Victory V30 Countess
From versatile lunchboxes to full-fat hard-rockin’ feasts, 2014 served up some serious tone machines for your delectation...
All of the gear here was reviewed in Guitarist magazine from January 2014 onwards, representing outstanding performance, build quality and value. Our list kicks off with the Victory V30 Countess...
Victory V30 Countess
Designed with input from Guthrie Govan, the Brit-built V30 has won the hearts of the reviewer team.
That's thanks to its portability, sensible pricing and a punchy set of 6L6-derived tones (it’ll also take EL34s) that provide a great platform for effects. There are many other lunchbox amps available, but few taste as good as this.
BUY: Victory V30 Countess currently available from:
UK: Andertons Music
Magnatone Super 59
This sleeping giant of American amplification was revived this year, and its flagship head - designed in conjunction with Billy Gibbons - sounds simply stunning, with bags of raunch somewhere between a Plexi and a hot-rodded Bassman.
Expensive, loud and truly awesome, it works beautifully for everything from Keef riffs to signature ZZ Top pick squeals.
With five gain stages on its lead channel, it would be easy to write off the 100-watt Archon as a one-trick metal machine.
Although it does mega-gain well enough to scare the competition, there’s also a high-headroom, lightning-fast clean channel onboard that’s been a surprise hit with some of Nashville’s premier pickers.
Orange Dual Dark 50
The last few years have seen the British brand’s big valve amps undergo a shift in emphasis.
New designs have seen the classic rock and Britpop-friendly voicings of old giving way to high-gain aggression, while members of Slipknot and Mastodon have joined the company’s artist fold.
Serious metal and heavy-rock players will find much to love here, from the Dual Dark’s tightness and fast, percussive attack on channel B to the fat, midrange punch and powerful EQ of channel A.
Throw foot-switchable onboard attenuation and 50- and 25-watt power modes into the mix and you have a pro-level rig for every occasion.
There’s also a 100-watt incarnation for the biggest stages. If you think you need more gain than this, frankly, you are doing it wrong. Monstrous.