True issues with the Spark



  • I thought that it could be useful, for both we users and for Positive Grid staff, to have a single thread that gathers and lists all the issues the users are experiencing with the Spark Amp/App. And I mean real "issues", meaning things that do NOT work properly, with the phisical amp or the app. Therefore, no delay issues, or communication issues, or tones one is not satisfied with etc. :-)
    I'm talking things that are supposed to be working, or to be working in a certain way, and aren't.
    As an example, there's plenty of people complaining about "grounding issues" (humming, buzzing, shock, etc.). I, for myself, don't have any humming or buzzing from the speakers, but I get a light shock from strings/bridge, which is usually a symptom of grounding problems.
    Other issues: Firmware updater doesn't work, it doesn't "see" the amp. Weird, as the USB works and the Spark shows up in my computer's "Audio" settings. Even in MIDI Studio, the amp is there, but when Felix from PG asked me to remove it from the list it hasn't been possible. So to this moment I can't update the firmware of my amp nor remove it from the list in MIDI Studio.
    Also, but it could be "normal", sometimes the sound goes away from the amp after a period of "non-use", and to get it back I have to move the switch "Acoustic - Bass - Clean...." one click and back.

    What else? Nothing I can think of at the moment.
    What about you? What issues did you experience with your Spark? :-)



  • @drbaroni Received my Spark yesterday, after waiitng nearly 6 months..

    Overall, the unit meets my expectations and represents great value for money. But:

    1. Out of the box, the hum caused by poor grounding in the power supply drove me nuts. Luckily, I had a superior alternative lying around in the form of the 3-pin, grounded power adapter that came with my Zotac mini-pc. Its specs were identical, and the barrel plug fitted neatly. It has transformed my Spark's sound. Guitars that buzzed and hummed when plugged in are now completely quiet, and you don't have to touch the strings to make them so.

    The cheap thing that comes with the amp was the wrong corner to cut. A $17 replacment has made all the difference.

    1. The firmware updater on my Windows 10 pc didn't work until I installed the ASIO DRIVER from the PG web site. After that, I was able to update to the latest version.

    2. Still can't get used to the drop in volume when switching presets or touching any of the controls. When I power on the unit, I get a decent sound level from whatever default settings I have. But switching to another preset, or adjusting the gain control cuts the volume quite noticeably.

    Anyone else experiencing this, and is there a solution, PG?



  • @zahir32 said in True issues with the Spark:

    @drbaroni Received my Spark yesterday, after waiitng nearly 6 months..

    Overall, the unit meets my expectations and represents great value for money. But:

    1. Out of the box, the hum caused by poor grounding in the power supply drove me nuts. Luckily, I had a superior alternative lying around in the form of the 3-pin, grounded power adapter that came with my Zotac mini-pc. Its specs were identical, and the barrel plug fitted neatly. It has transformed my Spark's sound. Guitars that buzzed and hummed when plugged in are now completely quiet, and you don't have to touch the strings to make them so.

    The cheap thing that comes with the amp was the wrong corner to cut. A $17 replacment has made all the difference.

    I have the 3-pins UK plug in my box. The problem is I live in Europe, and the European plug is a TWO pins, not grounded plug. I'm looking around for a grounded German plug cable compatible with the power supply, I remember I had one long ago but I can't find it, it was kinda 30+ years ago when I used to record stuff on a Revox B-77 tape recorder. :-D

    I also tried to update the firmware from another MacBook Pro (same version of Catalina OSX though) and the result was the very same. For a super-brief moment it seemed to have find it and then crashed and produced a "crash report"... I rebooted the computer and the Spark innumerable times, tried all the USB cables I got, nothing. :-(

    I do not have any issue of the kind you point out at point 3. Sounds kinda weird to me. I find many of the tones I find from ToneCloud to have too high a volume, but not all of them, so it is something related with the tones, not the spark. Hmmm.

    I'm not happy with these different issues so many of us are experiencing. They seem so "random". It's not as if there was a "generalised" problem cased by some software/firmware feature that can be corrected with a firmware update. Hmmm.



  • @zahir32 I received my Spark last week after "patiently" waiting for almost 6 months. Unfortunately, I am also experiencing a loud hum that's unbearable. It's very pronounced once plugging in a cable or instrument. It appears to be a grounding issue as the noise is minimized when you touch anything metal on the either the amp or guitar (power switch, usb port, metal cable ends, etc. I submitted a case this morning. I'm so disappointed after such a long wait.



  • @rusty-farrell Yes, those hum levels stemming from the ungrounded power supply are unacceptable. The only fix - and it was a complete one for me - is to use a quality 3-pin replacement such as the power adapter for the Zotac ZBOX Plus or a laptop. Adds to the cost, but it kills the hum.



  • @zahir32 What size is the DC connector needed for the Spark? I ordered a power supply, making sure I matched the voltage rating, minimum current requirement, and polarity, but the plug wouldn't fit in the Spark's jack. It was a 5.5mm x 2.5mm plug. Does anyone know what the actual size is that is needed?



  • I had posted a separate thread but figured id post here.

    My issue is the delay will not turn off. The knob and the software.. it just turns back on when I turn it off. It’s strange and feel like it’s the knob but waiting to here.

    Everything else is great!



  • @funjunkie27 The power supply's specs were posted in this forum earlier on: they are-

    19V
    2,5A or more
    3 Pin Power plug with ground
    The barrel plug into the amp is: outside 5,5mm and inside 2,5mm. If this doesn't fit your amp, you have a different (later?) model
    No pin in the middle of the hole

    Look for a "universal" replacement with the correct voltage/amperage that also comes with multiple barrel tips. One should work with your amp. Something like this:

    https://www.amazon.com/Universal-Power-Adapter-Charger-laptop/dp/B00X3DHZ0O



  • @zahir32 said in True issues with the Spark:

    The barrel plug into the amp is: outside 5,5mm and inside 2,5mm. If this doesn't fit your amp, you have a different (later?) model
    No pin in the middle of the hole

    Thanks for the info. The model that I bought on Amazon stated it was 5.5mm x 2.5mm, but after multiple attempts it plainly wasn't going to fit. I'll take a look at the link.



  • @zahir32 The link you posted is to a 2-wire adapter. Here is a 3 wire (grounded) adapter:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074QLP7WF/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1



  • @michael-0 My bad, i was focused on the multiple tip ends...a three pin is the only way to go.



  • @funjunkie27 As someone has pointed out, the link I posted is to 2-pin adapter. Please avoid that! You want a universal 19v 3-pin adapter, with multiple tips.



  • @zahir32 Yes....I caught that, but I appreciate you flagging it!



  • @funjunkie27 Good luck. I see these on Ebay as well as Amazon. In my case, as I've said, the grounded adapter made all the difference.



  • @zahir32 Thanks again. No problem matching the electrical, but I need to determine the DC barrel size before I can proceed. I'm guessing mine is different from all those who are saying the 5.5mm x 2.5mm works. Seems pretty odd though. I have noticed that even the PG supplied power supply doesn't seat well in the DC jack of the amp. It feels very loose.





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  • Ok, I received a new power supply unit this morning, 3-pins (German plug), grounded. No hum anymore, whatsoever. :-)

    Still unable to update firmware though, AND there's that weird thing of the sound disappearing and I have to turn the knob on the left (the selector "Acoustic - Bass - Clean...") to get it back to normal. Anyone else experiencing this?



  • @drbaroni Have you installed the ASIO driver? Sounds like you may have done but I couldn't update the firmware on mine until that was working.



  • @glen-pywell

    There are no ASIO drivers for MacBook Pro... :-)