Love them or hate them, Line 6 made the first strides towards breaking digital ground in the effects world. Stompbox modelers like the DL4 opened up worlds of opportunities for guitarists across the spectrum and brought the limitlessness of DAW bound plug-in capabilities out of the box, arguably for the first time. Other companies swiftly followed suit and the modeling amplifier age came to pass. As we all know, this is one of the most spirited arguments at the tonal round table, but there is no denying the leaps and bounds that either side has made in the years since this fledgling idea took flight. Today the race to sound as real as possible is as hotly contested as ever and Line 6 take it to the stage with the Spider V 240HC and its partner in crime, the V412 cabinet.
There are two concepts that are unflinchingly important when marrying cab and head. 1) The quality and quantity of the speakers and 2) whether or not it’ll survive falling down venue stairs. The benchmark for cab design was set very early on by Marshall with their 4x12”, slanted boxes and Line 6 takes those two key points and build a brick shithouse out of them in the V412. Not only is it sturdy enough to stand on, it also manages to maintain a calm, articulate and adaptable sense of purpose. Given that it is designed to voice one of the most chameleonic amps on the market, the Celestion speakers inside have to stand attentively at the right hand of their leader, ready to change characteristic on a dime. And they do so with the greatest of ease.
The Spider series is Line 6’s attempt at building the everyman’s amp. Stocked high with every amp model in their library, from the tiniest blues combo to the heftiest triple rectifier, you the player are able to flick through as comprehensive a sonic catalogue as has ever been put together. Imitation is, after all the sincerest form of flattery. The thing that sets the Line 6 oeuvre apart from its competition is that there is a hint of a sound almost unique to the company’s builds. Whether its because of the type of amps they choose to include, which for the most part lean towards stadium sized, high gain models, or simply the order in which they appear in the preset bay, every time I plug into one of their models I feel as if I know the menu at a familiar restaurant. You can shy away from it if that’s not what you’re looking for but there is something intrinsic about the characteristics at play that reminds you of the field you’re playing on.
As far as functionality goes, scroll through the backlit menu on the front and dial in as you would with any amp. However, the Spider V240 is more of a play-in-the-live realm than a push for innovation and this is where it shines. 240-watts of power is ready to steamroll your audience in either mono or stereo. However if you’re one of those insomniacs who needs to shred themselves to sleep there is a cabinet simulator switch that livens up the venue inside your headphones. Stereo XLR direct outs offer as much control to the desk as you have on stage, just plug your favourite Line 6 pedal board in and you’re good to go. Lastly, the choice of USB, firewire or headphone jack aux inputs make playback a breeze. Essentially, if you need it on stage either sound wise or connectivity wise, the Spider V has you covered.
For those of us who are digitally adept, the Spider V 240HC is a simple and effective way to bring your sonic landscape to life on stage. With all the feel of a leviathan tube amp, the subtlety of a vintage combo and the limitless imagination you’ve come to expect from Line 6.
Hits and Misses
Versatile and loaded with stage friendly essentials.
Both units are heavy enough on their own without being paired up.
It has an inescapable digital signal fingerprint.