1. The Rules have been updated regarding posting as a business on TGP. Thread with details here: Thread Here
    Dismiss Notice

Clark vs Victoria

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by GenoBluzGtr, Jun 30, 2006.

  1. GenoBluzGtr

    GenoBluzGtr Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,619
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Location:
    Southern Maryland
    For anyone with experience playing, owning, or hearing both, can you help me make a decision between a Beaufort/Beaufort Special and a Victoria 20112?

    I know that both of these are top of the line 5E3-style amps. Although I have been a Blackface-oriented player, I am changing direction and think that a 5E3 is what I want. I realize the issue about headroom differences and that's okay, I normally play with my Super Reverb volume on 3 and our band mic's everything anyway. Plus, I am not into the "super clean" type of clean and like a little dirt either way, but I am really taken with the type of overdrive I have heard from these amps. Deeper, smoother, a touch darker and much more full than Blackface Overdrive.


    My questions are:

    Pedal Friendliness... I will still use an OD pedal to cover some classic rock tunes, usually a Zendrive, a Direct Drive, or a Keeley TS9. I also intend to add an analog delay of some type, as well as an RC booster for boosting the natural tone on most songs.

    Smoothness... My ideal overdrive is very 6V6ish or 6L6ish. Smooth. More grind than grit. I like mids (even though I have been a BF user), as long as it doesn't get gritty or "splatty".

    Tightness... I also prefer to have tightness in the bass notes; open E, open A... you know. I like the idea of hitting an open string hard and getting the exptected frequency without flub and fartiness.

    Value... this gets into the price points.. The Beaufort Special cuts some corners (Jensen instead of Celestion Anilco Blue, off the shelf transformers, etc....) but save a good bit of $$. Appr. $900 vs appr $1400 for the full-up model. The Victoria is a few hundred more still, and my question is ... do you actually get that added amount of value or would the Beaufort Special get me there without depleting the bank account?

    Finally... In addtion to Pedal Friendliness, how do each of these respond to both Single Coils and Humbuckers. I play Fat Strats (I use 3 different ones, all with bridge Humbuckers.. JB, DH1, Pearly Gates). I like the variety in sounds that I get and love doing solos with Humbuckers. Any amp I use would have to sound good with either.

    Sorry for being so wordy, and thanks in advance for the advice and help.

    Geno
     
  2. lv

    lv Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,970
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    Chicago
    I've owned both brands. Clark is a better made amp, more attention to detail, no rattling like both of my Victorias did. Tonally, I found the Clarks to be closer to old amps, just more broken-in sounding.
     
  3. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

    Messages:
    13,448
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Ladeeeez and Gennamun...in this matchup of Clark v Victoria we have...wait, what's that? Ladeeez and Gennamun, Clark is leaving the ring, he says he won't fight Victoria, says he didn't realize Victoria was a woman!

    Well that is a fine how'dja do, isn't it? What are all these people going to do with their $1000 a seat ringside tickets?

    What's that going on in the aisle? Wait, a second, it's a bunch of PEDALS, they say they want friendly amplifiers. They say they're not getting friendly enough amplifiers.

    Oh, the humanity!

    Hey, let's get the opinions of a bunch of complete strangers on the internet about this problem, without knowing anything about their tastes, skills, styles, preferred types of tones... without knowing ANYTHING about them! Sir, yes, you, sir, what do you say, who would have won this fight? Oh, you say it's the amp YOU have? No problem. Stick yer nose right in front of this mic and give us an opinion anyway! :)
     
  4. lv

    lv Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,970
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    Chicago
    I see how you got over 9,000 posts.
     
  5. Lance Long

    Lance Long Member

    Messages:
    47
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2005
    I, too, have owned both brands as well as an original 1959 narrow panel tweed Deluxe. IMHO, the Clark (high end model) came the closest to the original Fender in tone and performance. Its build quality and customer support are superb. The Clark is dead quiet at idle and has no cabinet rattle. I have never been impressed with tweed Fenders or their clones being particularly pedal friendly in comparison to the Black Face models, but that is just one man's opinion. If it means anything, I still have the Fender and the Clark, and after 10 years of steady studio recording and club dates, the only things I have replaced on the amps are the power tubes. I hope the information helps with your decision.
     
