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  1. #1

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    I've been happily relying only my Fender Super Champ XD for weekly big band and other gigs and rehearsals for five years now, over 700+ trips out the door to play music. What a dependable tube amp that was, and still is! It was time to give it a break, plus this season of the year I don't like firing up a tube amp after bringing it in from the winter cold.

    I picked up a new Fender Champion 50XL online a couple weeks ago, just based on the specs, as the model is so new there is very little user feedback available. It is solid state 50W with a 12" Celestion G12N-60 speaker. One clean channel and one modeling channel with 12 different style amp models, plus built in reverbs, delays, tremolo, auto wah, chorus, etc....for a mere $219.

    It only weighs 19lbs and I'm really loving that, because I haul my amp around so much and even my SCXD w/10" speaker was 24lbs. It also follows in the tradition of my Deluxe Reverb and SCXD in that it also only has a bass and treble control for EQ, I'm a big fan.

    I took it right to a rehearsal without even trying it at home and was able to quickly dial in a good sound without much fuss. In the last two weeks I've used it at five rehearsals and one jazz orchestra dance gig in a ballroom sized venue. Volume set at 6.5 and the drummer was miked into the PA. Band director told me to turn down a little.

    I did a rehearsal with an eclectic/electric bass/guitar/guitar trio that covers anything from James Brown to Merle Haggard to Ennio Morricone. Amp has stellar Fender clean tones and the Celestion speaker seems to tame the highs nicely. I used the 70's British amp model and dialed up a nice crunchy sound with reverb/delay that gave me fusiony/rock solo tone somewhere between David Gilmour and Angus Young.

    It's no tube amp, and after using my Super Champ XD with a 10" speaker, this new Fender with the 12" Celestion is giving bottom end I'm not used to, so I'm keeping the bass set low, but all in all, it looks like it's going to be a worthy amp for my purposes. Another big band gig this week, can't wait. This amp is fun and it sounds better every time I use it and fine tune it.

    Last edited by cosmic gumbo; 01-26-2019 at 03:21 AM.

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  3. #2

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    Thanks for the review. I'm looking for a small amp to use for practice at home, rehearsals and gigs in small clubs and similar rooms. I have a Peavey Classic 30 tube amp for larger gigs but would like something smaller and lighter. I'll definitely check this 50XL out! Thanks again!

  4. #3

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    Sounds great! Happy for you that you've found another great amp to use!

  5. #4

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    Cheap and effective, I like it. Thanks for the review. Do the Princeton models sound identical to the ones in the XD ?

  6. #5

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    ...to read positive comments on a new, reasonably-priced solid state combo. Too many of even those who don't dis solid state altogether, are looking at the rear mirror, just as the righteous tube amp prophets, and idolize (memories of?) the Polytones and Fender Ultralites of yore. Why should even this slice of our universe have gone backward? The real prices of instruments, amps and other gear are substantially lower than in the past decades, and reliability has probably improved. Besides, as soon as you play in a band setting, subtle tonal differences get lost in the mix. Personally, however, I think the more EQ bands you can tweak, the better.

  7. #6

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    Sounds like a keeper. Congratulations, and play it in good health!

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmukav
    Thanks for the review. I'm looking for a small amp to use for practice at home, rehearsals and gigs in small clubs and similar rooms. I have a Peavey Classic 30 tube amp for larger gigs but would like something smaller and lighter. I'll definitely check this 50XL out! Thanks again!
    Check out the Champion 20. I imagine the 50XL sounds better because of the larger/better speaker (the 20 has an 8" no-name speaker), but the amp models are the same. The 20 is great for the uses you're describing. It weighs around 12 lbs, and is surprisingly loud - I bring it to jam sessions in small clubs/rooms and it keeps up with drummers and horns.

