I have lost track of the number of Bluetooth speakers that have passed through my hands, but it is many. For the most part, they all do the same thing, with some of them sounding better than others. That’s relatively normal. But the Positive Grid Spark MINI is an entirely different experience for me.
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
When the Positive Grid Spark MINI first arrived, my first inclination was to get to jamming. The Mini is not only a Bluetooth speaker, but it is also a practice amp. You can plug your electric guitar, and possibly any 1/4″ jack instrument you want and use this little guy to practice. Of note, Positive Grid does not market this as an amp for anything other than a guitar, so plug in at your own risk.
So the first thing I did was plug my guitar into the Positive Grid Spark MINI, paired my phone, picked a backing track from YouTube, and started jamming. In my unboxing video below, I concentrated on what I would use this little speaker for, and that’s for jamming. I hadn’t thought about Spark MINI’s other uses, such as a Bluetooth speaker. The Spark MINI isn’t just for musicians; this little speaker houses a surprising bag of tricks, and it’s for everyone.
The Positive Grid Spark MINI has the following features and specifications:
- Mono/Stereo: Stereo
- Max Sound Pressure Level: 90 dB SPL @1m
- Cabinet Principle: Passive Radiator
- Power Amplifiers: 10 Watt Class D Amplifier
- Two – 2″ Custom Designed Speakers
- One – Passive radiator
- Total Impedance: 4 Ohm
- Mains Input Power: DC 5V, 2A. Compatible with most mobile USB-C chargers
- Battery Type: Built-in 3,000 mAh rechargeable Lithium battery
- Playtime: Up to 8 hours (on mid-volume or lower)
- Charging Time: 3 hours
- Top Panel Controls:
- Four Programmable Preset Selector
- Guitar Channel Volume
- Music Channel Volume
- Rear Panel Controls:
- Power Button
- Pair / Tuner Button
- Onboard Effects:
- 33 Amp Models
- 43 Effects
- (Noise Gate, Compressor, Distortion, Modulation/EQ, Delay, Reverb)
- Wired Connectivity:
- 1/4″ Guitar Input
- 1/8″ Aux Input
- 1/8″ Headphone / Line Output
- Wireless Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
- USB Audio:
- USB Interface for Recording
- 1 In x 2 Out
- Sample Rate: 44.1kHz
- Bit Depth: 16
- Dimensions: 146.5 x 123 x 165 mm (5.76 x 4.84 x 6.49 in)
- Weight: 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs)
- Spark App: iOS and Android included
What’s In The Box
- Positive Grid Spark MINI
- Carrying Strap
- USB Cable
- Quick Start Guide
- Safety Instructions
As I mentioned in the opening of this review, I have had my hands on many Bluetooth speakers, and the Positive Grid Spark MINI is among the nicest looking. The entire speaker is made of premium materials; you can feel it once you hold it. The company put much thought and effort into what materials to use, and they nailed it.
The cabinet is covered in a faux leather material that is taut and smooth, making it look like a Fender amp. The front grille looks like tweed, like an old Fender guitar case. That front grille is removable, and Positive Grid offers an alternate crimson grille that looks awesome. The front grille has the Positive Grid branding on a small plate, giving it that amplifier look.
Gold accents look like metal, but I’m sure they are plastic and run along the meeting edges, giving it a clean and finished look. Both left and right sides have strap buttons, like a guitar, to which the faux leather strap attaches. The strap is black with an inner red material that looks like velvet, but I’m sure it’s not. It’s pliable and easy to attach and is of high quality.
The bottom of the Positive Grid Spark MINI houses the passive radiator for your bass frequencies, along with four very nice and stable rubber feet. Around the back of the Spark MINI is the backplate held in with six screws. There is also a headphone jack, AUX-in, USB-C port for charging, pair/tuner button, and the power button.
Finally, the top of the Positive Grid Spark MINI is made to resemble a guitar amplifier like the rest of it. Three knobs look accurately like guitar amp knobs. They are black with gold tops and are very high quality, easy to turn, and with zero wiggle. The knobs control your presets, guitar volume, and music volume. There is also a gold-plated 1/4″ jack input to plug your instrument into.
One of the great features of this design is how they incorporated a tuner into the LEDs of the preset knob. When you engage the tuner with the button on the back, you play your string and make sure the two middle LEDs light up together; that is when you know that string is in tune. It’s excellent for on-the-fly tuning, but I do like the tuner in the app better.
Overall, the Positive Grid Spark MINI is a stunning design, and guitar players, in particular, will appreciate the pains the company went to make it look like a mini amplifier. My only criticism of the design is that it would have been nice to see an IP67 or IP68 rating for waterproofing/water resistance. I only say this because if the company intends to market this as a Bluetooth speaker, I think those users will want to use it in areas like pools, beaches, and bathrooms.
