This amplifier stands out in its competition with other similar models thanks to the amp voicing that it can provide. You will find 4 dial zones on the Voice channel – these are named Tweed, Blackface, British, and Metal. Although there are 4 main zones, you can slightly adjust the dial between them and give some power to a specific voice.
The result of this is the fact that you have 12 amp voices, and with the help of a small light that alternates between red and green, you can identify if a voice is activated in each zone. So what do those voice names mean?
Tweed is the classical electric guitar voice, portraying the Fender sounds between the 1940s and 1960s. This was a great era for Fender as they created plenty of great amps with good tones in that period.
The next voice effect is Blackface, representing the next style of amp that came after the tweed models. These amps had black hat-shaped controls and black vinyl, and that’s where their name came from. The British voice is similar to actual British amplifiers such as Vox, and the Metal voice will help you get the gain that you need for heavy songs.Buy from Amazon.com for ($129.99)
Despite having all the effects that should remind you of old-school Fender models, this model won’t offer you the full immersion and feel of a tube model. The small speaker measuring 8 inches will make the sound boxy and maybe even thin on some occasions. It will have no issues with pumping out high sound volumes though.
Those that are used to professional amplifiers will feel how moving the dial through the different variations of voicings will have little effect on the voice. However, the gain will be increased significantly from a voice to another.
Main features explained
When looking at an amplifier you can imagine how the amp works and if it’s user-friendly or not. Thankfully, the Fender Champion 20 has been created so that anybody can use it with ease. You can consider it to be a good amplifier for beginners thanks to that. Furthermore, it doesn’t look bad either, coming with an interesting design.
Turning the knobs and making the necessary adjustments you can change the overall sound in 17 different ways. You can use this amp for any kind of song or music. You also have the possibility of plugging in an MP3 media player or any similar devices, and the amp will be able to play the sound coming from the device.
If you have neighbors that always complain about you making noise, you can plug in a pair of headphones and all the sound will be heard in them – the loudspeaker is muted automatically. Because there are a number of cables that you can use with this amp, the model is an open-back one, meaning that there is room to place accessories in the back open cabinet.
This allows for good cable management, but it also looks better and it helps you save space. A general feel about this amp is that it has been created to ease the player’s work when using it and to make sure that anyone playing the guitar on this amp benefits from high-performance.
The size of an amplifier is also a thing to consider, especially for the beginners’ segment, where you want the amp to be as portable as possible. This model has a friendly size, measuring 12.75 inches in height and 13.75 in length, with 7.5 inches in width. This keeps it portable and efficient. Weighing 12 pounds, it’s a device that can be carried by almost anyone.
In its essence, this is a modeling amp aimed at new players, and while some people love these kinds of amps, others don’t. It comes with onboard effects that alter the sound quite a bit. Assessing the quality of these sounds you can hear from the first try that the sheer volume produced by this amplifier is impressive.
Furthermore, there are many presets that you can adjust it to, which is great for a beginner. When you have this amp you can delay buying a couple of pedals, that’s how many effects it comes with. For the purpose of this amplifier, the tones that it offers are great. It is unlikely that you will be plugging it in for grand events or micing it up to be used in grand concert halls or to record something.
Taking that into account and looking at this amp from a beginner’s perspective, for small-scale practice, it’s a great tool to have. With dozens of tones to be found, playing with this amplifier can mean lots of fun. Going through all the onboard effects and voices can take some time, but once you get used to that it will be an interesting experience.
Each new effect seems to remind you of a certain song and you will want to play it. The old-school effects – the Blackface and Tweed really stand out, especially if you also put a bit of gain and some reverb in the mix. Remember that this amplifier is a small one and as a result, it won’t do great with high gain sounds, as it won’t produce too much depth.
Knowing that, it comes as no surprise that the Metal voice is not as good as you might expect, especially if you compare it with some high-end models that do really well in high-gain situations.
When it comes to controlling the overall effects on this amplifier you will find that they are as intuitive as the voices. Moving the dial through the different settings of each effect will give a different tone. The more you rotate the knob, the heavier the effect will feel.
The amplifier comes with tremolo effects coupled with some delay ones. They can be set to a specific pattern using the tap button. You have to tap the button to the tempo you want, and the timing of these effects will set itself accordingly to that tempo. It’s an innovative way of making something like this work.
You also have a wah-wah effect, which is a nice addition for an amplifier like this. Although it doesn’t sound like the real pedal, it can still provide an easy way of obtaining that sound with no extra work put into playing the instrument.
One disadvantage of the way the effects are created is the fact that you can’t group more of them simultaneously. You have to decide between chorus and wah-wah for example. Of course, you don’t really need something like that most of the time, but the fact that this is a restriction can still be an issue for some players.
Of course, the intention was to keep things as simple as possible and efficient at the same time. When constructing this amp they researched what settings players are most likely to group together and they designed it so that they can actually do that, but in doing this there was no room left for some special groupings.
Something like a pure reverb by itself would have been nice, but for an amplifier like this, it’s a hard thing to achieve. You can adjust the FX level, however, and that may allow for some extra customization.
The 20 in the name of this amplifier might also represent the wattage it’s capable of – with 20 watts of power, it doesn’t have the force of something you would want to necessarily use on a big stage. However, it can still be used for playing gigs in certain situations. It all depends on the kind of band you’re playing in and how your band manages sound reinforcement.
When you’re playing in a band you most likely want to use an amplifier capable of delivering at least 120 watts. However, these are usually a lot bigger and they require a lot of work to get on and off the stage. Because not everybody is capable of carrying that weight, and because amps have changed a bit over time, you can use an amp with a power of around 40 to 50 watts. This should give enough force.
For rehearsals, however, you never need something that big. It’s important to note that any time the situation allows it, you should strive for the smallest amp possible. The advantages are clear when using small amplifiers. They are much easier to carry around, easier to set up, and most of the times they require little to no maintenance.
Even when things go dire, you can still troubleshoot a small amp a lot faster. As long as the model serves you well in different environments that you need it for, it’s great. This amplifier has been created to help you play on your own and experiment, and for small rehearsals with the band.
Most of the time, however, you won’t need more than this in an amp, as you will have all the instruments plugged into a mixer, especially in those concert halls where you might be performing, but even in pubs too.Buy from Amazon.com for ($129.99)