Am I a „Champ“ guy?

Discussion in 'Ampage Area' started by Stefan, Jul 14, 2019.

  1. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    ...after my last experience with a mass-product pcb-tube amp I know at least that I‘m the handwired-guy :rolleyes:.

    My last guitar-my phenomenal Esquire- teaches me that less is really more (if that „less“ is high end). Thinking about a new amp the champ came to my mind, better this one:

    The Victoria 12“ Champ in a Deluxe-cab.
    Will there be enough Headroom at studio volume? Will there be enough highs and lows without an eq? I only know that I don‘t need more than 5 tube watts!

    I really dig Marks work and I‘m totally in the „less is more“ philosophy:
    „This amp does not need reverb – there are so many harmonics and overtones we think you’ll like it just as it is.“

    Listening to Julian Lage and his fantastic tone (Telly/Champ) encourages me in this idea. It sure makes a better player out of me. So what do you guys think: am I a champ guy?
    Trash Kidd, Telechamp, Outlaw and 3 others like this.
  2. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    It's up to you. Play it and you'll know if it suits you. If you need reverb or EQ, add a pedal. A handwired tube amp is as good as it gets. For home or studio, it'd be perfect. On stage you'd be better off with a Princeton or Deluxe.
    Merc, Stefan and Charlie westside like this.
  3. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    I've had tweed Champs before and there was 0 clean headroom!! All grindy badass distortion, a SF champ might be better for you.
    Im talkin old amps, no experience with Victoria.
    savofenno, rcboals and Stefan like this.
  4. stiv

    stiv Country Gent

    Sep 12, 2014
    Florence, Italy
    I agree. Tweed Champs are brown sound champions, not really known for great headroom.
    And, to be honest, the whole Champ family has a bit of a lack in that area. I love my Silver ‘77 Champ but I wouldn’t define it an headroom amp. If it’s pure headroom what you need, I would turn my attention to a Deluxe.
  5. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    a " Victoria " ..... need you say more .....
    Stefan likes this.
  6. Jet_streamliner

    Jet_streamliner Gretschie

    Nov 21, 2017
    I have a Silverface 1978 Champ. It’s awesome! I previously had a ‘72 that I missed so much, I picked this one up earlier this year. Unlike other amp circuits through the CBS era, the Champ didn’t really change from Pre-CBS specs, and are usually much more affordable than their pre CBS brethren.

    Attached Files:

    savofenno and Stefan like this.
  7. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Oct 18, 2015
    It is a time-proven amp concept.
    And you are right: Less is more as long as the lesser amount of components is of superior quality.
    That`s why I am so happy with my Reußenzehn amps.

    If you are willing to play a Champ at very low volumes you can get some o.k. cleans out of it.
    When played at all other levels a champ will distort. And not everybody likes this kind of distortion (very sponge-y somehow fart-y to my ears). Especially with humbuckers. The very small speaker does not help, too.

    You told us that the SWART is to your likings.
    This said I do not think that a Champ will get you to your personal tone-nirvana since it is so different to a SWART. I would stick to the SWART or look for a nice handwired 5E3 clone.
    savofenno likes this.
  8. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    Thanks! The Swart is a kind of mix between tweed and brownface, not too far from a Champ, concept- and powerwise (also a 5 watter). But I‘d like to try something new. The Victoria I‘m looking for has got the bigger 5e3 cabinet and a 12“ speaker- I guess there’ll be a lot more headroom compared to the original champ, even if it‘s got the same circuit.
    I‘ve changed my sound preferences to a more dynamic tone with a slightly overdrive. Here‘s a good example what a champ and a good guitar can do (and of course a good player :rolleyes:):

