I’m going to tell you the truth about the Spark Control, the wireless footswitch for the Positive Grid Spark GO, Mini, and 40 guitar amps. Is it worth buying? Does it work as advertised? What’s wrong with it? We’ll answer all of that!
The Spark Control review I posted on YouTube has received a lot of comments thanking me for the thoroughness and honesty of that review. As always, my goal is to be unbiased and I did buy the Spark Control by Positive Grid with my own money.
The regular price of the Spark Control bluetooth footswitch is $109, but it’s often on sale.
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Table of Contents
Why You Should Trust Us
Hey, I’m Karol (like Karl not Carol). I’ve been playing guitar for 20+ years, but I’m still an amateur and learning every day. In my younger years I played in a band, but nowadays it’s for fun. I’m not a guitar snob, and I think everybody should just have fun with it.
Why should you listen to this Spark Control footswitch review? Because I don’t care about selling you anything and I want to help you make an informed choice about this and every other guitar I review. I started Art Of Shred because I was unimpressed with the obviously biased paid for guitar and musical equipment reviews online. I only get paid if you use one of my referral links to buy a guitar. Everything I write here is unbiased. Keep in mind, of course, that these are just my views. I don’t know everything and my opinions are my opinions.
Spark Control by Positive Grid
Spark Control bluetooth footswitch
Made in: China
Wireless bluetooth connection
Allows you to use Spark amps with your feet!
The battery lasts a very long time
It's plastic and feels kinda cheap
The iOS/Android app is REQUIRED
Bluetooth connection is finicky for some users
Spark Control by Positive Grid Video Review
This quick 6 minute video review covers nearly everything you need to know about the Spark Control. I highly suggest watching the Spark Control review and also reading the comments. There have been many!
The Basics of the Spark Control foot controller
A double cutaway budget guitar from Ibanez. What’s not to like?! Well turns out, a few things. But I really don’t want to rag on the guitar too much. After a setup I really liked playing it, but it was one of the worst fret jobs I’ve received on a budget guitar. Honestly, I feel like sharp frets are worse than a little fret buzz from high frets because sharp frets make a guitar quite literally impossible to play without injuring yourself. Anyway …
The Spark Control spec breakdown:
- 4 steel switches (quiet, clickless)
- Wireless bluetooth 5.0 BLE connection (any semi-modern phone is fine)
- weighs 11oz / 310 grams
- 248mm x 70mm x 45mm (9.75″ x 2.75″ x 1.75″)
- Includes a USB charging cable
- Made in China
My first impressions with the Spark Control were: “wow this is small!” and “wow, this is light!”
I don’t know why, but I was expecting something a little more hefty. Not a problem, of course, just my first impressions. Before I tried using it I charged it up with the included USB cable. But note: now I charge it with my Cioks DC7 power supply. Whatever works for you is fine, it’s just easier to plug it into my pedalboard power supply.
OK, we really need to talk about the annoyances with the Spark Control before we move on, because there is a big one. At least for a lot of people. And that’s the way it connects to the Spark amps. A lot of people ask:
Does the Spark Control connect directly to my Spark GO, Mini, or 40 amp?
No, it does not! The Spark Control requires the accompanying iOS or Android app. And you have to keep the app open on your phone or tablet for Spark Control to work.
For you that might be a dealbreaker. For me, it’s an annoyance but it’s not bad enough that I hate the product or anything like that.
Another con, and a common question people have is:
Can I use the Spark Control for live playing?
My answer is no. Due to the necessity of keeping the app open on your phone or tablet I think too much can go wrong with that. If you’re just doing one song or something at an open mic I think that is passable, but for other live situations I think you should pass.
The Spark Amps are practice amps, after all, and they’re made for mostly home use. Yes, Positive Grid has released a big amp cabinet so you can get extra loud and could theoretically play a small-ish club, but I’d still probably pass.
You still with me? OK, good, because there is a lot to like about the Spark Control! I personally use it constantly and I don’t even use all of the features it has (which I explain better in the Spark Control video review).
- Replaces 4 guitar pedals! or …
- Replaces 4 guitar amps
- Can be used to pause, rewind, and slow down YouTube videos for practicing songs
And you can edit a combination of things. Let’s say you want footswitch 1 to be an amp preset, footswitch 2 and 3 to be stompbox presets, and footswitch 4 to pause/play YouTube. Yeah, you can do that! You can setup 4 custom scenarios and there are 4 default scenarios as well.
I don’t use the YouTube practice settings, but I still think it’s a cool feature that a lot of people find useful.
How is the Spark Control setup?
The setup is pretty easy. Turn on your Spark GO, Mini, or 40 amp. Turn on the Spark Control. Open the Spark iOS or Android app (which you should already have if you have a Spark amp). And tap connect.
For me this worked seamlessly, but I know some people have had issues. If it’s not working for you I suggest making sure your amp firmware is up to date and also check that your Spark app is up to date.
What About Spark Control Alternatives Like Xsonic’s Airstep?
Positive Grid isn’t the only game in town when it comes to Spark amp footswitches. The Xsonic Airstep Spark Controller has 5 footswitches, connects directly to the Spark amps without the app, and it’s cheaper than the Spark Control when it’s on sale.
So why wouldn’t you buy the Airstep instead of the Control? Well, the big one for me is that as Positive Grid updates the firmware on their amps they could render 3rd party products unusable. That’s not to say they will do something like that, but they could. And I’m also holding out hope that eventually Positive Grid updates the Control to work without the app. Fingers crossed for that!
I will review the Airstep at some point in the future. Make sure to subscribe to the Riff City email or to the Art of Shred YouTube channel so you don’t miss that.
Spark Control Photo Gallery
Final Thoughts on the Spark Control bluetooth footswitch
If you have any of the Spark amps (GO, Mini, or 40) the Spark Control adds a lot of utility to those amps and I think it’s really useful. If you also don’t mind the app connection then I think it’s a great buy. It’s not perfect, but since it’s from Positive Grid you know it will continue to work with future amp updates.
Overall: 8.0 / 10. Not great for beginners unless you want to learn to fix and mod guitars.
Do you own an Spark Control? Please let me know below what you like and dislike about it.