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View Full Version : Tone King Imperial vs Victoria Golden Melody


mary04
09-07-2012, 12:43 PM
Hello!
I`ve owned the TK imperial for one week now, and I have to say it`s a mighty fine amplifier. Very impressive indeed! For my taste I`ve found my favourite tones on the Rhytm channel. It`s outstanding!

Yesterday I suddenly was offered a trade for a Victoria Golden Melody 2x12 combo. I don`t get the chance to try it first, and I don`t know what do do. The GM is a much more expensive amps (at least over here in Europe), and all reviews on it is just one big happy adventure.

The TK Imperial is a very nice sounding amplifier, and I can`t possible imagine that anything will sound any better in the Fender camp. A bit different maybe, but not better.

Then again the GM is a 2x12, while the TKI is a 1x12. Further the GM is rated 40 watts, while the TKI is only 20watt (but it is 20 extremly loud watts). Finally all raves about how extremly well the GM take overdrivepedals- as does the TKI.

Any of you TGPr have tried both? How do they compare to each other?
Any reason I should accept the trade offer?

All replies will be much appreciated!

Cheers
Mary!

ES330
09-07-2012, 01:17 PM
I gave up on 2x12 combos due to weight
just something to consider...

riffmeister
09-07-2012, 01:25 PM
GM is a much bigger, heavier, louder amp. Also not as mid-scooped as the Imperial.

remocity
09-07-2012, 01:28 PM
Mary,
They're both really great amps.........the Victoria is just much bigger sounding.
If you have any volume issues at all when gigging the TK and you have a hand cart........trade for the GM.
They sound better and better as they break in and have big round cleans.....if that's what your looking for.

mary04
09-07-2012, 01:55 PM
Thanks guys!
Weight is no issue, but volum is. We mostly play in pubs and small places, and our soundman always nag about me and the other guitarist being to loud on stage (but the drummer can hit the drums as hard as he want!! Go figure!!)

Hopefully the GM also sound nice on a low volum?

Ogre
09-07-2012, 04:02 PM
If the GM is a more expensive amp, you might want to know why the other person is so willing to trade down.

davebc
09-07-2012, 06:00 PM
They are very different animals!
Personally Id be ALL over that GM! In a heartbeat!
In fact I would do it so fast Id be in the car and gone before he changed his mind.
But I agree, why is someone willing to trade down like that.

RJLII
09-08-2012, 05:32 AM
The GM is a VERY fine amplifier. It sounds great at all volumes. The tremolo is the best in the business. It's also a single channel 6L6 amp as compared to the Imperial's 2 channel 6V6 design. The GM has pretty high clean headroom so if you rely on power tube distortion your sound guy will continue to bitch. It takes pedals well.

I agree with davebc, no contest in my book. The GM is great amp, albeit less flexible that the Tone King. That said, it may not be the best tool for your situation due to the volume issues. Play the thing first and then decide.

btdvox
09-08-2012, 11:20 AM
I'd go with the Victoria. Mark Baier is a super nice guy and super responsive, both himself and his amps are:)

I have a Victoria Victoriette that I adore.

In Absentia
09-08-2012, 11:40 AM
That Golden Melody is my gold standard of warm, beautiful, clean tone

btdvox
09-08-2012, 12:15 PM
BTW, The Silver Sonic is a 20W version of the Golden Melody. You should check that out.

mary04
09-08-2012, 12:26 PM
Once again - Thank you guys!
Seems like everybody is leaning towards the GM. I`ve mailed the other guy that I`m willing to trade. Let`s see if he still is up to it!

davebc
09-08-2012, 12:31 PM
Seems too good to be true, unless the guy is some kind of insane Tone King fanatic.
Or maybe just cluless, The GM tips the scales at 3k$$
Doesn't make sense.

mary04
09-09-2012, 04:50 PM
Well, talked to him again tonight, and he`s still up for the trade. But he told me there`s something wrong with the vibrato/tremolo on the GM. When turning the intense knob on the vibrato section, a crakling noise appears through the speakers. He also find the vibrato not to sound very good. Something is wrong with the vibrato he said. The vibrato on the GM is driven by three 12ax7`s, and I`ve asked the tech guys on the amps & cabs tech section what could cause this. We`ll see!

davebc
09-09-2012, 05:47 PM
Well, talked to him again tonight, and he`s still up for the trade. But he told me there`s something wrong with the vibrato/tremolo on the GM. When turning the intense knob on the vibrato section, a crakling noise appears through the speakers. He also find the vibrato not to sound very good. Something is wrong with the vibrato he said. The vibrato on the GM is driven by three 12ax7`s, and I`ve asked the tech guys on the amps & cabs tech section what could cause this. We`ll see!


