Vuctory VX100 Super Kraken

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by Aumann, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. Aumann

    Aumann SS.org Regular

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    Hi everyone.

    After roughly a year of using this amp i am writing a review of this amp. It's the bigger brother of the VX kraken lunchbox amp and is somewhat the signature amp of Rabea Massaad.

    What attracted me to this amp:
    The main reason i went with this amp was the versatility, the smaller form factor and the fact it is midi switchable! See, i have been using modelers since years due to budget reasons and because i play so many styles but i felt the need to expand to tube amps and i wasn't disappointed.

    Features:
    The VX100 super kraken is a Two-channel/three-mode all-valve head of 100 watts which is switchable to a 30 watt low power mode. It's equipped with 4 x ECC83, 4 x 6L6 tubes and is also available with EL 34's. The amp has a smaller form factor of (mm): 480(w) x 235(h) x 235(d) and weighs 12.5kg / 27.5lbs. The amp is also equipped with a midi in, a built-in boost, 2 master volumes and a clean mode on channel 1.
    The amp has an EQ that is shared between the channels and has no depth or presence control.

    The channels:

    Channel 1:
    Channel 1 is based on a marshall JVM. It's a thick and woolly sounding channel that quite immediately reminds you of marshall. It goes from a nice light crunch to full bore gain and has a very loose low end. I really like this channel for midgain sounds all the way up to hard rock. It's acctually also a very good lead channel when boosted. The onboard boost can tighten up the low end or push this channel into lead terrain. Overall a very nice channel that isn't too overbearing on the bass side but still offers a looser low end and more organic, British sound.

    Channel 1 cleans:
    The clean switch on the first channel deactivates 2 tubes and cleans the amp up very nicely. You can definitely get a real clean sound out of it, but its not a pristine bell like clean. However, as Rabea nicely put, the fact that its not a true clean channel adds a lot of harmonic content to this mode and you'll find that notes sustain and resonate really nicely. Due to the nature of the channel, its also very easy to push this channel into breakup territory which makes it very dynamic and fun to play. The breakup is nice and smooth and never harsh to the ear. It's a very pleasing mode that has fulfilled pretty much all my clean needs and more.

    Channel 2:
    Channel 2 is based on a 5150 and has way more gain than you'll ever need, but in my opinion is the weak point of the amp. Channel two of this amp sounds a bit like a sterilised 5150. The gain is nice, tight and very clear. Chords ring out nicely and all notes are very defined, but, it's extremely compressed and when playing this channel i miss the typical "push" you expect from tubes. You "feel" this amp less when you play this channel as the low mids are too compressed. This makes the channel feel very sterile and flat.
    It's still a nice channel to layer in the studio, and this kind of shows that Rabea designed it, since he layers channel 1 and 2 live as he has always layered the looser JVM with a 5150 to get his sound.
    All in all, channel 2 is good, has a nice sound, but as a standalone sound is very flat and compressed. It misses a lot of dynamics and loses a lot of the warmth from the other channels. That last part makes me kind of sad that the EQ is shared between channels as i'd personally EQ the cleans/cruch very differently from channel 2 due to them being so widely different.

    The onboard extras and midi:
    As mentioned above, this amp has midi capabilities. The amp allows the midi to switch anything that is footswitchable so you can switch between master volumes, channels, turn on/off the clean channel, turn on/off the boost and turn on/off the FX loop.
    The midi is very easy to use as you basically just program midi signals on your midi controller, click the button you want to assign, flip the switches of the amp to the desired combination of settings and then click the save button on the back of the amp. Done. It's very easy for me to switch patches on my helix and at the same time make my amp switch to the desired patch. The midi has also been very consistent and until now hasn't failed. Unfortunately EQ settings are not midi switchable.

    The boost i was talking about is actually called "bass focus" on the amp, but is a tube screamer like boost that will add some gain to your amp and tidy up the low end. This boost seems to cut less low end than a tube screamer or my precision drive and focuses the amp more on the mids. On itself, this is a good thing cause i find this amp to sound much too flat and sterile with a boost in front and i have been using it without boost for most of my gigs/recordings, only switching on the bass focus on specific moments that required a little extra push or some mixcutting during leads. In the end however, i'm not a huge fan of how it sounds.

    Overall thoughts:
    The features and the formfactor and price of this amp are really nice. The build quality as well is stellar and i'm sure it can take an absolute beating before showing any sign of wear. It's an amp that will please many players as it can pull off pretty much anything and sounds good with almost any guitar. Personally i tested the guitar with a Fender strat, Fender shawbucker tele, Strandberg boden original with Fishmans, and a custom 7 string with BKP juggernauts and a PRS custom 24 with PRS HFS pickups. So i can say with certainty that i've tested it with a wide range of sounds and it all sounds great from cleans to high gain. However, the sterile nature of the second channel is what puts me off and since i'm mainly a high gain player, this prompts me to move on to another amp. Still, it's a nice workhorse amp that offers you a lot of bang for your buck in my opinion.

    Up and downsides:
    + Small formfactor
    + relatively light
    + Midi compatible
    + Versatile
    - No true clean channel
    - Sterile second channel
    - shared EQ between channels

    This amp got relatively little attention after its release, so i hope this review helps some of you to reach out and give it a go. Despite me not liking the second channel to much, it's a killer amp. I will add recordings if people want to later on.

    Thanks for reading!

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