Champion 600 Review

manufacturer: Fender date: 01/27/2011 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Fender: Champion 600
A fun and affordable tribute to a rare and historic Fender amp. The new Champion 600 is a 5-watt tube amp with a 6' speaker and 1950 'two-tone' looks.
 Sound: 9.5
 Overall Impression: 8.8
 Reliability & Durability: 8.8
 Features: 7.5
 Overall rating:
 8.6 
 Reviewer rating:
 8.7 
 Users rating:
 8.4 
 Votes:
 43 
reviews (4) 22 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 6.8
Champion 600 Reviewed by: Gutch220, on may 17, 2007
6 of 7 people found this review helpful

Features: First let me say what this amp is and what it isn't. Also, consider the fact that I'm judging it by $200 standards and not $5000 boutique standards. It's reissued from the original from the late 40's early 50's. It's a low to medium-gained amp meant to be played at bedroom levels. Although it can get pretty loud and can easily be played with "quiet drums" and some smooth bass (think CCR, not CoB). This amp isn't made for any kind of metal or "modern music". If your looking for something high gain with lots of features and modeling look elsewhere. The essence of this amp is simplicity. That's what makes it special. It only has an on/off Switch, red light, low input, high input, and a single volume knob that goes from 1-12. It's a very small amp, but weighs a lot for it's size (about 15 pounds, 6.8 kilos). // 5

Sound: I must say I was very suprised at the nice quality of tone you could get out of this. I tested it with a Stratocaster and Les Paul with and without an overdrive pedal. The volume goes from 1-12 but everything usable is from 6-12 as 1-6 is a little too quiet, but volume increases dramatically from 6-12 getting nice power tube saturation at the highest levels. I would say the cleans and light overdrive on this amp slightly edges out the moderate overdrive in quailty. The highest gain you'll get out of this amp is something like "Can't You Hear Me Knockin' " by The Rolling Stones, MAYBE a little more. But if you want to keep the overdrive smooth, this is as much gain as you'll want. The overdrive on this amp is very smooth when dialed in correctly. Also, even though there are two inputs (high/low), they don't make a HUGE difference in gain. It's more suble, but noticable. Which brings me to my next point. The guitar (and its settings) you use will have a dramatic effect on the way the amp sounds. As expected, this is a very "American sounding" amp. Single coiled guitars sound nice and crispy clean on this amp while humbuckers sound a darker, gritty, with more overdrive (as expected). Overall I liked the way the Strat sounded better even though the Les Paul can take it further into overdrive. A strat right at the verge of breaking up on the high input was excellent. I could lay back on the picking and get nice shimmery clean or I could really dig in with chords or leads and take it over the edge. It's easily the best sounding $200 amp I've ever played. // 8

Reliability & Durability: The construction of the amp seems very sturdy and solid. The two-tone tolex is thicker and smoother than normal tolex. The front Fender faceplate is metal, and the strap is leather. The grill cloth is sort of a faux-suede that I would be very careful with. Again, you couldn't ask for better quality with the price. The speaker wire has spade terminals on the end making life easier if you wanted to remove the speaker. Also, the other end of the speaker wiring has an normal 1/4" instrument jack plugged into the chassis via 1/4" input making extension cabinet use easy. // 7

Overall Impression: I would recommend this amp in a second to anyone wanting to keep things simple and wants a basic, inexpensive, low-wattage, low gain, well-built class-A tube combo for the bedroom or light jam sessions for cleans and low/medium-gain classic rock tones. Usually in life you don't get what you pay for, but that's not the case here. This amp exceeded my expections in both sound and quality. If anybody has any general or specific questions, just ask or PM me. This review might seem a little overly positive, but for $200 this amp isn't just good, it's great. The key is it's simplicity. // 7

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overall: 9.3
Champion 600 Reviewed by: Sid McCall, on august 20, 2007
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Features: I bought this amp for the beautiful cleans, and the small size. It is my second tube amp, and I bought it for use in my dorm room. It's the perfect size (6" speaker) and volume (5w tube, which equals about 20w ss). It has two inputs, one for low gain, one for high gain, and is one channel, with Class A circuitry. The only thing I wish it had were a headphone jack, like the Peavey Valveking Royal 8 does. One of the best parts of the amp is the extension jack for another speaker cabinet. The 6" speaker is fine for low volumes, but once you plug it into a 4x12, the thing really screams. // 9

Sound: I use this amp with a Gibson SG and a Fulltone OCD Overdrive pedal, with an EHX Holy Grail pedal for reverb. I get an amazing clean to classic rock tone with this combination. When my guitar is muted, there is no sound coming from the amp what'soever. It's such a smooth little amp. When you use the high gain circuit and crank it up, it gets a very smooth and warm breakup. Like a good Fender amp, this thing takes anything plugged into it and does the sound justice. // 10

