Fender EC Vibro Champ vs 57 Custom Champ

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Teletoaster, May 16, 2019.

  1. Teletoaster

    Teletoaster Tele-Meister

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    Hi

    I am in the lucky position of having the chance to buy either an EC Vibro Champ or a 57 Custom Champ and need your help to decide.

    The EC Vibro Champ has the tube bias tremolo and a half power switch which I really like.
    The 57 Custom Champ has neither of those things and therefore may be a more "pure" circuit and a better tone?

    So probably my main question is if the features of the EC Vibro Champ compromise the purity of the circuit and therefore the tone or not.

    Any other opinions are highly appreciated.

    Thank you!
     
  2. LeicaBoss

    LeicaBoss Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    You can be assured that "circuit purity" is a non-issue.

    Bias trem, in my opinion, is the sweetest sounding thing on Earth...
     
  3. Teletoaster

    Teletoaster Tele-Meister

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    Thanks! I am glad to hear that.

    I just went all in and bought both of them since they were right around the corner. So now I can spend the weekend and play both of them until I can decide which one has to go.

    I just took a couple of pictures before I got back to work and noticed that the 57 looks almost like lacquered (and has a much darker leather handle) whereas the EC‘s tweed looks like more natural cloth. Cant wait to play them tonight!

    If there is anyone who has any questions about one of them let me know :)

    57
    E67624D2-E495-447E-8761-D04908291E92.jpeg
    2BA081A6-E7E0-4752-B4CF-7B6E68E21D71.jpeg

    EC
    00B0F317-A29D-4A1B-AEB5-A94589AC78D4.jpeg
    9C131F77-5E69-4C0B-A5ED-E87598371BF2.jpeg
     
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  4. toomuchfun

    toomuchfun Tele-Holic

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    Congratulations, looks like 2 great Champs.

    I think the finish on the 57 is shellac. It protects the cloth some, easy to get marks on the cloth that are hard to remove without it.

    I'm interested to see if you use the tremolo much. I have some Vibro Champs with tone controls and try it occasionally, but don't really use it often.

    What guitars are you playing through these cool amps?
     
  5. Teletoaster

    Teletoaster Tele-Meister

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    I see. So the cloth of the 57 could be more durable?

    Sure. I will report back to you about the tremolo. I play a 52 Tele, an ES 335 and Marrguar.
     
  6. grolan1

    grolan1 Friend of Leo's

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    I had an EC Champ and thought it was a great amp... tremolo was awesome. Interested in hearing your feedback on the tone difference between them. If they sound the same, I'd go with the EC as the tremolo is nice to have (half power too, other than it didn't reduce the volume as much as you might think)
     
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  7. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Had the EC. Turn off the trem, the circuit is pure 5F1. Sounds great. But - if you like trem - the EC is good. The half power switch just engages a big-ass resistor to act like a power brake. Works, but doesn't cut as much volume as you might think.

    Great amp, wasn't chuffed about tube socket and some build. The cabinet, tagboard and transformers are fine.
     
  8. Teletoaster

    Teletoaster Tele-Meister

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    May I ask why both of you sold your EC Champs?

    I just played both for an hour or so and can not believe how different they sound. I even switched the different tubes back and forth and played both through a cab to figure out where the sound difference comes from. I think it must either be the different circuit or some parts in the circuits?

    The 57 has way more bottom end and sounds more direct. The EC is more clear and airy if that makes any sense.

    I will try to record both this weekend.
     
  9. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    If there's a difference it's probably speaker. I had an EC Champ and two SFs. I've heard a real 5F1 although not at the same time as my EC - I remember them sounding similar allowing for speaker.

    The EC was great sounding but the wiring of the switches was terrible and the power tube socket kept loosening the clinches and blowing fuses on the HT. It quit working at a gig. The tube sockets are cheap Chinese type - they should have used Belton which are still around. I didn't want to fiddle so moved it on working.

    If you look at the schematic, once you click the trem off it should be a 5F1 circuit. It's possible there's some interaction further in the amp I suppose. Might just be down to bias.or individual components. Mine had a FSD speaker which was a straight cone Weber Signature 8".
     
