Positive Grid Spark Link review: wireless for the masses

Positive Grid brings wireless guitar playing to the Spark range (and any other amp) – is this the moment you finally take the plunge into wireless?

Positive Grid Spark Link used to pair a Spark GO and a guitar

Positive Grid Spark Link used to pair a Spark GO and a guitar

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Review Overview

Our rating


Our verdict

If cable-free practice appeals but the faff of traditional wireless systems has put you off, this is a remarkably simple and effective solution.

$129/£129, positivegrid.com

It shouldn’t really be a shock that when it comes to cables, guitar culture is lagging behind the rest of the world. After all, most of us are still playing guitars designed in the 50s through amps that make use of technology from the 1920s – so by that standard, the humble guitar cable feels positively space-age.

And yet, in every other part of my technological life, wires are basically redundant – the internet comes into the laptop I’m writing this review on wirelessly, as does the music I’m listening to on these headphones, and if I need to charge my phone later I just pop it on the MagSafe pad and let it do its thing via magic/voodoo/I dunno.

All of which begs the question, why am I still plugging in at least one cable every time I want to pick up and play my guitar? Well, a large part of it is because, for most of the last two decades, guitarists who aren’t playing stadiums and use wireless gear given off the energy of CB radio enthusiasts – nice people of course, but maybe not the sort you’d want to get stuck in a conversation with for more than 15 minutes. With all its faffing around with signal bandwidths and transmitters, the wireless thing seemed like far more hassle than it was necessarily worth.

But as I alluded to up top, wireless technology has come a long way in the last few years, and modern wireless systems promise to do away with the nerdy stuff while also keeping your tone intact. The latest and perhaps most compelling offer comes from Positive Grid, who fresh from revolutionising the practice amp world with its Spark amp series, now wants to free you of the tyranny of quarter-inch instrument cables with the Spark Link.

Positive Grid Spark Link paired with a Spark Live
Positive Grid Spark Link paired with a Spark Live

What does the Positive Grid Spark Link do?

The Spark Link is basically Positive Grid’s solution one of the few weak spots the existing Spark smart amp range has in comparison to its nearest competitors in the practice amp sphere. Whereas BossKatana Air and Yamaha’s THR10II Wireless have built-in wireless playing functionality should you want it, the Spark range has always been stubbornly wired.

The Link is a typically elegant and user-friendly solution to that problem – offering a plug and play wireless guitar system that’s compatible with any Spark amp (and any other amp or interface you should choose to use it with).

The Link uses 24-bit/48KHz audio across a 20Hz to 20kHz frequency range (making it suitable for guitar and bass) using Positive Grid’s proprietary 2.4GHz technology. This tech promises less than 3ms of latency and none of the tone-sucking properties of wireless units of old, and it also boasts a 70-foot (20 metre) range, meaning that unless you’re playing festival stages, you’ll probably be okay to use it live.

In the box you get a near-identical transmitter and receiver (the transmitter’s jack plug has a gold sleeve for easy identification) both with a 120-degree hinged input plug meaning that it should fit into any shape jack socket you should choose to use.

Positive Grid Spark Link used to pair a guitar and a Spark Live
Positive Grid Spark Link used to pair a guitar and a Spark Live

Does the Positive Grid Spark Link work?

In short, yes – very well indeed. Out of the box we get a double-ended USB-C to USB-A cable that can charge both units together, and once I’d left them for a couple of hours to juice up to the max, set-up was an absolute doddle. Simply plug into your chosen guitar and amp, hold the tiny gold button on both units and wait for the small LED on each to flash from blue to green – et voila, noise.

As you probably guessed from my comments above I’m not what you’d call a wireless evangelist when it comes to guitar, but almost instantly I was seriously impressed with the Link’s latency and tonal fidelity – swapping between the Link and my trusty 10-foot Ernie Ball braided cable I notice almost no sonic different between the two. It’s probably not going to sound as good as a Mogami cable running straight into your Two-Rock, but I’d imagine if that’s your rig then you’re not the target market.

Latency too is very impressive – I couldn’t really hear any discernible gap between guitar and amp, and this bore up as I wandered around the house and even downstairs to the kitchen noodling away.

The stated battery time is six hours, though in practice I find I’m lucky to get four out of my unit – but it should be noted that I’m using a preproduction prototype for this review and battery life on the retail version should be closer to what’s stated.

Positive Grid Spark Link with a Spark Mini
Positive Grid Spark Link with a Spark Mini

Is the Positive Grid Spark Link worth it?

Most wireless units of the past have focused on gigging guitar players, and while the Spark Link could doubtless perform in this environment (you can use up to four Links together, which should be of interest to users of the new Spark Live) I don’t think that’s really what makes this a compelling prospect.

The ease of use of the Link removes yet another impediment to playing the guitar more at home, which let’s face it, is what the vast majority of us are doing most of the time. It’s also cheaper than similar offerings from Boss and Line 6, and like them offers the flexibility of being able to pair it with any amp you like, big or small, new or old.

But paired up with a Spark Mini or GO, the Link further unencumbered my home practice experience, and made it easier for me to just pick up and play the guitar. And isn’t that what we’re all after, really?

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