Fender Champion 100 Review
Fender Champion 100 Overview
The Fender Champion 100 is a DSP based modeling amplifier that is easy to use and will get you vacuum tube like tone. The amplifier is a 2 speaker combo with built in effects and 2 channels that can be changed with the included foot switch.
Its designed with a vintage Fender layout and is intuitive and easy to use.
Fender Champion 100 External Hardware
The champion 100 is a 40 pound combo amplifier measuring in at 26" wide, 19" high and 10.25" deep. It is equipped with 2 - 12" Fender special design speakers in a sturdy wooden enclosure finished with black tolex and silver corners.
All controls are front facing with foot switch and effects loop jacks located on the front of the amp for easy access. The control knobs are vintage style skirted for that old school Fender look.
The included foot switch mounts easily into the rear of the amplifier keeping the unit and its accessories together. The handle is more than strong enough to support the weight of the amp and is easy to hold.
The classic silver face Fender grill cloth gives the amplifier a great look. Overall the amplifier is quite robust and well made, it can definitely handle the road if you are to use it for gigs or travel.
Fender Champion 100 Channels and Controls
Secondly, the Fender Champion is a 2 Channel modeling amplifier with a standard layout that most players are familiar with. Channel one gives you classic Fender cleans based on amplifiers like the Twin Reverb and allows you to select effects to your liking.
Channel two expands to allow you to now select your amp voicing with the voice knob and then fine tune to taste with the gain control and effects. Voicing options include: blackface, british, metal, jazz and tweed which sound great for the value here.
Both channels feature their own EQ and effects that are independent of the other channel for incredible versatility in tone!
Connections And Effects
The amplifier has a single instrument input and foot switch input on the front for easy access, plus an effects loop.
The effects loop is labelled as PRE OUT (Send) and PWR IN (Return) which is a bit different than what you will normally see on an amplifier but works great!
More great features on this amplifier are an auxiliary in jack for music you may want to play along with, and a headphone out jack for silent practice.
The features on the amp will provide some amazing versatility from practice to gigging its got you covered!
Built in effects on this amplifier are very good and include: wah, flange, reverb, chorus, tremolo, vibratone and delay which can be adjusted to taste with the FX Level control and tap button. Some of the effect settings will allow you to stack effects as well which was pretty nice.
The Fender Champion is rated at 100 watts output power and it is in fact loud!
In a band setting, the amplifier was able to provide enough power to keep up with a drummer with more volume on tap.
Your band might even complain that you are too loud with the amount of power on tap and clean headroom is no problem!
Effects loop Performance
The effects loop on the Fender Champion 100 is very good and takes pedals well.
So if you have some pedals that you prefer to use instead of the onboard effects, you will find that the effects loop on this amp is great!
The effects loop is inserted into the signal after the modeling and before the power amplifier.
Fender Champion 100 Sound
When you first plug into the Champion 100 you will most likely start with channel one, the clean channel. If you have any experience with Fender cleans you know they are legendary and sought after.
The Fender Champion does a real good model of the fender cleans that players have come to know and love.
If you have ever played a Fender tube amp, you will come to find that the Champion 100 does not quite live up to the legendary cleans but darn do they come close for the cost of this amplifier!
Channel two is where the voicing control comes into play where there are some great models of Fender amps as well as others. Depending on what you play, you are covered in the selections that Fender has included in this amp.
From jazz to metal there is a setting for all and a gain control to fine tune to taste and they sound pretty good. The EQ on each of the channels is quite responsive and offers enough range to dial in a good tone with any of the voicings.
The effects on board are quite good for an amplifier under $500 and are a great way to fine tune your tone. The controls are easy to understand and are easy to navigate, plus the amount of level is enough to saturate the sound with effects should you need!
Conclusion And Final Thoughts
There are many great electric guitar amplifiers on the market for under $500 and the Fender Champion 100 is one of the better amplifiers you can get. It is very easy to get a great sound as soon as you plug in which makes it a better choice than others at this price point.
If you are coming from an amplifier at a higher price point, you may be disappointed in some of the sounds possible with the amp. It’s great for beginners for sure, but it does lack the feeling and response of a tube amp that some may have come to know and love.
However if you are looking for a practice or home amplifier, you will enjoy this one.
The cleans on the Champion 100 are very good and are worth the price alone.
So if you are going for cleans and mid gain sounds this is the one! The metal and higher gain sounds are not bad for the price but are limited in where they will take you.
If you are a high gain metal guy, this amp will get 75% of the way there, it’s not bad but it’s not a 5150 nor is it meant to be as is evident by the amps look.
So is it worth the investment? Heck yes! Fender did a real good job with this amplifier for the price. It has some great features and sounds and the output power is on point. It can serve many purposes from practice to gigging and more.
Many people use this amplifier and swear by it which makes it worth your time to look into. So if your interested, it’s worth taking the plunge as the price really can’t be beat!