Fender Champ 600, Epi Valve Jr., or...?

dhdfoster

Gold Supporting Member
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13,083
I'm looking for a very small, tube amp for my apt. I keep my amp at the rehearsal space, but I'd love to have something small for home practice and recording.

I do want a tube amp, though. I'm not a tube snob, per se, as I use my POD a lot and think it's great. I want a tube amp because I'll be using it with overdrive pedals and I just haven't found that pedals work quite "right" w/ modeling amps.

Any yays or nays on the Fender Champ 600? I've read plenty about the Valve Jr. in that past, but weren't there some improvements made since the first few runs?

Any other suggestions? Nothing boutique, please. I have a Dr. Z and a Fender SFPR. I just need something cheap, but decent, that won't scare the neighbors.

Thanks!
 

syxxstring

Member
Messages
304
The newer Valve Jr's are way ahead of the old ones. I have a V1, a moded v2, and a v3. The v2 and v3 are great, the v1 I need to mod to make it quiet etc...
The Blackheart amps are the next step.
I've played the champ and it doesn't seem worth it for the extra $$
 

dhdfoster

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
13,083
Thanks. Is there a way to tell which version without peaking inside. My local GC has a couple, as well as the 600.
 

fuzz_factor

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,073
I like my Champ 600. Pretty nice clean tones at around 6 on the volume knob, low-gain input with a Strat. I live in an apartment so the small size, decent tone and low volume are benefits to me.

I bought my Champ second hand and the previous owner replaced the tubes with some sort of older stock whose name escapes me. I haven't changed out the stock speaker, but Weber makes a replacement for only around $20.

My first criticism of the Champ is that it has a bit of a hum, but I've heard this varies from amp to amp, so audition a couple if you can.

The Champ can also sound a bit stuffy with gain pedals, but opens up nicely with a larger speaker. I started running the Champ through my Blues Junior's speaker and noticed quite an improvement in the tone, particularly with dirt pedals.

All told, I'm digging the Champ enough to consider selling it and the Blues Jr. and using the proceeds to upgrade to a Victoria 5112 or something similar.

Good luck,

- jeff -
 

Twin63

Member
Messages
531
My buddy just picked up a Blackheart Little Giant over the weekend. He used it at rehearsal Monday night, and I have to say I'm impressed.

Build quality is excellent. It has a 3-band EQ and a 5w/3w power switch. Tone-wise, I thought it sounded very good.

Very nice amp for $250.
 

Chito

Member
Messages
94
Same experience with the Blackheart Little Giant. I've used it during rehearsal too and it rocks. Very impressive for the $$$.
 

mrface2112

Member
Messages
2,032
I've got a Valve Jr head and it's a great little amp for the money, especially once you get rid of the crappy Schwagtek tubes that come stock.

but honestly, sonically speaking, it doesn't hold a candle to any of my old Fender Champs.

what's your budget and why not seek out a silverface champ?


cheers,
wade
 

FloridaSam

Member
Messages
4,511
I bought a "used" Valve Junior V3 at GC for $65.00. Put in an old Mullard EL84 and a Mullard 12AX7. DAMN! I want to hate the Chinese PCB thing but I can't. Through a Fane in a ported 1x12 it screams.
 

Trotter

Member
Messages
6,670
I have a VJ and a Champ 600. The VJ is cool, but I really love the Champ a lot... I put 2 vintage tubes in it, and run it into a 2x12 with greenbacks. Add a good overdrive to the mix and you have some killer tone for the dollar in my opinion!
 

doctorx

Member
Messages
4,468
Keep in mind either of those amps is going to be too loud for an apartment without using an attenuator, especially if you overdrive it with a Tube Screamer or like pedal.
 

chrisrob

Member
Messages
42
what's your budget and why not seek out a silverface champ?
+1 Great amps. I'm currently seeking one out...err trying to find somebody who'll trade me one since i'm broke.

Keep in mind either of those amps is going to be too loud for an apartment without using an attenuator, especially if you overdrive it with a Tube Screamer or like pedal.
Yeah, the valve junior gets pretty loud...go to a music store and turn it up to 6...you'll probably be the loudest person in the store. (I was when the last time I tried one out.) If you want really quiet try the zvex nano amp (expensive) or the little lanilei if you want it really quiet + tube breakup.

You can obviously turn any amp down to lower levels though...you just wont get the breakup where they truly shine.

Of all of those amps I'ld go champ then VJ. You just can't beat the Valve Junior's availability and price though. You can go to GC and come home with one for 140 dollars retail and you can probably talk em down off that.
 

dhdfoster

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
13,083
Thanks for the replies. A SF Champ may be a great option.

This amp would be just for fun. Checking out OD pedals, setting up pickup heights, maybe some simple demo recording, etc.

I'm not really looking for tube breakup at bedroom levels. I like a nice, clean, tube amp sound.
 

mrface2112

Member
Messages
2,032
Thanks for the replies. A SF Champ may be a great option.
if this is "just for fun", source a SF Vibro Champ, put some NOS tubes and a great speaker in it, and you'll love it.

i'd put my '74 VC and an OD pedal against pretty much anything "modern" made (Champ 600, the "XD" amps, VJr, Blackheart, etc).....plus it's easily servicable *and* will go up in value.


cheers,
wade
 

dhdfoster

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
13,083
if this is "just for fun", source a SF Vibro Champ, put some NOS tubes and a great speaker in it, and you'll love it.

i'd put my '74 VC and an OD pedal against pretty much anything "modern" made (Champ 600, the "XD" amps, VJr, Blackheart, etc).....plus it's easily servicable *and* will go up in value.


cheers,
wade
You are preaching to the choir. My favorite amp is a SFPR. That little amp is amazing.
 

Crikey

Member
Messages
1,052
When I played the Valve Juniors, I found that the sound of the combo seemed to mostly be the sound of the speaker in it, and if I had one I'd want to upgrade the speaker. The heads can sound okay, for what they are, but the three that I've heard all sounded different.

When I played a Champ 600, I thought the sound of the combo again seemed to mostly be the sound of the speaker. Early speaker breakup just isn't my thing, I guess. I'd like to hear one through a better speaker.

The flip side is, in an apartment, you're less likely to piss off your neighbors with any given amp through a smaller speaker than a larger one. How good a neighbor are you? :D


Crikey
 




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