Fender’s Champion series has been a go-to for years among players on a budget looking for versatile, high-quality solid-state amps. Designed with a special Celestion speaker, larger cabinet size, and distinct all-black styling, the Champion 50XL pumps out 50 watts of power with the voicings and effects fans of other Champion models know and love. Let’s take a closer look at the details of this amp, and find out why it’s one of the best amps under $300.
Like the rest of the Champion lineup, this amp features a plethora of voices and effects to choose from. The voices knob features 12 different amp sounds, ranging from clean tones to classic rock crunch and heavy metal saturation.
Unique to this model are the effects mixed into the voice knob – players have the ability to dial in compression, overdrive, distortion, and octaves into certain voices in addition to the separate effects knob. That dial offers another dozen ways to color your sound, with basic effects like reverb, tremolo, and delay nestled alongside more unique options like flange, Vibratone, chorus, and wah.
Unlike other Champion models, the Champion 50XL utilizes a unique Celestion Midnight 60 12” speaker. In tandem with the increased cabinet size, this amp moves noticeably more air than many other models. Finally, the blackout styling sets it apart from the rest of the Champ series and presents a clean, sleek look.
The controls on this amp will be instantly familiar to anyone who’s already played Fender solid-state models before. This particular amp offers two channels – both have access to the EQ system and effects knob, but the first channel offers clean tones only, while the second houses gain and overdrive voicings.
Each channel maintains its own volume knob – a channel select button and light differentiates the two settings. To access those heavier tones, the second channel features a voice select dial. Fender boasts that this dial contains 12 separate amp tones, ranging from clean to progressively heavier from left to right.
After each channel section comes a 2-band EQ and knobs for effects and the effects level. Simply turn the dial to your desired effect and adjust the level to your liking. Aux and headphone inputs and a jack for the optional footswitch round out the package.
The Champion has the tonal flexibility to play almost any style. It offers traditional sparkling Fender clean tones, but can also deliver some serious crunch and overdrive. The Celestion speaker and extended cabinet help this amp deliver a very full, open sound while keeping the range tight and focused.
Articulation and definition are fantastic. Each note shimmers with the presence dialed in. With some EQ adjusting, this could work well for jazz and warmer styles. With the gain turned up, the amp delivers a throaty, vibrant crunch while keeping each note clear.
There’s plenty of headroom here for jangly lead and warmer rhythm – though when turned up high, it does ‘loosen up’ slightly in the lower end, unlike a genuine tube amp.
The highly overdriven and metal voicings here sound good, though the Champ 50XL’s absolute best sounds are its cleans and punchy classic rock overdrives. Put a bit of fuzz on this amp, crank it up, and let it shine.
Like the other amps in the Champion series, the Fender Champion 50XL delivers a wide variety of tones suitable for nearly every possible genre. What sets this edition apart from the 20-, 40-, and 100-watt versions is its fuller Celestion speaker, added effects versatility, and sleeker all-black styling. At a sub-$300 price, this is a great option for any guitarist in the market for a larger amp with advanced versatility.