Excellent Amp! Excellent Store!
I'm a tone snob. Through the years(read: decades), I've owned, played, gigged, and recorded through a Fender blackface Twin Reverb, Super Reverb and Bassman, a Prosonic and a Custom Vibrasonic. I still regularly use and love the Prosonic and Vibrasonic. My guitar line-up is one late-90's ES-335. Also, I don't use many effects at all, just a TS-9 at times. In addition to my splendid amps, though, I needed something very good yet portable for a jazz/funk project that rehearses in an urban 3rd-floor walk-up. Am I going to lug a Vibrasonic to weekly rehearsals through city streets and up(and down) three flights of stairs? NOT. GONNA. HAPPEN.
Enter this little chestnut; the Champion 40. This thing rocks! The Champion just sings for the jazz/funk as well as rock(but probably not metal), R&B, blues and jazz. Don't let the fact that it costs less than a boutique effects pedal and/or that it's solid state fool you. This is one very musical amplifier. It bears no resemblance to the brittle, harsh sounding solid state amps I had to use on gigs in the 1980's -- by contrast, it's very warm and musical all around. It also bears mentioning that it's one of the few modeling amps around that you don't need a computer science degree to figure out. It's laid out very simply and I love simplicity. For example, channel one has one control, "Volume." I just add a touch of the amp's reverb, dial in my volume and I've got a great clean, warm tone all night. Its lead tones are great as well; the "British" and "Tweed" settings sound great in particular with tad of gain with my guitar. There is one downside however; despite the fact that it's a two-channel amp, its foot switch is not included and you really need a foot switch to get the most out any two channel amp. However, the model 007135900 Champ switch with a regular guitar cable works perfectly.
Also, I gave a hard look at all of the smallish, under-$1,800.00 tube amps available in my area (San Francisco) and was deeply disappointed in their tone quality relative to price on all of them. After all of that, I'm convinced that the Champion 40 is the best value in guitar amps on the market presently. Don't believe me?, just hit a music store and a/b the Champion 40 with a Blues Jr., Pro Jr and so forth and hear it for yourself. Chances are, however that the Champion will be sold out but plenty of overpriced tube amps will be available. This, again is coming from a tone-snob and regulary user of a Prosonic and Custom Vibrosonic.
So If you play a lot in ensemble situations and need a simple, portable yet great-sounding working tool of a a gutiar amp, I'd definitely look into one of these before the price goes up and/or it's discontinued which is seemingly what usually happens on the rare occasion that a piece of equipment this good and well-priced comes over the transom.
Finally, a huge thank you to Aaron at Sweetwater for his exemplary customer service. Within minutes of my order, I got a call confirming the order and thanking me for my purchase. As this wasn't a multi-thousand dollar purchase, but a less- than-$200.00 order($161 -- I got a demo). I was really impressed by this. What a pleasant, nearly surreal change from the usual attitude-infested stoners at the competition! Plus, they shipped it for free. What a place!