It’s finally here! The Victory VX Kraken made plenty of waves in the guitar world when it was released way back in 2016. We’ve enjoyed its incredible tone and versatility for seven years. But after almost a decade of waiting, Victory is ready to drop the all-new Victory VX Kraken MkII.
Celebrating the release of the Victory VX Kraken MkII, we got one of the co-masterminds behind the amazing new amp, the incomparable Rabea Massaad, into the AMS studio to ask him tons of nerdy, gear-related questions and see if he’d play for us to showcase what this little lunchbox can really do (spoilers: He does!). One listen, and you’ll be lining up to get one of these amps for yourself!
Victory VX Kraken MkII specs
Okay gear nerds, calm down. We have some specs for you on the new amp. Here you go before we have to set loose the hounds:
- Format: All-valve, two-channel compact head
- Power: 50 watts RMS (Low Power Mode - 9 watts)
- Valves: 4 x 12AX7, 2 x 6L6 as standard
- Extra features: Footswitchable modes ‘Gain 1’ & ‘Gain 2’ channels, series effects loop, bass focus and presence switch, external bias test points and adjustment. Gig bag (lunchbox head only).
- Kraken Lunchbox Size (mm): 350(w) x 180(h) x 190 (d)
- Kraken Wooden Sleeve Size (mm): 390(w) x 190(h) x 220(d)
- Weight: 7.15 (Lunchbox) 9.65kg (Wooden Sleeve)
New features on the Victory VX Kraken MkII
The Victory VX Kraken MkII is essentially the same amp as the original. You still get the British-sounding Gain 1 and American high-gain Gain 2 channels, a lovely bass-focus switch to give you a little low-end bump, and simple control layout.
But Victory has added several improvements to make the MkII even more versatile than the first. Rabea said in the interview that the goal was to build on the original design, not completely change it. So if you loved the original Kraken, you’ll super love the MkII!
Here are the main changes with the Victory VX Kraken MkII:
The biggest change from the original Kraken is the dedicated Clean mode. Rabea and Victory amp genius Martin Kidd listened to a lot of player feedback from the original design. They learned that most people would play predominantly with the Gain 1 channel and use the volume to adjust down to clean or bring it up to add some crunch.
While the results were great, it limited guitarists from easily swapping between the tones. So on the Kraken MkII, they added a dedicated Clean mode that’s built into the Gain 1 channel.
They got the clean results by attenuating the first gain stage. The result is loads of natural compression and a better dynamic feel. As our guitar experts would say, it gives it a tiny, tiny bit of squish that feels more tactile — because only guitarists would know what that means!
And while the Clean mode is, well, clean, that doesn’t mean you can’t give it a little bit of gain. Rabea called the new Kraken MkII clean tone a “gateway clean” for players who usually prefer heavier tones.
Rabea Pro Tip: The clean channel really comes into its own in the nine-watt low power mode.
Rear balance pot
Some players might like to keep their volumes at different levels to dial in each individual tone. And because Clean mode is technically a part of the Gain 1 channel, it could lead to some volume discrepancies when you swap between the two.
During prototype testing, Rabea realized that this might be something players would want, so in an effort to “have it all” he asked Martin Kidd to come up with a solution. That solution was an additional balance pot added to the rear of the amp.
With a twist of the knob, you can easily balance out the volume difference between Clean mode and Gain 1, so you can swap between the two without any decibel change while maintaining your perfect tone for each.
Gain 2 presence control
Although the Gain 2 channel on the VX Kraken is already basically perfect (Rabea’s words), some players might want to tweak the presence to make the tone their own. So another change on the Victory VX Kraken MkII is the addition of a Gain 2 presence control.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “What if I really liked the original Kraken’s Gain 2 setting!?” No, you don’t have to trial-and-error your way through the various presence positions to match the original tone. Just set the Gain 2 presence to zero and you’ll get the exact same Gain 2 tone from the original Victory Kraken. You can adjust it up from there or just leave it where it is.
Okay, you like the Gain 2 presence, but it’s not quite there yet. Well, Victory has your back! And on the “back” of the amp you’ll find a presence shift button that you can toggle on and off.
The presence shift changes the sound slightly. It just gives it a little bump. It’s great to help you really fine tune your gain sound — especially for high-gain players.
This is one of those features that’s difficult to explain in words. You just have to hear it… Watch the video now!
Victory VX Kraken MkII: of the most versatile amps you’ll find
The Victory Kraken is a great amp; there’s no doubt about it. With its British-inspired Gain 1 and American-inspired Gain 2 channels, it has always been a heavy hitter for hard rock and metal players.
Now with the all-new Clean mode, Gain 2 presence control, and host of new features, the Victory VX Kraken MkII takes versatility to the next level. It still features the highest gain levels in the entire Victory lineup for when you’re ready to rip a mad solo, but you can also dial in a bluesy crunch or sparkling clean chime to suit your needs. It’s great for whatever you want to play.
Is there anything the Victory VX Kraken MkII can’t do? We’ll leave that to you!
Buy the Victory VX Kraken MkII