Victory unleashes the Kraken – again! – as the VX MKII adds presence and a footswitchable Clean mode to Rabea Massaad’s favourite high-gain head

Victory Kraken VX MkII
(Image credit: Victory Amps)

Victory Amps has unveiled the Kraken VX MKII, the second-generation of its high-gain tube amp head that was developed in collaboration with Rabea Massaad.

Once more the Kraken presents us with a serious amount of gain – enough for modern metal guitar with some to spare – split across a two-channel platform with very respectable output of 50-watts at full power, and 9-watts for those occasions when you want to get the tubes all het up at lower volumes. After all, 50 of these watts will easily tear heads off in a small gig setting.

These guitar amps are offered in compact head and lunchbox formats, and are the result of four years of R&D and fine-tuning. They were already plenty versatile as far as high-gain amps go, but the addition of a presence control and switch plus a new Clean mode for the Gain 1 channel makes them potentially even more useful in a variety of settings. Furthermore, this Clean mode is footswitchable, effectively turning this into a de facto three-channel amp.

Both amps have identical control panels, with a toggle switch for the channels, plus independent Gain I and Gain II gain controls, and two independent Master I and Master II volume controls that are footswitchable and be assigned to operate globally across both channels or to control the master volume of each channel independently. 

Bass, Middle and Treble dials serve both channels, as does the all-new presence dials. All of these front-panel controls have Victory’s distinctive chicken-head design. And if you don’t want the Presence and wish to revert to the previous Kraken’s voicing, simply set the Presence dial to zero.

A jewel power lamp is positioned beside the power switch and lets you know when the amp is on, with a three-way toggle switch selecting between high and low-power modes. 

Around the back of the amplifier you’ve got a trio of speaker outputs, the Presence Shift button, which adds a little extra brightness, a Bass Focus switch for tightening up that low end, a trio of external bias test points, and it is here you will find the series effects loop for easy pedalboard integration, plus the Master Volume Assign Switch and inputs for the footswitches.

Under the hood you will find a quartet of 12AX7 tubes in the preamp, and a pair of 6L6 power tubes. 

The lunchbox version is priced £1,419/$1,549, the wooden cabinet version is priced £1,579/$1,699. but both are compact by anyone’s stretch of the imagination. Both ship in a gig bag. Fore more details, head over to Victory Amps.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.