One step up from a Champ?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Gasp100, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm really, really digging my SF Champ I just got from a TGP'er. It really does sound great very clean and slight breakup sounds okay. I'm not crazy about the breakup and harder stuff after about 6 on the volume, but it is "Rock n Roll" and pure power tube distortion I guess. My USA Reverend (and even my MIK Rev) sound stellar through this thing. The USA Rev is very unique (almost a hollowbody thinline) and it has this attack and "immediacy" to the sound through the champ that none of my other amps can even compare. Personally, I think it's a combination of the simple circuit/tubes and the 8" speaker?
    How can I extend the clean headroom on this -or- get the "next step up" with slightly more wattage? I have owned (and played) many a Blackface fender <Bandmaster, Bassman, Deluxe, Gries 5) but they all sound a little darker/duller than this pup. I feel like if I go too big (ie. Deluxe) I'll lose the beauty of what I hear in this extremely simple amp.
    Of course the issue than becomes cash... if Princeton's or PI's are the next step up we are moving from around $350 to around $650, correct?
    Any thoughts? Remember, I'm much more interested in the clean(er) side of this amp, not really the raunchy tweedy side.
     
  2. Sean French

    Sean French Supporting Member

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    SF Princeton or Pinceton Reverb.
     
  3. FloridaSam

    FloridaSam Member

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    Yes. SF Princeton NON-Reverb will get you there. The Reverb model breaks up while the Non-Reverb has much more headroom.
     
  4. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    Guys... $1000+ for Princeton's and PR's in the Emporium??? Give me a f***ing break! I can get a minty Allen Accomplice with more wattage, cleaner build, and modern appointments for close to that... insanity. Why the sky high huge jump? That's disappointing... I'll go with a Gries Tube Twenty or something before I dump cash on a 35 - 40 year old amp at this point. (sorry, venting.... my BF Bandmaster head sold for like $500... I just don't get it).
     
  5. doc

    doc Member

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    Gasp, get a Weber 8F150 speaker and the Area 51 fixed bias kit installed into your Champ. That will do exactly what you want with a total cost of less that $120. Your current Champ will have about 1/3 again more headroom and clean volume than it does currently. You can thank me later!:AOK
     
  6. Guitar55

    Guitar55 Who was that masked man? Silver Supporting Member

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    Has anyone confirmed the rumor of a '65 PR Reissue coming in the May timeframe?
     
  7. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    There's a Weber in there now (I posted the serial info before and someone mentioned what is was, I'll have to double check) but the "area 51" mod sounds interesting. I will research, $120 or so sounds good to me
    :dude
     
  8. TomK

    TomK Member

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    Going in a slightly different direction: I replaced the stock 6L6 with an EL84 / THD Yellow Jacket tube converter and replaced the speaker with a Kendrick Black Frame. This amp in conjunction with my '67 Harmony Rocket (DeArmond single coiles) sounds awesome. Since you already have a decent speaker then maybe the tube converter would work? This is a five minute modifaction requiring no soldering.
     
  9. doc

    doc Member

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    That mod will give you more "crunch" and a smoother overdrive if pushed with a pedal (I've tried it), but will go (as you said) in a different direction on the headroom issue the OP is after. I actually prefer to leave my Champs as 6V6 amps unless I plan to make them overdrive machines. One other thing to try for increased headroom and thickness is one of the new production 6V6 tubes - I think it was JJ or Tung Sol - that is noted to have a bit more output and thickness (discussed on other threads - do a search). I have a pretty good stock of old slightly used 6V6, so I haven't tried that yet.
     
  10. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    I have considered a mod I heard about where they bypass the tone stack (make the treble a pull out knob) so you can make it breakup hard and really tweedy, but if you want to keep the blackface tone (or silverface tone?) you keep it pushed in... I believe the the seller had a JJ in this one as well, but he put in an old assed RCA 6v6 which sounds pretty sweet.
    I guess I'm just not digging the breakup/gain as much as the clean.
     
  11. paddywhack

    paddywhack Silver Supporting Member

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    howabout a Fender Musicmaster....stick a 12' in and off you go...
     
  12. ethomas1013

    ethomas1013 Supporting Member

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    Check eBay. $1000+ is not out of line in the current market. There's a '65 PR with bids over $2000 on there right now. Early Silverfaces commonly go in the $1000-$1100 range. A mid to late 70's model with the pull-gain boost goes for less.
     
