NAMM 2024: Victory has dropped its all-new MK Clean and MK Overdrive guitar amps, which it says are the culmination of Head Designer Martin Kidd’s three decades in the industry. The two units have boldly set their sights on becoming the best single-channel clean amp and the best multi-channel overdriven amp available to players today.
The two tube amps, hand-made and hand-wired in England, are the result of a four-year design and build process for the British brand. Their development, Victory says, was underscored by a mantra of “no limits, no compromise.”
For the MK Clean (a single channel clean amp), Victory’s V140 served as an early starting point, but it soon outgrew its original blueprint. Featuring 100 watts of oomph and four 6L6 power tubes, the amp promises to deliver a “distinct high headroom sound”.
Whilst those clean tones may be well-suited to blues and country players in particular, Kidd recognized the importance of its ability to break up, too. As such, the MK Clean has been designed with pedals in mind.
The amp provides two voices. Its first ushers a ‘50s-flavored tonality, with voice two consequently allowing for more upper mid-range to seep into the sound.
Furthering the ‘50s vibe, the MK Clean has an Accutronics long tank fitted upside down – a method used for maximizing the quality of the amp's high end decay. To tame unwanted distortion, a Reverb Send control has been fitted, while a Presence control, and Bass and Bright switches, help increase its stylistic versatility.
“The final circuit evolved into something very different to the V140,” Kidd explains. “My focus was on getting the amount of clean headroom required by the blues and country players without having too much headroom to struggle with any drive/boost pedals.”
The starting point for the MK Overdrive, meanwhile, was the Cornford MK50, Kidd’s revered blues-rock amp head. The end goal for Kidd here was to design the “ultimate overdrive amp”.
The multi-channel amp is built to provide a versatile array of tones. Its clean channel has channel-specific Gain, Presence and Resonance controls, and a Voice switch that adds more upper mids on setting two. According to Victory, there’s enough headroom for pairing with pedals.
The overdrive channel, meanwhile, supposedly has enough muscle and aggression for modern rock and metal players. Like the clean channel, it also has Presence and Resonance controls, but here the Presence will both increase and reduce negative feedback at high frequencies. The idea is to create a foundation for finer tuning.
It also has two gain switches for Crunch and Lead tones, respectively. They too have their own Gain and Volume controls. A voice one/two option will also affect both channels simultaneously.
Voice two is brighter and brings more gain, tightening the sound and response of the amp as it does so. There is also a Master Volume control for these channels.
Victory’s new MK Series amps comes in several custom finishes. Players can choose the color of its panels, handle, and there’s also a wide selection of genuine leather coverings. This is exclusively supplied by Muirhead Scottish Leather – suppliers to the House of Lords, Rolls Royce and Aston Martin, amongst others.
Each amp will be checked over by Martin Kidd personally, and will bear his signature. Only then will they leave the factory.
Victory’s Martin Kidd made his first guitar amp in the early ‘90s. Alongside starting Victory Amps in 2013, he’s become a prominent figure in the British amp-making circuit and has consulted for some big names, including Fortin, Ampeg and PRS.
The amps' production starts in March. The MK Clean costs $4,999, while the MK Overdrive weighs in a little more at $5,199. There are also 1x12 and 2x12 cabinet pairings. The price of these is dependent on your chosen specifications.
The news follows hot on the heels of the release of Victory's 25-watt amp head, The Deputy, which was made in collaboration with Pete Honore. The result is an amp that Honore believes was “missing from the Victory catalog.”
Victory Amps have a host of big-name players and two of those have been in the news of late. Rabea Massaad has just dropped his first two Music Man signature guitars, and Mastodon's Bill Kelliher has just unveiled his latest LTD signature, the Royal Shiva.
To find out more, head to Victory.
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