Having a plethora of tones all accessible at a moment’s notice from your home studio – or even your living room – would be fantastic, right? But piles of amps can become an eyesore, not to mention impractical and expensive. Enter Positive Grid’s Spark Pearl, a new special edition of the brand’s best selling Spark amp, decked out in stylish white tolex. Check out guitarist Emily Hastings introducing Spark Pearl in the video above!
Whether you favour neat-and-tidy minimalism or clutter-core maximalism, Spark Pearl is a classy addition to any recording or practice space, and the compact design means it’s happy on a desk or a coffee table – if you’re looking for an amp that doesn’t look out of place in a living room or your studio, Spark Pearl’s clean white tolex and gold-piping accents go with everything. Looks-wise (and not to mention functionally), it’s as at home amongst a record player as it is amongst a collection of boutique amplifier heads.
But it’s not all about aesthetics. Underneath the fetching new tolex of Spark Pearl is the same powerful amp that’s been inspiring almost 200,000 guitarists to practice, record and create their own exciting tones. Not only is it an elegant-looking, compact little amp, it’s also packed to the brim with exciting smart features, not to mention fantastic tones right out of the box. Whether you’re looking to learn, practice or just have fun with your guitar, you’ll be able to get lost in the huge number of features Spark Pearl offers.
In the above video, Emily Hastings dials in two sounds for her trusty gold-sparkle Les Paul: the first is a crunch tone, with a hint of rhythmic delay applied. The delay doesn’t sound too pristine or digital, and sinks nearly into the mix – accentuating Emily’s swirling, melodic riff, rather than crowding it out.
The second is a clean tone, with a healthy serving on reverb and delay on the side. Thanks to the easy in-depth tone editing, Emily’s able to set the time-based effects to sound much more up-front. The reverb in particular evokes a clean guitar solo being played in a stylish yet empty dive bar at 2 in the morning.
Spark can go much further than these two tones, of course, a process made all the easier by its free accompanying app for iOS and Android. You can use the app as a remote control for the amp’s settings, and quickly drag-and-drop effects into a predetermined signal chain of a noise gate, drive, amplifier, modulation, delay and reverb. The app also connects to ToneCloud, an online library of tens of thousands of user-created sounds.
All this talk of touchscreen interfaces might have you worried, however, a lot of guitarists posit that a tactile connection to gear is a great thing. Luckily, the folks over at Positive Grid seem to agree. Once you’ve selected a tone with the app or the rotary selector on the face of the amp, Spark Pearl bears an extensive and intuitive control panel layout. There are knobs for master volume, output level, gain, the amount of delay, modulation and reverb, backing track level, a tap-tempo button, preset buttons and a three-band EQ.
If you think Spark Pearl will find a great new home in your living room, the amp won’t need to sit neglected when you’re playing guitar. Thanks to Bluetooth connectivity and aux jack, it also functions as a regular speaker. Whether you’re listening to music, playing video games or watching TV – there’s 40 watts of power driving a pair of stereo speakers. You’re definitely not compromising on sound or power!
But if you’re excited to take your amp on the go, Emily also notes that the amp is superbly portable, fitting into a handy shoulder bag. Whether you’re taking it to a rehearsal, a small gig or even just a friend’s house to jam, you can take Spark Pearl’s thousands of tones on the road with ease.
Something else Emily points out is the presence of Smart Jam. No, not internet-connected fruit preserves: Smart Jam allows Spark Pearl and the accompanying app to work together, listening to your playing style and generating bass and drum accompaniments.
The freedom of practicing solo is great, and so is locking in to the rhythm of a pre-recorded backing track. Smart Jam offers the best of both worlds: it’s much closer to playing along with a real band, with all of the interactivity and spontaneity that offers. For some extra flavour, there’s a selection of styles, and voice control means you won’t even have to put your guitar down to get a backing track going.
Making use of this same smart tech is the Auto Chord feature. This allows Spark Pearl to connect to your streaming service of choice, and detect and display the chords of your favourite songs as they happen.
The special edition Spark Pearl is available now for a limited time. So if its great looks and features appeal, be sure to head here to purchase one!