New Fender Champ 600, 2 thumbs up or "the finger"?

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New Fender Champ 600, 2 thumbs up or "the finger"?

Postby texas blues » Sun Jan 21, 2007 9:50 pm

Lots of hoohah over the new Fender Champ from the NAMM show. Too bad its too little, too late. Farty little 6" speaky speaky and they don't mention rectifier tube so have to conclude it is a solid state.
http://www.fender.com/products/search.p ... rs&cat=new

On the link above you will also notice the Tweed Deluxe. Too bad that Fender will be charging double the price for what I paid for my Tweed Deluxe which has a stainless steel chassis and NOS JJ and EH tubes. I am sure they will sell. After all, they supposedly sold out of their limited run of EVH Frankenstein POS guitar which went for 25K each.

I'll give Fender half a thumbs up for finally a doing Tweed Deluxe Reissue with PTP. I would love to try that bad boy out. I give them the finger for jumping on the Epi Valve bandwagon and doing it half ass. with the Champ. Vents? Rants? Opinions?
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Postby allanlummox » Sun Jan 21, 2007 9:57 pm

I've been thinking about getting a small tube amp to use in my Whisper Booth - I'm gonna be checking this out, might be perfect.
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Postby allanlummox » Sun Jan 21, 2007 10:02 pm

Ah, yes - the spec sheet does specify a diode recto.

It's still liable to be the best possible amp to rule my little 5x7x3.5 "kingdom".
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Postby texas blues » Sun Jan 21, 2007 10:03 pm

Lemme backpedal a little and give them credit for the very retrocool TV cab on the Champ.
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Postby ricochet » Mon Jan 22, 2007 12:55 am

A tube rectifier is of little or no importance in a Class A amp. I say little or no because we actually push these things out of true Class A conditions when they're heavily overdriven, but the plate current demand from the power tube doesn't change much. Rectifier "sag" occurs with Class AB amps that considerably increase their power consumption as they're driven hard, with a rectifier tube that's marginal for the maximum current draw of the amp at full load. Makes the power supply voltage drop as the current demand goes up. Causes volume compression and especially weakens the bass response. An amp operating in true Class A conditions draws exactly the same amount of current all the time, whether or not there's any sound being amplified, silent, soft or loud. No sag. There are differences in the static resistance of solid state and tube amps that will change the overall power supply voltage if you come up with some way to swap them for A/B testing (as with the solid state rectifier tube replacements), so that's not a valid test. But I'd never pay for a tube rectifier in a small Class A amp. It's not needed.
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Postby texas blues » Mon Jan 22, 2007 1:25 am

Rico, I disagree with your class A assessment that the tube rect is of little or no consequence. To my ears, it is that compression when class A is pushed that gives it that vintage sound I love. I will also throw this card out there:
Tube vs Solid State Rectifiers
The job of the rectifier is to convert alternating current (AC) which comes out of the wall socket and subsequently the power transformer, into direct current (DC), which is needed to operate all of the circuitry in the amplifier. This process takes place through a device called a diode. Diodes act like a one way valve, allowing current only to flow in one direction.

A tube rectifier has internal resistance. The more current that travels through a tube rectifier, the more the voltage drops. When the voltage drops, the power of the amplifier also drops. The tube rectifier has the drawback of not being able to provide a consistent voltage when it's under load. The other drawback is that the tubes themselves run hot, and can be relatively short lived. Unfortunately, modern day sources for rectifier tubes are not very reliable, and even in their prime these tubes were usually the weak link in most amplifiers.

An amp with a tube rectifier tends to sound much "spongier" in the bottom end. Low frequency notes take more current through the power tubes to reproduce. This increased current causes a voltage drop in the rectifier tube and the amp loses power. So, when more power is actually needed, the amp gives less. Because of this, a tube rectifier amp will sound spongy and more distorted at high volumes. This, probably more than anything, is what gives a vintage amp its sound and color.

A solid state rectifier has no internal resistance whatsoever. It has a very consistent fixed voltage drop that occurs whether there's no current or full current - approximately .7 volts. When an amplifier needs power at low frequencies, there will be no limit to the current that travels through the rectifier. This results in an amp with more headroom that is punchier, more articulate, and able to deliver the goods in the bottom end.

In my opinion, all amps should have solid state rectifiers. I don't believe there are any really good rectifier tubes on today's market and, even if there were, why use them? The technology is obsolete, they are horribly inefficient, and far more expensive and troublesome to build into an amp. These tubes, no matter how good, will routinely need replacing, adding to your maintenance expenses. Besides that, tube rectifiers kill the headroom of an amplifier. If you want that spongy, vintage sound, there are other ways to do it. I have successfully designed and built amps that have replicated that soggy bottom, vintage tube rectifier sound using solid state rectifiers and various circuit modifications.

