Champ Super Sportster SS1C
Model No. FM-5E1SS-C
Series: Mini-Head Retro Cage Chassis
Single Ended Class A Warm Tones!
Factory Direct Savings: $200.00
Vintage Champ Class A single-ended tones with dual preamp voices. The FRENZEL FM - 5E1SS1 "Champ Super Sportster SS1" tube amp is the upgraded version of our classic FRENZEL FM - 5E1BF "Champ Blackface". It is a very versatile amp designed to used for small venues or as a low volume practice amp. It comes standard with all the features Frenzel amps are known for...PLUS WE HAVE ADDED A NEW TRIPLE OUTPUT TUBES UPGRADE OPTION that allows you to do unique tone blending. Each tube socket has it's own bias network, so you can choose different types of tubes in each socket....EL84, EL34, 6V6, 6K6, 6L6, KT66, etc. for your own custom sound. Each tube is selected by a tube selector rotary switch mounted on the rear panel which allows you to select each tube separately or all together.
The amp is based on the classic 60's Fender 5E1 Champ circuit ...but it is much more than that... It incorporates mods developed over years of building and fine tuning amps for all of our rock-on guitar buds all over the world. The first mod was to upgrade from the single 6V6 output tube to an EL34 for more power, more overhead and more tones. We run the output tube Class A with a custom Presence control in the feedback circuit. Along with giving you great high frequency control, the Presence control has a pull switch on it that will defeat the feedback and give you an open less compressed sound with faster pick attack..and tones you have never heard from a Champ...but there is a lot more.
The original Champ had no tone control and that really limited it's tonal spectrum. This has been corrected by adding a 3-Band tone stack similar to the one used on the Fender Twin and Bassman amps. This tone stack will allow you to get just about any kind of sound you want. To further enhance the tones, we have installed dual preamps, one Type F and one Type M, each with its own Input jack and Gain control. This will give you a choice of the smooth bluesy Fender sound or the high-mid rock sound of the vintage Marshall amps. ...or you can use an AB-Y switch and blend them. We also added an extra stage of gain for soaring overdrive; and a Master Level control that allows you to crank the Gain controls up and overdrive the preamps without overdriving the output tube. This creates even more tones.
Another feature which broadens the use of the amp is the installation of a post output trannie Line Output Jack with a Line Level control which allows you to record or to drive a higher power amp or go direct to a PA. If you unplug the speaker, an internal load is automatically connected across the output to give you loaded output tube distortion.
We also beefed up the power supply with a larger transformer and a 5AR4 rectifier in place of the original 5Y3. This gives you more power, less sag and faster pick-attack.
Other added features of the amp include, custom output transformer for extended low frequency performance, standard IEC plug-in three prong grounded power cord, classic knobs, a Standby Switch to turn off the plate voltage during warm-up.
The tube line up is 5AR4 rectifier, (2) 12AX7 Preamps, and one EL34 output. For less overdrive you can substitute a 12AT7 or 12AU7 for the 12AX7. You can also sub a 5U4 rectifier if you want more sag or a solid state plug-in rectifier for a no sag tight response.
The front panel controls are 1/4" Type F Input jack, 1 /4" Type M Input jack, Type F Gain Control, Type M Gain Control, Bass control, Mid Control, Treble control, Master Level control, Presence Control with NNFB pull switch, Power Control switch. The rear panel has a 1/4" Speaker Output jack, 4-8-16 ohm speaker selector, 1/4" Line Out jack with Line Out Level Control, Power Connector and Fuse.
The "Champ Super Sportster SS1" puts out 10 watts and has low distortion in the clean mode and a flat frequency response with the tone controls centered. If you like to play clean, it will faithfully reproduce what you put into it. The sound is clean and crisp. If you like to step on it hard, the amp will develop three distinct types of crunch and distortion depending on whether you are overdriving the preamp tubes, output tube, or both. The three band tone stack and Presence control provide a wide EQ range and creates the unique sound of the early production tube amps...plus a lot more.
