100 watts of organic, valve-driven British rock tone can be attained with the long-awaited Victory Super Sheriff amp head. Designed to take over from the Sheriff 44, this beast has all of the power and gain you could ever need—simple in design, but with plenty of versatility! Featuring a dedicated 'Vintage' channel, it has two gain modes (clean and crunch), both of which are voiced to capture that late '60s and early '70s blues-rock sound. The 'Hot Rod' channel is where you'll discover the thicker, heavier high-gain tones that transformed rock and metal in the late '70s and early 1980s. Nick Jennison tells us more.
Victory Amps has enjoyed incredible success since its founding in 2013. Their American-inspired Duchess family are some of the best-loved "pedal platform" amps on the market, and at the opposite end of the spectrum, the Kraken family has become hugely popular in hard rock and metal circles. But despite the brand's proud British heritage - and lead designer Martin Kidd's heavily modified Plexi that was the unofficial prototype for many of the early Victory designs - the British-voiced "Sheriff" family was historically something of a black sheep.
Enter the Super Sheriff - a 100w, 4-channel monster that covers the entire range of British gain from the cleanest of cleans through to outrageous metal tones and everything in between. Where its predecessor the Sheriff 44, was something of a "specialist" in '60s and '70s rock tones, the Super Sheriff is massively versatile while still retaining the simplicity and sonic authenticity that made the older Sheriffs so great.
The Super Sheriff has four distinct modes across two channels ("Vintage" and "Hot Rod"), but all four are foot-switchable. "Vintage" mode 1 is very clean indeed, with a lot of sparkle and a pleasantly "contoured" midrange. While clean sounds have historically been a weak point for many higher-gain British amps, this is absolutely not the case here, with gorgeous shimmering 80s cleans, spanky funk and even Hendrix-y breakup on tap. Mode 2 is much more traditionally "British", with shades of JTM45 and Super Lead depending on where you set the gain control. Feed it some PAFs, and you have a sound that evokes Kossoff, early Clapton and Page. With the right guitar, you'll find Blackmore and Malcolm Young ones too.
The "Hot Rod" channel is much, much gainy-er. Mode 1 is like the best 800 you've ever heard but with even more "sauce" available. It'll do everything from Van Halen to early "Big 4" Thrash tones via NWOBHM and '80s Ozzy, while Mode 2 kicks it up yet another gear for Sykes-approved infinite sustaining leads and even modern metal sounds (with Bill Kelliher and Brent Hinds of Mastodon both using Super Sheriffs as part of their live rigs).
There are a couple of other very useful features in the Super Sheriff, too. It has two master volumes that can either be assigned per channel, or switched independently for the same tones at two different volume levels. There are also two "depth" and "presence" modes, each with their own knob to fine-tune the high and low-end response. The "tight" depth setting is lean and percussive like a great Super Lead, while the "loose" setting is massive and expansive with room-shaking low end. Presence mode 1 is smooth, refined and very characteristically "Victory", while mode 2 is brighter and more aggressive. You might think of mode one as "what you wish an 800 sounded like", while 2 is "what an 800 ACTUALLY sounds like".
On top of these tone-shaping features, you also have 100w of stadium-filling power, switchable down to a very manageable 30w, a clean and high-headroom effects loop and external bias points for easy maintenance. It's available in Victory's very popular 19"-wide "Heritage" headshell, or in a larger "wide body" format that's the same width as a standard 4x12 if that's the look you're into.
The Victory Super Sheriff is an encyclopaedia of British amp sounds in a compact and simple package. It's easy to dial in every conceivable flavour of "gold panel" gain, and it delivers these with impact, authority and authenticity. If British amp gain is your thing, this amp should be at the top of your "must-try" list.
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