If there’s one thing the Fender Super Champ X2 gets absolutely right, it’s the aesthetics. Looking like the smaller brother of a Fender Twin, those classic blackface stylings give this the air of a guitar amp that costs a lot more than it actually does. What we’ve actually got is a (relatively) old digital/valve hybrid practice amp offering a gorgeous valve channel, with just a single volume control, and a second channel offering all kinds of magic.
The valve channel - powered by two 6V6 output valves and a single 12ax7 in the preamp - truly is a joy, delivering those amazing, chiming sounds which are begging for a dash of reverb and the middle pickup of a Strat to bring it to life. A single volume control may not sound like much, but the fact is that these simplistic controls serve more as a blank canvas for pedals, ensuring you get the maximum sonic potential out of your reverbs, delays and modulation effects. With that in mind, an FX loop would have been nice, but for the price, it is a minor gripe.
Moving over to the digital channel, things take a significantly more modern turn. What you get is 16 different hand-picked amp voicings, from gritty blues sounds through to an approximation of heavier metal tones. In truth, these can be a bit hit and miss. Fine for practise or the occasional experimentation, but if you’re looking for a broader selection of high-quality tones there are perhaps better options like the Boss Katana range. There are controls for EQ, along with a dedicated gain control, so there is the option to fine-tune things within reason.
The beauty of including a digital section truly shows its worth when it comes to the 16 included effects though. Reverbs, delays, chorus, phaser; there are plenty to choose from and all work well enough to be genuinely useful. Controlling the effect parameters can either be done on the amp itself using the FX Adjust control, although in truth this works more like a wet/dry control. A button to set the tap tempo of the delays is a nice touch though.
Things get a lot more detailed when you access the accompanying FUSE software, which you do via the USB connection on the back of the amp. This opens things up completely and allows you to change parameters and store settings for use in the future. You can also hook the Super Champ X2 up to your recording software to capture your playing and add it to arrangements in your chosen DAW.
So, all told, this is an interesting little amp. It’s cheap enough that it makes a great option for beginners, and with the dedicated valve channel, it has a bit more character than others in the price range. The effects are all usable, and the USB connectivity allows for some great extra features to be accessed. It may be a bit long in the tooth, and it may face a lot more competition in its price bracket, but this Fender amp is still a great package with bundles of charm.
Fender Super Champ X2 review: Specs
- Type: Digital/valve hybrid
- Channels: 2
- Valves: 2 x 6V6, 1 x 12ax7
- Controls: Channel 1 - Volume, Channel 2 - Volume/Gain/Voice, FX - Treble, Bass, FX Adjust, FX Select
- Amp models: 16
- Effects: 16
- Connectivity: USB
- Contact: Fender