Our columnist is a Fender die-hard but finds thrills in an inspired modern alternative: the Victoria Victorilux.
I am extremely loyal to vintage Fender amps. I love their clean and transparent tones, and how their simplicity makes for amplifiers that are not only collectable but serviceable. I do play other guitars and amps besides Fenders, although I have to admit that I always measure them against the brand and often try dialing them to a sound as close as possible to Fender tone. But this month I want to share a story about a Fender-inspired amp that I love: the Victoria Victorilux.
Victoria has had great success with their point-to-point-wired amps based on classic designs—with a twist. Their long customer list of influential musicians and weekend players proves they’ve done something right. Who doesn’t want a new, robust, high-quality amp that looks and sounds vintage?
My love of the Victorilux started in 2011, when I got to try one for the first time. It was my brother’s, and he showed me a long email thread with company founder Mark Baier discussing different speaker and tube options. I was impressed. My brother’s amp was a 3x10 combo loaded with Jensen P10R speakers. It had dual 6L6GC power tubes and a 230V power transformer. Other speaker configurations were also offered by the company including 2x10, 2x12, and 1x15. Today, Victoria offers Eminence speakers instead of Jensens, according to the company’s website. I really like Eminence Legend 1058 10s and Legend 1518 15s because of their full tone and ability to handle high power without losing touch-sensitivity.
I describe the Victorilux as a Fender-black-panel-style amp in a tweed enclosure with brown-panel charm.
I describe the Victorilux as a Fender-black-panel-style amp in a tweed enclosure with brown-panel charm. As with Fender tweed amps, the chassis is placed vertically in the cabinet, which is robustly constructed with finger-jointed solid pine. The speaker baffle board is Baltic plywood. The controls consist of two 1/4" inputs, volume, treble, mid, bass, reverb, and speed and intensity for the tremolo. With just a single channel, there are fewer things that can fail. The circuit component layout is tidy and takes no shortcuts, and everything is coupled and fitted tightly.
For me, the Victorilux was love at first sight. And that deepened when I heard it. I expected the amp to sound something like a Super Reverb: good and clean. But I was surprised by how fine it sounded at low volumes. It had a sparkling clean-yet-lush-and-warm voice even at the quietest bedroom levels. The EQ spectrum seemed wider than I was used to with older Fender amps—especially for the mid control. I have seen a few Victoriluxes without mid knobs, and I strongly recommend trying one with mid control, since that dial can change the amp’s character between a mid-based British voice and an American scooped tone. With the mid knob set high, the Victorilux starts breaking up surprisingly soon for a dual 6L6GC amp. Lowering the mids will take you back into Fender-black-panel land.
At that first meeting, I was quickly able to dial in a nice tone—as can be done with a vintage Fender. But when I turned up the volume, it didn’t sound Fender black-panel at all. The amp broke up earlier and was more aggressive, with more sag and compression—thanks to the Victorilux’s cathode bias design, which reduces clean headroom. I guess Baier was inspired by the early breakup characteristics of small Fender tweed amps when he chose cathode bias for the relatively high-powered Victorilux. Cathode bias is a less efficient power-amp design compared to fixed bias. All black-panel-era amps and the bigger tweed amps had fixed bias, to maximize clean headroom.
The original Jensen speakers in this amp have been replaced with a trio of Webers for a more powerful and chunky sound, with firm, well-defined bass response.
I also expected the reverb to be lush, but I particularly liked the smooth and gradual knob response. The tremolo could nicely sweep deep and slow or very fast. To summarize, I found the Victorilux to be a brilliantly designed amp that contains the best inspirations from Fender’s tweed and black-panel eras.
I later tried a set of Weber speakers in the amp: two alnico 10A150s in the bottom row and a 10A125 on top. That made it much more powerful and chunky, with firm, well-defined bass response. For those who play in power trios with a loud drummer, I recommend this speaker setup. You will fill the stage completely with massive guitar tone. Those are my favorite Webers, though the ceramic 10F150 or 10F125 will also do the job.
I hope my experience will encourage the vintage Fender fellowship to try out various amp brands. There are ambitious alternatives out there, and my experience with the Victorilux proves that classic tone can be crafted using well-built modern amps.
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Outlaw Effects introduces their next generation of NOMAD rechargeable battery-powered pedal boards.
Available in two sizes, NOMAD ISO is a compact, versatile tool that offers the convenience of a fully powered board plus the additional freedom of not having to plug into an outlet. NOMAD ISO is ideal for stages with limited outlet availability, quick changeovers, busking outdoors, temporary rehearsal locations, and more!
NOMAD ISO builds upon the legacy of the ultra-convenient and reliable NOMAD rechargeable pedalboard line originally launched in 2018. The brand new NOMAD ISO editions feature eight isolated outputs (1 x 9V DC, and 1 switchable 9V/12V DC) for even more versatility and clean, quiet power. With an integrated lithium-ion battery pack boasting 12800mAh capacity, NOMAD ISO can fuel a wide array of pedals, and will last over 10 hours* on a single charge.
Each NOMAD ISO pedal board includes adhesive hook & loop pedal-mounting tape, eight (8) standard DC connector cables, and one (1) reverse polarity DC cable, giving you everything you need to build your ultimate "off-the-grid" rig. A rugged, road-ready padded gig bag with shoulder strap is also included, to safely protect your gear while you're on the move.
NOMAD ISO S: MSRP $309 / MAP: $249
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 5 ¼"
NOMAD ISO M: MSRP $349 / MAP $279
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 11"
More info: https://www.outlawguitareffects.com.
Dunable announce new Minotaur model featuring Grover Rotomatic Keystone tuners.
The Minotaur's DNA is rooted in their classic Moonflower model, which Dunable discontinued in 2017. However, they have long since wanted to create a fresh take on a carved top guitar design, and various attempts to rework the Moonflower led them to a brand new concept with the Minotuar.
Dunable's goal is to give the player a guitar that plays fast and smooth, sounds amazing, and gives maximum physical ergonomic comfort. The Minotaur's soft and meticulous contours, simple and effective control layout, and 25.5" scale length are designed to easily meet this criteria.
- 25.5" scale length
- Dual Humbucker
- one volume, one tone, push pull for coil splitting
- Grover Rotomatic Keystone tuners
- Grover Tune O Matic bridge with brass Kluson top-mount tailpiece
- jumbo nickel frets
- 12" fretboard radius
This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.
Adding to the company’s line of premium-quality effects pedals, Missing Link Audio has unleashed the new AC/Overdrive pedal. This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal – the only Angus & Malcom all-in-one stompbox on the market – brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.
The AC/OD layout has three knobs to control Volume, Gain and Tone. That user-friendly format is perfect for quickly getting your ideal tone, and it also offers a ton of versatility. MLA’s new AC/OD absolutely nails the Angus tone from the days of “High Voltage” to "Back in Black”. You can also easily dial inMalcom with the turn of a knob. The pedal covers a broad range of sonic terrain, from boost to hot overdrive to complete tube-like saturation. The pedal is designed to leave on all the time and is very touch responsive. You can get everything from fat rhythm tones to a perfect lead tone just by using your guitar’s volume knob and your right-hand attack.
- Three knobs to control Volume, Gain and Tone
- Die-cast aluminum cases for gig-worthy durability
- Limited lifetime warranty
- True bypass on/off switch
- 9-volt DC input
- Made in the USA