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Thread: Super Champ build

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    Super Champ build

    Sorry, I hope I'm not posting in the wrong area for my questions.

    I'm about to build a Super Champ. I've been using my friend's at his music studio for a while now and I really like this amp. It's a great amp, in it's class.

    Before I heat up the soldering iron, I thought I'd assemble the parts, some which are kinda hard to find.

    1) 6C10 Compactron 3x triode tube - Now, I've heard/read varying reports that this tube is either very rare (nowadays) and hard to find and expensive but also plentiful with certain tube dealers and might be released in small quantities to keep the price high (like diamonds). Any insights would be a great help here. Also, is there another compactron substitute that is acceptable or that the circuit could be modified to accept?

    2) Oddily enough, I have the Super Champ faceplate in my collection but I don't have the back plate for the Super Champ. Does anyone have one or know where I might buy one?

    3) Can I assume the LDR Vac Tec optocoupler is the same one used in the other Rivera-era Fender amps ('82~'86). Anyone know a cheap source for these units?

    4) Does anyone know the Accutronics code number for the three spring short tank used in the Super Champ (a type 8, I think). These amps have great sounding reverbs so I won't reinvent the wheel here.

    I'm not sure yet if I'll convert another chassis or buy a new chassis. I'm trying to get the acquisition part of the equation solved first before moving on.

    Thanks for your expertise,

    Bob M.

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    I'd highly recommend finding a workaround for the compactron tube and the vactrol LDR.
    I don't think anyone has a stockpile of compactrons that they trickle out to keep the price high. They are just real rare now. You can buy new (NOS) ones for $100 or bid against folks trying to keep their vintage amps stock. Not worth it.
    Use 2 twin triodes and leave half of one unused.
    If you are set on using the vactrol LDR, there are ones available from Xvive, but not sure which of the VTL5C series you need. You would have to look at the number on the one in the amp you have access to, unless someone knows which VTL was Fender 013556. I couldn't come up with anything from a search.
    The reverb tank should be 8AB3C1B.

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    I think the only actual Compactron that is comparable to the 6C10 is the 6BK11, which is apparently even rarer. If you can find a 7689, that's actually closer to a 6C10. The 6BK11 has 1/2 12AT7 & 2/2 12AX7. Also there seems to be a 6U11, but I couldn't find a data sheet.

    I'm with g1, go with two dual triodes. If you don't want to waste a section, parallel it or something... I think I bought the last 2 6C10s on Earth, to put in an Ampeg Jet that wants 6BK11s.

    Justin

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    Hi guys,

    I appreciate your expertise. Yes, unless I luck into the stock twin triode tube, I'll probably mount 2x 12AX7A tubes or maybe a 12AX7A and a 12AT7. I'm wondering if I could use one of my 6U10 compactrons and compensate for the difference on the component level?

    G1, Thanks for the reverb tank Accutronics number code.

    Of course, the week that I decide to commit to drilling holes for the 2x 12A_7 in the amp chassis will be the same week that Mike Mathews (E-H) decides to re-issue the 6C10, as circumstances might have it.

    I'm still wondering if that VTL5C vactrol is the very same one Fender used in the other Rivera-era amps like the Concert (II) and the Fender 75? Anyone have any first-hand knowledge of this?

    Still hoping to find the metal back plate for a Super Champ. They are out there somewhere. I doubt Fender used them all up.

    After thoroughly studying the Super Champ schematic, I can't help but notice the great similarity between a SC and a Princeton Reverb, with of course, the addition of the usual Rivera-era supressor caps added and most of the coupling caps re-voiced and a lead/overdrive/distortion circuit added. But the basic clean sound of this amp, why it became popular in the first place, is a Princeton Reverb in a smaller box with a few bells and whistles.

    Thanks for your comments,

    Bob M.

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    Pretty sure Mike Matthews won't be reissuing any Compactrons any time soon...
    As for using the 6U10 & compensating at the component level, I guess it depends on how much amplification the stage needs to have.

    Justin

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    "Wow it's red! That doesn't look like the standard Marshall red. It's more like hooker lipstick/clown nose/poodle pecker red." - Chuck H. -
    "Of course that means playing **LOUD** , best but useless solution to modern sissy snowflake players." - J.M. Fahey -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob M. View Post
    I'm still wondering if that VTL5C vactrol is the very same one Fender used in the other Rivera-era amps like the Concert (II) and the Fender 75? Anyone have any first-hand knowledge of this?
    Yes. 013556 is used in Super Champ, Concert II, Princeton Reverb II, 75, etc. The Fender part number is called out in the schematics.
    But I do not know which VTL5C(*) it corresponds to.

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    G1,
    Well, apparently it's a Vactrol VTL5C1 - there's also a 5C2 available but the specs don't read the same. There are some of these around but the prices are increasing and the stocks dwindling. I bet there is a better solid state device, an IC or something, that is cheap and plentiful and in current production that does the same job as good or better (or for a longer time without malfunction) with a minimum of parts added or modded to the original (Rivera) circuits. I had a fairly long and somewhat productive conversation with Fender yesterday about putting someone on this, creating this modification with a new device and issuing a service memo for it on their website. They are considering it. It would be a win-win for Fender if they decide to move forward on this but the corporate world moves at it's own pace (Is there another word for less than slow?)

