Audio and Video

Line 6 Spider III 15 Guitar Combo Amplifier Teardown

17 September 2008
The following is an overview of a teardown analysis conducted by IHS Benchmarking.

Overview / Main Features

Line 6 Spider III 15 is an entry-level solid-state combo amplifier for electric guitars with an integrated speaker. It features 4 electronic amplification models to simulate "Clean, Crunch, Metal and Insane guitar sounds with adjustable Smart Control FX effect parameters powered by an on-board DSP. The 15W amp produces modeled sound effects from its single 8-inch speaker selectable (2 simultaneously) between the presets titled ""Phaser, Chorus/Flanger, Tremolo, Sweep Echo, Tape Echo and Reverb." The compact half stack Spider III measures 393.7 x 209.55 x 368.3mm and features 8 control knobs, 5 push buttons and input/output jacks located at the amp head. There is also a mini-jack for audio input so users can play their guitars along with a music source as well as an auxiliary output for headsets.

This product is considered a low-cost ""practice amp" geared towards a wide audience from amateur musicians to beginner guitar learners. Key to the Spider III 15 amp design is the use of digital signal processing and electronic integration to offer greater sound effect features at an entry level price. Notably, this 15W model is the only combo amp/speaker in the Spider III line that does not feature a Celestion® branded speaker.

Target Market

Low-end ""practice amp" for electric guitars


Per press release, dated Oct. 18, 2006, the Spider III line of guitar amps [including this 15W model] was first release into their distribution channels that day.

Pricing and Availability

The MSRP for the Spider III was set initially at $199. There was significant retail price erosion starting in early 2007 but has since stabilized for nearly a year. At the time of writing, the Spider III 15 is selling at $99 at major retail outlets.

Volume Estimations

For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have assumed a lifetime production volume of 271,000 units.

As a reminder, teardown volume production assumptions are primarily used for our cost analysis in terms of amortized NRE and tooling costs, especially for custom components specific to the model being analyzed (mechanical components especially). Unless assumed, volumes increment by an order of magnitude. Minor changes in volume (say 1 million vs. 2) rarely have a large net effect on our final analysis.

Line 6 Spider III 15 Guitar Combo Amplifier Cost AnalysisLine 6 Spider III 15 Guitar Combo Amplifier Cost Analysis

Cost Notes

Main Cost Drivers Representing ~57% of total direct materials costs

  • Enclosure - MDF Cabinet, w/ Vinyl Covering, 6 Small Plastic Corner Pieces, 2 Large Plastic Side Pieces, Fiber Mesh Grille and Metal/Plastic Handle w/ 2 Mounting Brackets
  • Freescale Semiconductor - DSPB56364AF100 - Digital Signal Processor - Audio, 24 Bit
  • Loudspeaker - 8', 15 Watts, 4 Ohms, w/ Ceramic Magnet, Stamped Metal Basket, Paper Cone, Cloth Surround
  • Jetronics Limited - 1X-5730-04HO - Transformer - EI57 Size, 120VAC 60Hz Input, Dual Outputs, 30VAC CT NLV & 7VAC NLV
  • Chassis - Stamped/Formed Aluminium, Anodized, Silkscreened, w/ 2 Pressed-In Threaded Studs & 2 Pressed-In Threaded Inserts
  • Potentiometer - 10k-Ohm, B-Taper, 16mm Metal Shaft Type, Right Angle, w/ Hex Nut & Washer (Qty:8)
  • AKM Semiconductor - AK4552VT - Codec - Audio, 3V, 24Bit, 96kHz ADC/ DAC
  • Faceplate - Injection Molded Plastic, Silver Painted, Silkscreened
  • Knob - Injection Molded Plastic, Chromed (Qty:8)
  • 2-Layer - FR4
  • Brilliance Semiconductor - BS62LV2006STI - SRAM - 256K x 8bit Very Low Power CMOS
  • NXP - P89LPC935FDH - Microcontroller - 8-Bit, w/ Accelerated Two-Clock 80C51 Core, 8kB 3V Byte-Eraseable Flash w/ 8-Bit ADCs
  • ST Microelectronics - TDA2030AV - Amplifier - Audio Power, Mono, 18W

