Spark vs Strymon Iridium for practice device



  • I bought and Iridium a month before I ordered the Spark. I’ve used the Iridium for well over 100 hours of practicing and have less than 4 on the Spark. I practice with headphones only, listening to music or lessons off of an iPad.
    Here are my initial thoughts on a comparison of the two devices.

    Iridium

    Pros
    The tones are amazing. From clean to driven it’s really like having a mix of high quality amps and cabs at your disposal. You just can’t overstate how good it sounds.
    It’s dead quiet.

    Cons
    Limited effects. Only effect is “Room”
    Didn’t have a line in (I used a FIFINE Ultra Low-Noise 4-Channel Line Mixer)
    Headphone only or need some type of amp to play outloud

    Spark

    Pros
    Lots of different sounds
    Built in line in
    Superior connectivity options
    Smart Jam / Auto Cords
    USB audio interface

    Cons
    Hum/Noise through speakers
    Sound mix/balance through speakers (there is just something not pleasing when compared to headphones)

    The Spark really had a chance to be something spectacular but there is just something about the sound quality out of the speakers that is very off putting. I think had Positive Grid focused on quality a little more rather then price we all would have benefited.

    I think overall for a desktop practice amp the Spark is really pretty wonderful especially considering the price. Hopefully some of the sound quality (buzz, hum, balance, eq) can be addressed through software updates.

    Again I am just learning so take this for what it is. Just one guys opinion.

    Jason



  • @jason-clifton Thanks for that comparison. Not having heard about the Iridium before this I'm glad you made me aware of it. Still glad I ordered the Spark but it's good to know there are other options out there!



  • There's no real comparison to be made. One is a cabinet simulator pedal that costs twice as much as the fully functional practice amp.

    Is a dog better than a banana?



  • @k-mcg It varies, depending on how hungry you are...



  • @k-mcg said in Spark vs Strymon Iridium for practice device:

    ..... as the fully functional practice amp.

    I think you might get a lot of argument about that.

    They are both amp simulators just one has an output to line/headphone and one has headphone/speakes. If the Spark would have been reasonably available I might have never bought the Iridium.

    This was just my compare and contrast of two devices I had experience with.

    Jason



  • @jason-clifton

    They are both amp simulators just one has an output to line/headphone and one has headphone/speakes.

    Really? The two are identical apart from outputs? Out over your twice-as-expensive skis there, mate.



  • I have an HX Stomp that I have used for practice for quite a while with headphones. I love it and it has many great features as it should at 3x the Spark price. I find I don't use the Stomp much for practice since getting the Spark. The spark is super simple to get practicing and has better features for practicing which is why I bought it. Not having to mess with cables or headphones to get practicing over a metronome or track is huge. Whatever makes you practice more and better is the best practice amp!



  • FYI I've read here that replacing the OEM power supply that came with the Spark with a grounded PS fixes the noise issues.



  • I also have both, but strangely my experience is about the opposite of yours. I have spent most of my time practicing with the Spark and very little with the Iridium. The Iridium does sound great and I would use it for recording. I have not yet tried much recording with the Spark as I just got it, but I will get to that soon. It would be nice if the Spark had a simple way of disabling effects (other than perhaps "Room") so that you could easily record it pre-effects. Naturally, you could disable the effects one-by-one, but I nit-pick. My Spark does not hum. I guess my grounding is good. I suspect it will record quite well. Back to practicing... I don't really like listening through headphones. I like to hear the amp in the room and I like easily being able to add effects. To me, Spark is the closest science has come to getting a real, "big-boy" amp sound at practice volumes that won't damage your hearing, break your lease or drive your dogs out of the room. The Jam functions are also a great feature.