The best thing about tube amps is that they produce a rich, organic sound, no matter how far away they are from the market; a performance that even the most advanced solid-state amplifiers can hardly imitate. The disadvantage is that most tube amplifiers are too bulky and powerful for practical home use – until recently. Following manufacturers such as Carr, Emery and Bümbox, who each presented their own version of a low-power tube amp for home use, Fender introduced the Fender Champion 600 electric guitar amp.
Although this little animal is generally considered a remake of the late 1940s championship, it is rather a tribute with some significant differences. While the original champions, for example, had a 6SJ7 preamplifier, the current versions are powered by the 12AX7 preamplifier section, which offers much more amplification than the former 600 champions. Fender has also managed to reduce the price of the amplifier to just $200 thanks to Chinese production.
To be honest, I’m a big fan of vintage design amps, and I fell in love with the Fender Champ 600 as soon as I saw it. But don’t be fooled by ’50s amps in a two-tone makeup style that is charming in its own way. The championship is built quite solidly and it is unlikely to fail by you in the near future. The two-tone Tolex used for the outer shell of the amplifier is much stronger than the standard Tolex, and the front panel is metallic. So this amplifier can really take a beating. The only noticeable weakness is roasted suede fabric which, if not handled with care, can be torn into pieces.
The amplifier interface is simple and contains only two inputs (low and high gain), a volume control from 1 to 12, an on/off switch and a vintage red display.
With a Champ from $600 to $200 and a small size, the sound produced by this amplifier is truly exceptional. The pure tones are clear and detailed and have a depth that is incredibly rare for amps in this price range. The amplifier also falls apart perfectly from about 8-9, and the distortion is pleasant and organic. The number of farewell letters also depends on the used pickups of the guitar, but the Champ 600 rarely goes beyond the classic rock riots of the sixties. And if you’re looking for a sound with higher amplification, you can always connect a simple pedal with higher amplification.
What’s really great about this amplifier is that it emits heat into the tube, even at low volumes, making it a great drive and jamming the amp. And if you increase the volume to 12, you can also let the weight of your hand string dictate the amount of distortion without having to change the settings.
In addition to its attractive appearance, comfortable size and robust construction, the greatest strength of the Champ 600 is its ability to produce a full, clean sound as well as a pleasant crispness of the house’s volume. And frankly, it would be difficult for you to find another amplifier that offers the same amount for $200.
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