The Line 6 Spider V 120 MkII guitar amplifier is one of the newest additions to the company’s current series of Spider V amps. A line of digital modeling amps going back to 1999.
The Spider V 120 MkII boasts 120 watts of power, driving a bi-amped full-range speaker system with a 12-inch and a tweeter. It includes over 200 modeled amps, cabinets, and effects, built-in wireless connectivity, and compatibility with their FBV 3 Foot Controller. And up to five effects can be applied simultaneously, including three “Smart FX.”
But this is not merely an amp in the traditional sense. It’s also packed with features for composition and recording, using the onboard USB interface and Spider V Remote app.
So, let’s take a closer look at this groundbreaking guitar amplifier in our in-depth Line 6 Spider V 120 MkII Review…
The Spider V is a sealed cabinet, 20.4 x 19.3 x 10.7 inches (52 x 49 x 27 cm), that houses a 12-inch full-range speaker and a separate tweeter. Relatively lightweight for a guitar amp of this size, it weighs a very reasonable twenty-eight pounds (12.7 kg).
Simple and sleek…
It’s attractively designed with black Tolex covering, black hard plastic corner fittings, and a sleek black-and-gray woven grill cloth.
The top front panel layout is clean and simple. It sports a row of classic black Line 6 knobs and complemented by a prominent logo. The five main control knobs all have dual functions. Backlit labels clearly indicate which function set is active.
This scheme keeps the front panel simple, but it means some menu navigation is needed to find and edit tones. This is something to consider if you’re looking at the Spider V for onstage use.
On the front panel from left to right are the input jack, five knobs that each perform two functions, and a pair of control function selector buttons.
When the AMP button is pressed, the five knobs control Drive, Bass, Mid, Treble, and Volume. With FX selected, the knobs become level controls for five effects: COMP (compressor), FX1, FX2, FX3, and Reverb.
To the right of these controls is an LCD Display that indicates the current preset, knob positions, effects values, and editor parameters.
Below the display is a knob for selecting and saving a preset, or choosing drum loops, demo loops, or various playback parameters.
Independent FX controls…
In addition, below and to the right of the LCD are several push-buttons.
Quick Loop enters or exits looper mode. Play/Pause affects the metronome, drum loops, or guitar demo riffs. Edit opens a preset for editing. Tap/Tuner to tap tempos for the delay and modulation effects or to turn the tuner on and off.
Furthermore, a Home button is gratefully provided to return the LCD to the home screen from any other menu. At the far right are the Master volume knob and headphone jack.
Ins and Outs
The Spider V has a single 1/4-inch guitar input jack on the left side of the front panel. Along with a 1/4-inch headphone jack on the right. But most of the connections are found in the back.
On the left side of the rear panel near the power switch are two USB ports. One is compatible with iPhone/iPod, and one with Android, Macintosh, or PC devices. A selector switch determines which port is active at any time. You can use these ports to edit tones and record audio.
Next to these ports is an FBV PEDAL jack, where you can connect any of several optional Line 6 controllers (see below for details). To the right of the pedal jack is a 1/8-inch Auxiliary input to connect an audio source when you want to practice along with a song.
Plus, there are right and left Direct outputs with XLR connectors and a ground lift switch, for connecting to a PA system or audio interface.
Amps, Cabinets, and Presets
Line 6 practically invented the concept of modeling guitar amplifiers, and the Spider V 120 delivers generously. It comes with models of 78 iconic American and British guitar amps, 23 cabinet configurations, and 101 effects.
They’re not specifically identified (for legal reasons), but if you know your gear, then names like “Blackface Lux,” “Double Verb,” and “Brit J-800” should be pretty clear. Likewise, with effects models such as “Facial Fuzz” and “Screamer.”
All Spider V MkII presets combine an amp model, a cabinet, and effects. It comes with a total of 124 factory presets that you can modify, plus four blank slots. These presets run the gamut from jazz and rock clean amps to high-gain and crunch models, plus some truly unusual sounds.
You get great tones!
Many presets have names that strongly hint at the sound that’s being modeled. For example, there’s “Teen Spirit,” “Sweet Home…” and “Smokey Water.”
Also included are 24 presets created by well-known guitarists, including Elliot Easton (The Cars), Brendon Small (Metalocalypse), and Paul Richards (California Guitar Trio).
Spider V MkII provides a total of 101 effects. A preset includes a chain of up to five effects. The first effect is compression, and the last is reverb. The other three are designated “Smart FX” and can be anything at all.
