Submitted August 2, 2016 by Joe Lappin in Lowell, MA
"Long Review From BIG Fan!"
zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
I had been planning on buying myself a VOX AC30 (and I still *do* hope to buy one at some point, some day), when two things happened.
I fell in love with a particular guitar that I just *had* to have...
My girlfriend had sparked an interest in synthesizers and keyboards...
I decided I'd tuck the AC30 back safely into my dreams and grab the guitar, a microKORG for my girl, and then... just some... other amp of some form, with whatever I had left.
I'd all but decided on a Bandit 112-- I'd owned one before, in the 90's, and I loved it. It was in the price range, it sounded great, it was in the bag; a no brainer!
But then I saw the Champion 100 online. I couldn't find any decent video reviews, and I don't much rely on them anyway, but nevertheless I was now torn. I *had* to find and play one. After finding nothing but forties everywhere I tried, I finally tracked one down. Bonus points, they had a Bandit 112 on hand, as well!
After playing the both of them, I was no longer torn.
The Bandit 112 is an awesome amp, and I'd still love to own one, but the Champion 100 far surpassed what I was looking for or expecting at this newer, much more narrow price point.
Far from simply being a matter of "two speakers means it's better than one speaker", the broad variety of features provided a much more robust set of tonal capabilities and offered a more inspiring set of possibilities.
Is it an AC30? No.
Am I *at all* disappointed in my purchase? No. No. No. No. No. No. NO!
The sound is awesome!
Extremely versatile, this thing can get -dirty-, and packs more gain than you'd probably expect in those there 'Metal' voices.
The British voices had me playing Judas Priest so loud the neighbors showed up... and requested Thin Lizzy! One switch, no problem.
Of course, it cleans right back up with some standard Fender sparkle, moving along through the slightly muddier cleans of the Tweed and Blackface eras along the way.
On top of that it's packed with plenty of on-board effects that do range in usefulness.
I never could get the 'auto-wah' to sound even slightly okay, but then again, I've never been able to get *any* auto-wah to sound even -slightly- okay.
The tremolo also felt off to me; slightly weak and, 'artificial', sounding.
If you're unsatisfied with the range of effects presented by the amp, that's not a problem. With it's amazingly transparent Fender tone, this amp is perfect for effects pedals. There is an effects loop as well, located on the face of the amp, but I haven't actually had a chance to use it yet. I've been running all my pedals straight through the front and have had no tonal issues to speak of. From delay, to chorus, to, of course, distortion and overdrive, they all shine when you run them through this bad boy. Except for phasing--this amp doesn't do phasing, and will only produce a low static hum if you try. I'm kidding, of course, it handles phasing just fine!
Hoo-baby does this thing get loud! I've read reviews that claim it doesn't. Maybe I've got sensitive ears.
To be fair, I have limited live setting experience with this particular amp, however I have played it with another guitarist and drummer and I cut through the mix just fine.
In my apartment, I have to keep it below three if I want to be considerate.
Features, features, features!
Knobs! Switches! Cables!
This amp features 2x12" speakers, two channels, and a variety of amp 'voices' and effects meant to further modify your sound and comes in at 100 watts *and* includes a footswitch, which is something I somehow missed before I bought mine, so I was pleasantly surprised.
I *could* do a run down of the bog-standard, *x-number* of voices, blah-ze-blah, but you can look up all that guff in a tech manual if that interests you.
What it has is an awesome palette for a variety of tonal possibilities in a reasonably attractive display at an amazingly affordable price.
If you're thinking of buying it, go for it!
Ease of Use
It's pretty easy to plug in and get a great sound right out of the box.
The knobs and rotary switches might be a *bit* too close together, but it's not much of an inconvenience, at least for me.
Fiddling and futzing with the rotaries can be a bit of a trouble when you're playing, as the text is sort of small and hard to see, and the knobs being so close together makes it a bit difficult to distinguish at a glance from a distance.
The 'Pre Out' and 'Power In' are situated left to right despite the fact that on most stomboxes, the in and out are situated right to left, meaning the cables would potentially be a bit jangled and jumbled if you were using it. This *is* a problem common to most amps, but it is something to mention.
The grill cloth is a bit flimsier than I'd like, and seems to be attached fairly loosely; it 'flops in the breeze' fairly easily, even with nearly no breeze present.
No issues with the wires or speakers or anything like that.
The bottom line is, you cannot go wrong with this amp.
Well... if you're looking for a 4x10" bass stack, you *could* go wrong with this amp, *buuuuuuuut* if you're looking for an affordable, versatile, Fender-ile amp that's going to satisfy your needs *AND* leave you enough cash left over for EVEN MORE gear, then you absolutely shouldn't overlook the Fender Champion 100 as a more-than viable option.
I'm absolutely satisfied with my purchase and more than just a little bit in love with this sucker.
Don't let the naysayers fool you with talk of 'glorified practice amp', let your ears be the judge.
I would recommend this amp ten times to five people, and do it twice more.
I didn't deal with Fender directly, but I did deal with zZounds and *they* were amazing!
The Wow Factor
It's a solid state 'modeling' amp and not a low-watt boutique all-tube, so it definitely won't impress too many 'snobs' out there... until you plug in and turn it on, that is.
Looks like basically any generic Fender, so it's not exactly 'visually exciting', though there is a certain unstated dignity to it.
Music playing person... guy...
Noise Rock, Punk Rock, New Wave, Death Rock
13 of 16 people (81%) people found this review helpful. Did you?
Thanks for your opinion!