Im sure it's something simple, nothing a quick call to Mark @ Victoria can't solve, probably right over the phone.

Birdseye
09-09-2012, 06:07 PM
Man, I think it is a tough call. Sure, the Victoria is worth more, but if it's not the amp you want, and you like the TK, what are you going to do, sell it and find another Imperial? That TK has as good a vibrato as I have played, and a great reverb too. It is lightweight and has volume levels that will cover most gigs. I use mine on the rhythm channel for smaller venues, but the lead channel has a world of great tones on tap when you get to bigger stages and can use the volume. I usually use one channel or the other for the whole gig depending on the size of the venue. Never use the foot switch at all.

I've owned many Victorias, but never a GM. They are cool amps too. The victorilux is a real sweet amp. But the Imperial is a keeper. If you dig the blackface tones, Vicky is not known for that, more tweed focused. I'd be real hesitant if you can't play it first to hear what you are getting into. Tone is what you are after, don't be tempted by the money value. Are you not satisfied now? Really....you need to change?

davebc
09-09-2012, 06:53 PM
While Victoria is primarily known for tweeds, the GM is a bit of a departure, Mark describes it as a combination of Brown Concert, Blackface Super, Tweed Bassman.
Definitely has the blackface thing going from in his demos.

bluesjuke
09-09-2012, 07:48 PM
I spent some time with Mark playing through one soon after they first came out.
That sound will always be in my head.
The tremelo was an experience in itself, other worldly sort of.

davebc
09-10-2012, 08:46 AM
I spent some time with Mark playing through one soon after they first came out.
That sound will always be in my head.
The tremelo was an experience in itself, other worldly sort of.

Does the GM break up?
Tough to tell from marks demos.

JDutch
09-10-2012, 10:46 AM
My vote is for the Golden Melody. One of my all-time favorite amps is the Victoria 45410 Bassman clone, which sound absolutely amazing, and the Golden Melody utilizes the same circuit, but adds reverb and trem.

Although I've never tried the Tone King Imperial, I've owned and subsequently sold a Tone Metropolitan. The rythme channel has one of the best clean tones I've ever heard, but the lead channel wasn't quite there, and the attentuator simply doesn't work as advertised.

Plus, in terms of future maintenance costs, I'll take a point-to-point handwired amp over a circuit board any day. Tone King's amps are very, very sturdy and reliable, but you never know what's going to happen down the road. Maybe someone else more knowledgeable than me can weigh-in, but what happens if the guy at Tone King isn't making amps anymore, and there's a problem with the circuit board? Can someone repair a circuit board or make you a new one?

Groberts
09-10-2012, 04:11 PM
I demo'd a Tone King Imperial at my local shop. Loved the tremolo, the reverb was good, the rest was just ok for me. on the other hand, I loved the Tone King Falcon. (Different amp and not comparable, but just pointing that out because I do admire some of the Tone King Line up.

I have played through several Victoria's and loved them all. I would vote for the GM even though I have not played through one.

Birdseye
09-10-2012, 07:23 PM
The circuit board is not going to be a problem, it is at least as sturdy as wire connections and not hard to repair the mounted components any more than PTP. TK is far from the flimsy boards with ribbon cables. The design is made to last the long haul.

I did check out the specs and clips on the GM. It is a very tempting trade, sounds like a great great amp. I might favor it over the Imperial for gigging larger venues or louder gigs. A 2x12 with that trem and verb and 50 watts should be killer. But the Imperial is half the weight and plenty of volume for smaller clubs. Horses for courses. I own a bunch of vintage fenders, including a low power Twin that has the harmonic trem. I love it, but for most gigs, the Imperial gets used because it just fits the bill and is so easy to carry. It has it's own voice, not exactly like anything else, and once you learn to use it...it can take some getting used to...it gives up great tones. At least for my needs...I almost never use pedals at all, love the edge of breakup tones of a good tube amp.

