Price paid: $ 300
Purchased from: Sweetwater
Sound — 9
I use this amp with a Yamaha AES620 and an Edenhaus Custom. Both are HH configuration but the Edenhaus humbuckers can be split. I play a variety of rock styles a la U2, Chevelle, Hoobastank, 3 Doors Down, etc. I bought the amp to replace a Genz-Benz El Diablo. The Genz-Benz was way too much amp for my needs and way too heavy. I wanted an amp that had nice cleans like the Genz-Benz and the Super Champ did not disappoint. It can give every tone from super warm cleans to near Mesa Boogie high gain saturation. My only complaint about the tone is that the treble and bass controlls don't make much change to the modeled tones. For example, I generally run Tweed or British settings and wish I could get just a little more highs out of the EQ. Switching to HOT Rod settings and the highs are almost blistering. It runs pretty quite except at full gain on the "Hot Rod" models which are about as noisy as a high gain amp at full gain settings. The amp has a special design 10" speaker that sounds very good at all the settings. I am interested to try the amp through a 12" speaker like a Celestion Vintage 30 or something similar. Overall the tones this thing can put out more than cover the styles I play. It is very versatile and has a ton of volume. If you're playing a large venue, just mic it and run it through the FOH.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall I like this amp and the tones seem to get better the more I use it. I have been through close to 20 amps over the years and this amp is very nice and was a great price. I would most likely buy it again if it was lost or stolen. I looked a several other amps in the same price range but I went with the Super Champ because of the warm cleans and overall versatility of the amp.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I have to mark down here because of the overall construction of the amp. I understand that Fender had to cut corners in order to reduce the costs of the amp but I would rather have paid a little more and gotten better quality. The input and output jacks are all plastic PCB mount; one false move and they will break. I had this happen on a Fender London 185 I used to have; I bumped the input jack and that was it! The main PCB on mine is slightly warped because the output jacks were not drilled in line with the PC board mounts. I guess the QA department thought it would be OK and said ship it. Hopefully this won't pose any problems in the future. I also don't like the fact that the tube sockets and potentiometers are all PC mounted as well. External components that are PC mounted almost always create potential problems down the road. As is common in today's amps, the cabinet is GARBAGE particle board. The cost difference between particle board and decent grade plywood isn't that much. I don't understand for the life of me why they use particle board. Needless to say, I will be making a new cabinet for the amp when time allows. A few bucks more for the amp would have been worth it if they had spent a couple bucks more on the quality of the build. But hey, you get what you pay for and a tube amp for $300 ain't too bad. I haven't had the amp long enough to run it through its rigors so my rating is based solely on experience and observation of the quality. But, Fender has a 5 year warranty so that's saying something.
Features — 8
The Fender Super Champ XD features two channels; clean and, for lack of a better word, modeled. The clean channel is a straight forward tube channel with warmth and clarity. Is has a single volume adjustment. The modeled channel features a 16 model selector switch a gain adjustment and volume control. Both channels share common treble and bass controls and effects section. The effects section has effects selector and level controls. The effects are: Reverb/Delay, Delay, Chorus/Reverb/Delay, Tremolo and Vibratone. I gave an 8 for features because the fact that modulation and delay effects cannot really be controlled separately; it would have been nice to have the modulation and reverb/delay separately switchable. The chorus selection does include delay or reverb but it is rudimentary and fixed. The amp is pretty basic which is what I like. I generally dial in a couple different tones that I like a stick with them so a modeling amp with 10 million presets is not for me. I like the fact that it has a tube pre and power amp so the cleans are very nice. Overall the features meet what I need from the amp. Oh, and it's small and easy to move around. Don't let the 15 Watts fool you. It is loud.