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Retro Champ Super Sportster

Retro Champ Blackface
Retro Champ Super Sportster



 Retro Champ
Super Sportster

Model No. FM-5E1RCSS
Series: Mini-Head

Price: MSRP................. $635.00  $555.00


Vintage Champ  Class A single-ended tones with the dual preamp voice and the option of adding, selecting and blending  multiple types of output tubes for unique tone creation! This one is a real tone monster for guys that like to experiment with different types of tubes. The FRENZEL  FM - 5E1RCSS  "Retro Champ Super Sportster" tube amp is the upgraded version of our classic FRENZEL FM - 5E1RBF "Retro Champ Blackface". It is a very versatile amp. It can be used for a practice amp...or as a multi-tone tube preamp driver for a higher powered amp. For you guys with solid-state amps....this amp will give you great tube sounds.   All the features are descibed below....PLUS WE HAVE ADDED SOME NEW OPTIONS INCLUDING DUAL AND TRIPLE OUTPUT TUBES!! 

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 6V6 to an EL34 in the output for more power. We run the EL34 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 use this amp as an effects box....or to drive a higher power amp with.  If you unplug the speaker, an internal  load is automatically connected across the output to give you loaded output tube distortion. (Please Note: Since the output of the Line Out is post output transformer, you can crank the Master up on the amp and then by  adjusting the Line Out Level control to match the level required for the amp you are driving, and then turning the Master or Volume control down on the amp you are driving, you can get loaded output tube distortion at low power levels. This eliminates the need for an attentuator. ) The Line Out is also great for using headphones!

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 an EL34 in the output. For less  overdrive you can substitute a 12AT7 or 12AU7 for the 12AX7. We also offer options for using different tubes in the output stage like a EL84, 6V6, 6L6, KT66, KT77, KT88. (See options section below). You can also sub a  5Y3 or  5U4 rectifier for  more sag or a  solid state plug in rectifier for a no sag tight resposnse.

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, 1/4" Line Out jack with Line  Out Level Control, and  Power Fuse 

The "Champ Super Sportster" puts out  10 watts which  sounds like 20 watts through a 12" Alnico Tone Tubby.  The amp 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 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 tubes, 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.

The amp is very compact and weighs about 14 lbs.  It is built on a sturdy 12" x 8" x 2" aluminum chassis  Overall dimension is 12"W x 8"D x 8"H

All the electrical parts are top-of-the line…..polypropylene caps, metal film resistors, Alpha pots, Switchcraft jacks, ceramic 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! 

 Standard Features

Super Champ Class A single-ended tones with the option of adding, selecting and blending  multiple types of output tubes for unique tone creation! This one is a real tone monster for guys that like to experiment with different types of tubes. 

Input Jacks isolated from chassis for low noise, eddy currents, and hum.

DC on filaments for low 60 hz hum

Star ground system to reduce induced current chassis noise.

Type F (Fender) and Type M (Marshall) inputs with separate preamps and Gain controls for the  smooth Fender  warm   ues tones or the Marshall Plexi  high-mid dynamic rock tones. You can use an AB-Y switch to select either channel or blend them together to create your own unique tones.

Classic Fender Bassman 5F6 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.

Classic Fender Bassman Style Presence control for dynamic treble punch!

Unique  "Edge" pull-switch on the PRESENCE control that transforms the power amp section into a No-Negative-FeedBack  style amp for more open, less compressed tones.

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. 

Class A single ended cathode biased EL34

Preamp tubes are JJ 12AX7's known for low noise and linearity. You may also use 12AT7's or 12AU7's for different tones and less preamp overdrive.

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

Chassis Dimensions - 12" Wide x 8" Deep x 2" High. (Add 6" clearance for tubes)   

Weight: 15 lbs

Power Output - 10 watts @ 8 ohms

5AR4/GZ34 rectifier in place of original 5Y3 for better pick attack and less sag. You can also sub a  5Y3 or  5U4 rectifier for  more sag or a  solid state plug in rectifier for a no sag tight resposnse.. 

Standard IEC plug-in  three prong grounded power cord connector.

STANDBY switch to turn off the plate voltage during warm-up.

Rock solid point-to-point hand wiring using only the best of parts...low noise tubular polypropylenes caps, metal film resistors, Micalex sockets, premium low noise jacks...etc.

Sweet vintage clean to classic overdrive tones with three different types of distortion depending on whether you are overdriving the preamp, output... or both!

Tube complement: 2 - 12AX7, 1 - EL34, 1 - 5AR4 


    Type F INPUT 

    Type M INPUT 

    Type F GAIN 

    Type M GAIN 
















Upgrade Options

These options allow you to  customize your amp to meet your special individual requirements.

