Spark Tones lacking Spark(le)



  • Is it just me? I play a lot of house concert gigs(or at least I used to) at basically acoustic volumes. The Spark sounds are pretty good through the headphones - I love the reverbs and modulations. But the through the speaker sounds at lower volumes completely lack any sparkle. I would say that tones higher than 1200 hz are greatly attenuated. I keep looking for a bright switch on all the amp models. Even when I adjust the models and put the treble on ten, my Strat sounds more like a Les Paul. I really don't think I can use this amp. Are other people experiencing this?



  • @folkunlimited It’s not just you. The Spark has a little too much bass and not enough treble adjustment. I’m hoping that this issue can be fixed in a future firmware update.



  • If it sounds better with headphones, doesn't that suggest the speakers are the issue and not the tones themselves? And if so, couldn't you run out of the headphone jack into something that has better speakers? Are the speakers themselves just not that great for high end? My understanding about guitar amps is that they are typically not designed for higher frequencies, but they shouldn't drop off at 1200 Hz. Maybe they have an issue where they are heavy handed on the high frequency roll off for the sound being sent to the onboard speakers and they are not doing the same roll off for the head phone out jack.



  • Here’s what I’m thinking — running a headphone to RCA cable from the Spark to my A/V receiver which powers my home theater speakers. I know people always say don’t run a guitar signal to a normal speaker or A/V amp but I always thought that was referring to the raw signal. My theory is that if the signal is coming from the headphone jack, then it’s just like any other normal audio signal (e.g., if I hook up my iPhone to the A/V receiver or run the RCA out on my interface to a pair of powered monitors). I’ve sort of done this through my laptop using Bias FX 2 — I project my laptop to my TV (includes audio) and my TV returns the audio to my A/V receiver. It’s laggy as hell due to the connection between the laptop and the TV but it sounds amazing.

    Happy to be told that this is a dumb idea.



  • @folkunlimited Yes, my Strat also sounds more like a Les Paul, but my tastes have changed and like the tones a little better. Recently bought a Haze Jazzmaster and it sounds amazing through the Spark.



  • @ermazur As long as you start with the volume levels at zero and increase them very gradually, there shouldn't be a problem running the headphone out from any source, including a guitar amp, into an A/V setup. It's only a problem if you're not careful originally, or if you use the guitar amp away from the A/V setup and then forget to turn the final output volume down to zero before reattaching to the A/V setup. And listen carefully as you raise the volume on the guitar amp -- the instant the A/V setup begins to distort reduce the volume on the guitar amp's output to where the A/V doesn't distort and then adjust the volume on the A/V setup to the level you want to actually listen.



  • @dhbailey @cbrandst @ermazur
    The problem with running a cable out the headphone jack, or going through USB out to another amp or A/V setup is that I bought the Spark as a live gig solution for house concerts. I need something that is simple to set up and play at lower volumes.

    I have a little Yamaha THR10C that does the job quite well, (but the quality and variety of the effects are state of the art circa 2012.) So I know that it is quite possible to develop small speakers that will sound good if they're given the right signal.

    @Devpau
    Let's hope that BIAS does something about this!



  • Does it start to seem like the Spark is a glorified BlueTooth speaker with fixed fidelity?



  • No sure,but either way The Price is right



  • Worst case scenario is that I flip it for what I paid for it and stick with my Yamaha THR II (or give it to my nephew who is looking to get into guitar). I like the THR II, but was looking to get something that has more options.



  • @folkunlimited I have been playing on the Spark every day since I received it last week and it sounds pretty damn good to me and to others that have heard me play on it (allowed if wearing a face mask and standing 12 feet away, lol).

    I have high end gear and all the AXE FX models (current and past) to use as well and I have been finding that I am now using the Spark for office/studio jamming.

    I did not like the stock presets but I found a specific preset here and there that gave me everything I needed for a rhythm and lead plus pulling down the gain on the rhythm made it a good crunch for me.

    There was dozens of presets for cleans that I found and could use pretty easily so it made it hard to choose just one for preset #1.

    I would hope in the future that they do a firmware update that allows us to have more presets (extra BANKS of presets) and a basic controller for switching between presets.



  • @folkunlimited Also, I did place it on top of a desk with the amp directed towards me and I am not getting any boominess from the bass but I always make sure that I re-adjust the bass and other EQ settings whenever I move the Spark to a new location.



  • @larry-raymond-miller Yep, pretty damn inexpensive. $224 out the door ! I ordered one.
    It's less of a deal if it has problems. I look forward to mine but I'm puzzled by the wide-ranging reviews. The marketing seems to target heavy metal players and I'm not sure why.
    It won Best of NAMM. Modeling amps are a growing trend. We will find out if software and firmware can provide solutions and improvements after purchase. Positive Grid struggles at customer service, let's hope they excell at technology. For a couple hundred bucks there is little reason to lose any sleep over this product.



  • @rexlarsenphoto Agreed! I bought mine knowing it will have some problems. I m hoping firmware updates continue to improve the product! Covid19 knocked the hell out of their supply chain in China and All Carrier are over burdened right now. PG's is in the business of selling product. CS, will improve I m hoping. Time will tell!



  • @larry-raymond-miller said in Spark Tones lacking Spark(le):

    @rexlarsenphoto Agreed! I bought mine knowing it will have some problems. I m hoping firmware updates continue to improve the product! Covid19 knocked the hell out of their supply chain in China and All Carrier are over burdened right now. PG's is in the business of selling product. CS, will improve I m hoping. Time will tell!

    Sorry for asking, but... Does Firmware Upgrade work for you? 'Cause it doesn't for me. The computer "sees" the amp (it appears in the choices for audio preferences), but the firmware update app doesn't. :-(
    Running it on MacBook Pro 16" and OSX Catalina



  • @drbaroni I have not got mine yet. As I understand the ASIO ? drivers need to be installed. in both Windows OS and Apple OS. I have Linux and I m not sure Linux
    In the forum go to for help
    Spark Amp Firmware v1.2.3.37 Beta



  • @larry-raymond-miller said in Spark Tones lacking Spark(le):

    @drbaroni I have not got mine yet. As I understand the aiso ? drivers need to be installed. in both Windows OS and Apple OS. I have Linux and I m not sure Linux
    In the forum go to for help
    Spark Amp Firmware v1.2.3.37 Beta

    Thank you. :-)
    As I understand, it should be ALREADY installed, otherwise it wouldn't be recognized as "Spark USB Audio" in the audio choices. And I don't find any Spark ASIO driver for OSX. Oh, and yes, I'm using Spark Amp Firmware v1.2.3.37... Hmmmm. :-)



  • @dhbailey Just FYI — I tried this with my THR II while I’m waiting for my Spark to get here on Friday and while there was no noticeable latency with the audio signal coming out of the headphone jack into the receiver, it really sounded like garbage. The clean tones weren’t bad, but anything with distortion sounded terrible. I’ll try again when the Spark gets here.



  • @folkunlimited I find it opposite. My Spark's speaker sounds good(albeit too much bass), but headphone out sounds really muddy.



  • @fasthall I've seen a ton of complaints about the Headphone output sounding better but that the first I've seen for the other way around. Might want to contact support on that one.