The Spark GO hit with a bang when Positive Grid launched this portable battery powered practice amp for beginners. If you were around during that time you were probably inundated with dozens of videos and ads and everything else about it. Why was it so hyped? Does it live up to the hype? Well you’re in the right place, we’re going to answer all of those questions and more.
But I don’t want to leave you hanging: I love this little amp. It might not be for you, though, so let’s find out …
First off, I paid for the Spark GO amp myself with my own money. While I’d be happy if Positive Grid sent me free gear (haha, hint hint!) I ordered this during the pre-order for $109 + tax.
The regular price is only $129, but Positive Grid often has $10 off discounts. The biggest discount I saw was during Black Friday when it was only $99.
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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 GO amp 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 amp 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 something. 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.
Positive Grid Spark GO amp
Positive Grid Spark GO 5 watt practice amp
Weight: 360 grams / ~13 ounces
Made in: China
Lots of features in a tiny package
The price is great
Great first amp
Ideal for traveling
Doubles as a USB audio interface
Can be used as a bluetooth speaker
Requires Android/iOS app to get the full benefits
Tiny speaker is loud and sounds good, but there is only so much you can do with a tiny speaker
Positive Grid Spark GO Video Review
Don’t want to read? This 11 minute video review of the Spark GO on ArtOfShred’s YouTube channel covers most of what you need to know.
The Basics of this Budget Practice Amp
At its core this is simply a tiny guitar amp. But it’s the technology behind it that makes it unique and, I think, worthwhile. Specifically, with the phone app, you can dial in the tones of your favorite guitarists with one of the 33 amp models and 43 effects models. Or you can search through the Positive Grid Tone Cloud for one of the over 10,000 presets people like me have uploaded. (Search Art of Shred and follow my account in the Tone Cloud.)
The spec breakdown:
- 125 x 85 x 45 (millimeters)
- 4.92 x 3.34 x 1.77 (inches)
- 360 grams (~13 ounces) (including the belt loop)
- 2 inch speaker
- 5 watts
- 4 presets (changeable in the Android/iOS app)
- Bluetooth connectivity
- USB-C for charging and for use as a USB audio interface
- 1/8″ headphone out
- Made in China
I’d been using a Positive Grid Spark 40 guitar amp for a couple years before I got the Spark GO, so I was already familiar with the Spark ecosystem. Setting up the GO was a breeze since all I had to do was open the app and connect the new amp. If you’re just getting started this might take you 5-10 minutes, but I promise you using the Spark app is well worth it.
Anyway, I was a little bit hesitant about this small amp because how good could a 2″ speaker really sound? My first ever amp was the tiny Marshall MS-2 Micro Amp (it was all I could afford when I started playing!) and this thing blows that amp completely out of the water. It’s no contest whatsoever. (The MS-2 is still fun, though!)
Before I got into loading my favorite presets I tested out the stock presets that came with the amp. And you know what? All 4 of them were decent. So let’s say you didn’t want to hook up the app and mess with amp & effects models I think you’d still have fun with this amp. Although let me be clear: if that’s your plan you should probably skip it because using the app is what takes this practice & travel amp (what am I supposed to call it?! haha) to the next level.
If you want to nitpick a small guitar amp then you can find a lot of cons. But let me highlight the 2 biggest issues I think most people will find.
- It’s a tiny speaker so it sounds good, but just cannot sound great or push a ton of volume. (It’s still surprisingly loud, though!)
- If you’re app-phobic you’re not going to make use of the best features of the amp so you maybe should pass.
Neither of these things are deal breakers for me. If you’re trying to play live or you live in a big house where you can make big noise or you hate apps then they might be deal breakers for you.
Another “negative” I need to point out: Positive Grid includes a USB C to USB A cable with the Spark GO, but if you’re plugging it into your computer you’re probably going to need a USB C to USB C cable. You know your computer better than I do, of course. My Macbook does not have a USB A input, but I have so many USB C to USB C cables lying around that this wasn’t a real negative for me.
Lots to like about this cheap $129 guitar amp! It is targeted towards beginners (or travelers) but I think nearly anybody would like it.
- Very long battery life! (Positive Grid claims 8 hours and my own usage over the past 6 months or so confirms that.)
- Thanks to the Tone Cloud amp & effects models this practice amp replaces almost everything you need to get into guitar. I wish I had the Spark GO when I first started!
- Being able to use it as a USB audio interface is wonderful. I also own a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (and used to use a Scarlett Solo), but the Scarlett costs the same as the Spark GO! Yes, the Scarlett sounds better and is made specifically for recording, but I still like that you can record with your Spark GO.
- Thanks to its bluetooth connectivity you can use it as a bluetooth speaker if you want to be one of those annoying people on the beach or at the campground. 😜
- It’s a cheap guitar amp! $129 might be a lot if you’re just getting started, but I’d still recommend this over any other amp in its price range.
How Does the Spark GO Sound?
If you’re looking for a small practice amp with tons of features and tone options well, you’ve found it. The Spark GO sounds good. How does it compare to other tiny amps like the Blackstar Fly 3 or Boss Katana Mini? Well, I like those amps too but I find the Positive Grid Tone Cloud puts the GO over the edge.
Let me be clear, though. No tiny amp sounds great. They are not really able to sound great if you’re comparing them to “big boy” guitar amps.
The GO doesn’t even sound as good as the Positive Grid Spark 40. But let’s not compare apples to oranges here. For a tiny practice amp the GO sounds good enough for home use.
In the review video I did say the audio interface sounds the same as using the Spark 40 as an audio interface, but I’m finding I’m a little wrong. The Spark GO sounds a little more compressed when used as an audio interface. But I still use it for demos sometimes, which is what I would say it’s meant for anyway. It’s not a professional recording rig, it’s convenient demo rig in a small package.
Positive Grid Spark GO Photo Gallery
Final Thoughts on the Positive Grid Spark GO practice amp
This is a great choice for a practice amp. Possibly my favorite choice (and I’m a fan of the more expensive Boss Katana and Spark 40 practice amps), but definitely my favorite choice in the sub $150 price range.
It sounds good, has lots of useful features, and it’s cheap.
Overall: 9 / 10. Great for anybody looking for a tiny guitar amp.
Do you own a Positive Grid Spark GO amp? What’d I miss? Let me know below what you like and dislike about it.