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FDP Forum / Fender Product Reviews / Super Champ XD review & clips

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OST

United States

Nov 23rd, 2007 03:32 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Spent the afternoon fooling around with my new Super Champ XD, and while I feel like I'm just scratching the surface, I've managed to figure a few things out.

Overall, the clean voices are superior to the high-gain stuff, but you can find an edge-of-breakup zone on several settings that are just flat-out inspiring. Messing with the gain control is crucial, and makes the difference between annoying fizzy distortion and smooth tube overdrive.

Channel one is for the Blackface voice only. It bypasses the gain knob entirely and lets you set up channel two for something else. Set it up for a gritty lead tone, and when you switch from one to two, you're there. The effects and EQ work for both channels.

The EQ is interesting, as you can have the bass and treble dimed or zeroed and still get a decent tone. The voices are pre-EQd, so those knobs are more for subtle shading than drastic changes. Using the guitar's tone knobs, you can really dial in whatever you want.

The 15 watts is loud, but manageable. It's not as loud as a 15 watt pure tube amp like the Blues Jr or Pro Jr. Again, playing with the gain lets you put the volume up past 4 and still be within the limits of acceptable bedroom (well, living room) levels. Turning it down doesn't seem to emasculate the tone, either. I was playing last night with the gain and volume hovering between 1 and 2 and it sounded fine and full.

The 10 inch speaker doesn't fart out at all, and it's not even broken in yet. This amp is going to replace my Champion 600, as it easily gets that amp's tone without the 6" speaker limitations. LOTS of headroom here, but since the distortion isn't tube-driven, you don't need to crank it to get good overdrive. I can't tell the sonic difference between class-A and class A/B, but this thing sounds like a tube amp, and the two glowing 6V6s tell me why. Surprisingly, it ships with Electro Harmonix GT Russian tubes; nothing great, but a step up from the generic Chinese tube found in the Champion 600. A pair of JJs are on its way, regardless.

People have complained that when you switch from voice to voice, there can be huge volume differences. Voice 3 (Tweed overdrive) is especially loud compared to Voice 2, for example. But interestingly, when you use the line out, those differences almost disappear. I A/B'd a few riffs recorded through a mic'd speaker and the direct line, and while there's a difference in the ambient sound, the tones are miraculously similar. This is going to be a great late-night recording amp.

Anyway, having only had it for 24 hours I'm not yet ready to commit to it (thank you, MF 45-day retrun policy), but the more I play it, the better I like it. Frankly, I think Fender should jettison all the "high gain" amp voices and replace them with effects that can be used in conjunction with each other (as it stands, only chorus + reverb, chorus + delay, and delay + reverb can be combined), but maybe there are players out there who are looking for a scooped-mid, metal slurry sound from a Fender tube amp.

I still haven't played with the Acoustasonic setting or the clean Jazz amp, but plan to in the near future. The effects are pretty good, but their parameters are all pre-set, so you can't fine tune things like tremolo speed; you just pick slow, medium or fast.

These are going for $279 - $299 depending on where you buy. Not bad for a real tube amp with convincing models, but probably not for the purists of either genre. If the Champ 600 is a one-trick pony, this thing's a whole stable. Last thing: it's very lightweight for a tube amp, and could easily be your one and only for home practice, band practice, studio, and small gigs. You could even leave most of your pedals at home if you wanted.

Anyway, here are three short and VERY hastily-put-together clips of three settings: Channel one clean Blackface, Tweed with a little grit, and Marshall with some overdrive. All three lamely played on a stock American Series Strat in the neck/middle quack position. Slight reverb from the amp. Click on the green icon, wait for the play button to show up, click it and clip will load. Takes < a minute.

(This message was last edited by Leftee at 07:14 PM, Nov 30th, 2007)

TomStrat
Contributing Member

Seattle, Washington

Nov 23rd, 2007 03:44 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks, I'd love to hear the sound samples but those links don't work. Whats with the "..."? please fix as i'm eager to hear these sounds. Thanks



OST

United States

Nov 23rd, 2007 04:05 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

British

link

(This message was last edited by Leftee at 07:13 PM, Nov 30th, 2007)

OST

United States

Nov 23rd, 2007 04:05 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Blackface

titles

(This message was last edited by Leftee at 07:13 PM, Nov 30th, 2007)

OST

United States

Nov 23rd, 2007 04:06 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Tweed

please

(This message was last edited by Leftee at 07:14 PM, Nov 30th, 2007)

Webfoot

US

Nov 23rd, 2007 04:33 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks for the work in putting this together. I was able to download the first 2 clips but could not get the third clip... but it could be my laptop.