The amp is very compact and weighs about 15 lbs. It is built on a sturdy 12" x 8" x 2" aluminum chassis and has a lightweight steel retro cage cover. Overall dimension with cage cover is 12"W x 12"D x 8"H. All the electrical parts are top-of-the line…..polypropylene caps, metal film resistors, Alpha pots, Neutrik jacks, Micalex sockets.. etc… This is a rock solid point-to-point hand wired amp with a star ground system and chassis insulated jacks for lowest noise and hum.…. ready for your next gig!
Normal (Type F) Bright (Type M) inputs with separate preamps and Gain controls for the unique smooth Fender Deluxe warm tones or the Marshall Plexi great high mid-tones....or you can use an AB-Y switch and create your own distinct tones.
Classic Bassman 5F6A style 3-BAND TONE STACK for extended flexibility in shaping your tone.
Master level control so you can crank the GAIN's up and overdrive the preamp without overdriving the output tubes.
Presence control - used to adjust the high-frequency response and damping factor of the power amp section.
Boost - Unique NNFB "Edge" boost switch on the PRESENCE control that transforms the power amp section into a No-Negative-FeedBack style amp for soaring dynamic leads.
Line Out - post output transformer LINE OUT with LINE OUT LEVEL control for recording or driving a power amp, Auto switched internal load to simulate speaker if speaker is not plugged in. Inject great tone directly into the PA system with the Speaker Simulated Direct Interface.
Custom heavy duty output transformer for extended low frequency performance with 4 - 8 - 16 ohm outputs selectable by a rotary switch.
Class A single ended cathode biased.
Standby Switch - Protects tubes from cathode stripping during warm-up.
Tube Complement: comes standard with 2 - 12AX7, 1-EL34, 1 - 5AR4, but you can substitute 12AT7's or 12AU7's in the preamp and driver for different tones and overdrive sounds.
Input Power 120 VAC 50-60Hz - 155 Watts Standard IEC plug-in three prong grounded power cord. (100VAC & 240VAC available. See Upgrade Options)
Output Tube - Class A Single-Ended EL34 - Cathode Bias
Output Power - 10 watts
Speaker Output Impedance Selector Switch - 4-8-16 ohms.
Line Out Impedance - 10K ohms
Instrument Input Impedance - 1 Megohm
Retro Vintage Cage Mini Head - heavy duty lightweight steel mesh cage provides protection and excellent ventilation for tubes. Comes with easy carry Fender style strap handle. Overall Dimensions - 12" Wide x 10" Deep x 10" High
Open Chassis Dimensions - 12" Wide x 8" Deep x 2" High. (Add 6" clearance for tubes)
Weight - 15 lbs.
Chassis - Heavy gauge aluminum with welded corners.
Rock solid point-to-point hand wiring with military style tie-wrapped wiring harnesses for long life and reliability.
DC on filaments to eliminate 60 hz hum.
Star ground system to eliminate induced current chassis noise.
Input and Output Jacks isolated from chassis for low noise, eddy currents, and hum.
Components - Only the highest quality parts are used including heavy duty transformers, low noise tubular polypropylenes capacitors, metal film resistors, Micalex sockets, Neutrik jacks. All parts are rated for commercial high use conditions. Wherever possible we use parts made in the USA.
Front Panel Controls - F Input Jack, M Input Jack, F Gain, M Gain, Bass, Middle, Treble, Presence/Edge Boost Switch, Pilot Lamp, On-Standby-Off Power Switch
Rear Panel Controls - Power Cord Connector, Fuse, Line Out Level, Line Out Jack, Speaker Output Jack, Speaker 4-8-16 Impedance Selector Switch
These options allow you to customize your amp to meet your special individual requirements.
