Then why does Headstrong make essentially the same thing in the SC-5 for $665 less than the Victoria?
Or Swart in the STR Tweed for $840 less?
All 5 watts with verb and few added tweaks.
All I can come up with is that it costs more to do business in California than North Carolina... but $800 more?
It's a shame the amp is missing from the Victoria website and the CME website has a horribly anorexic description because there isn't much info to justify the upcharge. And I'm saying this as someone who would LOVE to buy one and would even consider paying the $2190 I feel is an inflated price, just because I'm so intrigued by the demo video. However, the reality is that I'm probably going to end up getting the Headstrong because of the price issue. I don't see where is the added value.
I took a look at the SC-5 and it’s not really essentially the same thing. Looks like a Blackface Fender Champ with reverb. The Vicky is a tweed circuit built in a tweed style chassis - very labor intensive to assemble properly in that little chassis, especially with the addition of reverb. Also, I don’t see anything on the Headstrong site that talks about the parts used.
My take, FWIW…
The thing about pricing a hand built boutique amp is that it can’t work as a price per watt extrapolation. The circuit topology is similar between the models, and the time it takes to wire a little one and a larger one is not that much different. Actually, it is more difficult to get in there and wire/solder those little chassis than a bigger, roomier one. (and BTW, there is all kinds of room in the Blackface chassis style). So you see a relatively high price for a small amp compared to a larger one, where you are paying more for the cabinet and transformers. I think it is more about the labor than anything, really.
For example, an Ivy League (14W) is priced at $1990., and a 35210 (28W) is priced at $2505. Twice the wattage, but certainly not twice the price. So the price of the 35210 may seem within reason, but the price of the 14W prompts major sticker shock. I expect these two models take about the same amount of time to wire/solder.
So if you want a high end low power amp, hand wired in a chassis that affords a short wire length, direct signal path, built with ultimate quality NOS Allen Bradley resistors and authentic or custom transformers, you have to pay the price of admission. It’s just the physics and nature of the animal, IMHO. All comes down to what amp suits your needs and inspires you with it’s character and performance. At least, that matters way more to me than price difference, because if I buy the lower priced one and then find I like the higher priced one way more, I’ll end up paying way more than if had just bought the one I really wanted…far more rewarding to be happy with the amp than happy with the savings.
I never tried one, but must say if that Swart does it for you, that sounds like a great bang for the buck amp