Victoria Vicky Verb Jr. and Vicky Vibe Jr.

arcey

Member
Messages
420
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 ;)
 

Gallery

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,689
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 ;)


I don't I think made any judgement based on wattage. My discussion was based on complexity of the circuit. So, if you If you're a professional amp builder and wiring in a champ sized enclosure takes you several hours (would need to be several to justify the price difference) longer than a BF sized enclosure, then you should hang up your soldering iron. Even if it took an extra two-three hours of wiring (which I doubt) AND the parts were THAT much higher quality (I doubt they are), I still couldn't see a $600 - 800 difference. At about $400 I probably wouldn't flinch. That's a few hundred extra labor and a few hundred extra on parts.

I have nothing against Victoria (Mark). He's built a brand image that successfully commands a premium. That's to be admired. When you compare the price of his 5E3 to others of equivalent quality and components you'll see there is still an upcharge. He's built a great reputation for his brand. In the case of most of his other amps I find the upcharge isn't unreasonable. In this case with the Vicky Verb/Vibe it seems too much to me. And again, I say that as someone who still finds himself GASing for one.

Edit: removed incorrect location reference.
 
Last edited:

Chemdeswerks

Member
Messages
6
Well, to add my two cents to the pot. I have a Victoria Chicago-lux, kind of an odd duck Chicago Music Exchange only amp that is a reproduction of the '59 Vibrolux. I just bought a Swart STR Tremelo two weeks ago, for about $600 less. And much to my ongoing surprise, all sounded amazing at home, when I brought it in with the band and I put my ABY pedal between the two, night and day, the Victoria has a fullness and magic that is visceral, it also has a touch sensitivity that I can't get anywhere else, I can feel the amp when I play it. I love Swart, the amp is amazing, but compared to the Victoria it sounded boxy, more gain, but boxy and it didn't sit well in the mix with the band. Granted, one is 5W and the other 14W. I think Mark's stuff is right where it should be, you get what you pay for, not always, but often.
 

shaps6

Member
Messages
447
I don't I think made any judgement based on wattage. My discussion was based on complexity of the circuit. So, if you If you're a professional amp builder and wiring in a champ sized enclosure takes you several hours (would need to be several to justify the price difference) longer than a BF sized enclosure, then you should hang up your soldering iron. Even if it took an extra two-three hours of wiring (which I doubt) AND the parts were THAT much higher quality (I doubt they are), I still couldn't see a $600 - 800 difference. At about $400 I probably wouldn't flinch. That's a few hundred extra labor and a few hundred extra on parts.

I have nothing against Victoria (Mark). He's built a brand image that successfully commands a premium. That's to be admired. When you compare the price of his 5E3 to others of equivalent quality and components you'll see there is still an upcharge. Part of that, I'm sure is the cost of doing business in California. But part of it, I'm sure, is because he can. Because he's built a great reputation for his brand. In the case of most of his other amps I find the upcharge isn't unreasonable. In this case with the Vicky Verb/Vibe it seems too much to me. And again, I say that as someone who still finds himself GASing for one.

Victoria is based out of Illinois, not California. Not sure what you're talking about there. Again, I think the Vicky Verb is more than just a Champ with a 12" speaker and reverb. You've also got a half-power option, actual EQ tweaking, and the ability to switch out tubes on the fly. Victoria's reverb also has a reputation for being one of the best on the market. Whether those features are worth the price tag is obviously subjective.
 

Gallery

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,689
Victoria is based out of Illinois, not California. Not sure what you're talking about there. Again, I think the Vicky Verb is more than just a Champ with a 12" speaker and reverb. You've also got a half-power option, actual EQ tweaking, and the ability to switch out tubes on the fly. Victoria's reverb also has a reputation for being one of the best on the market. Whether those features are worth the price tag is obviously subjective.

Oops. You're right. Thought I read somewhere that he was in CA. Even more reason it's priced too high.
 

Teleplayer

Moder8er
Staff member
Messages
20,341
I don't I think made any judgement based on wattage. My discussion was based on complexity of the circuit. So, if you If you're a professional amp builder and wiring in a champ sized enclosure takes you several hours (would need to be several to justify the price difference) longer than a BF sized enclosure, then you should hang up your soldering iron. Even if it took an extra two-three hours of wiring (which I doubt) AND the parts were THAT much higher quality (I doubt they are), I still couldn't see a $600 - 800 difference. At about $400 I probably wouldn't flinch. That's a few hundred extra labor and a few hundred extra on parts.

I have nothing against Victoria (Mark). He's built a brand image that successfully commands a premium. That's to be admired. When you compare the price of his 5E3 to others of equivalent quality and components you'll see there is still an upcharge. Part of that, I'm sure is the cost of doing business in California. But part of it, I'm sure, is because he can. Because he's built a great reputation for his brand. In the case of most of his other amps I find the upcharge isn't unreasonable. In this case with the Vicky Verb/Vibe it seems too much to me. And again, I say that as someone who still finds himself GASing for one.

Here is a bit of an interesting story...