How load is the Super compared to a blues jr or pro jr? Half as loud? 3/4 as loud?

TomStrat
Contributing Member

Seattle, Washington

Nov 23rd, 2007 04:38 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Nice, thanks. Those sound quite good. I have an SCXD on the way. I Need a small portable amp for jams Since i usually leave my Kustom '72 coupe at our band room. This SCXD should fit the bill well.

OST

United States

Nov 23rd, 2007 04:49 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Web: I have no idea how to make that comparison, since loudness is perceived differently in different rooms, depending a lot on tone and other variables. But whereas I have a hard time sitting in a small room directly front of a Blues Junior with the volume on, say 5, the SC seems easier to take. If I had to guess, I'd say it's 3/4 as loud, but since you don't need volume to get the breakup, I don't find myself turning it up much above 3 on most settings.

There seems to be a problem with the tweed clip. I'll look into it.

(This message was last edited by OST at 04:52 PM, Nov 23rd, 2007)

kensmith

US

Nov 23rd, 2007 04:50 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

due to the limited effects settings can you let us know how well they take pedals in front (ie. bd-2, delay, reverb)?
thanks!

OST

United States

Nov 23rd, 2007 04:53 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

ken:

Holy Grail reverb sounds great, but that's all I've tried so far.

yellowrubberduck
Contributing Member
*

Vancouver, Canada

Strat® Player Since 1991
Nov 23rd, 2007 07:35 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

1

British

yellowrubberduck
Contributing Member
*

Vancouver, Canada

Strat® Player Since 1991
Nov 23rd, 2007 07:36 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Tweed

Tweed

yellowrubberduck
Contributing Member
*

Vancouver, Canada

Strat® Player Since 1991
Nov 23rd, 2007 07:37 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

BlackFace

BlackFace

Hoodster
Contributing Member
*

Mike in Oregon

U can add dirt, but U can't add clean
Nov 24th, 2007 09:13 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

BF sounds fab, tweed a bit boomy, esp for a quack position. I'd like to hear the Brit w/the bridge pup.

Nice playing too.

fendrguitplayr
Contributing Member
***

Greater Boston

Where suspense is never in short supply.
Nov 27th, 2007 07:26 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks for the sound clips and review.

OST

United States

Nov 27th, 2007 07:51 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

You're welcome. Unfortunately, I just boxed up the Super Champ to return it, as it's developed an annoying whining sound that occurs after it's warmed up. I replaced each of the tubes and it persisted, so fearing warranty violation from further fiddling, I'm sending it back. Not sure if I'll just get another one or if I'll try something else.

It's really a great amp for my purposes and I like several of the tones it delivers, but I have a very low threshold for defects.

kensmith

US

Nov 27th, 2007 09:33 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

OST: that is disappointing to hear as I am hanging back to see how the early adopter units fair (testing, tone, noise, etc).

How would you compare the SuperChampXD to your Tech21 Trademark 10 or 30 for similar application (home use, or in church miked to PA).


OST

United States

Nov 27th, 2007 11:02 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Ken, that's a very good question. I keep looking for this perfect tone, and I've gone through several low-watt tube amps trying to find it, with no success. But through it all, I've hung onto that Tech 21, so it's obviously got "something".

What it lacks, however, is the clean headroom and that Fender *sparkle*. The Trademark's cleans are good, but they don't have the shimmeriing presence that Fenders are so good at. It's a little darker, and not as punchy.

Its distorted tones are very good, and unless you really max the gain, it's relatively fizz-free, although as overdriven notes decay it exhibits the same unevenness that most solid state amps suffer from.

For live work, I'd most likely recommend the Trademark 30, as the 10's 8-inch speaker has its limits (although it's a very nice Celestion and better than most stock 8" I think).

I'm looking now at the Blackheart, a 5-watt head/cab that features a 3-watt switch.

Lesterstrat
Moderator

Florida, USA

Wanted: Dependable "Yes" Man.
Nov 28th, 2007 09:59 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Please post in the correct forums. I moved the threads this time. They may be deleted next time depending on the mod's (any one of us) time and mood.

1976Tele
Contributing Member
*

USA

Misery, err uhh...Missouri.
Dec 27th, 2008 12:14 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Gear Wire's review of SCXD.

Gear Wire Review of SCXD

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