    John

  9. #8

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    here's a clean demo...with a strat

    sounds like a strat!!

    that's good!



    has a few good things goin for it...12" speaker first and foremost!!...lightweight!...has option of ss version of classic clean fender amp...plus modeling side...for those that like the ease and effects...clever...and cheap $$$


    congrats & enjoy cosmic

    cheers

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by medblues
    Cheap and effective, I like it. Thanks for the review. Do the Princeton models sound identical to the ones in the XD ?
    The amp model selections differ between the two amps, I wouldn't call the sounds identical, but many Fender blackface tones are well represented on the Champion 50xl.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    Check out the Champion 20 the amp models are the same. .

    John
    Actually they offer a new modified set of models on the 50XL.

  12. #11

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    Thanks for the info and the reviews.

  13. #12

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    Just did a gig last night with 20pc orchestra in a big room w/20 foot ceiling. No problem with volume at 6 on amp, 8 on guitar. That 12" Celestion putting out a big sound for a 19lb amp. I'm using the channel 1 default blackface clean sound so far, but channel 2 offers three more clean blackface models to play around with sometime.

  14. #13

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    Hi,

    What is the clean headroom like on this model? Is the speaker too bass-heavy?

    Wondering why no one else seems to have commented on it. Clearly has some excellent clean tones.

    Too cheap perhaps? Not to be trusted?

    Just wondering.

    David

  15. #14

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    As stated, it is solid state and competes with a big band with the volume below 7. Is that enough clean headroom? I think so...

    The Celestion speaker gives it more bottom and mids compared to most Fender amps I've used. Not a bad thing.

    I don't know, maybe it doesn't have that jazz snob appeal because it's a budget amp. I go for sound, dependability, weight, and affordability. It sounds better than a Roland Cube 60 that was once a darling default amp on the forum years ago.

  16. #15

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    Great review! As a Super Champ XD User myself, it was easy for me to envision what you were saying about the features.

    Sounds like Jazz players have another amp alternative to consider.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    As stated, it is solid state and competes with a big band with the volume below 7. Is that enough clean headroom? I think so...

    The Celestion speaker gives it more bottom and mids compared to most Fender amps I've used. Not a bad thing.

    I don't know, maybe it doesn't have that jazz snob appeal because it's a budget amp. I go for sound, dependability, weight, and affordability. It sounds better than a Roland Cube 60 that was once a darling default amp on the forum years ago.
    Thanks for that Cosmic. Exactly as I had hoped and born out by most reviews ( albeit not from jazz players ). It is precisely my Cube 60 ( ten years service, but with it's ever - present, slight, but annoying hiss ) that I seek to replace. I do think you could really be onto something with your last paragraph/sentiment.

  18. #17

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    I had a SCXD some years ago and loved the interface (ie knob layout). It sounded great too, but of course in my never ending quest for "better", it got traded off at some point. But a great amp.

    Does the Champ 50 have a jazz voiced model on it? The SCXD did and it was pretty darn good. Also, I remember liking the first couple of tweed model voices quite a lot, with just a bit of gain on them to add a touch of fuzz to the clean sound. I think the Champ 50 looks like a very useful and easy to get along with amp, especially if it sound good ! Fender knows a thing or two.

  19. #18

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    Thanks for the short review, and all the posts on the Champion 50XL. I'm debating getting rid of my early 2000s Peavey Studio Pro 112, because it's getting kind of ratty, and the Champion 50XL is looking very intriguing to me!

  20. #19

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    Hello Everyone,

    I wanting to reduce the bass of the Champion 50XL more without having to use an EQ pedal. I've done some research and it seems like the Eminence Legend 1258 has the "subdued" and "tight" bass response. The magnet is bigger and the speaker is heavier than the stock celestial in the 50XL Would that have any affect on bass response? Does anyone more highly qualified know if this speaker would reduce the bass response of this amp. For the record, I hate all bass frequencies in my sound.

    Thanks,
    Jesse Sullivan

  21. #20

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    From minimal actual experience with Fender amps, I think the Cannabis Rex might be a good fit. It reduced the bass and made it much less boomy in my Vibrolux Reverb. I have no experience with the speaker you mentioned.