1. LOW POWER 5 WATT VERSION - We also sell 5 watt power versions of this amp with  a 6V6 or a 6BQ5/EL84.  If you want this option, please specify in checkout. There is no change in the price  for this option.

2. DUAL OR TRIPLE OUTPUT TUBES -  for more power and unique tone blending. Each tube socket has it's own bias network, so you can substitute different types of tubes in each socket....EL84, EL34, 6V6, 6K6, 6L6, KT66, etc. for your own custom sound. Add $75.00 for dual tube and $100.00 for triple tube. We also offer a tube selector switch mounted on the rear panel to choose each tube separately or all together for $25.00.

3. EL34 - 6V6  BIAS SWITCH - switch on rear panel allows you to use a 6V6 for 5 watts or an EL34 for 10 watts in the output tube socket. Add $50.00

4. PENTODE - TRIODE MODE SWITCH - switch output tube from pentode high gain mode, to triode linear mode. Add $50.00

5. 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

 - for more tonal range and speaker options. Comes with 4-8-16 ohm speaker selector switch. Add  $50.00

7. EFFECTS LOOP FOOTSWITCH - adds jack to rear panel for footswitch  control of the EFFECTS LOOP bypass switch. Includes classic heavy duty footswitch with LED. Add $60.00

8. EDGE FOOTSWITCH - adds jack to rear panel for footswitch control on the NNFB EDGE switch. Includes classic heavy duty footswitch with LED. Add $60.00 

9. 100 - 240 VOLT POWER TRANSFORMER - for operation outside the USA. Please specify line voltage. Add $40.00 

10. DUAL RECTIFIER MODE SWITCH - Provides a switch to select between a 5AR4 rectifier for smooth compression on peaks or a FRED  high voltage solid-state rectifier for sharp pick attack and dynamic bass.  $50.00  



REVIEW AND SOUND CLIP from John Hinckley "Hink"  

Champ SS with two Dual Pro 1 Preamps - Song "LBS"

Jim I am writing to send you a song and to tell you once again how happy I am with my Frenzel amps, as you know I own two FM-DP1 "Dual Pro 1" Guitar Preamps (both with the power tube and one is a the high-gain version) and a FM-5E1 SS "Champ Super Sportster". While I ordered the second DP1 (hi-gain) to be a companion to my 5E1 SS (by going in the through the power amp in or by cascading the two, you probably recall putting a raw control on my second DP-1) this is actually just the hi-gain DP-1 for the guitar with a Fulltone Fulldrive in front of it for guitar and I recorded the bass through SE1 SS using a Sovtek KT-88 power tube. I have indeed mostly been using the two together using the DP-1 pre-amp and the SE1 SS power amp, this time I just used the DP-1 for guitar and I got the tone in this song which is exactly what I wanted.
I don’t use much effects, I monitor through a Lexicon MX-400 while recording but I do not record the effects to the same track as the guitar, I do however still record the returns and in this case that is what you are hearing with a tiny bit of reverb from Variverb Pro (Samplitude plug-in, Samplitude is my DAW of choice). I also use a modified Jet City Isolation cabinet and in this case I used a 75 watt 12” Fane speaker with an SM-57 and a Gauge ECM-84 small diaphragm condenser (Gauge is my cousin’s company) and of course I have 2 Weber attenuators (which was used on the bass but not on the guitar because it’s not needed with the DP-1’s power amp). I also used an ESP/LTD MH-350FR for the guitar and my daughter’s Ibanez bass (hence the name, I had no name so LBS means Lauren’s Bass Song).
I hope you enjoy it, the song is just 2:45 long. I really love harmonic squeals and playing on what I call the edge of squeals, all my Frenzels are perfect for this and those who may not think of hi-gain when they think of Frenzel I think this is a good example of how cleanly hi-gain can be achieved (I know that’s a bit of a contradiction but it’s true). Meanwhile plugging the bass into the SE1 SS was a great move, more than one friend has suggested I stick with this for my bass tones from now on and I agree it is a great sound.
Frenzel amps are not only fantastic sounding amps but the value is simply amazing, I wish you well and we will certainly be in touch soon enough for another Frenzel. Thank you Jim for such great amps and incredible service.  John Hinckley

REVIEW AND SOUND CLIP from  " Clyde The Slyde"

Champ SS Slyde.MP3

 Hi Jim, I was just noodling around this morning, setting up some mics to check
diffent 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

Frenzel Champ Super Sportster Video Demo

Customer email reviews... 

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 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) 

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)

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)



For more reviews please check our Customers Reviews page.