIDI and first impressions
by verbalkint33 on 2010-03-23 06:36:35.9770

Whoohoo, thanks Andy.  Too bad about the patches man.  I really hope Line 6 has some intention of at least releasing more amp models or tweaking existing ones.  I have to be honest, the Insane models sound really bad at the moment.  Anyways.  I've gone and bought the FBV2, so I guess that settles my midi problems.  Will just have to mission ahead with this amp and hope that eventually I will get the tone and feel I loved so much on the MK1.


Re: RE: MK2 VS MIDI and first impressions
by AParedes on 2010-03-23 08:11:45.7550


    Line 6 may indeed release additional amp models and/or change presets (as we have done in the past for previous Line 6 products).  If you have specific requests I recommend you submit your feature requests at the following link:

  Feature requests

Re: MK2 VS MIDI and first impressions
by Squatch1074 on 2012-03-04 20:23:28.0240

I know this is late, but... In the FX 1 bank in the Spider Valve MkII edit software, select Killer Z and use the gain knob there to get the sound you want.

I use Hi Gain blue with the master Drive knob at 0, bass, mid and treble at 100%... Ch volume to 90%

Killer z drive to 30% and gain dialed to 75%.

I had the same problem.  What I found is that the drive knobs distort fuzzy.  So, I found more gain instead!

Hint... Use the gain knobs in the fx1 bank instead of the drive knobs & you will be set.

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