  10. Kitarkus

    Kitarkus TDPRI Member

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    If it were me I'd take the Clapton. I've been wanting one of those for a while but I'm unwilling to pay the price. I remember when they were out years ago thinking it was crazy and boy do I wish I would have bought one
     
  11. irie

    irie Tele-Holic

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    I have the EC Champ and I have played pretty much all of the 57 champ reissues, they sound identical to my ears when the trem is off.

    I think the trem and power switch are great additions personally.

    Side note, the second preamp tube which drives the trem can be used to fine tune the trem intensity. Higher gain tubes will produce a much deeper and more intense trem while milder tubes will mellow it out quite a bit.

    I Have never owned an amp that responded so strongly to tubes so definitely experiment in that department.

    One final side note I wonder how many hours the EC speaker you played has on it compared to the newer 57 custom.
     
  12. grolan1

    grolan1 Friend of Leo's

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    I simply out grew my desire for a small amp...
     
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  13. toomuchfun

    toomuchfun Tele-Holic

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    Just want to correct my post saying the 57 finish is shellac. That's what is usually recommended for tweed clone cabinets and I thought that is what Fender originally did too. I finally looked at the advertisements and see it's described as lacquered as you posted. Sorry for the error.

    I never played either of those great amps, but have had a last year '64 5F1 that they wrapped in tolex the last few months for around 30 years and love to tone. Mine had a crappy replacement speaker in it but the rest was original. I recapped it, added a 3 prong cord and put a modern Jensen in it.

    I think about selling it until I plug it in and it has such a cool vibe the idea of selling goes away. With the great selection of guitars you have it must be such fun. I'm a believer that Fender amps make Gibson's sound great.

    Here's a shot of my chassis and front end. I use a 5V4 rectifier tube, adds a touch more juice.

    I like the look of your tweeds better, but not bad after 55 years.

    64_5F1_CHAMP-2.jpg
    64_5F1_CHAMP-1.jpg
     
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  14. Teletoaster

    Teletoaster Tele-Meister

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    Alright. Last night I had a minute to record. I recorded both amps trough the same speaker with the same set of tubes. To match the level of both amps I had to run the volume of the 57 at 4 and the EC volume at 6. Have a listen:

    57 Custom Champ

    EC Vibro Champ

    I read somewhere that the EC circuit is a bit different and longer stays clean which I can confirm. I think it was at the Fender forum.

    Have you played them side by side? I think they do sound similar but not the same.

    No worries. Thanks for correcting. What a nice amp you have there!
     
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  15. Teletoaster

    Teletoaster Tele-Meister

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    I also tried all the tubes that I have and like Groove Tubes GT12AX7-M better than TAD 5751 Premium Selected and Sovtek 12AX7WC.

    I liked a Russian 6n6 9002 better than a Electro Harmonix 6v6GT. The tube looks like this:
    072DAC25-80F7-49BE-8635-5DBB827BFBD2.jpeg

    And prefer a Magnavox 5Y3GT over a Ruby 5Y3GT :)
     
  16. LuthRavin

    LuthRavin Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    I liked the EC Champ better.. reminded me of the one I played at the Fender factory in Corona while waiting for the factory tour..I played that thing for about a half an hour and yours was exactly what I remembered even in the 4 second example...
     
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  17. irie

    irie Tele-Holic

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    I did with the 57 Custom, I wonder if the difference you are hearing is the factory 12ay7 in the custom. The one I played had NOS tubes in it and it sounded basically identical to mine.
     
  18. dilver

    dilver Tele-Meister

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    I’d keep ‘em both! I have the 57 Custom Champ and love it - it gets the most play time out of all my amps when I’m at home. Get it up on a stand or stool pointed right at your head. And yes, as someone mentioned, lose the stock 12ay7 preamp tube. I may still get the EC... Good to have a little champ in more than one room of the house :cool:
     
  19. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    Difficult to assess without playing each myself, but they both seem to have the same character to me at least.

    I suggest putting in the effort to locate each amp’s sweetspot, which as you’ve discovered can be found at very different settings, then using a A/B switcher (if you have one) close your eyes and then decide which is the sweeter of the two and keep that one.

    Good Luck!



     
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