I owned a Victoria 35310 and Clark Tyger at the same time. I bought both used, but they were in excellent condition. In fact, you could not have told the difference between new and used with the Tyger; I think the Vicky had one very small ding on it. Both amps are based on the Tweed Bandmaster (5E7) circuit.

I had these amps when I lived in AZ. On two different days, I took the amps to MTroniks in Mesa for a "once over" - just a check-up. The cat that owns MTroniks used to let me sit at his bench with him and watch what he was doing. He has a degree in Electrical Engineering, and is also a touring bassist with an American Roots band. Thus, he "gets it" regarding what makes an amp tick, and the connection to the tones players are seeking both live and in the studio.

After going through each amp, he discussed the much higher quality of components in the Clark amp. It was actually pretty eye opening.

Regarding the amps themselves, Victoria slaps the circuit and 3x10s into their 45410 (Tweed Bassman) cabinet. This is, essentially, an incorrect approximation of the real thing. Clark, on the other hand, does a period-correct Tweed Bandmaster size box. Victoria uses Jensen reissue alnicos. Clark uses Weber's version of period-correct Jensen Alnicos.

The Victoria was much louder - due in large part to the cab size and the horrific sounding Jensens. The Clark was much "tamer", much "tweedier"/"raunchier" sounding and had this KILLER bottom end that held together like a charm; the Vicky sounded loud, ratty, etc. and had no bottom end to speak of - which, I guess is what some cats are after with a 5E7 circuit.

Both cabinets were pine; the Vicky had a huge knot in one of the side panels. The Clark was absolutely flawless; and the lines of the tweed covering between top and sides, sides and front, etc. - all lines up. Every one of them. Just meticulous as hell.

I have not priced either of these new in ages. But without looking at their respective Web Sites, I believe the Victoria is about $600 more than the Clark.

From my experience with both amp, I would buy the Clark again in a heartbeat. I would not buy the Vicotira. That's just my $0.02.
 

arcey

Member
Messages
420
Here is a bit of an interesting story...

I owned a Victoria 35310 and Clark Tyger at the same time. I bought both used, but they were in excellent condition. In fact, you could not have told the difference between new and used with the Tyger; I think the Vicky had one very small ding on it. Both amps are based on the Tweed Bandmaster (5E7) circuit.

I had these amps when I lived in AZ. On two different days, I took the amps to MTroniks in Mesa for a "once over" - just a check-up. The cat that owns MTroniks used to let me sit at his bench with him and watch what he was doing. He has a degree in Electrical Engineering, and is also a touring bassist with an American Roots band. Thus, he "gets it" regarding what makes an amp tick, and the connection to the tones players are seeking both live and in the studio.

After going through each amp, he discussed the much higher quality of components in the Clark amp. It was actually pretty eye opening.

Regarding the amps themselves, Victoria slaps the circuit and 3x10s into their 45410 (Tweed Bassman) cabinet. This is, essentially, an incorrect approximation of the real thing. Clark, on the other hand, does a period-correct Tweed Bandmaster size box. Victoria uses Jensen reissue alnicos. Clark uses Weber's version of period-correct Jensen Alnicos.

The Victoria was much louder - due in large part to the cab size and the horrific sounding Jensens. The Clark was much "tamer", much "tweedier"/"raunchier" sounding and had this KILLER bottom end that held together like a charm; the Vicky sounded loud, ratty, etc. and had no bottom end to speak of - which, I guess is what some cats are after with a 5E7 circuit.

Both cabinets were pine; the Vicky had a huge knot in one of the side panels. The Clark was absolutely flawless; and the lines of the tweed covering between top and sides, sides and front, etc. - all lines up. Every one of them. Just meticulous as hell.

I have not priced either of these new in ages. But without looking at their respective Web Sites, I believe the Victoria is about $600 more than the Clark.

From my experience with both amp, I would buy the Clark again in a heartbeat. I would not buy the Vicotira. That's just my $0.02.


Interesting. Do you remember what year the amp was? I had a 35310 many years ago and the cabinet was the correct bandmaster dimensions. I've never played a Clark but would sure love to.
 

Teleplayer

Moder8er
Staff member
Messages
20,341
Interesting. Do you remember what year the amp was? I had a 35310 many years ago and the cabinet was the correct bandmaster dimensions. I've never played a Clark but would sure love to.

I think it was 2008 or so, maybe a year or two older. VERY different amp than the Clark.
 

Kevi

Member
Messages
154
Anyone picked one up yet? Would love to hear more samples. I have watched the CME video quite a few times.
 

es137p

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,693
Really? It took you a whole day to come up with "I know you are, but what am I?"

nanny nanny neener neener, sorry to let you down, didn't put much thought into it. I believe this all started from you being snarky, and having your facts wrong.
 

es137p

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,693
Anyone picked one up yet? Would love to hear more samples. I have watched the CME video quite a few times.

same here, I have an ivy league, wondering if this one is close volume wise, with the bigger tubes. Love the idea of separate bass and treble, as opposed to tone, plus reverb. Clip does sound real nice.
 




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