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ASHDOWN Adventure: Invasion of the SPYDER BASTARD

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by Lowbrow, Mar 21, 2014.

  1. Lowbrow

    Lowbrow Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2008
    New York USA
    ASHDOWN Adventure: Invasion of the SPYDER BASTARD

    I noted a similar story from another TBer … yet when I saw MF listing a PICTURED Little Bastard 550 restock for $449 earlier this week, I rolled the dice and jumped. I received a dual-tube Spyder 550.

    It would have been nice to receive an LB-550, but a quick phone call garnered an easy "Oops" from MF and an instant return-shipping label.
    No harm, no foul :).

    NOW, here's what I thought of the Spyder 550 in the 10 or so minutes I tried it out:
    • First: HUGE + HEAVY. Lots of box, lots of weight.
    • SOUND = great! I have a Little Bastard 30 and understand (with admitted personal and published-information limitations) that the Spyder head has about the same tone stack/tube preamp. What's added is a Gain knob, what is substituted is a 550-Watt solid state power amp. To try and emulate the LB-30, I set the gain full (LB-30 has no gain knob) and the tone knobs where I usually set my LB-30.
    • Tonally identical to the LB-30 at comparable bedroom volume (LB-30: about 11:00; Spyder: gain full, master about 9:30) through my 2 Bag End S15D cabs. Warm, tubey, satisfying YET it was not dirty/overdriven. Still, sounded GREAT. I can imagine it's pretty hairy with an overdrive or boost hitting the preamp tubes. When I raised the volume it took on significantly more girth and high-end output. This is an area where the Spyder and LB-30 comparison ends as you cannot compare a 30w tube power section to a 550w SS power section obviously. I'd call it an LB-30 with lots of clean headroom - sadly that's a guess as my speakers, neighbors & pets can't handle the full power amp output, so I didn't go there - sorry! Only ventured to about 2:00 master before I started fearing blowing my speakers out of the cabs and anticipating across-the-street lady at my door with the rolling pin.
    • VERDICT: If you're looking for a great sounding amp with very nice tube character, don't want high preamp-generated overdrive and can handle the weight, a restock Sypder could be popping up on MF when my return arrives, so look out. I cannot comment on reliability/giggability.
    • Good luck!
  2. Laurent


    May 21, 2008
    Napa, CA
    Glad to read no speakers, neighbors or pets was harmed while testing this amp!
    Thanks for the fun and informative post.

    I remain a huge fan of the Little Bastard 30.
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