Of course if you have a vintage amp that uses a tube rectifier, by all means keep it that way! That's what makes it sound the way it does. But if you're contemplating getting a new amp, I recommend avoiding future headaches by staying away from tube rectifiers.

Class A and Class A/B
Class A and Class A/B describe how the power tubes work within the power section. To properly explain the technical differences between these classes of operation would be an entire article in itself. However, the characteristic differences can be summarized as follows:

Class A/B amps tend to have greater dynamics, sounding punchier, tighter, and cleaner, and have cooler running tubes. The Class A amp sounds more vintage and squishy, because it's compressing and distorting more. Tubes in a Class A amp tend to run hotter as well. For the same given tube compliment, Class A/B will produce two to three times as much power as Class A. An example would be an amplifier with two 6L6s in the power section. Operating in Class A, the maximum power we could expect would be around 20 watts, while operating in Class A/B would easily yield 50 watts.

Just for tube life alone, I believe Class A/B is the way to design any amp. The amp will run more efficiently with more power, and you'll enjoy not having to replace power tubes as often. If the tonal characteristics of a Class A are desired, an A/B amp can be carefully designed to do that (the Soldano Atomic and Astroverb are good examples of such a design).

In Conclusion
I hope you've found the information I've provided here interesting and useful. If you're shopping around for a new or used amp, I'm hoping this article will help you better understand what you're looking at. And remember, the opinions stated here are simply that - opinions. Use the facts I've provided to draw your own conclusions.

Now for one final thought. It is an indisputable fact that the finest guitar in the world played through a garbage amp will sound like garbage, yet I see so many guitarists that spend no more time (and hardly anymore money) buying an amp than they would buying a cheeseburger. If you want your sound to be the best it can be, don't sell yourself short - spend some time, look around, and invest in a quality amplifier!

Michael John Soldano Jr.
July 12,1998
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Postby ricochet » Mon Jan 22, 2007 2:33 am

That's all well and good, but in Class A there's no difference in the current draw whether it's played loud or soft, so no sag. No reason to have a tube rectifier unless you just like to see it glow. Which I do, so I might put one in a homebuilt amp just for the hell of it. But not because it'll affect the sound, because it won't. That "vintage compression" comes from the overdriven Class A power tube, not the rectumfrier.
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Postby texas blues » Mon Jan 22, 2007 3:06 am

Tubes glowing? Yep, that much we can agree on. Lights out and tubes hot on a wintry night makes the heart warm don't it?
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Postby ricochet » Mon Jan 22, 2007 3:08 am

You got that right! I love 'em!
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Postby t bone bruce » Mon Jan 22, 2007 10:51 am

I like the look of the Champion 600, but they're listed at $199-250, hardly competion for the valve junior. But a least it has a 6V6! And yes, it's surprising how many people think a tube rectifier will make a difference in a Single Ended Class A amp. Push-pull AB amps are different of course, it will make a difference there, but so many market their PP amps as Class A, when in fact they are AB1 that it's no wonder the myth persists.
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Postby jeffl » Mon Jan 22, 2007 5:21 pm

I guess we'll have to wait until somebody plays through one to get the verdict on it. A Fender's a Fender, so the value depends on how much you like the looks of it. Most of us are too young (even at 55) to remember the TV front amps, and haven't been acclimated to the looks of the things, so it'll remain to be seen whether they sell like the Tweeds,Blackfaces, and Silverfaces. I bet they won't,'cuz for a little more you can get a real vintage Champ, or get a better one built. Still, I commend their effort; it seems Fender is committed to puttin' out retros and reissues, so God bless 'em.
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Postby rustyslide » Mon Jan 22, 2007 10:03 pm

Peavey's got a new one out too. "Windsor Studio" or some such. 15W class A, built-in attenuator. It's not as cheap as the Fender or the Epi, though.
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Postby jeffl » Mon Jan 22, 2007 10:06 pm

rustyslide wrote:Peavey's got a new one out too. "Windsor Studio" or some such. 15W class A, built-in attenuator. It's not as cheap as the Fender or the Epi, though.
Prob'ly too many watts for that lower price range.
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Postby rustyslide » Tue Jan 23, 2007 2:28 pm

Yeah, I got the name wrong (they did just announce the other amp, but it's not analogous like the correct one), it should have been "Peavey Valve King Royal 8"
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Postby bluejay » Fri Feb 16, 2007 7:54 pm

Fender has given the 600 two inputs, one low gain and one high. Will that address some of the concerns on what we can expect out of it for certain tones, and uses -- such as harp vs. guitar?
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