Smart FX include overdrive, distortion, fuzz, chorus, flanger, phaser, auto-wah, tremolo, vibrato, pitch shift, rotary speaker, digital or analog delay, and more. Reverb models include rooms, plates, halls, and springs. In other words, you get just about anything you’ll find in a real, physical pedal.
For all effects, you can adjust the level and other parameters. As well as use the Tap button to set modulation or delay times.
The Spider V 120 MkII is even easier to use with the optional Line 6 FBV 3 Advanced Foot Controller. This allows you to control your amps and effects without interrupting your playing.
It greatly simplifies recording parts with a computer, performing live, or just jamming. This add-on is highly recommended!
Expression pedal option…
Another excellent pedal option is the FBV Express MkII controller, which allows you to change presets, tap tempo, control wah, and volume, along with operating the tuner.
Other choices are the FBV 3 and FBV Shortboard MkII controllers, which enable you to switch presets, turn effects on and off, control wah and volume, tap tempo, or operate the Quick Looper and tuner, or the simple FBV2 footswitch to cycle presets up or down.
Spider V 120 MkII includes Line 6’s Remote app. With this app, you can edit, save, and share your presets. And search for, and access new guitar presets on the cloud. It’s compatible with Windows, Macintosh, iOS, and Android.
Also included is a free license for Cubase LE, so you can record your playing.
Spider V includes a Quick Looper, which lets you record an idea up to 60 seconds long, and then loop, overdub, and erase it. This is easier to use if you opt for a foot controller.
A built-in Metronome helps you practice with greater rhythmic accuracy. Also included are a selection of Drum Loops for you to jam along with. You can control the volume of these loops, but not the tempo.
Also included are Demo Riff loops. These are extremely helpful when you’re auditioning, and tweaking presets.
Cut the cord…
Spider V 120 MkII includes an onboard wireless receiver. With the optional Line 6 Relay G10T Transmitter plugged into your guitar, you can get rid of your guitar cord and be free! You can also plug the Relay G10T into the amp’s input jack when you need to charge and sync it.
How Does it Sound?
In a word, the Spider V 120 MkII sounds amazing. Line 6 has been modeling amps for decades, and they know how to do it right. In short, this amp surpasses everything else on the market in its category.
There are plenty of excellent high-quality models for acoustic and electric guitar, and surprisingly accurate copies of some of your favorite gear.
Most presets are very useful without any adjustments, though, of course, you’re encouraged to customize them to your liking. The Artist Preset series, new for the MkII, are especially nice.
Excellent accurate response…
The sealed cabinet helps provide a better transient response for a punchier, more accurate sound, and better bass response. And the MkII’s new Classic Speaker mode that helps to recreate the sound of a typical amp-cabinet combination that you get from a traditional amp, useful in live performance.
And this amp is LOUD. A full 120 watts through the 12-inch speaker and separate tweeter should give you plenty of volume for all but the largest club gigs without having to mic it or run it through the PA.
Line 6 Spider V 120 MkII Review Pros and Cons
- 120 watts.
- 101 effects and 124 factory presets.
- Diverse and versatile tones.
- American and British amp models.
- Compatible with various footswitches.
- USB connectivity.
- Remote app.
- Includes Cubase LE software.
- None that we found, other than it’s not a pure tube amp.
Looking for more amplifier options?
Check out our extensive selection of in-depth reviews of the Best Tube Amps, the Best Low Watt Tube Amps, the Best Solid State Amps, the Best Acoustic Guitar Amps, the Best Portable Guitar Amplifiers, and the Best Modeling Amps you can buy in 2020.
Line 6 Spider V 120 MkII Review Final thoughts
The Line 6 Spider V 120 MkII is a great amp that is overwhelmingly endorsed by users. It may not get you 100 percent of your classic tube amp’s tone, but maybe 98 percent is possible.
It weighs far less than even one of the dozens of amps it replaces. Plus, it doesn’t get hot or need expensive new tubes every so often.
Controls are simple and straightforward once you get used to the workflow. Although it’s easier to use with a Line 6 footswitch. And wireless Relay support and the Remote app are big bonuses.
It’s also ideal for a beginning guitarist who is still looking for his or her “tone” and isn’t sure what amp would be best. Get the Spider V 120 MkII and find out for yourself.
Until next time, may your music always be merry.