    Bob M.

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    I'm attaching the datasheet for the newish Xvive version of the VTL5C1. They are around $10 retail. If they are reliable and the specs match the original, that price is ok for repairs (unless you get a stack of 8 in a boogie or something). But from a manufacturing perspective that is too much. I'd guess the bulk price would be much less, but still not sure if it would be low enough for production.
    As you say, if there were an IC or something that did the same job, it would probably be much cheaper for manufacturing.
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    I used to have a Super Champ in the early to mid 90's. It was a swiss army knife, but one made in China.....as in it did a lot of things but none of them were good enough to keep the amp. It sounded ok and the distortion was cool, but I found better sounds elsewhere. If that is what floats your boat though, then have fun! I would go with two dual triodes instead of the compactron also. The Vactrols are still available but are getting expensive. I have a stash of the VTL5C1 but not for sale in case I need them in the future. The original speaker was an important part of the sound...you can probably still source one, or something similar from Eminence. They did have an extra special Super Champ that came with an EV if I recall correctly.

    Greg

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    Greg,

    The original Super Champ from the early to mid 80s, designed by Paul Rivera, was most probably built in the USA. I believe this was before Fender started all their offshore (and Mexican) ventures. If your amp was made in China, possibly it is one of later iterations of an amp using the Super Champ name. One sure way to tell if it's an 80s Super Champ is if it has the 6C10 Compactron tube, which I believe was only used in the 80s Super Champ. Also, the serial number can be of help, identification-wise.

    Yes, Fender made a Deluxe version of the Super Champ with a Electro-Voice EVM-10L speaker. There is a YouTube video with Paul Rivera saying that this EVM spkr is a great part of the sound of this amp.

    I don't think Super Champs are the be-all/end-all of amps but they are good in their class. I think it's the best amp Fender made with the word 'Champ' on it although the Super Champ is really, in fact, a Princeton Reverb in a smaller box, re-voiced with an overdrive/distortion circuit added and with a ss rectifier. I think it's a good quiet rehearsal/ coffeehouse gig amp. The ones I have played thru sounded very, very good. It's maybe Paul Rivera's most successful Fender amp, as confirmed by the resale market for these amps.

    Bob M.

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    I think Greg might have meant his Super Champ was like a "Swiss Army Knife that was made in China," as in, does a lot, but not quite as good compared to the real Swiss-made knife...

    That said, I really don't think the new "Super Champs" should wear the badge... And they create WAY too much confusion with the Real Thing, and that goes for all the other classic Fender amps, too - especially the Deluxe... of course, every time Fender tries a new name, it flops. Anybody remember the Montreux?

    Justin

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    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    of course, every time Fender tries a new name, it flops. Anybody remember the Montreux?
    Yep, and I remember the London Reverb too. Lots of connector resoldering for that series.

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    Quote Originally Posted by g1 View Post
    Yep, and I remember the London Reverb too. Lots of connector resoldering for that series.
    Same with the solid state Showman amps of that period. Those darn pesky ribbon connectors uhg!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob M. View Post
    Greg,

    The original Super Champ from the early to mid 80s, designed by Paul Rivera, was most probably built in the USA. I believe this was before Fender started all their offshore (and Mexican) ventures. If your amp was made in China, possibly it is one of later iterations of an amp using the Super Champ name. One sure way to tell if it's an 80s Super Champ is if it has the 6C10 Compactron tube, which I believe was only used in the 80s Super Champ. Also, the serial number can be of help, identification-wise.

    Yes, Fender made a Deluxe version of the Super Champ with a Electro-Voice EVM-10L speaker. There is a YouTube video with Paul Rivera saying that this EVM spkr is a great part of the sound of this amp.

    I don't think Super Champs are the be-all/end-all of amps but they are good in their class. I think it's the best amp Fender made with the word 'Champ' on it although the Super Champ is really, in fact, a Princeton Reverb in a smaller box, re-voiced with an overdrive/distortion circuit added and with a ss rectifier. I think it's a good quiet rehearsal/ coffeehouse gig amp. The ones I have played thru sounded very, very good. It's maybe Paul Rivera's most successful Fender amp, as confirmed by the resale market for these amps.

    Bob M.
    Hi Bob,

    I should have been clearer...the one I had was the original Super Champ from the 80's, I owned it in the early 90's to mid 90's, and sold it for a profit, and I did mean that it was like a Swiss Army knife that was made in China, exactly as Justin surmised. Don't get me wrong...it was a good amp, and as far as it's demand, it is probably justified as it is not often that something comes along in a small package like that amp that sounds pretty good and does a lot of things. I just found that I could get better clean tones and better overdriven tones elsewhere, and of course nowadays I can build my own amps but back then I couldn't. My amp didn't have the EV speaker or the special wood cabinet like some of them had. I ended up trading the amp for cash and a 1973 Rickenbacker bass, which I eventually sold for a profit too, so I don't regret owning it! I am glad I don't have to hunt for compactron tubes though!

    Greg

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