Ease of Use
Using the Positive Grid Spark MINI as a Bluetooth speaker is straightforward. If your plan is only to use it as a Bluetooth speaker, all there is to do is pair it to your device. That’s as simple as powering it up and looking for it inside your Bluetooth settings.
If you want to get the most out of the Positive Grid Spark MINI, you’ll need the iOS or Android app. This will give you access to a plethora of tools that you can use with your instrument. We will go over the app in the next section of this review. Still, this speaker has fundamental functions even if you use it as an amplifier for an instrument.
Overall, Positive Grid has made Spark MINI easy to use and operate. There isn’t a steep learning curve, and all functionality should be familiar to most users.
So, wow! I’m generally not a fan of apps for Bluetooth speakers, but the Spark app is an exception here. The app is handy if you’re going to use the Positive Grid Spark MINI as a practice amp. And it is included at no cost. Firstly, the app is where you’ll find out when your Spark MINI will need updating. You’ll need to connect the Spark MINI to a computer to update the firmware, but Positive Grid provides a step-by-step guide to get through it quickly.
Inside the app, you’ll also find your account details, saved songs, and a guide to what’s new. There is also a tuner and metronome feature available, both handy!
You can also record yourself and save those videos or share them. That’s not my thing, but great for those who plan on posting your jams to social media.
Other features of the app include Smart Jam. Here you can create a jam to play along with or choose from a handful of presets. There are also a crap ton of backing tracks in a crap ton of different genres. The backing tracks include chord charts and what scales you should use. The Auto Chords” feature displays the chords in real-time as you play, to any song you are learning. A handy feature for those who are aspiring to learn guitar.
Finally, you can adjust the presets in the app and see what effects they are using. You can also download other presets that emulate the sounds of some of our favorite players, such as Hendrix and Gilmour. This app is very rich in content and features; there is so much here that it would take a lot of words to get through it all. So check out Positive Grid’s YouTube video below on how to get started with the app.
Overall, the Spark app is indeed valuable and feature-rich. When you purchase the Spark MINI, you need to consider the value this app adds to the overall package.
The Positive Grid Spark MINI sound is impressive. For a Bluetooth speaker, the soundstage is flat and accurate to the music being played through it. The highs and mids are discernable and clear, with the bass holding up the rest of the music. If you’re looking for an excellent Bluetooth speaker to play music through, this will give you an incredible experience.
The sound is equally impressive if you’re using the Spark MINI as a practice amp. I was shocked at how well this little thing took the drive from my guitar. I also decided to hook my Line 6 Helix Floor into the Positive Grid Spark MINI, and it worked very well with no breakup, even at high volume.
The unit houses two 2″ custom-designed speakers with one passive radiator. The 2″ speakers do a phenomenal job of carrying the highs and mids while the passive radiator handles the low end very well.
Now, this isn’t to say you’re going to gig with this little guy, far from it. But, it does fill up a bedroom nicely, and in all seriousness, this is meant to practice with; it is not a gigging amp.
Overall, the sound is impressive both as a Bluetooth speaker and a practice amp.
The advertised battery life on the Positive Grid Spark MINI is 8-hours of playtime at mid to low volume. I got 8-hours+ consistently using the Spark MINI as a practice amp and Bluetooth speaker combined. Volume was always set at just around 50% to 60%. Positive Grid’s advertised battery life is spot on. But you do need to remember volume, distance from your Bluetooth source, and how long you use the speaker will affect battery life.
Currently, the price of the Positive Grid Spark MINI is US$229. As of this review, it is on pre-order sale for US$195. I think the US$229 price is well worth the bag of tricks the Spark MINI provides. The Spark App also adds a significant value to the whole deal. Even as a Bluetooth speaker alone, it is well worth it.
I love what Positive Grid has done here. I love that the Positive Grid Spark MINI can be used as both a basic Bluetooth speaker with fantastic sound but can also be paired with the app and be used as a practice amp with a ton of options that helps musicians not have to dig out their whole rigs when they don’t want to. This review was one of the most fun ones I’ve done in a long time, and I highly recommend the Positive Grid Spark MINI to both musicians and music lovers; it’s a great experience.
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Positive Grid Spark MINIUS$229
Ease of Use10.0/10
- Very beautiful and classic design
- High Quality materials and construction
- Easy to use and setup
- The app is chocked full of great content
- A clear, broad, and neutral soundstage
- Good battery life for such a small device
- Great price point for what you're getting
- No waterproofing or water resistance