I wouldn't blame the OP for taking the trade, it looks like a no brainer, unless the Imperial just happens to be a better fit for the context.

riffmeister
09-10-2012, 07:30 PM
Imperial vs GM.......to me these seem like different tools for different jobs. Play larger rooms and get your OD tones from pedals? GM is probably the better choice. Play smaller rooms and like to have the option of multiple tones and saturation points from your amp alone? Imperial is probably the better choice.

Birdseye
09-10-2012, 07:41 PM
This, exactly; very well put, especially the ability to have "multiple saturation points", and tones, the Imperial is versatile that way, works in a big range of rooms. The lead channel is loud enough to hang on big stages.

Imperial vs GM.......to me these seem like different tools for different jobs. Play larger rooms and get your OD tones from pedals? GM is probably the better choice. Play smaller rooms and like to have the option of multiple tones and saturation points from your amp alone? Imperial is probably the better choice.

bluesjuke
09-10-2012, 10:36 PM
Does the GM break up?
Tough to tell from marks demos.



It would be loud before breakup.
I didn't get it that loud.

phaedrus242
09-11-2012, 12:00 AM
I'll cast a vote for the Victoria. Mark is a truly passionate builder that puts out some of the finest amps in the world. Service is amazing, build quality is top notch and the TONE! I've gigged exclusively with an early 45410 (Bassman) for a couple years now and have beened thrilled every time I fire it up. I took it in to his shop about a year back just to have it gone through. My bill was $35 and he took the time to jam for a while with me through some of his newer stuff when I went to pick it up. Both are awesome amps, but given the choie between the two, my (heavily biased) opinion goes to the Victoria every time. It's him and his wife that answer the phone when you call and they truly care about the people that use their products.

RJLII
09-11-2012, 05:40 AM
Does the GM break up?
Tough to tell from marks demos.

Based on a demo he gave me in his shop it will break up, but it's FREAKIN' LOUD when the power tubes start to saturate. You'd need to be in a pretty big room to not be pissing people off.

The older I get though (groan) the more I appreciate pristine cleans with all the harmonics mixing it up. The GM still has an edge to the sound when you turn it up a bit, like all the old classics did. There are too many top notch drive pedals out there to dismiss the GM just because the power section won't break up early. I use a Carr Rambler with three pedals set for various amounts of gain/crunch and it's like having a four channel amp. The GM will respond the same way.

davebc
09-11-2012, 06:31 AM
In Marks's demos, I thought the GM sounded and broke up almost like a BF Twin.

I was expecting a different kind of break up given the way he described the amp, brown concert, BF super, and tweed Bassman circuit.

Dont get me wrong, it sounds beautiful. I was just a suprised that even cranked up with a Les Paul it still had a ton of headroom.

davebc
09-11-2012, 06:34 AM
dupe post

Birdseye
09-11-2012, 06:49 AM
http://www.premierguitar.com/Magazine/Issue/2008/Dec/Victoria_Golden_Melody_Review.aspx

RJLII
09-11-2012, 07:13 AM
http://www.premierguitar.com/Magazine/Issue/2008/Dec/Victoria_Golden_Melody_Review.aspx

That review pretty much nails it.

Priestunes
09-15-2012, 09:53 PM
Increasing the intensity of the tremolo will make that crackling sound. It only happens (on mine) when you rotate the pot. If you call Victoria, they'll tell you this is normal. Lots of voltage on a voltage plate or something. (Sorry... not a tech.) I compared Tone Kings and both Victoria Golden Melody models (the lower wattage version, can't recall its name) and the GM was the clear winner. Just an amazing, CLEAN amp.

motis1953
09-17-2012, 09:22 PM
Jump all over the Victoria, it's the flagship model of one of the best builders out there. If there's a problem with the trem circuit, a good tech will fix it in 10 minutes. I hear from a friend who had one that it's pretty clean all the way up. A Jetter dual-stage pedal will allow you to get any degree of dirt at any volume with a clean amp.

