We all know how amazing Fender is, right? Their products have always set (and hopefully will continue to in the future) the high bar in terms of sound, versatility and overall quality. As you see their name, you are immediately convinced to purchase the device. And if you do, you will not be disappointed. This is the case with numerous products, but today we will be talking about their Champion 40 – one of the greatest amplifiers out there. It has everything you would expect from the unit of this ilk and much more. Let’s dive into the details and find out together, what makes it so special.
Champion 40 does not joke around. I will start off by saying that this solid-state combo has a single 12” speaker with 12 watts of power, which is more than enough for home practice or even small venues. This bad boy a single input for your guitar, FTSW socket for optional footswitch (allowing for remote control), auxiliary input for your media players, as well as headphone output (can also be utilized for recording or sound reinforcement) for silent practicing. Champion 40 has clean and drive channels that allow you to switch between pristine and distorted tones easily. Additionally, it offers 4 different voicings (Fender amp emulations): Tweed, Blackface, British and Metal that add up to the versatility of this unit. Last but not least, Champion 40 offers 12 onboard effects: Reverb + Chorus, Hall Reverb, Spring Reverb, Chorus Fast Sweep, Chorus Deep Sweep, Flange, Slapback Delay, Long Delay, Delay + Reverb, Touch Wah, Vibrato and Tremolo. As you can see, this amp offers a wide range of sonic options and gives you the versatility that your heart desires.
If you go through various reviews of this combo, you will notice that many consider the controls as cluttered and weirdly organized. I will leave the final judgement to you, however, to me, it does not seem that confusing. You have to get used to the layout, I guess. At the end of the day, it is not that big of a deal because these controls do their job perfectly.
Let’s start with channel switch (labelled as CH Select). It allows you to move from clean to drive channels and vice versa. The first knob you see on the panel is Volume 1 and it alters the level of the first channel. Then we have Gain, which sets the intensity of the distortion, followed by the Volume 2, which modifies the level of the drive channel. Next we have Voicing – it allows you to choose between different types of 4 basic voices: Tweed, Blackface, British and Metal. These are followed by a two-band EQ with Bass and Treble knobs that balance out lower and higher frequencies. Then there is a dedicated knob for modifying the level of the effects (labelled as FX Level). Last but not least, we have FX Select (switches between above-mentioned effects) and Tap button (sets the delay time or the rhythm of modulation). Once you get the hang of all the controls, you will become the boss of Classic 40.
If you have read this article carefully, you will have a general idea of what this amp sounds like. On the whole, it can produce spectacular tones that are hard to compete with. Let’s break it down a bit: the clean channel has that legendary clarity of all Fender amps, while the drive channel is not so bad either. The latter can deliver some badass distortion, especially if you intensify it with controls. The voicings emulate the different amps quite accurately and are reminiscent of the renowned models such as Tweed Deluxe, ’65 Twin-Amp and Super-Sonic. They can produce anything from clean tones to metal craze. When it comes to effects, Champion 20 delivers quite inclusive package. Each of these effects has a lot of dimension and character. All in all, this amp has outstanding sound quality and a wide range of tones to choose from. Nice job, Fender!
To sum of everything said above, Champion 40 is among the most exceeding solid-state amplifiers, especially at this price point. It has everything one could ask for in terms of sound, features and controls. It is convenient and flexible, either for home practice or small venues (but do not torment this fella and ask it to compete with drums). Just listen to demos and you will know what I am talking about. I will end this review here. Good luck!
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