Super Champ XD review by Fender

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 9 (87 votes)
Fender: Super Champ XD
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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.

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Arthur6767
    Just got a good deal on Ebay for 167$. Going to play it through a Trace Elliot 4x12.I'm guessing it will do the trick.
    hahndo
    FYI I was able to use my Marshall foot switch to change channels-does not seem to be Fender specific
    metaldad1955
    I got my fender champ in 2008 when I lived in a condo. and it was a life saver for me. the cleans were very good and the distortion really surprised me for low volume playing. I could never turn it up past 3 and was very happy with that, until I moved into a house. I turned up the volume and it was very muddy, really bad with my epi les paul.so after reading a lot of reviews a lot of people were replacing the speaker with a Ragin Cajun.so I bought one and wow this amp really sounds great at 2. and at 4 will crack your ears. I had this amp for 6 years now and I just replaced the tubes, so I got my moneys worth. I did just order a new 5 watt black star because now my champ is just to load for a bedroom amp. I am not selling it though, she will die with me.
    piranhakeet
    Small correction to unregistered's post--both channels are affected by model selection; there is no "unmodeled" channel on this amp.
    yojimbo9999
    I can't believe the tone that comes out of this less than $300amp.... great job Fender. Does it have the same tonal characteristics and power as a SuperSonic 22, or a Hot Rod Deluxe or Deville combo....hell no, but those amps are 3, 4 or 5 times as expensive depending on the model. You get what you pay for. In this price range, its hard to beat this tone and POWER, other amps in the same price range are good for sure, but imo this little beast has the edge based on POWER output and clarity, and tone versatility. Definitely worth checking out for a test drive...just keep the volume at 2 in the store or they may unplug you!
    rockinstephen
    Let me start by saying that I've owned my SCXD for 6 months now. I waited to write a review because you can't possibly write a good objective review the day you bring something like this home. There are just too many features, and after the newness fades off, there will probably be a few things you hadn't considered. Before I purchased, I read every review I could find about the Super Champ. I gave consideration to what everyone had to say, even to those who wrote their reviews within a day or two after bringing it home. I must agree with what the majority of reviewers have had to say. This is an extremely versatile amp. By now you are probably aware of the many features so I won't go through all of that again. I really liked the idea of an amp that could deliver both tube tone plus a variety of amp models and effects. If I get into a blues jam situation, the tube channel will be ready to deliver. With 16 models to choose from on the other channel, there's bound to be a few you'll like. Of great importance to me was voice 16, the acoustic voice. I play a lot of acoustic guitar so I needed something that could accurately reproduce good acoustic tone. I made sure to try this feature before I purchased and have been very please with it. I also like chanel 15 for a clean jazz tone. I'm no jazz player, but the tone is there through the neck pickup of my Tele. The other voices are fun to expierement with, even the metal ones. I don't play metal, but that sound may come in handy some day. The effects are all both usefull and usable. I don't mind that the presets can't be tweaked. They're set at levels that sound good to my ears. Are there any faults with this amp as others have suggested? Sure, but for $300 there's really not much to complain about. Here's my response to where others have found fault: 1.) Cheap speaker - It's really not that bad if you don't need to play loud. If you're in a band you might want to swap it but I have found it to be perfectly adaquate. 2.) Bad tubes - Again, the tubes are fine for my needs. I may change the tubes & speaker one day, but I can certainly live with the originals. 3.) Presets can't be adjusted - Not important to me, but if you want this, consider a G-DEC. 4.) No protective corners - They probably should have added this as it's not expensive. However, aftermarket protecters can be added. 5.) No mid range control - Not really necessary IMHO. 6.) No standby switch - This one I agree with. That's one feature I would like. There may be others, but I think I've covered most. Keep in mind though, This is a $300 amp. More features could be added, but this would only drive up the cost. You really do get a lot of a amp for the price. I really only have one complaint that a few others have mentioned. When switching from some amp models to the next, the volume can jump noticibly. This is anoying, but after awhile you'll learn to turn your volume down as you learn where the increases are. To summerize, I am very happy with my purchase. For my needs, this amp is about as perfect as it gets. In terms of useable features for the dollar, it's very hard to beat the SCXD. Read the reviews, learn of it's strengths as well as limitations. If possible,try before you buy. I think you'll love this versatile little tone machine...
    antonio1342
    Por el precio,no est mal,pero no es ninguna maravilla y el blues que suena no es ni parecido al de un 65 deluxe reissue,no olvidemos que se trata de un mixto,no de un valvulas puro.
    markleehunter
    Rockinstephe nailed it above. I own one of these, thought of selling it not long ago, then pluggedit in and realized I was making a mistake. The jazz channel turns a solid body into a hollow; that plus any other model and the device is worth what you paid. Effects are OK, enough to get you through a night if you need to. This amp, a cable and a guitar suffice for most gig situations.