Fender Cyber Champ
You have to feel at least a little sorry for the more-than-adequate Fender Cyber Champ.
It just never really caught.
But it was a nice, solid amp that you can often find used at a reasonable price.
Announced in 2003, the Cyber-Champ joined a lineup that already included the larger and more powerful Cyber-Twin and Cyber-Deluxe.
The Fender Cyber Champ was aimed at bringing many of the features of the Cyber series to guitarists who needed a smaller, more portable and less expensive amp.
Maybe the initial price of over $500 wasn’t really as affordable as it should have been.
Or maybe the Champ never caught on because it was hard to find and never marketed very well by Fender.
Whatever the case, a number of electric guitar players still depend on the Cyber-Champ for rehearsal, studio and sometimes even performance use.
The Cyber-Champ was made in Mexico and shares a lot in common with the bigger guys in the Cyber line, including a VTI -- or Virtual Tone Interpolation -- preamp engine that reworks the gain stage, tone stack and reverb relationship to mimic the sound of several amps.
It also offers a 12-inch Celestion G12T-100 speaker and 65 watts of power, just like it’s older brothers.
This solid state amp is missing something fairly crucial that the other Cybers have, however.
There’s no manual mode.
That means players are limited to 21 presets -- built on a variety of analog preamp voicings and a wide palette of DSP effects -- that can be tweaked and stored in the seven available user slots.
It’s saved by the fact that these 21 choices pretty well cover all the bases.
The Cyber-Champ also sported a hum reduction circuit, digital chromatic tuner, a headphone output and MIDI.
Some users have found a way to get around the fact that it has no line out by tinkering with the headphone jack to make one.
Others are content to bring it on stage and put a mic in front of it.
It tried hard to have a retro Fender blackface look, but most users think there are way too many buttons to look vintage -- and the flashing lights on the face give it away as a modern amp in an old package.
Overall, it’s a nice little amp that never found its way.
But if you see one used, maybe you can take it in.
It’s better than it’s been given credit for.
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