Champion 600 and Epiphone Valve Jr. for harp

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Champion 600 and Epiphone Valve Jr. for harp

Postby jeffl » Thu May 31, 2007 5:02 pm

For the harpers, I'll post a comparison that I referenced on another thread. Yesterday, at my favorite local ma & pa music store, I did an a/b comparison between the Jr. and the new Fender Champion 600. I had recently purchased the Jr.'s bigger 5-watt brother, the Valve Special, primarily for home and rehearsal/jam use. I played the Champion 600 first, and found it to be very much like my '78 Silverface Champ: plenty of upper end response, and not much bass response. Initially, I had plugged into the higher gain jack ( the amp was sitting on a rack about a foot over my head and I couldn't see the jack labels ), and immediately hit feedback without even pushing the amp past about 6. I switched jacks, and the old Silverface sound came pouring out. I ran up and down the scales and played some leads and chords. When the amp was pushed, the crunchier sound came, but the low end response remained a little weak and muddy. Still, a decent serviceable practice amp.... When I fired up the Epiphone Valve Jr., I immediately heard the results of its bigger 8" speaker ( Champion's is 6"), and bigger cabinet. Alot more balls at lower volumes; it should get you the crunchy tone at moderate practice volumes, where the Fender has to be pushed to levels that might get your bandmates complaining during rehearsals. The Champion's cabinet looks better, and is made out of classier materials, while the Epi gives away its cheap Chinese origins, albeit retaining a cool retro look. After playing through the two Epiphones, I'm beginning to suspect that the biggest Epi sibling, the 15-watt Valve Standard would probably make a great inexpensive gigging amp; I've got to test drive one of those soon.
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Postby thebluesbox » Thu May 31, 2007 11:13 pm

harpsucker did a youtube on the 600 and it sounded terrible.
he had it wayyy too high and way too distorted.
my pal kingley from my forum 'the blues box' posted his version on youtube where he did a compairison and his did it a little justice.

Just from hearing the samples I find them too bright and thin, any smaller amp with a 6 inch speaker will be somewhat thin some got more balls then others but for the most part an amp this small will be rather thin.
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Postby kingley » Sat Jun 02, 2007 12:39 pm

My YouTube video that BluesBox is talking about A/B tested the Epiphone Valve Jr against a HarpGear 5F1 Standard.

You can find it here: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=Kingleyharp

It sounds a little rough as I was using my Laptops built in mic to record it. But it gives you an idea.

I agree with BluesBox about Harpsuckers video, the Fender Champion 600 did not sound great at all. But I suppose it might make a good pratice amp or maybe it would sound better if it was modded.

Hope this helps
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Postby brianp » Thu Jun 21, 2007 2:21 pm

Did they ever fix the hum with the Valve Jr? I had one for fun in the beginning and it hummed like a school choir. Paul what preamp were you using in the HG? If you are going to do a volume knob to volume knob comparison you might want to use the same preamp combo to ensure even gain. Otherwise the comparison isn't fair. Not that I think the HG was represented in a poor way, it sounded great as did your playing but it might have sounded even better. Just curious.

Thanks,

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Postby kingley » Thu Jun 21, 2007 2:57 pm

Hi Brian,

Both amps were played as stock with just a mic and both were played dry.
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Postby brianp » Thu Jun 21, 2007 3:07 pm

Cool, does the Valve Jr coming with a 12AT7 stock? That would really help make it harp friendly. I never really looked in the one I had because the hum was so bad I didn't even want to mess with it. Did yours have the hum or did they add more filtering?

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Postby ricochet » Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:05 pm

No, it comes with a 12AX7 stock.
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Postby kingley » Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:35 pm

Mine has never had the hum problem Brian.
I guess I got a good one!

It comes as stock with 1 X 12AX7.

It's not as good as a HarpGear, but for the price it's not bad.
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Postby brianp » Thu Jun 21, 2007 5:14 pm

I agree it's a good amp. I recommend it often to beginners. I just tell them to try and play it first. What I was saying in the previous post was that if you put a 12AT7 in the HG1 you will get more drive and volume on 4 which would truly make the comparison accurate for the amps. The one you have probably has the 12AU7 in it and the comparison is skewed if the gain on the preamp is different. I'm not asking you to do the sample again I am just suggesting you try them next to each other using the same preamp gain. If the amps were played in the stock configuration the VJ would have the 12AX7 in it. You changed the preamp tube to optimize that amp and didn't change the preamp to equalize the amps. Does that make sense?

Thanks!
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Postby kingley » Thu Jun 21, 2007 5:34 pm

Hi Brian,

Yes that makes perfect sense. I see what you mean now.
See I told you I was thick! Ha ha ha! :D

The HarpGear had the 12AY7 in it by the way.

Mmmm I may actually do the video again soon though, because that would obviously make a big difference and really show the huge differences between the amps I would think.

To me playing a HarpGear amp is like driving a Ferrari.
Whilst playing an Epiphone Valve Jr is like driving a ford.

Both get you to your destination but the Ferrari gets you there faster and is a whole lot more fun to use!
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Postby kingley » Sat Jun 23, 2007 12:02 pm

Well I have done an A/B comparison again of both amps using a 12AU7 (the same make of valve in both amps).

My conclusions are that the HarpGear (as I expected) has far more bottom end and presence than the Epiphone. It comes alive when you play it and sounds like a wild cat waiting to be released from it's cage.

The Epiphone although a good amp does sound weak in comparison, and certainly lacks the presence of the HG.
Mind you I would still recommend it to those who are just starting out, or to those who are on a tight budget.
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Postby brianp » Sat Jun 23, 2007 1:13 pm

Did you end up playing them above 4 or did you keep them both at 4 again? I would love to hear a smaple of the comparison if you ever retake it.

Thanks,

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Postby kingley » Sat Jun 23, 2007 1:29 pm

I kept them both at 4

I did a video but the sound is crap from my laptops mike.
I'll email you a copy of it Brian.
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Postby brianp » Sat Jun 23, 2007 1:58 pm

The EVJ is still a great deal. I will still recommend it for the guy on a budget for sure.

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Postby kingley » Sat Jun 23, 2007 2:27 pm

Oh yeah for sure Brian.
I would recommend them to anyone would couldn't afford a HarpGear.

The VJ is a great little amp for it's price and with some mods it can be made even better I believe.

The VJ is definitely better than the Fender Champion 600 in my opinion. Now if only Fender had stuck to the original spec for that amp!!!!

But it'll never compete with a HarpGear that's for sure.

Different animals altogether really.

I believe that the circuit for the VJ is based on the Gibson Les Paul GA5. Whilst the HarpGear is based loosely on the '54 Fender Narrow Panel Champ, someone correct if I'm wrong!

The only common factor is that they are both approx 5 watt class A amps.
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