  13. Axekisser

    Axekisser Member

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    I have several Champs and Vibro Champs and have found the best combination for me was a SF Champ with an Jensen Alnico Speaker (smoother then the Weber Sig S). I have a Bugle Boy and a NOS Tung Sol with a Mazda or RCA 5Y3 rectifier tube. I changed the "Mid" resistor to about 20K and put a variable negitive feedback control to reduce the NF a little. The amp got a little louder, has less of a mid cut, and is just a little more alive because of the reduced neg FB.

    Great little amp that if miked, can do smaller gigs.
     
  14. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    How many ohms is the champ output? I have a 1x12 cab in house right now but it's 8ohms. I guess the champ also require a speaker cable with an RCA connector on one end???
    What I'd really like to do is put the champ on the cabinet and be able to hear the internal 8" speaker AND the 12" from the cab below it - than AB them to see which I prefer.
    I did see this on ebay (1x12 cabinet for Champ chassis). Anyone know of a place that makes these for a reasonable price? Not sure I want to bid on something that isn't drilled correctly.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=290218550002&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih=019
     
  15. teleman1

    teleman1 Supporting Member

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    Try starting out with the cheaper option; put in a 12at7. If you inteested, I know of 1970 $750 Princeton Reverb.
     
  16. Brent Hutto

    Brent Hutto Member

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    I'll second or third or whatever the suggestion to run the same electronics into an efficient 12" speaker in a big cabinet. There's a lot of volume available from a single 6V6 or 6L6 if you pick up a few dB with the speaker selection and put it in an enclosure where it can really breathe.
     
  17. steadygarcia

    steadygarcia Member

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    That sounds like a great mod that I may have to try on mine. I just put in a Weber Alnico Blue Pup in my SF Champ, and I'm definitely digging the sound.
     
  18. schmerf

    schmerf Member

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    Someone said something about the Musicmaster Bass amp. I've owned a couple of them and own one currently. Soundwise they are in the same camp as the champ just a little bit more headroom and volume through a 12" which I think is the biggest factor. They also have a certain immediacy to them. Very clean yet not subdued and polite at lower volumes and then a nice on the edge of breakup tone before a nice saturated overdrive tone. If you could find one even a non working one you could always use the cab to put a champ chassis in since the cutout and straps are the same size. The size of the speaker to my ears at least has a huge effect on the bass response and breakup characteristics.
     
  19. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    HOLY CRAP! I found a really, really sh*tty rca - 1/4" cable (I think it was actually a dual rca - 1/4" which I had just pulled apart) for testing and plugged it into my Peavey Sheffiled 1x12 (8ohm, 70watt) speaker and it sounds amazing... seriously. I still hear the SF crispy top end (indeed some people don't like this and prefer the rolled off BF tone but I love it with my guitars) and the low end just kills. Actually, across the entire range I think it sounds great!
    The breakup is just a little to raspy/rough and it still comes on a little too soon for my tastes but it's MUCH better/smoother running it through the 1x12. Definitely usable and the cleans come surprisingly well by rolling off the volume on the guitar...
    It's like I just bought a new amp!

    Okay so now here are my questions:
    1. What is the preferred cable to use for this config (mine's a pos and I don't want to break anything).
    2. Any sense in at least trying to find an rca to dual 1/4" splitter (I think radio shack might have these?) to try and run the internal speaker AND the 1x12)? The only reason I would do this is that the 1x12 is low to the ground and if I bought an amp stand, I can't balance the Champ ontop of the cab.
    3. What is an affordable (<$100) speaker that I could install in the Peavey cab to really bring this to life? I guess everyone recommends a more efficient speaker? Higher wattage? 8ohms still okay? Just sold my Blue, but that might not have been a good match anyway.
    4. Do you still recommend a 12AT7 in place of the AX7 to try and get more clean headroom?
    5. I suppose all mods need to be done by a tech anyway, so should I look at DIY kits or just go with a pro who has worked on Champ mods?
    I guess I could afford to drop a few hundred max into this project (got the Champ for $300, but I wouldn't want to go much above another $2 - 300 total to get it perfected).
    More options/opinions/advice welcomed. This is cool!
    Any pedals that work well with this config? I have a buriss boostiest on the way which is like a TS9 on one side and a clean boost on the other. I think clean boosting this when it's around 6.5 on the dial might be sweet. I would imagine a TS9 sounds nice too. When it was in the 8" config pedals sounded REALLY harsh (even pushing it with a Timmy).
     
  20. schmerf

    schmerf Member

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    The Emi Cannabis rex is a nice efficient speaker but can be somewhat dark sounding. Something ceramic will likely give you more headroom. If you really wanted a nice crisp clear sound you could try one of Weber's high powered series speakers speakers.
     

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