The Burn Channel
Called the Burn channel, Channel 2 features two Gain knobs (1 and 2), where Gain 1 delivers the crunch/edge distortion, and Gain 2 adds a thickness that to my ears sounds almost like compression. Again with my Tele, I cranked Gain 1 up to 6 and was able to get classic rock and blues tones. What really impressed me was how this channel responded to playing dynamics. I could control the breakup with my attack. I could get ZZ-style grit, but then chill it out by simply picking lighter. Following the two Gain knobs, there's Treble, Bass, Middle, and Volume control, with Reverb being the last knob on the right.
On the same night, another friend plugged his Les Paul Standard into the Super-Sonic 22 and the volume difference in our pickups became immediately apparent. His Paul jumped out even louder, and the thickness of the tone shone through compared to my single-coils. He has Music Man and Fender amps, and he knows how a good amp should sound. Again, we all agreed that this combo sounded really great. So much so that the next day at my studio, I plugged my Les Paul Custom into the Burn channel and cascaded the distortion, setting Gain 1 on 10 and Gain 2 on 4. This gave me a sound I hadn't heard before from a Fender amp, sans pedal. Standing in front of the Super-Sonic, I got great feedback with the Burn channel Volume knob on only 3!
As for the Accutronics reverb, the Super-Sonic 22 uses the same design as the long-spring tank in the '65 Deluxe Reverb. I have some great amps with classic reverb, and this one stands up to them, but in a different way. The decay is quite long—around three to four seconds—so I rarely ran it above 3. But it sounds like old Fender reverb and with my Tele, I got great old-school blues and surf tones by turning the Reverb knob to 7.
Around back, you find main and extension speaker outputs, a jack for the included heavy-duty footswitch, and an effects send and return. Of course, there's a standby and power switch, as well as an IEC power cable socket.
The Final Mojo
The Fender Super-Sonic 22 is a hot little amp. For live players, it satisfies the need for classic, clean Fender tones. It reacts to your touch and breaks up musically at manageable volumes. But when you step on it, the Burn channel can deliver enough spongy, quality gain to cover most blues, rock, and country needs, and can even do hard rock and metal. With the addition of a good distortion pedal, you could comfortably take this Super-Sonic into heavier territories. Rugged and sturdy, this all-tube monster isn't cheap, but for what it delivers, it's also not expensive—especially when you compare it to some pricy boutique alternatives. I would feel very comfortable using the Super-Sonic 22 at any show, and equally good about using it in the studio. This versatile amp delivers the goods.
You want a sturdy, gig-worthy 22 watt tube amp that delivers clean and mean in the same package.
You need more power, more gain, or need a less expensive amp.