The Kraken and Duchess are brought in line with the new additions, with all amps in the V4 lineup now featuring onboard Two notes DynIR technology, a Valve Response Circuit and a headphones output.
Compact, lightweight, super-portable and easily integrated into a floor setup or elsewhere, the V4 amps have a hybrid design, with a tube-driven preamp feeding a 180-watt Class D power section.
As ever with the British boutique amp brand, there are a lot of neat features, ranging from the box office to the practical. On one end of the scale we have the aforementioned Two notes technology, which offers players the ability to store cab simp presets and go direct to desk or DAW.
Each amp ships with 10 Victory virtual cabs, with various mic'ing options, all of which can be controlled using Two notes Torpedo app.There is also a Valve Response Circuit to give that solid-state power amp the feel of a tube amp.
And at the other end of the scale we have wholly practical touches, such as on/off switch for the fan, making the V4 amp series even more practical as a recording tool, and a 9V DC output that can power a guitar tuner or any other compatible stompbox.
The valves themselves are worthy of applause. Head designer Martin Kidd and the Victory team have an almost archeological approach to sourcing vintage, military spec valves and using them in their amps. Each of the V4 amps have a trio of CV4014s and a single EC900 in the preamp.
The English CV4014s were produced in 1981 at the Mullard plant, thereafter placed into temperature-controlled cold storage, or more accurately as Victory explains, Cold War storage, with the facility used to house the CV4014s doubling as a nuclear bunker.
The EC900s, meanwhile, are from the former Yugoslavia, made under license by (Elektronska Industrija) under license from Phillips and Mullard. As ever, Victory is so confident in these valves’ durability, they ship with a two-year warranty. Good to know in an era where the world is experiencing a vacuum tube shortage.
As for the amplifiers, they take the tone profile as seen on their lunchbox head and combo counterparts and squeeze it into a small but road-tough aluminium enclosure, complete with a heavy-duty kick bar to protect the knobs. These amps are about the size of a box of Milk Tray and weight 1.7kg; they can easily be carted around in a backpack as a fly-rig.
Victory makes good use of what space it has. On the back of the units, there are balanced line outputs and cab sim outputs, a series effects loop, a footswitch input, a 1/8” headphones output, the input for your electric guitar, a speaker output, the on/off switch and the aforementioned fan switch and 9V DC output.
The enclosure fronts also offer plenty of scope for shaping your tone. The Jack, Sheriff, and Kraken amps have two channels, with a footswitch integrated on the front to toggle between them. On the Duchess, this footswitch is used to engage or disengage the tremolo, and on the Copper it activates a treble boost.
• Victory V4 The Duchess head
"Ample headroom, clean tones sweetened by an incredible valve-driven preamp, reverb and tremolo for adding space and movement to your tone, the Duchess has it all in one little box."
Each amp has a three-band EQ, a six-way rotary knob for selecting your cab sim, a sim level knob, and reverb. Thereafter there are some differences between the two-channel models and those with onboard effects.
The Copper offers an AC30-inspired trip through classic British amp tones, from ‘60s chime and hot bluesy tones through to fat overdrive when the treble booster is engaged. The treble booster effectively makes this a two-channel amp, with master volumes for both treble boosted and non-boosted tones.
The Sheriff is a classic rock amp with a vintage channel for long evenings wearing bell-bottoms and working through your Clapton tab book and a hot-rodded channel for ‘80s rock and metal. Both channels have independent master volume and gain controls.
If you are looking for more gain, then the Kraken is the beast for you. Again, it has two channels, with Gain 1 voiced for classic British overdriven amps, and Gain 2 a tighter, more aggressive sound, with more firepower for contemporary metal styles.
The Jack, meanwhile, was developed with Guthrie Govan and it is an all-rounder. One channel is offers clean tones to the point of breakup, the other puts thick overdrive on the menu. Like the Kraken and Sheriff, each channel has its own gain and master controls.
Finally, the Duchess is the queen of clean and low-gain majesty, with truly exceptional sounds sweetened by a twofer of reverb and tremolo. The Two notes tech and the switch for the fan are credible, smart updates that surely improve upon an already superlative design.
And presumably so too is the new trademarked VRC circuit, which Victory’s Martin Kidd promises will make the solid-state power section more tube-like.
“The idea behind this little piece of the circuit is to mimic what a ‘resonance’ or ‘thump’ (other adjectives are available!) control does in the power amp of a valve amp,” he said. “So with the VRC circuit you get closer to how a valve power section should feel but in a tiny amp you can throw in your backpack and still get up to 180 watts of power!”
The new Victory V4 guitar amp series is available now, priced £799. See Victory Amps for more details.