What’s New In Music Stores – Issue 6: Fender Champ X2 and Vox AC4TVH

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This Issue, we’ll pick up the story of the Fender Champ X2 and Vox AC4TVH head and the V112TV Speaker cab. Let’s start with the Vox.

The Vox AC4TVH & V112TV Cabinet

Many of you “Dudes of Experience” out there may remember the Vox AC4 amplifier of almost 50 years ago, 1961 to be exact. Well, it’s back with a slightly new name, the AC4TV. It comes in a combo version and a head/cab version, as well as a Mini, a hand wired and 2 more. I tested the head/cab model.

vox-ac4tvh-headYou Vox fans are going to like this little amp, which you can buy without the speaker cab for $199.99, or add the matching cabinet for $169.99 more. The speaker is a custom built, 16 ohm, 12″ Celestion and a perfect match for the amp. Mike this little sucker and you can use it as a performance amp, although 4 watts is a little light.

vox-ac4tvh-head-and-cabThe Combo version (at right) has the same custom speaker in a 10″ version and lists at $249.95.

The amplifier itself is the same in both these versions and consists of a single input, 12AX7 preamp section with tone and volume controls, and a class A configured EL84 power tube with the new Power Attenuator 4, 1 and 1/4 watt selection switch.

A 16 ohm output jack tops off the amp section in the head version.

I am a huge tube amp fan, as many of you know. I love them for their expressiveness, the way they react to your playing, clean or dirty. This little AC4TV reacts that way at all settings of the attenuator.

You don’t have the power tube soak of a vintage AC30 cranked wide open, but you get a really nice Vox chime at lower volume and singing sustain if you turn it up. Visit Voxamps.com to check it out.

Who remembers the Fender Champ?

It resurfaced under the “Super Champ” moniker in the ’80s and now, here it is again with an added X2, which stands for 2 channel for $349.99. This amp has gone the way of many upgraded or “modified” Fender vintage amps with the addition of Digital Signal Processing (DSP). As good as Fender’s DSP is, I’m not sure that I want it in my tube amp. If I have that great vintage Fender tube tone, I don’t need to mess it up with DSP. Gim’me tube tremolo and spring reverb, a pair of 6L6 power tubes, and I’m a happy camper! I’ll put my DSP in a pedal.

fender-super-champ-x2-ampHaving voiced my opinion, this amp comes with Fender Fuse and a USB jack. If you’ve been following my posts, you know I like this software. It works really well and gives the amp capabilities way beyond imagination. The real-time thing is what gets me. With your guitar plugged in, and the amp plugged in to the computer, tweak the tone, play, tweak, play, tweak… until it sounds just right. Save it. Done! It gets no better than that.

This Champ sports 16 amp models, 2 channel switching, 15 effects, 1/4″ line out and is ext. speaker friendly. A 12AX7 preamp and a pair of 6V6’s push 15 watts to a custom Fender 10″ speaker in the combo version. It’s also available as a head and speaker cab for $299.99 and $199.99 respectively.

Still, sound is why we buy amps. This amp is okay, but not one of my favorites, although it has enough gumption to really perform. One thing I liked: even though the reverb was DSP, it was drippy and thick just like the old Fender reverb units from the ’60s. Check this puppy out at Fender.com.

You may also like these articles from NAMM 2012:

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Doug Knight

Our “Man on the Street” reporter, with his “What’s New in Music Stores?” series, resides in Coos Bay, OR. You can find him on Friday nights at The Small Events Center at OrCoast Music in Coos Bay.

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