woodylong
09-19-2012, 09:39 PM
I can't speak for the Victoria' I have the Tone King Imperial & just love it' The tremolo is second to no none' The reverb is great' Bass' treble' very responsive' light weight' take pedals good' Vote For TK

Twangdaddy
09-24-2012, 01:13 PM
I can't speak for the Victoria' I have the Tone King Imperial & just love it' The tremolo is second to no none' The reverb is great' Bass' treble' very responsive' light weight' take pedals good' Vote For TK

Ditto. But you might try to swap the Tone King speaker (shrill to my ears) for a 12-inch Jensen NEO-100. The NEO smoothes out all harshness, takes out the spiky trebles and replaces it with a lovely bass klank. You don't have to set the treble on 2 or 3 anymore. And you don't have to cut the treble cap to get the tone. Plus it's at least 3 pounds LIGHTER than the original speaker, which brings down the weight of the Tone King to about 27.0 pounds! Mark Bartel himself has said in this thread that he's had good results with the Jensen NEO-100 (see Post No. 13):

http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=1030145&highlight=king+imperial+jensen+mark

Once I put in the NEO, I'll never sell it (I know, famous last words for TGP but ...). It takes a great amp and turns it into something magnificent. Not a cheap speaker, but it's worth every cent, IMO.

mary04
03-27-2013, 05:29 AM
Hello again folks!
Old tread, new information. The proposed trade between the two amps never happend, but last week I sold the Imperial and bought the Victoria. Got the GM yesterday, and I`ve done nothing but playing it ever since. Honeymoon just started, but I've already heard enough to conclude that the GM is a much much bigger sounding amp, and much much more complex sounding amp. The sound got dimensions the Imperial don`t have. Don`t get me wrong - The Imperial is a mighty fine amplifier, but compared to the GM its way more boxy og steril sounding. Like some of you have already stated, the GM is a clean amp. But the clean is so big, warm and lush its almost unreal, and it`s extremly fun to play. If I want dirt I use pedals, and the GM is extremly pedaldriendly. All my od pedals integrades with the amp in a very nice way, and especally the Wampler Pinnacle really shines through the GM. Next week my Analogman KOT arrives, and I bet the KOT and the GM will be a perfect match. I get back to you with a demo in a week or two. Stay put!

Doc58
06-10-2014, 09:10 AM
Keep the Tone King!

999369
06-10-2014, 10:23 AM
It Should be ~~~~~~~~

Victoria Gold Melody VS Tone King Metropolitan

Victoria Silver Sonic VS Tone King Imperial

BadCat
06-10-2014, 11:00 AM
Keep the Tone King!read the post above yours:peenut

999369
06-10-2014, 01:43 PM
It Should be ~~~~~~~~

Victoria Gold Melody VS Tone King Metropolitan

Victoria Silver Sonic VS Tone King Imperial
Gold Melody , Metropolitan , Silver Sonic

They are all "" Different ""

http://www.my-hiend.com/vbb/attachment.php?attachmentid=18434&d=1339891904

http://www.my-hiend.com/vbb/attachment.php?attachmentid=18429&d=1339682837

motokev
06-10-2014, 11:44 PM
I've owned both. The GM is a neutral sounding big full sounding amp. The Imperial on the other-hand, is a blackface with a BIG FULL AMBIENT SOUND. The GM is a beautiful crafted amp. But, its really LOUD at low volume setting, like 1 or 2; be a great amp for someone who likes to play LOUD at gigs and use OD pedals.

mary04
06-11-2014, 03:42 AM
My old tread "coming back to life" (David Gilmour). Nice!! Well, since I started this tread I`ve owned both the Victoria GM and TK Imperial. I fully stand behing everything Motokev said about the GM. One of the best amps I`ve ever owned, but very very powerful. The Imperial is also a nice amplifier, but it was something about the Imperials voicing I didn`t bond with. I swapped speakers for a while, run it through a 2x12 cab, sold it, bought it back, testet it live one last time with my band, and finally sold it again. Very nice amp, just not for me.

Today both of them are gone, and I`m back on the Vintage Marshall path.

I made demos on both of them before I sold them. Have a view, or not.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycBBYOuGUjg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvAM24ELNHk