Silverface Champ vs. Pro Junior

The lowdown on the Mississippi Sax. Just for Google, this section is about harmonicas.

Silverface Champ vs. Pro Junior

Postby jeffl » Fri Apr 21, 2006 9:44 pm

I stopped at my music store today and blew thru a Pro Junior (new); I like the tone on my unmodded '78 Silverface Champ better,hands down. I was usin' my Dano slap-echo for delay,and it's possible that the Dano is not well mated to the circuitry of the newer Fender,but otherwise,I think the Champ breaks up nicer (of course,there is a power difference,but I had the Jr. cranked). Whadda yuse guys think?
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RE: Silverface Champ vs. Pro Junior

Postby kingley » Sat Apr 22, 2006 4:48 am

Hi Jeffi,

I own a Pro Jr and find it to be agreat harp amp.
The Champ will go into overdrive more easily than a Pro jr due to it being a smaller amp with a tube rectifier, 1 power tube, 1 preamp tube and it's 8" speaker.
I would say that if you are happy with the Champs tone then don't bother buying a Pro Jr.
If you want a slightly bigger amp then I would buy either a Fender Bassman Reissue or if you want something in between, then I would go for a Blackface Fender Princeton or even a Gibson Maestro.

Hope this helps
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RE: Silverface Champ vs. Pro Junior

Postby jeffl » Sat Apr 22, 2006 10:40 am

>Hi Jeffi,
>
>I own a Pro Jr and find it to be agreat harp amp.
>The Champ will go into overdrive more easily than a Pro jr
>due to it being a smaller amp with a tube rectifier, 1 power
>tube, 1 preamp tube and it's 8" speaker.
>I would say that if you are happy with the Champs tone then
>don't bother buying a Pro Jr.
>If you want a slightly bigger amp then I would buy either a
>Fender Bassman Reissue or if you want something in between,
>then I would go for a Blackface Fender Princeton or even a
>Gibson Maestro.
>
>Hope this helps
>Kingley
Thanks for your reply Kingley. I already own a larger tube amp for giggin'--a Peavey 30 with the first pre-amp tube swapped down to a 12AT7. I wuz just toyin' with the newer Fender to see if I'd prefer to use a Pro Jr. for rehearsals,jams,open mics,etc., instead of the Champ. I've been happy so far with both the Champ and the Peavey,but I'm not giggin' at all right now,so the Champ's gettin' all the work. It works fine for small clubs,when I mic it; it's just not big enough as a stage monitor at higher band volumes.
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RE: Silverface Champ vs. Pro Junior

Postby angerboy » Sat Apr 22, 2006 4:31 pm

>Thanks for your reply Kingley. I already own a larger tube
>amp for giggin'--a Peavey 30 with the first pre-amp tube
>swapped down to a 12AT7. I wuz just toyin' with the newer
>Fender to see if I'd prefer to use a Pro Jr. for
>rehearsals,jams,open mics,etc., instead of the Champ. I've
>been happy so far with both the Champ and the Peavey,but I'm
>not giggin' at all right now,so the Champ's gettin' all the
>work. It works fine for small clubs,when I mic it; it's just
>not big enough as a stage monitor at higher band volumes.

I've played through both. There is nothing wrong with a Pro Junior or a silverface Champ. If you buy a used Pro Junior, you aren't taking much of a risk. They regularly sell for about $200 used. To me, they sound okay out of the box.

If you're playing in a small club and can't hear a Champ that's pointed in your general direction (i.e. your head), there is something wrong with the amp or you guys are playing too loud.

After trying a multitude of amps, I ended up building a tweed Champ clone. Mine is pretty darn loud. It's about as loud as many Pro Junior's. It takes a lot of abuse.
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RE: Silverface Champ vs. Pro Junior

Postby ricochet » Sat Apr 22, 2006 4:50 pm

What really makes the Champ go into distortion more easily isn't anything to do with the tube rectumfrier, it's that it's a single-ended Class A amp, and the Pro Jr is a push-pull Class AB. The single ended and push-pull topologies behave quite differently when pushed past their originally intended limits. I like little single ended amps, the two I use most being an Electar Tube 10 and an Epiphone Valve Junior.