Reliability & Durability: It's a very solid little amp, no problems here. My only complaint is that the tolex (is that even tolex) gets marked easily. It rubbed up against my spraypainted case in the back seat of my car, and it left a red streak on my amp. Still, that's purely cosmetic. // 9

Overall Impression: This amp is just what I need for practicing alone in my dorm room, and I can jam with other guitarists with it. It doesn't keep up with a drummer without an extension cab, but that's not why I bought it. If something happened to it, I would buy two more and run them in stereo. Great little amp, especially for the price. Don't think twice, buy it! // 9

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overall: 9.3
Champion 600 Reviewed by: thewho65, on november 26, 2007
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Features: The Champion is a 2007 made amp that is a reproduction of the 1949-1950 Fender Champion in it's "TV-set" incarnation. It has a volume control (that interestingly goes to 12), a pretty ruby power light and standby/on switch, and two line ins, one high gain and one low gain. // 9

Sound: I tested the Champion out with a Fender Mustang and a Grestch Pro Jet. It wasn't that noisy even with the Mustang's single coils. With the Mustang, it had a nice, crisp sound. I didn't get the chance to do any kind of real overdrive, but it has a lot of headroom before it overdrives naturally. With the Pro Jet, the sound was a little bit fatter and warmer. For both guitars I used the Hi-gain line in. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This amp is pretty solid it's very well built and looks great. I'd be a little careful with the suede grillcloth (well it feels like suede) but it is pretty thick. The back is protected with a removable closed back that has an opening at the bottom for the power cord. Still, the suede grillcloth makes me want to be a little careful with this amp. This amp is probably not loud enough for a band practice with a drummer. But, you can play this thing through an extension cabinet. The only thing is that it will look like a TV on top of some speakers. // 9

Overall Impression: I like to play classic rock, punk, surf, alternative, and jazz. This amp is really suited towards those styles, save for maybe punk. You'll probably need an overdrive pedal for that. At first I was a little weary about the lack of any EQ, but it sounds great with just your guitar's tone control. If I get this amp, I'd get an EQ control sometime in the future. I played this amp along with a Vox Valvetronix and a Marshall DSL combo. It's not as great as the Marshall, but it's unfair to compare the Champion to a DSL. This amp is great for anyone Who wants great tone but is only a bedroom player. // 9

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overall: 9.3
Champion 600 Reviewed by: richastro, on january 27, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 113

Purchased from: Dolphin Music

Features: This is a reissue of the original 5 watt Fender Champ tube amp that was released as a student amp. It is BASIC- and I mean basic, an on/off switch, two input jacks and a volume knob. This is the beauty of this amp though, it isnt built to have features- just pure Fender tone, so if your looking for a feature packed amp look elsewhere. Therefore I am giving it a relatively high score here as it has enough features for what it was designed for. // 7

Sound: I'm using a Squier Strat and an Epiphone Dot through the amp and both sound gorgeous. Glassy Fender tube tone through my strat and jazzy cleans through the Epi. I really couldn't recommend this enough for someone who want a good tone at not alot of money. The amp takes a while to warm up- 5 secs maybe- and once its up and going its very silent. I've heard a lot saying the buzz is a problem, though for me not so. Place a pedal before this- I'm using a DigiTech screamin blues overdrive and a Boss FDR-1, and you can get a nice cranked tube amp distortion with it. I wouldn't say its usable for high gain playing- the you wouldn't really buy this is you play metal though. For blues/ jazz/ or country this amp is great, handles SRV tones to twangy tele tones very well. I haven't had chance to crank it up naturally yet as I'm living in a hotel, and despite its low wattage don't be fooled into thinking it can't get loud, obviously for gigs you'll probably want more, but for small venues or practice its loud enough. // 10

Reliability & Durability: The amp is covered in 50's style two tone tweed leather (smells the real deal) and seems very sturdy and well put together. The dial and Switch at the back don't have that plasticy feel with them and seem like they could take a bashing or two. No problems so far. // 10

Overall Impression: I play mainly blues/ jazz/ Stevie Ray Vaughan songs and this is a gift from heaven for me. I'm really not bothered about built in effects in amps as I don't think they can stand up to a decent pedal so the Champ 600 is perfect for my needs. Its small enough and good looking enough to sit in the living room, and I can crank it without going deaf in the process. I have a Fender Champion 30 watt with built in effects and I love that too, though the sound quality- obviously- can't compete with the tube amp. Just brilliant // 10

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