Fender Showdown Part IV - The New Champ?

Wednesday, December 31, 2008| by Will Chen

The New Champ?

From a tonal perspective, it’s hard to fault the Super Champ XD’s traditional Fender tones, especially at lower volumes, which faithfully captures the chime commonly associated with Fender’s clean and slightly overdriven tones. It would be a good buy for a project or personal studio trying to build a small yet versatile amp stable to cover Fender type tones. It’s that convincing. Setting up the dirty channel for the overdriven Blackface or Tweed setting and you have a channel switching amp which rivals many all tube rigs costing much more. On the flip side it’s slightly limited in volume and don’t expect studio quality effects out of the extremely stripped down interface. While the amp does provide 16 voicings, less than half will likely see use and even then the lack of a mid range control severely limits the ability to shape the amp’s output.

While the Cyber-Champ doesn’t nail some of the classic Fender sounds as well, the amp generally doesn’t have quite as sweet of a high end as the Super Champ XD, there are plenty of very convincing tones on tap which is loud and versatile enough to make the transition from bedroom to stage and studio. On higher gain tones, the Cyber-Champ outperforms the Super Champ XD handily. The effects sound great and you’re able to run reverb, delay, and modulation at the same time. Additionally, these amps are currently available at a fraction of the original ~$450 USD street prices with new old stock items as low as $200 on eBay, though a slightly rare find.

As with any head to head comparison, the end goals of the player must come into play. Based on the price point and feature set, I have to tip the scales in favor of the Cyber-Champ for the gigging guitarist due to its versatility and low end thump. Though based on simplicity of operation and classic Fender tones, bedroom rockers and studio cats will likely find a great match with the Super Champ XD.

Head to Head Specs...

Amp: Cyber-Champ Super Champ XD
Price: ~$200 USD ~$330 USD
Pros: Solid tones, excellent effects, gigable volume. Excellent traditional tones, dead simple interface.
Cons: Less than ideal responsiveness on some settings. No traditional effect bypass. Odd background hum on some settings. Amp doesn’t handle high volume very well. Poor effects implementation.
Preamp: Analog w/ digital switching Digital/12AX7 buffer/phase inverter
Effects: DSP, 3 at once DSP, single
Power Amp: 65 watts solid state 15 watts 6V6 tube
Speaker: 12” Celestion G12T-100 10” Special Design
Weight: 30 Pounds 24 Pounds
Presets/Channels: 21 (14 factory, 7 user defined) 2
MIDI: Yes (In/Out) No
Line Out: No Yes
Ext Speaker: No Yes (by unplugging the main speaker)
Headphone: Yes No
Tuner: Yes No

Part I|Part II|Part III|Part IV

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Filed Under: Fender, Reviews