  6. Ogre

    Ogre Member

    Messages:
    4,287
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2002
    I have played them side by side. I chose the Clark. The Clark did have a Celestian Blue, which may have given it an unfair advantage.
     
  7. rwe333

    rwe333 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    15,828
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2002
    Location:
    Canada's Capital
    A vote for Victoria as I really like Mark Baier and his company (admittedly, I haven't played a Clark).
     
  8. Strung Up

    Strung Up Member

    Messages:
    1,605
    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    Location:
    Crazy, mixed-up world
  9. johneeeveee

    johneeeveee Member

    Messages:
    1,613
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2006
    as far as build quality and attention to detail (tone being so very subjective) i would say the early victoria's seem to be better built than the more recent models.

    i think this probably has to do with them becomg very poular and having to build more amps in shorter periods of time. i have an early vic 518 (with the smaller sized cab), and it seems better built than the recent 518's i've played. i also think it sounds better, for what my opinion is worth.

    i only played one clark champ reissue and it sounded kinda anemic compared to this particular vic, but that was only one amp.

    i think these amps builders are close enough to be taken on an amp by amp basis, although i guess that doesn't help you much if you're ordering one without playing it. there are so many variables to consider as well... guitars, pups, playing style, etc.
    good luck - jv
     
  10. zappafrank

    zappafrank Member

    Messages:
    1,051
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2005
    Location:
    Portland, Left Coast USA!
    I have a Victoria 4-10" tweed Pro/Bandmaster/Super circuit (not a BASSMAN---it was a custom order from Rick Holmstrom to emulate Jr. Watson's main amp---he played it for years on the road w/ Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers. Once I ripped out the 3-knob Kendrick add-on reverb Rick had had installed, I was in west coast style blues heaven (I put a stand alone reverb in front of it---much, much better, for my main style...)
    I also have a Victoria 3-10" Victorilux w/ 2-6L6's---great amp, and totally different (and LOUDER) than the other Vic---kinda brown/voxy/blackface mix---I dig it a lot, but too big for 90% of the places I play---I'm no rock star!
    And---i have a Clark Beaufort that I had Mike put in a larger cabinet, and I have a 61' Jensen p15n in it---2 Vol., 1 Tone---simple, and the one I use most of all---I use a Premeir Reverb tank in front, and occasionally pedals, but those are always an afterthought to me, so for your needs, someone else with a better ear for effcts/amp interaction should probably speak up...for blues in a smaller to medium-small clubs, this gets most of the action---just perfect for what I do---if you want a smaller tweed, I'd go Clark---I cannot offer you a comprison to his Beaufort Special, but I CAN tell you mine can swap between 2 6L6's w/ a 5ar4 rec., or 2 6V6's w/ a 5y3 rec., w no re-biasing---both are killer, but it is optimized for the 6L6 set up---hope this provides some help--

    ac
     
  11. GenoBluzGtr

    GenoBluzGtr Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,619
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Location:
    Southern Maryland
    Thanks Zappafrank... so you are telling me that your Clark Beaufort runs either 6V6s or 6L6s depending upon which rectifier? That is intriguing.

    Do you get more headroom and/or volume with the bigger bottles? That kind of flexibility might be a big selling point for me!
     
  12. sanhozay

    sanhozay klon free since 2009

    Messages:
    11,264
    Joined:
    May 4, 2003
    I like the Clark speaker choice better. But you're splitting hairs when it comes to deciding which builder does it best.
     
  13. rwe333

    rwe333 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    15,828
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2002
    Location:
    Canada's Capital
    Also check the revised Victoria Regal (not updated on their website yet). It now accepts two power tubes (many types) - cathode biased, tube rectifier, two OTs... Can run on one power tube still. So from very low power (say one 6V6) to close to 50 watts (like two KT88s). Plus reverb and driver-tube-modulation tremolo. Blonde or tweed combo, choice of 15" speaker (among other custom options).

    [​IMG]
     
  14. lv

    lv Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,970
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    Chicago
    wow, great looking amp!
     
  15. rwe333

    rwe333 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    15,828
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2002
    Location:
    Canada's Capital
    Pic is from Sylvan Music's website.
    That said, I'm expecting a similar amp in a week or two...
     