DUAL RECTIFIER POWER SUPPLY - Power supply has both tube rectifier mode for smooth compression on peaks or a FRED high voltage solid-state rectifier mode for sharp pick attack and dynamic bass. Switch on rear panel to select mode of operation. $50.00
TRIPLE OUTPUT TUBES - for more unique tone blending. Each tube socket has it's own bias network, so you can choose different types of tubes in each socket....EL84, EL34, 6V6, 6K6, 6L6, KT66, etc. for your own custom sound. Each tube is selected by a tube selector rotary switch mounted on the rear panel which allows you to choose each tube separately or all together. Add $125.00
TRIODE/PENTODE MODE SWITCH - switch output tubes from pentode high gain mode, to triode linear mode. Add $50.00
EFFECTS LOOP - pure tube buffered serial effects loop designed to perfectly match the low impedance solid-state pedal levels with high impedance tube levels.. Add $75.00.
240 VOLT POWER TRANSFORMER - for operation outside the USA where 240VAC line voltage is used. Add $55.00
100 VOLT POWER TRANSFORMER - for operation outside the USA where 100VAC line voltage is used. Add $55.00
Review By Featured Artist - "Clyde The Slyde"
Hi Jim, I was just noodling around this morning, setting up some mics to check different distances from the amp. I switched on the recorder and this popped out. It's my 72 Gibson SG with Dimarzio Super Distortion Pickups lighting up my Frenzel Champ Super Sportster. The cab is a oversize 1x12 slotted open back with a Celestion Greenback. I absolutely love these amps, Jim! Thanks for your devotion to tone!Best Regards, Clyde the Slyde
Clyde's personal testimonial...
Jim's amps are alive! The notes sing, scream or whisper - all depending on your touch. I've never played a more soulful, musical and responsive
amplifier. The quality is first rate and Jim stands behind his products 110%. You must have one!
For more of Clyde's music, check out his MySpace page at
Review By Customer Will K. In Oregon
Hello Frenzel!!! I love my 5E1SS Super Sportster! It defines what a single ended amp will do for your tone. It is simply amazing and must be heard to be believed! It is my opinion single ended amps like this 5E1SS simply have the best tone available anywhere at any price. It's the 2cd order harmonics. They RAWK!!! Leo Fender had a great idea with the tweed Champs & Princeton's. But Frenzel has taken what was designed as a practice amp and turned it into a professional machine!
A word of warning... this amp is so touch sensitive . . . when I first unpacked it and plugged it in I was not happy. No overdrive! I sent emails, couldn't figure it out. Until I realized my pickups on my Les Paul std were adjusted too low. By a mere 1/16" !! One and a half turns on the pickup adjustment screws and I had the gain, the Tone, all the overdrive I could want!! It was fabulous. It is so, so sensitive. That is what makes it great. Don't make my mistake. Make sure your pickup heights are adjusted properly. Frankly the touch sensitivity this amp has is incredible. I go from screaming overdrive, pinch harmonics to nice clean sustain for days with just my pick and palm. I always hoped it could be like this, but know I KNOW it really IS like this. And it doesn't cost a fortune for one of these great amps.
Tubes! I was able to get a Mullard NOS 1950's 12AT7 that had gains of 90 & 85 on the triodes for only $39 from TubeDepot. A 12AX7 would have cost $550 (with gains at 100) !!! and with all the magic tone those great tubes have. Check it out. Putting that tube in position 1 was truly amazing. The harmonics, the tone, the feel is incredible! They don't make 'em like that anymore!! It cost $3 bucks to test the gains. I knew I could get close to a 12AX7 with a good Mullard 12AT7 and not have to pay the extra $500. I am over the moon with the way this amp sounds with that tube in it.
Now I've also got a Tung-Sol KT66 in the power tube position. I get great headroom, but anytime I want I just max the volumes and I get the absolute best power tube overdrive with that terrific 2cd order harmonic. It must be heard to be believed!! Those of you that haven't yet purchased a single ended amp, you are truly missing out. Get a 5E1SS Super Sportster. It takes pedals great. same in the effects loop. Switches from Triode to pentode power mode. I'm running a 5Y3 rectifier cause I like the sag. Could easily run a 5U4GB or a 5AR4 too. Even a solid state rectifier if I wanted too.