The Electar Tube 10 is a somewhat Champ-like little amp with a Fender-like 3 range tone stack, a 6L6 plugged in in place of the 6V6 (but the voltages and bias resistor are what Fender used with the 6V6), and an 8" speaker closed up in a too-small closed back combo cab with port holes in the baffle board. Way too boomy and muddy on the bottom end as it came, but putting a Jensen MOD in it toned down the bottom end just enough, enhanced the treble, boosted the overall apparent volume and really improved it all around. And the 8" 20W MOD only costs something like $18 plus shipping from lots of dealers. I love stuff that works great and is cheap to boot! Weber's Ceramic 8 has often been recommended for these amps, with similar results. (The stock speaker in the Epiphone Valve Junior has been said to be one that's also sold by Weber, and I love its sound in that little open cab. It's surprisingly loud, too.) Plugging most little amps into a big cab will improve what you hear out of them markedly.


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RE: Silverface Champ vs. Pro Junior

Postby jeffl » Sat Apr 22, 2006 4:51 pm

You're right about the volume stuff,Angerboy; nonetheless,I play with two bands who play at a volume level that renders the Champ useless for a stage monitor. I'm a sideman who doesn't dictate the volume. I tend to keep my mouth shut about things that are in control of the frontman,unless it's a huge deal to me. I've got my Peavey Classic 30 for the gigs that I know are gonna be loud. I play an open mic on Wednesday nites,with 3 good musicians on drums,bass and guitar,and those guys play at volumes that my Champ handles easily,although mic'ed,but it cuts through on stage. Oh,and there's nothin' wrong with the Champ..it's been all gone through,with the necessary new parts this year ($80.00,incl. labor).
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RE: Silverface Champ vs. Pro Junior

Postby bosco » Sat Apr 22, 2006 9:58 pm

if you want something in between, then I would go for a Blackface Fender Princeton...

Be prepared to get a second mortgage on your house then. I give my left nut for Blackface Princeton Reverb, pretty much the holy grail of harp amps, barring an original 59 Bassman. unfortunately they are highly sought after by plankspankers too, which drives the market price way up.

Angerboy-

I agree that you oughta be able to hear a Champ pointed at your head. Unfortunately no one else seated in the bar can hear it over an electric blues band. 6 watts and 8 inches doesn't cut the mustard playing with two guitars, bass and drums...and I play with 50 year old professional musicians who know what control and dynamics are. You need 12-15 tube watts and 10 inches moving air for all practical purposes. Hence the term "tweener'.

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RE: Silverface Champ vs. Pro Junior

Postby angerboy » Sat Apr 22, 2006 10:13 pm

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Apr-22-06 AT 06:14 PM (EST)]He said the Champ was being amplified through the PA and that he couldn't hear it as a stage monitor. If the band is playing that loud, he would probably need to amplify the Pro Jr, too. He'd be better suited using his Peavey with a bad that loud.
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RE: Silverface Champ vs. Pro Junior

Postby bosco » Mon Apr 24, 2006 11:35 am

agreed.
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RE: Silverface Champ vs. Pro Junior

Postby barbequebob » Mon Apr 24, 2006 7:00 pm

DanEcho pedals often needs to have its iimpedance readjusted because when using crystal/ceramic mikes, as well as amps that are based on 50'S tweed Fender designs, BOTH of hich are ULTRA high impedance, can make it a problem, especially with noise, because of the impedance mismatch. Black face Fender designs are of a lower impedance than a tweed set is and this may be your problem. Champs have always been terrific harp amps as well as recording amps.
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RE: Silverface Champ vs. Pro Junior

