Vibro Champ XD review by Fender

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.4 (35 votes)
Fender: Vibro Champ XD

Price paid: $ 150

Purchased from: Sweetwater

Sound — 9
I use my Mexican HSS Strat with stock pickups for this amp. I play everything from: ska, punk, country, classic rock and metal and I find that it can switch between these styles with noticeable differences in the amp. It is a quiet amp good for practicing at home. Although it has enough volume to be a noisy amp at home if you turn it up to 10. The distortion can range from mild gain from a lot of volume and a warm amplifier to a brittle harsh tone that I haven't found a use for.

Overall Impression — 9
I think if you are looking for a cheap amp for home practice this would be a great choice. I can play everything from Jimi Hendrix to Black Sabbath and for the price it is the best thing out there. It is my first tube amp and I have been playing for a year, and it sounds so much better than a solid state that you could get for the same price. The one thing I hate is trying to switch to different effects midway through a song. Although the knobs are easy to understand it isn't as easy as with foot pedals. The effects aren't as good as foot pedals either. I compared this with the Marshall MG 15CDR which I owned previous to this which was terrible. The Vox AC4TV is also nice, but I think it's about $100 more expensive. I wish it had a pedal board attached, but I'll have to buy that myself.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This amp has been reliable and durable. I haven't had any problems with it and I play twice daily.

Features — 8
This is a versatile 5 watt tube amp that can be used for many different genres of music and playing styles. The voice selection knob has 16 different options that can make your sound go from country to metal. I find that not all these voices are useful, but I use several. It also has digital effects built in like: reverb, chorus, vibrotone and delay. However it comes with one channel for each of these amps. It has control knobs for: gain, volume, voice, treble, bass, f/x level, and f/x select. It is great for in-home use as it doesn't get too loud.

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I picked up this amp a few months ago. I purchased it mainly because I was tired of playing through my computer, and not really hearing or feeling the notes. At $130, I think I stole it, as it was AS NEW sitting on a Sam Ash shelf. When I got it home, I tried out a few of the regular settings, of which I thought sounded ok even before there were adjustments. I ran it for a month playing on and off. One day, I left it on for a while, not even really realizing it, then, went back and played a few hours later. Start to play and all of a sudden, sounded like it just "snapped" into sound. The sound improved markedly (perhaps this never hit any break in period). Even on Volume 2 or 3 with moderate gain, this thing totally cranks. I've also wanted a Fender Hot Rod as the tone out of that is just monsterous, but I can get a close tone out of this as well. Not exact but close. If I had to do it again, I might instead opt for the Super Champ X2 due to the USB port and Fender software, but even at $130, it was a no brainer and I've already gotten my money's worth.
    I have played the VC XD in the store and, they are versitle and fun! Someone posted on here earlier that they are just a drive tube and, also a power tube. I believe they actually have two preamp tubes 12ax7 and a 6v6 power tube. I actually have a 1976 silverface myself. It has 2 preamps tube, one power tube and a 5y3 rectifier tube as well. I love my VC! I purchased it used at GC in 95. It has all JJs in it right now but, I still have the original RCA 5y3 it came with. The other tubes it had in it were half ass Russian tubes. I still have those also. I changed out the hideous non-OEM speaker it came with to a Jensen 4 ohm ALNICO magnet P8R speaker. It now sounds far better than when I first got it.
    Correction, my VC is a 1978 not 1976 Silverface. Everything else I posted is accurate. I got crossed up because my Super Reverb is a 1976 Silverface. Cheers!
    I bought one at Sam Ash about 9 months ago. Use it primarily for blues harp and it works great!