Yamaha THR10 vs Positive Grid Spark: an epic face-off between two popular desktop amplifiers. Comparing the two will not only reveal a lot of surprises about their amazing capabilities, it will also show how far guitar amplification has evolved through the decades.
In recent years, small format “desktop” practice amps have taken the guitar market by storm with the trailblazing Yamaha THR10 series on the forefront. The THR10 impressed a lot of guitarists for the sound quality that it could offer, despite its size and power limitations. Yamaha’s innovative spirit is at an all time high, as manifested through the features that they have effectively squeezed inside a diminutive box like the THR10.
With the success of the Yamaha THR10, it is almost expected that other inventive companies will catch up real fast and challenge the status quo. One amp that caught the attention of guitar players is the Positive Grid Spark. Touted by some as the future of desktop amplification, this small amp boasts tons of features that could give its predecessor a run for its money.
The launching of the THR10 and Spark have definitely created a desktop amp revolution, which saw prominent brands such as Blackstar, Boss and Laney joining the fray. Practice amps have been around for a very long time, but Yamaha and Positive Grid clearly redefined what used to be a class of amplifiers known for their inadequacy.
Yamaha THR10 vs Positive Grid Spark: an overview
The THR10 and the Spark are among the world’s best-selling desktop amps today, let us take a look at their capabilities and the characteristics that make them unique.
Released in 2013, the THR10 has a look that will not go out of fashion soon. Combining vintage and industrial aesthetics, it offers a fresh take on the practice guitar amp, giving it the same level of confidence that emanates from more expensive amplifiers.
Adding to the awesomeness of the THR10 is its faux-tube amp glow behind the grille. Although this does not affect its performance in any way, you can’t deny how cool it is, even if it’s placed there purely as a visual enhancement.
The Yamaha THR10 is basically a modeling amp with several amp voices in tow. Although it looks like a piece of analog equipment, the THR10 is actually a digital amp that employs Virtual Circuitry Modeling (VCM).
It can emulate five guitar amp models classified as Brit Hi, Clean, Crunch, Lead and Modern, as well as an acoustic and a bass amp model. You may also use its flat setting if you want to plug in your phone or iPod to play some songs.
Consisting of two FX knobs, you may use chorus, flanger, phaser and tremolo on the first dial, and delay and reverb on the second. You may view and edit your presets using the Yamaha THR Editor app, which allows you to select from 15 amp models, 3 bass cabs, and 3 mics.
In this era of consistent connectivity, the USB and Bluetooth features on the THR10 come in handy if you wish to stream some play-along tracks online.
- Sound quality
With the help of a pair of 3” speakers, the THR10 is surprisingly loud for its size and the tone is inspiring enough for beginners and advanced guitar players alike. Whether you are playing with the clean or crunch setting activated, the voicing is very accurate, especially when compared to practice guitar amplifiers of the past.
Positive Grid Spark
Clean and classy, the Spark amp shines with simplicity and focuses more on function. It does not rely on gimmicky but superfluous designs and is highlighted by a cover that is reminiscent of the good old tweed amps.
Stacked with an insane 10,000 presets, guitar players will be ecstatic once they find out about the vast possibilities of the Spark amp when it comes to tone shaping. From country to hard rock and soul to metal, the presets that you can dial in are close to limitless.
The Positive Grid Spark also has an app which you can browse presets by speaking commands into a matched mobile device. With this feature, you can simply utter the words “blues” or “Slash” to search for some of your most desired tones.
Using the Spark app, you can strike a chord and be accompanied by a bass guitar and drums, without any need to set the tempo or key. Add to that the Spark app’s chord recognition and riff training capabilities, and you got the swiss knife of practice amps.
And if that is not enough, you can connect the app to a computer via USB. With the help of the PreSonus Studio One Prime, you can lay down tracks and permanently preserve your ideas.
When it comes to effects such as Mod (Chorus, Flanger, Phaser, Tremolo etc.), Delay (Digital Delay, Vintage Delay, Echo Tape etc.), Reverb (Chamber, Hall, Plate, Room Studio etc.) and Drive (Overdrive, Fuzz, Tube Drive etc.), Spark amps can provide it all at the turn of a dial or by selecting a preset from the companion app.
- Sound Quality
The Positive Grid Spark packs a lot of punch with its twin 4”speakers and 40 watt amp. Don’t be deceived by its compact size, as it can emit great guitar sounds regardless of the style of music that you are playing. Some have even opted to use the Spark in their live performances, by using two microphones to take advantage of its stereo sound.
Yamaha THR10 vs Positive Grid Spark: which one is better?
Although it is difficult to decide which desktop amp is better, it should be clear for any guitar player which one fits his or her style and needs. Each amplifier has its own distinctive strengths that the other might not be able to offer, so it would be best to try them first before determining which amp to purchase.
A lot of guitar players claim that the Yamaha THR10 sounds much better and they may be right based on the results of various test runs. However, the Positive Grid Spark is absolutely no slouch in that department and can also offer up some satisfying sound quality that guitarists of all levels would love. Moreover, the Spark is much cheaper than the THR10, even though it has more features.
If you are a guitar player who wants to obtain the beautiful aesthetics, as well as durable construction and superior sound quality of a Yamaha, then the THR10 is the best for you. But if you want a desktop amp that is a real bang for your buck, then grab a Spark now and enjoy the vast features that it can bring to the practice table.
Just like most great guitars, gears and gadgets, the THR10 vs Spark debate will end in a draw, or perhaps a rematch that will pit future versions of both amplifiers.