Postby angerboy » Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:17 am

FWIW, almost every review of the Epiphone Valve Junior combo mentions noise and hum. The early reviews of that Valve Junior head have that problem solved.
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RE: Silverface Champ vs. Pro Junior

Postby ricochet » Wed Apr 26, 2006 1:17 am

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Apr-25-06 AT 09:18 PM (EST)]The Valve Junior combo does hum a good bit, though no more than lots of vintage tube amps. On mine, it was a steady 60 Hz hum that did not vary with the volume control. The apparent source of this hum is a poor decision in the layout of the printed circuit board, putting the 6.3VAC heater current traces on the board next to the grid lead for the second section of the 12AX7, parallel to it for about an inch and maybe 1/16" away from it. That's not easily fixed. Since it's so easy to rectify the heater current, I rigged up a bridge rectifier and filter capacitor to do that. In my case, though, the added demand on the heater secondary of the transformer from rectifying it caused an electromechanical hum from the transformer. Plain unrectified AC is a nearly pure sine wave. When it's rectified into a capacitor-input filter, current can only flow in short bursts when the instantaneous voltage of the AC waveform is higher than the voltage stored in the capacitor, which ramps up on each cycle with that brief peak pulse, then slowly declines until the next. All the current that would have flowed through the whole AC cycle passes during those brief pulses. High current flow causes a magnetic constriction of the laminations of the transformer core, and that makes a 120 Hz buzz with lots of higher harmonics. It's not as loud as the 60 Hz hum, but is more noticeable because it gets into frequencies that the ear is more sensitive to. Transformers vary a lot, and one with more tightly assembled laminations might not hum as much as mine. The 60 Hz hum that didn't vary with the volume went away. Now there's only a very faint 60 Hz hum that does respond to the volume and can't be heard till it's approaching the 12:00 position.

But all this stuff about the hum has been way overblown. I wasn't really bothered by the hum of mine before, and I'm really not bothered by it now. It was just an experiment. Amps that work off of AC will hum, to greater or lesser extents, and the particular routes the hum comes through vary. My Pignose G40V is a real hummer. It's a fairly high gain amp built on a very crowded chassis, and the power transformer's too close to the very sensitive first amp stage. I could help it by replacing the heater wires under the chassis with tightly twisted pair, as some of the hum field is from separated, parallel wires with AC on them.

Pay no attention to the suggestions to add larger filter capacitors. My Electar Tube 10, as quiet an amp humwise as you'll find, has the same 22 uF filter capacitors as the Valve Junior, and in the tube era those were quite respectably large filter caps. In fact, if you tried to run a 5Y3 rectifier tube with a bigger cap than 22 uF, you'd probably fry it relatively quickly. Unfiltered or poorly filtered full wave rectified AC makes a 120 Hz hum in the US, and 100 Hz in most of the rest of the world. That wasn't the original problem, it was 60 Hz, which means the source was not rectified current.

My heater rectifier's set up reversibly. The wires can be unplugged from the rectifier and plugged back in just like they were for comparison. (After removing the chassis from the amp, which I don't like to do often.)

Several people have set up sites detailing mods of these amps. Start with this one, and you can link to others: http://valvejunior.com/

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RE: Silverface Champ vs. Pro Junior

Postby jeffl » Wed Apr 26, 2006 10:36 am

Congratulations,Rico...yer therapy sessions have been working,I see: you're starting to talk about rectifiers without always referring to them as "rectumfriers". Now,if we just increase the voltage of the treatments a little more......
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RE: Silverface Champ vs. Pro Junior

Postby ricochet » Wed Apr 26, 2006 4:08 pm

Well, you've got to admit, these little silicon diode thingies just aren't a REAL rectumfrier like a 5U4GB.

(I've seen an actual X-ray of a 5U4GB, which I recognized immediately, in someone's rectum. I didn't hear the story that was offered to explain its presence there.)

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