Vibro Champ XD review by Fender

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Features: 5
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3 Good
  • Users' score: 9.4 (35 votes)
Fender: Vibro Champ XD

Price paid: $ 199

Purchased from: Sam Ash

Sound — 8
I play it through Strats and it does well with singe coils. Because I like the tweed tone blues sound, the VCXD covers a Champ sound and I can turn it up to get just the right amount of overdrive without disturbing the neighbors. I owned the Crate V8, the Epi Valve Jr. And this amp with the 6V6 sounds more full than those el84 class A amps, even with the 8" speaker. The one thing that dissapoints me is, this amp was created as a Fender blackface Vibro Champ, and the worst effect on this amp is the tremolo (which cuts sustain as you increase the effect level).

Overall Impression — 8
The original tweed champs were one trick amps but did the trick realy well. IMO this amp is also a one trick pony that does the Fender Champ sound real well. Although it has a lot of voices and digital effects, the sounds from them do not apeal to me. I'm in no way saying that the voices and effect are not good, It just takes away the clarity of my guitar and the style I play. Others will have their own likes and dislikes about the amp and how it suit their style of play. And that's fine. This amp was created to market the masses and not just one style of music or one sound. If the Tremolo was anything like the original blackface champs, This amp would make my day.

Reliability & Durability — 8
This is not a gig amp. I run it about 2 to 3+ hours at a time every day. Only time will tell. From how the construction looks, the tubes are mounted to the thin PCB and it has micro components. Very fragile stuff when heat of the transformer and power tubes get hot. On the other hand the cabinet is manufactured wood and the tolex seems sturdy. And, the Fender special design speaker looks built to last. This Chinese Tolex seems thicker than the Malaysan Tolex on the Fender Frontman series amps.

Features — 5
2010 Model. The features have been noted. It suits my home needs very well for rock and blues. I only use voice 1 and sometimes the tremolo. I find most of the effects and all the other voiceings don't fit my style. It's a great practice amp for home. I also use a 5e3 tweed deluxe which is too loud to overdrive at home.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Looked into these, didn like all the presets, found it hard to pick a good small 5W practice amp, ended up getting the Blackstar Ht5, won because it was more straight foward and had had its own voice instead of presets, heard bad things about reliability though
    I've borrowed one of these for possible purchase - very impressed with the performance, options, etc., but concerned about noticeable constant AC hum - even with low volume / gain settings. Is this normal? Or does the one I am testing have a problem? Otherwise it's a great little amp!
    This is an amazing amp!!! my dad has the Vox VT15 and now that I bought this he's jealous of it!! the 5 watts isnt that bad I had it turned up to only about 7 volume and 6 gain on one of the quieter voicings and it was able to play over a high school jazz band in a 300-400 people auditorium