    T Bone, Merc, blueruins and 1 other person like this.
  9. swivel

    swivel Country Gent

    May 13, 2018
    I've tried to bond with Champs of various ilk a few times. No headroom, Lacking bottom end (even with highly touted speakers) I just can't bond with them myself. A Princeton type gets me there readily.
    j.s.c, LongJohn and Stefan like this.
  10. stiv

    stiv Country Gent

    Sep 12, 2014
    Florence, Italy
    What I meant to say is that you could get good cleans out of a small wattage amp, but hardly some “headroom”. In my head, headroom always has some “hump” with it. In other words, clean tones have to move the speaker (and some air with it). 5w amps couldn’t give you much of that because of power limitation and usually small speakers (like said before). Sure my Champ could have some good cleans, but at a very low (lower than bedroom) levels that I’m not sure they would be useful in a studio: you’d miss the harmonics, the “tightness” of bass frequencies and the compression of the trebles.
    I’m an Hiwatt guy, I’ve had my share of experiences walking the thin line between clean headroom and crunch...:)
    Stefan likes this.
  11. Uncle Daddy

    Uncle Daddy Friend of Fred

    Jan 19, 2012
    Maldon UK
    The small transformers will always hold you back. Great for living room playing, a bit loud in fact for dirt, but with limited tonal options. I'd go for a Princeton, and build it myself. Extra filtering, and the tone knob which adds gain as well as treble.
    Stefan and stiv like this.
  12. Byron

    Byron Synchromatic

    Sep 4, 2009
    Or a Supro Spectator. Fair amount of cleaner head room. I have a clone made by Cave Valley but with a 10" speaker. Nice tight bass, nice bump and grind from 3 input options. No Tweedy fart love here, don't get it
    wildeman likes this.
  13. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    Yeah, my 5w Supro Tremo Verb with a 10" has some useful clean headroom, way more than any tweed Champ i've had.
  14. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Why not a boutique/hardwired copy or take on the Princeton as that was the tone you liked?
    If money is not an issue, I'd take a hard look at Mark Bartel's new Sugarland amp.
  15. Jet_streamliner

    Jet_streamliner Gretschie

    Nov 21, 2017
    Depends on what speaker you have. My first Champ got a Weber Sig. 8 since I wanted less headroom. The only way I can get my current Champ to breakup is with a boost cranked in front of it, although it also has an aftermarket speaker- a Jensen reissue 8”.
  16. JLD4133

    JLD4133 Country Gent

    May 10, 2011
    Mequon, WI
    Hi Stefan: I have had a Victoria 512 (tweed Champ clone with 12" speaker). I agree that there is not a lot of head room there, but you wouldn't expect it. But I own 4 Victoria amps, because they are the best at what they do. So, I would recommend you try their Ivy League or the Vicky-Verb. I own both (my Ivy League is the 2-10 slant cabinet model, but it also comes with single 10"), and I think you'd be more than pleased with either one. Quality of components and build are second to none, and you can call Mark Baier, the owner, whenever you have a question or a problem. Except that you'll probably never have a problem! Good luck.
    Henry likes this.
  17. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    Keith Richards uses a tweed champ with a 8” speaker as his regular studio amp.
    He sounds pretty good ;)
    savofenno and T Bone like this.
  18. stiv

    stiv Country Gent

    Sep 12, 2014
    Florence, Italy
    Well, Champs are the ultimate studio amps if you need that Stones sound, no questions.
    To me, Tweed Champ=Neil Young. That's the reason they invented it.
    Silver and Blackface Champs are, you know, the sound of a cranked Fender (and all the crunch sounds in between) without the neighborhoods calling the police.
    I think Jet_Streamliner put it down well: probably if you experiment with different speakers (maybe even bigger, like a 10") that are more difficulti to move, you could obtain some clean headroom of sort. Still, I guess most of the harmonics of real clean headroom (the one you could obtain from a Twin or a scaled-down Twin, like a Vibrolux) wouldn't be there anyway.
    Jet_streamliner likes this.
  19. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Seeing you liked the Swart flavour, maybe just get a different model?
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
  20. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    Germany I got a good offer for an original Silverface Princeton, late 70's. Good condition. Unfortunately a push-pull-poti version.
    What's to say about those little beasts?
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