  22. #21

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    get yourself a weber signature series speaker...inexpensive too

    hemp cones are thicker, stiffer, less vibrational cones...gonna enhance bass...you want light paper...weber signatures

    also lower power rated speakers tend to diminish lows...so just get a speaker that just clears your amps power rating..ie...if you have a 20 watt amp, get a 25 watt max rated speaker

    cheers

  23. #22

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    That amp is the darkest sounding Fender I've ever owned, can't imagine using it stock with humbuckers, or I'd be looking at a speaker swap too, maybe a Jensen.

  24. #23

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    All I can say is that in both my Vibrolux Reverb and RE Stealth 10, the Cannabis Rex reduced and cleaned up the bass, and enhanced the mid and treble. The difference was very noticeable to me. I don't see how stiffer and less vibration enhances bass, and my ears tell me the speakers I have do not.

  25. #24

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    I find 10" speakers and 12" speaker to be 2 completely different animals in my experience.

  26. #25

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    I would try out an eq pedal first because you "hate all bass frequencies in my sound".

    you'll be more in control of that than changing the speaker (sorry I know you said you didn't want to do that).

  27. #26

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    Maybe it is time for a new instrument with single coil pickups. There are so many manufacturers the choices are vast. You’ve been complaining about too much bass for a few years now. Maybe you should rethink your entire approach.
    You need a telecaster and a el 84 based amp that has a 25 watt greenback.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    That amp is the darkest sounding Fender I've ever owned, can't imagine using it stock with humbuckers, or I'd be looking at a speaker swap too, maybe a Jensen.
    I played a 100XL yesterday in a rehearsal room, with a humbucker archtop.

    I just couldn't get the EQ right. It sounded annoyingly loud without cutting through properly.
    There was too much of some low mid frequency that sounded loud without hearing what notes were played.
    I was not successfull to filter it out with the available EQ knobs.

    I was perhaps doing something wrong.
    I might have found a better setting if I'd been alone with it for a few minutes, but generally other musicians aren't that fond of it when guitarists spend much time fiddling with their knobs.
    One criterion for "A great amp" is that you can plug a good guitar directly into it and within seconds get a good usable tone, and I would definitely give this amp a failing mark on that criterion.

    I can though imagine that single coil guitar, or just having an EQ pedal, might have worked much better.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by orri
    I played a 100XL yesterday in a rehearsal room, with a humbucker archtop.

    I just couldn't get the EQ right. It sounded annoyingly loud without cutting through properly.
    There was too much of some low mid frequency that sounded loud without hearing what notes were played.
    I was not successfull to filter it out with the available EQ knobs.

    I was perhaps doing something wrong.
    I might have found a better setting if I'd been alone with it for a few minutes, but generally other musicians aren't that fond of it when guitarists spend much time fiddling with their knobs.
    One criterion for "A great amp" is that you can plug a good guitar directly into it and within seconds get a good usable tone, and I would definitely give this amp a failing mark on that criterion.

    I can though imagine that single coil guitar, or just having an EQ pedal, might have worked much better.
    Getting the amp off the floor helps with taming the bass response, as does tilting it back. Why all amp combos don't come with tilt-back systems is beyond me. Leo's best idea ever!

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by orri
    I played a 100XL yesterday in a rehearsal room, with a humbucker archtop.

    I just couldn't get the EQ right. It sounded annoyingly loud without cutting through properly.
    There was too much of some low mid frequency that sounded loud without hearing what notes were played.
    I was not successfull to filter it out with the available EQ knobs.

    I was perhaps doing something wrong.
    I might have found a better setting if I'd been alone with it for a few minutes, but generally other musicians aren't that fond of it when guitarists spend much time fiddling with their knobs.
    One criterion for "A great amp" is that you can plug a good guitar directly into it and within seconds get a good usable tone, and I would definitely give this amp a failing mark on that criterion.

    I can though imagine that single coil guitar, or just having an EQ pedal, might have worked much better.
    With twice the power and two celestions compared to the 50XL, I'm not surprised at all.