Most guitarists still prefer tube-driven amps over solid-state ones.
But it’s not always that simple to get one. And the main reason for that is usually the price.
The high price of tube amps has always put them out of reach of the average guitarist. But things are changing.
These days, there are a few pretty good tube amps on the market that are within the budget of average guitar players.
And our favorite budget tube amp is the Fender Super Champ X2.
Naturally, it can’t match those high-priced models, but it delivers great value for your money.
Read the rest of this review to find out where it shines and where it falls short.
Table of Contents
Fender Super Champ X2 Review: Overview And Features
The Fender Super Champ X2 is not a professional level tube amp of the type that refined “boutique” gear fans adore, but it’s still a very potent guitar amplifier with some surprising qualities that make it an incredible deal for the price. So incredible, that we chose it as the best electric guitar amp under $500.
Fender Super Champ X2 is a fairly compact and practical combo amp with basic features and a few interesting additions. As mentioned, it is not exactly a pro-level amp and it’s not focused on a specific scope of genres, like most tube amps. It is more versatile, but very affordable and surprisingly great for the money.
- 15 watt of power
- Two 6V6 tubes and a 12AX7 in the preamp section
- 10″ Fender Special Design speaker
- Voicing control with 16 different amp types
- 15 effects with level control
- USB output for easy digital connectivity
Tone And Hardware
Let’s start with the basics. The amp has a total output power of 15 watts. It all goes through one Fender Special Design speaker that’s 10 inches in diameter.
As for the tubes tubes, it has one standard 12AX7 in the preamp section, while the power amp section has two 6V6 tubes. This is a typical combination for “American” amps, although the 6V6 tubes have a slightly harsher tone than 6L6s.
But the Super Champ X2 is not only focused on those classic American amp tones, as is the case with more prestigious vintage-oriented Fenders these days.
Instead, this one features one standard clean channel and a distorted channel with 16 different “voicings.” These are essentially 16 different digital amp models that help you create different tones for different settings.
In addition, the amp comes with some basic effects and a tap button that lets you set the rate of chorus, delay, and other effects. As a tube-driven amp somewhat inspired by vintage stuff, it’s a bit unusual to see this voicing switch on it, or to see the effects.
This electric guitar amplifier gives you an amazing dynamic response and it can even “crack up” nicely with its clean channel if you push it over the limits or put a booster pedal in front of it. The clean channel also works as a great platform if you prefer to use pedals, and the 15 watts are more than enough for a regular live gig.
Advantages And Disadvantages
- Really simple to use
- Great deal for the price
- Versatile with16 different voicings
- Built-in effects
- Not as good as top standard tube-driven amps
Fender Super Champ X2 Vs. Peavey Vypyr VIP 2
All tube amps have similar downsides, like overall bulkiness (at least compared to their output power), fragility, inconsistency in tone when the tubes wear out, and required maintenance. That’s also the case with a budget tube amp like Fender’s Super Champ X2.
Many guitarists feel the tube amp sound more than makes up for the downsides, but if you don’t feel like dealing with them, you should go with a solid-state amp instead. These are lighter, cheaper, easier to maintain and they come with integrated digital amp modeling units.
Among the deluge of solid-state amps on the market these days, the Peavey Vypyr VIP2 is one of the best values. In fact, we chose it as the best budget electric guitar amp.
Of course, this is not a professional amp and it’s not as good as an actual tube-driven amp in terms of tone, even a budget model like the Super Champ X2. However, it still offers a lot of possibilities and even has some common tube amp traits, like the dynamic response on some of its settings.
The Vypyr VIP2 is a smaller combo amp. Despite the size, it has 40 watts of output power and a speaker of 12 inches in diameter. Of course, 40 watts on a solid-state amp is more or less equivalent to a 15 watt tube-driven guitar amp, in terms of sound output.
The Vypyr series amps are well-known for their versatility and different amp modeling features and effects. And the VIP 2 model takes it to another level, bringing some really great-sounding tones.
It has 36 different amp emulations, 25 different effects, and an option to use up to 4 effects at once in one preset. While we’re at it, the amp comes with 16 customizable presets that you can call up at any time. All the processing is done through its 32-bit SHARC processor and Peavey’s now well-known TransTube technology that manages to bring a new dimension to your guitar tone.
What’s more, the VIP 2 comes with its own integrated audio interface that you can connect to your computer using a simple USB cable. This not only allows you to record and mix your music in real-time using any standard DAW platform, but also to create and tweak presets that you can call up when using the amp for a live gig or a practice session.
Peavey’s Vypyr VIP 2 is a great choice if you need a simple and good amp for live gigs and rehearsals. It’s not a high-end model and the Fender Super Champ X2 is an objectively better amp, but can’t go wrong with VIP 2 if you’re on a tighter budget.
Learn more in our full Peavey Vypyr VIP2 review.
Fender Super Champ X2: Conclusion And Rating
At the end of the day, the Fender’s Super Champ X2 is an amazing value and our favorite amplifier for anyone on a budget.
While it might not be as great as high-end tube amps, it’s more than worth the price. The only major downside is that it’s not “focused” on a specific style and that it only has rudimentary tone-shaping controls like a 2-band EQ.
But if you like to play in many different genres, you’ll appreciate the versatility and lack of focus on a specific style. And with 15 watts on a tube amp, you’ll be ready for regular live gigs, too. We give it a Musicaroo rating of 4.5 out of 5.