  16. 1964

    1964 Member

    Messages:
    296
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2005
    Location:
    Too close to hell
  17. pbradt

    pbradt Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,386
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    If you want the BEST Tweed Clone, Clay Hullett is your guy. He's not building amps full time any more, mostly for Nashville session cats.

    But if you want the best, get hold of Clay. Mine are flawless.

    www.hullettamps.com
     
  18. hunter

    hunter Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,078
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2002
    First off, can't help with the comparison although I know someone that prefers the Clark to the Vicky. I have a Victoria that I bought from a gear pager and I made a bunch of gigs with it before I went solid state crazy. No rattles and rock solid. The chassis build on mine is just fine.

    When I got it the original speaker was shot and the previous owner had a greenback in it. Worked OK, but the amp took off when I put the Celestion Blue in it (only amp I found I liked the Blue in). Not particularly smooth, leaning more toward grit or maybe it is grind...I'm not sure. Seems to like the pedals I use just fine. Bass at high volumes is not particularly tight but fooling with the volume on the other "channel" can provide some tone adjustment that'll roll off the amps gain, bass and mids and tighten things up. The Blue also rolls off a little bass and helps the bottom.

    I continually read the build on the Clark is better but I'm not sure how. I think the two builders have a slightly different design pholosophy. Baier goes for a Deluxe replica right down to transformers that match the old tweed trannies. I suspect this gives an amp with higher voltages (just as an original tweed would be when plugged into todays line voltage). He picks a speaker that is supposed to be similar to the original tweed speaker. The caps look like orange drops but they are custom manufactured to Baiers specs for tweed sound (if that is even possible).

    I understand Clark gets transformers that take into account the higher modern line voltages and produce lower internal amp voltages more like tweeds would have had back in the day of lower line voltage. Also, Clark will deviate from the tweed replica concept by adding reverb and Celestion Blue speakers for example.

    How all these little things translate into sound, I can't say for sure. Either way, I'd bet that a tweed through a Blue is going to sound much more robust than one through a Jenson every time. More like an original tweed? Probably not, but good just the same.

    I'm thinking that the Special is going to sound pretty good and it'd be hard to tell much difference in a live context or band mix (speculation). I do like the Blue in a Deluxe but you can score one for a lot less than the $600 price difference.

    I'm pretty sure I'd be good to go with either amp builder. No problems with the Vicky though.

    hunter
     
  19. Alister

    Alister Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,405
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2005
    Location:
    'Twixt here and there
    I don't know where you got this "cutting corners" info, and the transformer info.
    I got my Beaufort Special about two months ago, with a Weber -- not Jensen -- and I requested it as more vintage-sounding than the Celestian Blue anyway. More expensive does nec. translate into "better sounding." 30 years have taught me something, anyway.
    I'm an old "tweed guy" who wants fairly early breakup. You are correct, though, that it's not "pedal friendly." Me, other than a Barber and an occas. wah or delay, I rarely use pedals, and don't want them with a good amp anyway.

    I agree that it's a Win-Win, though. I like Vicky's, too, esp. the bandmaster and bassman types. I test drove the lower wattage Vicky's, but bought the Clark on-order sight unseen. Love it, esp. for recording and small gigs.
     
  20. µ¿ z3®ø™

    µ¿ z3®ø™ Member

    Messages:
    5,711
    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2005
    Location:
    t-dot
    i dunno, i have both a beaufort and a vicky.
    i'd say build quality and attention to detail is about even.
    they both sound like tweed deluxes, but slightly different from each other. the vicky breaks up a bit earlier and seems to have a bit smoother sound when it gets there, the beaufort maybe a teensy-weensy bit more headroom. clark doesn't have a dealer network so they are a bit cheaper.
    neither has a strong point in the bottom end. neither particularly like run of the mill OD pedals, which just cast a solid state pall over either amp.
    i vacillate back and forth over the 15 watt AlNiCo issue. it definitely sounds more impressive, but there are times when more impressive really doesn't fit the bill for what is needed.
    no experience w/ the beaufort special. perhaps it's smug of me to believe that holding it's own in a side by side comparison would be folly. in isolation would be another thing entirely.
     

Share This Page