Fender Vibro Champ XD

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Joined: 03/02/09
Posts: 1,562
Got a new practice amp. I went out looking for a cheapie to keep in the workshop, but ended up coming home with this Fender Vibro Champ XD. (Don't go shopping with a hangover; your judgement may still be clouded! :D)


[Edit: Price Update] This amp was stickered wrong at $295 CDN. The guy felt so bad when I took it back that he knocked $100 off, so I actually paid $195 (plus the nice cable) :). L & M has them for $235 CDN. I see Sweetwater has them on sale for $199 US.

A real tube amp! (In combination with some solid state.) I have been playing thru a 20w Peavey Audition Plus using a Digitech RP250 modeling pedal. That combination does not come close to the sound this little amp is capable of. At only 5 watts, I can play it very quietly and still get really nice overdrive as well as great clean sound.

The best part is looking in the back and seeing those tubes glowing! :) I have been (and still am) a proponent of the solid state amps for cost and reliability, but I may be a convert in the making.

Quite a variety of modeling and effects are possible. The 16 "Voices" include clean, slightly overdriven and highly overdriven reproductions of Tweed & Blackface amps, some British combos including Plexi (my fave!), Hotrods, Metal (extreme!), Fender Jazz King and Acoustasonic.

Effects include Vibratone, Delay, Chorus, Reverb and Tremolo. You can get various combinations such as chorus+delay+reverb.

It's small, lightweight and gives great sound at practice volumes.

Level of effects is adjustable.

Has Treble & Bass controls plus Volume & Gain.

No footswitch capability. That is probably the worst thing about this amp.
Only 5 watts. I have read it is loud enough to jam with drums, but I doubt it.
Some settings are limited (ie: Delay at 130, 300 or 450ms).
Can't individually control the effect levels; if you turn up the intensity of the chorus effect, you also turn up the reverb (if you have both selected).

In spite of these limitations, I am more pleased each day I use this amp. I would not feel compelled to take any pedals with me to a jam. This amp has everything I would need. I really wish it had a footswitch capability at least for overdrive, but that is my only complaint, really.

I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a nice practice amp.
...so ever since then, I always hang on to the buckle.
# 1
Registered User
Joined: 01/27/09
Posts: 47
It's a 5W? It seems really really big, the size of my VOX 50W.
# 2
Full Access
Joined: 03/02/09
Posts: 1,562
4 ohm 5 watt output. It is large dimensions for the "watt size" of the amp. I've had some 15 watt starter amps half the size.

I suspect the tubes and electronics dictated the width, then the height was dictated by aesthetics. There is a few inches from the bottom of the speaker to the bottom of the cabinet.
...so ever since then, I always hang on to the buckle.
# 3
Registered User
Joined: 05/16/14
Posts: 1

After all that logging in stuff, I forget the question. Oh yea, lol. First this is a class A tube amp. By it being a tube amp, there's more power per watt than a solid state amp, and a class A amp has more power per watt than a class AB amp. So this little beast is really powerful. Iv'e been looking for some mods to do to this all over the internet. All I get is a bunch of hype about replacing tubes etc. Replacing tubes is not really going to do much. There are only 3 tube manufaturers in the world, and several dozen Tube brand names. All the same tubes just with different stampings/ slik screen on them. 12ax7 tubes are all made in Cihna. Switching to higher output tubes is not a good idea. Some say going from 6V6 to 6L6 or whatever, changes your bias makes things run hotter doesn't give that much more power wth running higher voltages on the whole system. Youre gonna fry something. Name brand tubes like Groove Tubes are the same. They "hand select" for matching tubes and are not seconds, so thats OK. Not any better that what came with your amp. Upgrading to a 10" speaker is not really a mod. you have a plug that unplugs the speaker and you can plug it into any speaker you want as long as it's not under 4 ohms. I went tied several speakers and wound up replacing the 8" with an Eminence 10" from a Fender amp that had 2 10" speakers. Going to a good 10" is a good idea IMO. All the first stage of the preamp is done with the effects and modeling section. The 12AX7 is a dual preamp tube. Has two triodes in one tube. One is not used The other one is a buffer booster for the 6V6 power tube. The Gain knob adjusts the input level to the first stage (the modeling and effects) with is half of the preamp. Then the volume knobe turns that up or down.

the direct out come directly from that stage. The direct out is not tube amplified whatsoever. What I want to do is bypass the effect/modling pre-amp stage and wire up the other half of the 12AX7. In other words, a true modification, that isn't that complicated. I want to be able to switch from the effects/modeling to the unused half of the 12ax7 and thus have a totally tube amp. It's hard to find any info regarding this other than looking at the schematic of an old Fend Vibro Chmp and see if it's doable without a lot of fuss. Finding full schematics of the XD is not easy (many of the details of the XD are omitted. The old Vibro Champ schematics are all over the web. I hope this post answered some of the questions ppl here have, and I hope someone out there can help me with want I'm trying to do. Well I'll keep working on it, and if I get some answers and can convert this awesome little amp into even something better, I'll post an update. I'm sure there are others who'd be interested in doing this also.

# 4