Materials and Manufacturing $46.34

What Is Not Included in our Cost Analysis

The total materials and manufacturing costs reported in this analysis reflect ONLY the direct materials cost (from component vendors and assorted EMS providers), AND manufacturing with basic test. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the material manufacture of the core device itself - cost of intellectual property, royalties and licensing fees (those not already included into the per component price), software, software loading and test, shipping, logistics marketing and other channel costs including not only EMS provider and the OEM's margin, but that of other resellers. Our cost analysis is meant to focus on those costs incurred in the manufacture of the core device and exceptionally in some circumstances the packaging and literature as well.

Manufacturing Notes

Based on markings, the unit was assembled in China. Furthermore, we have assumed that custom mechanicals (plastics, metals, etc. were also sourced in China.

Country of origin assumptions relate directly to the associated cost of manufacturing, where calculated by iSuppli. In the cases of 'finished' sub-assemblies (such as speaker driver), we do not calculate internal manufacturing costs, but rather assess the market price of the finished product in which case country of origin assumptions may or may not have a direct effect on pricing.

Remember also that labor rates are applied directly only to hand inserted components and systems in our bill of materials, and although regional assumptions do, these new rates do not have a direct effect on our modeled calculations of placement costs for automated SMD assembly lines. ""Auto" inserted components (such as SMT components) placement costs are calculated by an iSuppli algorithm which allocates a cost per component based on the size and pincount of the device. This calculation is affected by country or region of origin as well.

Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity

The Spider III 15 has a total component count (less box contents) of 264 components, 79 of which are mechanical or electro-mechanicals parts.This is a very simple device in this respect.

Component counts have a direct bearing on the overall manufacturing cycle times and costs, and also can increase or decrease overall yields and re-work. Our calculations of manufacturing costs factor counts and more qualitative complexities in the design. The cost of manufacturing is also, to some extent, decreased in this case because of assumed labor rate applied for China.

Note that manual labor has a much smaller effect on auto-insertion assembly lines (for the Main PCB, for example), where manufacturing costs are much more capital equipment intensive and driven by these investment costs.

Design Notes

Overall, the Spider III 15 guitar amp represents a simple design consisting of an amp head, a speaker unit and an enclosure or chassis. The highest concentration of electrical components is within the amp head unit which contains a handful of integrated circuits, most notably the 24-bit audio DSP by Freescale, memory by Billiance semiconductor, an 8-bit microcontroller from NXP and an audio codec chip by AKM semiconductors.

Guitar amps, unlike consumer electronics with high semiconductor density like mobile phones, have a greater percentage of its overall cost captured within the mechanicals. For the Spider III, the single largest price component is the stylized enclosure cabinet with vinyl coverings and mesh speaker grill.

Here is a summary of the major components used in the Line 6 Spider III 15 design:

Main PCB (Amp Head)


Freescale Semiconductor - DSP56364, Digital Signal Processor, Audio, 24 Bit


NXP - P89LPC935FDH, 8-Bit, w/ Accelerated Two-Clock 80C51 Core - 8kB 3V Byte-Eraseable Flash w/ 8-Bit ADCs


Brilliance Semiconductor - BS62LV2006STI, SRAM - 256K x 8bit, Very Low Power CMOS

Audio Codec

AKM Semiconductor - AK4552VT - 3V, 24Bit, 96kHz ADC/ DAC



8-inch loud SPEAKER 11-20 0003, CUSTOM DESIGN, LINE 6,15 WATTS 4 OHMS, LABEL 40-25-0042

Line 6 Spider III 15 Guitar Combo Amplifier - Box ContentsLine 6 Spider III 15 Guitar Combo Amplifier - Box Contents

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