In 2006, we saw the new Fender amps, dubbed Super-Sonic, with 60 watts under the hood and available in head or combo version. In 2010 we see a combo version of 22 Watts, sharing characteristics of its older brother. It sounds very clean and Fendery, with also saturated and high gain tones as well. Focus on the Super-Sonic Combo 22 today…
Fender amps are known and recognized for their clean sounds, sometimes bright with models like the Vibrolux, sometimes warm and full with other references, like the famous Bassman. But for heavily distorted sounds, the story is different, and guitarists are often forced to resort to overdrive or distortion pedals in order to saturate an amplifier lacking a real overdrive channel. So we could have just stopped there and continued to adore the clean Fender amp sounds and happily connect our pedals to make some noise. But Fender wished otherwise, launching the Super-Sonic series, whose main goal is to offer both clean sounds worthy of their greatest signature amps, and overdriven sounds, very overdriven tones to please biggest fans of sturdier sounds.
The going fashion is to have low power (relative) tube amps. Fender is spoiling us with a version a bit quieter than the previous 60 Watts. The Super-Sonic has 22 watts under the hood, and is available in two finishes, black or blonde (cream). We received the black version for this review, but we would have preferred the iconic 1961 blond treatment, which matches better with the cream plastic knobs. But it’s not too bad, the black version is still very nice…
The combo is made of birch/maple plywood 1.9 cm thick and has the following measurements: 21.6 x 61 x 44.1 cm and measures 18.2 kg on the scale, which is quite reasonable without making a traveler’s amp out of it! The look of the amp is very classic, with the old school script metal logo, the ivory ‘radio’ knobs and the large red LED on switch. The grille cloth covering is black vinyl on the blond version, and gray on the black versions. The “Dog Bone” handle on the top of the amp is plastic, but looks very solid, and metal reinforcements are placed at the bottom four corners of the amp cabinet. Everything looks good to handle things down the road and finish is impeccable. In the box we are provided in addition to instructions, diagrams showing the guts of the amp. The latter, for sure will be the conversation topic at your next dinner party….guaranteed! The icing on the cake: a nylon cover is provided to protect your precious from dust- classy!
Under the hood, we find no fewer than five lamps for preamp section: three 12AX7 and two 12AT7, and two 6V6 power tubes for the amplification (modeled on the Deluxe Reverb). The lamps are protected by a gate at the back of the amp, just above the 12 inches (31 cm) speaker, a “Lightning Bolt” model by Eminence.
Let’s see what the Super-Sonic offers us now in terms of settings and connections …
For about $1400, Fender offers us a 22 Watts all tube amp of flawless quality. The look is very successful and it has ample power to play quietly in groups. The clean sounds are typically Fender for our delight, the crunch sounds are not standing still, and we have a real distorted channel, to top it all off. Add to that an effects loop, Fender long-spring Reverb by Accutronics®, robust and complete pedals and a protective cover, and you get a receiver complete and flawless. We only lament the price and weight, both a bit high for a 22 Watts. But when you get this sound, we are ready to make such concessions!
- Quality Manufacturing
- Successful Look
- Available in two finishes
- Signature Fender clean sounds
- Some very interesting crunch tones
- A true saturated channel, ready to rock
- Accutronics spring reverb
- Adequate power for group play
- Boost on the clean channel
- Pedal 4 switches very robustly
- Eminence Speakers
- A 22 Watts at $1400
- Moderately heavy and bulky for a 22 Watt
- Not suitable for extreme metal
- Heavily saturated tube distortion and sustain
To read the full detailed articles with sound samples see: Fender Super-Sonic 22 Review