Sometimes you don’t want to “turn it up to 11”, you just want a high quality practice amp to help you hear yourself loud and clear. So how does the Fender Champion 20 compare to other practice amps? Should you add it your stack? Or throw it in the trash? Read the review below to find out.
- Width: 35 cm
- Height: 32.5 cm
- Depth: 19 cm
- Weight: 5.4 kg
- Speaker: 8 in
- Output: 20 watt
- Voltage: 120 volts
- Impedence, total: 8 ohms
- Channels: 1
- Inputs: 1
- Cover: black, “Bronco” vinyl
- Grill: silver, cloth
- Control knobs: black, “vintage style” skirted
- Vibe: “Old School”
- Amplifier Jewel: Red LED
- Handle: Strap, molded plastic w/ nickle plated caps
- Reverb + Chorus
- Delay + Reverb
- Head Phones
- FX Level
- FX Select
- TAP for tempo
Okay so now that the technical details are out the way let’s get to the really important part of the review: how does this damn thing sound?
In my honest opinion, this thing sounds sweet.
It isn’t too quiet (remember, this is a guitar AMPLIFIER) and it isn’t to loud either (remember, we’re talking about a PRACTICE amp here).
I think it is the perfect mixture of volume for an amp of it’s size.
In fact, it’s quite a bit louder than many other amps it’s size.
But it isn’t just louder than many amps it’s size, it’s also much clearer than other amps.
In fact, I own both this amp and a Line 6 Spider that is twice as large and I must say, this amp is much clearer sounding, especially the reverb and twang setting.
You’ll be surprised to know that I often use this amp with my 8-String guitar because of how clear sounding the reverb and twang combination is here.
I love the sound I get from this little champion.
Almost like a mixture of harp and a piano.
Well, let’s go through it’s sound setting one by one and see how they turn out.
Right out of the gate we come to my favorite of the available sounds this amp can model.
I absoluetly LOVE the tweed setting on this baby.
It’s twangy, thin, and crystal clear, just like the music of the 40’s where these amps were originally used.
I don’t play a lot of aggressive souding music, I prefer chords and phrases that are clean, beautiful, and distant.
And this setting excels in this department, especially when you add a little reverb + chorus to the mix.
This setting emulates one of Fender’s most well known and beloved amplifiers: the Blackface (so called because of the black painted face of the control panel).
A great number of hits songs were written on the very amps this model seeks to emulate.
And emulate them it does, and well at that.
The technology here does a good job of taking the classic 60’s sounds of a beloved amp and bringing it to a modern digitized, solid-state amplifier.
It’s convincing enough that if you wanted to learn some Eric Clapton songs, you wouldn’t feel like you’re letting the Slow Hand down.
If you’d rather invert the status quo and play like an American who went to Britain instead of a British person who played American music, then the “British” style amp setting might just be your thing.
This is a great setting for learning some Jimi Hendrix style power rock/blues inspired riffs.
These British style amps have been used for years to great effect by many artists besides Hendrix and now you can be one of them.
It’s crunch enough to have some bite, but no so distorted that you’d be mistaken for a member of Black Sabbath.
Now, on the other hand, if you were going for that aggressive Sabbathy style tone, the metal setting is just right for you.
I’m not the most metal heavy person, but even I can feel the steel in my bones when I start to jam out with this setting.
It’s fuzzy enough to generate those trademark distorted 3rds in the harmonic register, but also clean enough (thanks to adiquate crunch) to have a tight, punchy sound as well.
It’s not the most aggresive sounding ‘metal’ setting on an amp, but is certainly better thatn 90% of similarlly sized/priced amps on the market.
Certainly heavy enough to annoy your neighbors, should the need arise.
The onboard effects are a wonderful addition and give the amplifier added funtionality without the need for external effects pedals or control units.
Granted, they are controlled by a single knob so you can only activate one at a time, but it’s still better than nothing.
Considering this is an entry level practice amp, it does not seem like as much of an oversight as it is an over-simplification.
But then again, when we’re talking about beginner level equipment, simpler is usually better so it’s no big loss.
As for the effects themselves, there are 6 of them in total (outlined above in the technical section) and they’re all pretty good.
Well, the Reverb + Chorus is especially good in my opinion.
I use it all the time and could not imagine playing without it.
It is clean, bright, and beautiful.
The other flanger is pretty cool, though I don’t personally use it that often.
The delay + reverb is excellent if you use the TAP button to match it to the current tempo at which you’re playing or practicing.
You can get some really cool effects if you syncopate the playing of your notes in conjunction with the effect.
So there you have it: my basic review of a basic amplifier.
But “basic” does not mean “bad” especially in this case.
I absolutely adore this little amp and have taken it with me everywhere I’ve went for years.
It has never malfunctioned on me once and it’s given me years of faithful service and outstanding performance.
If you’re just starting out, need something to carry with you to practice, or know any up and coming guitar geniuses, do us all a favor and get them this amp.
No one will regret it.
If you’d like to pick one up you can get it from Amazon by clicking HERE.
I’ll get a nice little comission (at no extra charge to you or Amazon) and you’ll get a wonderful little practice amp, probably the best one for the money around!
I know I love mine and use it every day.