Published 2 months ago on July 19, 2023

By Guitar Interactive Magazine

Victory V1 "The Copper"
MSRP (UK) £199 (US) $249

Victory Amplification's V1 series of pedals packs the power of their full-size tube amps into a pedalboard-friendly package! While V1 The Copper may not have any tubes, legendary British stompbox guru Adrian Thorpe was tapped to fine-tune the entire V1 series to perfectly capture the voice, feel, and vibe of their valve-powered siblings. Their research has certainly paid off—V1 The Copper is packed to the brim with EL-84-style classic rock bite and jangle, taking a cue from some of the most renowned British amplifier designs in history. Nick Jennison reviews.

Victory's ongoing quest to squeeze their signature tones into ever-smaller boxes began with the V30 Countess - an amp designed in collaboration with Guthrie Govan, which crammed a gorgeous Californian clean and a thick, vocal overdrive into an enclosure compact enough to fit in the overhead locker on a commercial flight. Considering their previous offerings had been hand-wired 50/100 watt monsters the width (and almost the weight) of a Marshall 4x12, this tiny amp was something of a revolution, and one that set the British amp brand on the path it's been following ever since.

Present day, then. The V30 has not only undergone significant revisions and a re-brand as "The Jack", but it's been joined by four other "families" of amps: The Kraken, The Sheriff, The Duchess and the Copper. All of these are available in the same "lunchbox" head format, and all of which look positively gargantuan next to the new baby of the family: the V1 range.

Designed in collaboration with British pedal-building genius Adrian Thorpe of Thorpy FX (who is not only a knight and a former bomb disposal expert, but is also closing in on a 200kg bench press - I want a poster of him on my bedroom wall!), the V1 range take the five flavours of Victory and re-package them in a standard sized, 9v powered stompbox. We'll be looking at the whole range at some point, but let's begin with my unexpected favourite - The Copper.

Based on "AC" style British combos of the 1960s, the V1 Copper packs the sparkle and chime of these famous designs into its rugged little enclosure, with an enormous range of gain available from shimmering cleans and Liverpudlian bark all the way through to Rory Gallagher blues and Brian May-esque solo tones thanks to what sounds like a Rangemaster style treble boost that kicks in at around 12:00 on the gain control.

The EQ controls on the V1 Copper are slightly different to the rest of the V1 range, with treble, bass and tone in lieu of the three-band EQ found on its V1 siblings. This might sound like a fairly standard set of controls for a pedal, but there are some interesting "quirks" that see the V1 Copper behaving more like an amp than a stompbox. First, the tone is a mighty global high-end cut that's brightest at its fully counter-clockwise position, much like those found on "AC" amps. The treble and bass knobs come before the final gain stage too (like an amp being driven into poweramp distortion), meaning you can use these controls to shape the response of the distortion and not just the EQ curve.

Sound-wise, it's business as usual for Victory here, with every "AC" tone under the sun delivered with incredible amp-like touch response and authenticity - no mean feat considering the idiosyncratic topology of the amps this pedal seeks to emulate! It can take your JCM800 and clean it up into an Americana jangle, it can take your Fender Twin and turn it into a burning classic rock riff machine, and it even does a really good version of the Andy Timmons squeaky "AC Boost" lead tone through a dirty amp. It sounds killer on its own, and it stacks well… it's fantastic.

Victory's V1 Copper - and the entire V1 series - packages Victory's signature amp sounds in their smallest and most affordable form to date. Any smaller and more affordable, and they'd be giving them away - provided you bring your own microscope. Whether you're someone who gets their whole tone from gain pedals, someone who's been lusting after Victory tone but can't justify the price of a new valve amp, or someone who wants an incredible version of an "AC" tone with their existing rig, you need to check out the V1 Copper.

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