One of the greatest features of this amp is the bias switch I have on the back so I can run just about any Octal power tube I want. 6V6, no prob. EL34, no prob, 5881, KT88, 6550, whatever. I like the KT66 best, although I do run the 6V6 in the house at night cause it's half the watts of the KT66. and much quieter! I can run them all. They all sound different. They all clip different. Oh man!!! Endless!!!
These are great, great amps. I don't know why anyone would buy and play anything but a Frenzel. I have searched 40 years for this. Other than a tweed Princeton which really only came close and could not be taken to a gig, these Frenzel amps are THE solution. Get yourself a single ended Frenzel. You have not heard what an amp can truly do for you tone till you've heard single-ended amp power tube overdrive. It's like being a virgin! Will K. (Oregon)
FOLLOWUP REVIEW - 4 YEARS LATER. - Hi Jim, Since the first review 4 years ago, besides just playing my Champ Super Sportster, I have done lot's of experimenting with it. Like re-tubing it, completely, with NOS tubes and I also tried modern manufacture tubes using different tubes in different positions (keeping to the recommendations you outlined on the web page and in the manual), Using different types of fx pedals, in front at the input, and through the effects loop. The amp has had nearly constant use either on the road, in the studio, or just at home to practice, or for rehearsals for the last 4 years or so. Since the day I received it from you, it has just been really amazing. Of course now I can't use any other amp anymore. Except for a backup amp that I've never used, I've even sold off all my other guitar amps. I just stopped using them. They didn't sound anywhere near as good as my Champ Super Sportster. It's all I need, all I want. It's that good. I've had some nice amps. The usual stuff. Marshall, Mesa Boogie, Randall, modern and vintage Fenders and Supro. Also Peavey and Carvin, It's kind of shameful really, going through all those amps.
I'll be 59 in a couple of weeks and have been a working musician since I was 17, so I've seen lot's of changes and fads in music come and go throughout these years. I'm not famous, I haven't had any hit records or anything like that, but I have been successful in my own way in that I've worked, worked with some fantastic musicians and singers, none of which were famous or rich, just very talented and good at what they do. I also managed to raise 4 kids and pay the bills all the while working as a musician. What I'm trying to say is that while being a full time lead guitarist and fiddler, and also having to cover keyboard parts half of the time too, LOL, for a hell of a lot of years, I've used a lot of gear, a lot. and that's no boast, it's a complaint actually. Like a lot of us, searching for "the right tone" seemed to always end as an endless unfulfilled frustration. So, I'm not some fanboy. The point I'm trying to make is that it is really, really unusual how very, very good the product you make and offer to your customers is. AND how the service you provide your customers, is just simply first class. In fact it is very hard to put it into words because it can sound ridiculous or even fake when describing truthfully what you get from Frenzel. It almost sounds too good to be true, too good to be real !!
What company puts out a first class tube guitar amp for a few hundred dollars? Jim Frenzel's does. What company's CEO or President answers emails from customers and then follows up on those requests and orders, and whatever else is in those emails? And will actually correspond with his customers? Well .... Jim Frenzel does. What company, building and selling hand-made. made in America guitar amps, hell, made in America anything, sends you emails keeping you posted as to the progress of your amp, estimating in those emails when it will be finished and when it will arrive at your door ....... Frenzel Tube Amps does .......
