Overall Rating: I have actually had 2 of these over the last year. I bought the second one because I found it on craigslist for $75. I cleaned it up, played with it for a while and sold it for $200. It doesn't have a jack to plug in an external speak...
Overall Rating: I have actually had 2 of these over the last year. I bought the second one because I found it on craigslist for $75. I cleaned it up, played with it for a while and sold it for $200. It doesn't have a jack to plug in an external speaker cabinet so that could be a little limiting. I think this is the best buy available until you get into the Hot Rod Deluxe or Deluxe Reverb Reissue range. I will repeat, in a side by side comparison this makes a Blues Jr. sound like a toy.
Features: This is a 1993 model with 2 channels; Normal and Drive. Unique features include a "Contour" control instead of a midrange on the Drive channel, high and low inputs and an effects loop. It has 1 12" Fender Eminence made speaker that matches it very well IMO. As others have stated it is a hybrid with a solid state pre-amp, a 12AX7 phase inverted tube and 2 6L6's in the power amp. For 25 watts it sounds more like 40. All the benefits of tube warmth with the dependability of the solid state preamp. Nice. As others have said the Drive channel is quirky. I have had this and used it as my main amp for a year now and now that I have figured it out I know how to make it work for me.
Sound Quality: My main guitar is an Epiphone Sheraton. This is a match made in heaven. Over the last year I have also had a couple Mexican Strats and an Epi LPJr double cutaway. The Champ 25 sounds great with all of them but. It is very senstive to different pickups and playing style. I played with different phase inverter tubes and didn't find a whole lot of change there. Changing power tubes made a significant difference. The stock Sovtek 5881's are a little shrill sounding. It likes JJ's very well and I am currently using some old Westinghouse 6L6's that sound very Fender clean with a nice warm breakup that starts at around 4-5 on the clean channel. The cleans are the best I have found for under $500. Think very near Twin Reverb territory. What I have learned about the Drive channel is this; it goes from a nice moderate OD to over the top distortion (for me anyway) at about 4 on the Gain dial. It has kind of a compressed tone quality at higher gain levels and takes on a "scooped mids" but compressed sound. I want my OD to not color the sound differently than the clean channel, just to add some grit and breakup. I was using a couple pedals for a while but I am sort of a minimalist and I wanted to run it guitar straight into the amp. The "Contour" nob essentially removes the mids the higher you turn it. To match the sound of the clean channel I turn the Contour down to 3, the Bass at 4 and the Treble at 8. At this setting with the Gain all the way down I get a great warm bluesy crunch. I find I can also turn the gain up on the amp and control the amount of distortion with the volume on the guitar. Before I figured this out I would have given it an 8 for the fantastic cleans. Now it meets all of my needs. I kept trying over the last year to replace it with another tube amp that had a better gain channel. I bought and sold a Crate Vintage Club 30, a Blues Jr. and a Peavey Classic 30. All nice amps but the cleans were so far inferior to the Champ 25 that I couldn't settle for any of them. One thing to note; those are all EL84 amps. I have come to the conclusion that for me the 6L6 sound is worlds better.
Reliability/Durability: No problems whatsoever but I haven't really challenged or abused it.
Customer Support: Never had to deal with them.
Purchased From: Craigslist
Price: $175.00 USD
Pignose G40V G40V Tube Amp
Overall Rating: This is a great little amp that really packs a punch. I can't see buying any of the 5-15 watt tube amps in this price range when you can get one of these for the same or less money. With the tube changes above I can get great tone at ...
Overall Rating: This is a great little amp that really packs a punch. I can't see buying any of the 5-15 watt tube amps in this price range when you can get one of these for the same or less money. With the tube changes above I can get great tone at bedroom volumes and have the power to play a live gig.
Features: I bought mine used off of eBay. It had been used and gigged pretty heavily. It smelled like a bar. Whereas it looked pretty rough, everything worked perfectly. I didn't see any QC issues at all. As far as features, basic 1 channel amp. If it had Reverb it would have everything I want. Two big plusses; the tube sockets are ceramic and not mounted on the circuit board to facilitate changing tubes without wearing out the sockets or stressing the board. And, the 4 and 8 ohm speaker out jacks. Stuff you don't see on all bedroom practice amps in this price range.
Sound Quality: I'll keep this simple so my suggestions don't get lost in here. The secret to this amp is in the preamp tubes. I experimented with lots of different combinations and came up with this: Put a 12AU7 in V1, a good quality 5751 in V2 (mine is a NOS Jan GE), and leave the 12AX7 in V3. This takes out the hum, gives a good Fender clean with excellent headroom and still allows me to dial in a very nice warm crunch. For more distortion than that use a pedal. They did extend the lows making them a little fuller than with the stock tubes. For bedroom practice the stock speaker is fine. For a little more volume and depth I built a 4 ohm 2x12 cabinet. I play a MIM Strat and an Epiphone Sheraton II. I thought this amp was lacking in low end with the stock speaker and the Strat. With the Sheraton and the cabinet plugged in it has all the depth you could ever want.
Reliability/Durability: I just have the one. It looks to have been gigged hard and I can't see any evidence of having been repaired.