I picked up a Fender Vibro Champ XD this weekend! It’s part of Fender’s “modified” line, so basically they’ve taken the old Vibro Champ and added some new features.
- 5 Watt tube “Class A” power amp
- One 6V6 output tube
- One 12AX7 preamp tube
- 8 inch Special Design speaker
- Voicing knob with 16 different amp voices delivering various clean and overdriven tones for any style of music: blues, rock, country, jazz, metal, and more.
- 16 effects (some are variations/combinations)
- Controls: GAIN; VOLUME; VOICE; TREBLE; BASS; FX LEVEL; FX SELECT
I had been using software for the longest time (mostly Amplitube, but Simuanalog is also worth a mention), but was getting annoyed with always being tied to the computer whenever I wanted to play guitar (a wine red Mexican Strat, if you were wondering).
The great thing about this amp is that it has the warmth and characteristics of tubes, but with modern niceties like amp simulation (via the “voices” knob) and on-board digital effects.
Here are the 16 voices:
1 A vintage tone based on early Fender® Tweed Champ® amps.
2 A fat vintage tone based on early Fender® Tweed Bassman® amps.
3 Heavily overdriven Tweed tone.
4 A bright vintage tone based on early Fender® Blackface™ amplifiers.
5 A bright, slightly overdriven vintage tone based on early Fender® Blackface™ amplifiers.
6 A bright, heavily overdriven vintage tone based on early Fender® Blackface™ amplifiers.
7 A bright jangly tone reminiscent of early British combo amplifiers.
8 An overdriven vintage tone based on early high-gain British stack amplifiers.
9 A high-gain distorted tone based on modern British stack amplifiers.
10 A high-gain overdriven tone based on the Fender® Hod Rod® series of amplifiers.
11 A high-gain distorted tone based on specialized boutique amplifiers.
12 More gain, more sustain!
13 A darker super high-gain scooped metal tone.
14 A sustained super high-gain scooped metal tone based on modern heavy metal amplifiers like the Fender® Metalhead™.
15 A clean amplifier tone optimized for jazz styles with the character of the Fender® Jazz King™ amplifier.
16 A super clean amplifier tone with the character of an Acoustasonic™ amplifier
good for acoustic finger-picking.
Here’s a video that shows off some of the voices (the video was made with its bigger brother, the Super Champ XD, but the voices and effects are the same). There are also some clips on the Fender site.
As others have commented, an effects loop would have been nice. The on-board effects are decent enough, but limiting (i.e. 3 delay lengths, 2 chorus speeds, etc.). Either way I’m loving this amp, especially given the price ($250!). For a 5W with an 8″ it’s surprisingly loud. I haven’t been able to turn it up past 2, although I’m looking forward to it.
In case you were curious, the last time I owned an amp I was still in high school. It was an absolute beast – solid state Peavey Renown 2×12. Loud as hell.