FOLLOWUP REVIEW - 5 YEARS LATER - Hello Frenzel Team, Having a blast with my Frenzel Champ Super Sportster amp and Hot Box ! preamp. Couldn't be happier with my purchase. You guys are terrific. The value of the amps you sell is second to none. I own a 1953 Tweed Fender Princeton and it just cannot hold a candle to my Super Sportster. Yes, that's right. My modern amp (loaded with NOS tubes), built by you, actually sounds better, has better tone, and is far more versatile, than my vintage amp. That is no exaggeration. It's just fact. With the HB-1 Hot Box patched into the Super Sportster I now have a 4-channel monster amp. Every place I play, every gig I play, I'm always quizzed about my "Little" amps. It's amazing how many guitarists just find it very difficult to believe that I'm playing through an amp they themselves could purchase for $600 to $700, and just over $1K with the preamp. I have so many musicians ask me about my amps that I've had to print up little cards with you email address on them to hand out because otherwise I would be spending way too much time after any gig just writing out the info on where they can get one for themselves. I've stopped taking the bottom off the Super Sportster to prove to my fellow musicians that it is indeed point to point wired. I've even stopped bringing it up. No one believes me. For Blues, Classic Rock, and Country Rock ... Frenzel Amps rule!!! Will Kenworthy (Oregon)
Hi Jim: Absolutely love my new Frenzel! I think I've been searching for this tone all my life. Since it arrived, I've sold my Mesa Boogie Mark III, and am listing my Mesa Tremoverb. If I was just a little less slothful, I would have written a review by now. (I'll get around to it before too much longer.) Thanks again for the wonderful amp, and also for doing all the custom stuff I requested. Best, Robert M. (Rhode Island)
Hi Jim, the Frenzel FM-5E1SS. " CHAMP SUPER SPORTSTER" arrived yesterday and it is really amazing, some of your finest work! Mike H. (Canada)
Hi Jim, just to let you know my amp arrived safely this morning . The amp was boxed, packed , and labeled very well. the documentation included all my order information and a booklet describing the functions and features of the amp. The build quality is neat, organized and shows attention to detail. The real prize is when you power the amp on, the sounds you get out of the amp is amazing with the added feature of no hum or hiss. This amp was worth the wait. Now it’s time to go play. Thank you and your team. David G. (Louisiana)
Hi Guys - I've been living with my Frenzel "Champ Super Sportster" (FM5E1 SS) for some months now, and I just wanted to thank you again for the time you spent listening to me and helping me spec this amp. I wanted a small, flexible amp for my home studio that offers a wide range of tones, and you absolutely nailed it! I really couldn't be happier. Thanks again, Matt N. (Michigan)
Hello everyone at Frenzel, Several years ago you built me a FM-5E1SS with as many goodies as we could fit in the chassis. It's become the only amp I play anymore and it gets played nearly every day. The amp has a character all its own but encompasses a wide variety of familiar and unique tones depending on the tubes and settings. The F/M preamp section seems simple, but is clearly very well thought out. Each channel is easily recognizable when used alone and when used together (at matching level) provides a more even balanced tone. If you drop the level going into both inputs to match the overall volume from a single channel you clean up the preamp tube and push the tone stack tube harder. Thats just one example of the level of control over my sound that my bandmates just don't have available to them. I can't thank you enough for the countless hours of enjoyment this little amp has brought me and I expect will bring down the road. Jonathan D. (Alabama)
Hi Jim, I'm loving this little jewel more and more as I live with it. I'm having the best results with a Barber L.T.D. (clean boost/OD) > Launch pad (clean boost/buffer)> both inputs of 5E1 blended, set as low as possible, master high (2:00-3:00 o'clock)>2X12 closed back. Jim, I've never been so satisfied with an amp purchase in 30+ years of a seemingly constant circulation of amps. I'm sniffin' on that Deluxe plus too. Thanks a big bunch, Mark Peterson
Jim, I just bought one of your 5E1 "SS" Champs off of a friend, and I'm loving it. Perfect on one tube at home, and plenty of power on three at the studio. Can't wait to start tracking with it. thanks, Zac (guitarist for Dengue Fever)
Hi Jim, First gig in 2018. The line-out on the back of the Super Sportster is amazing. The rig does wonders for my back. Who wants to carry around a Marshall stack? This one fits in the trunk of my car and the sound techs adore it!!Greetings from Holland guys. Colin W. (Holland)
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