V4 The Jack
Clean and overdrive modes based on V30 The Countess developed with Guthrie Govan
Our all-rounder all-valve pedal preamp: ready to breathe new life into your guitar amp, pedalboard or recording rig
V4 The Jack is a two-channel, all-valve pedal preamp that delivers genuine valve overdrive. Use it straight into the front of your amp or recording interface, or alternatively use it in conjunction with your amp's FX loop to bypass the front end of your existing amp entirely for a whole new sound experience. This is definitely no 'ordinary' overdrive pedal!
The Jack changed from the Countess in late 2020 to better represent the versatility of the amplifier, it’s still the same amplifier inside and the changes made are purely visual and in name.
All three V4 Series Pedal Preamps feature the same functionality, controls and connections
All-valve signal path
1 x EC900 and 3 x CV4014 valves running at high plate voltage. These are the first pedal-format guitar preamps to feature four valves and an all-valve signal path. This is no 'ordinary' overdrive pedal!
Channel one is clean to mild breakup – great for pushing your existing clean tone, or actually cleaning up a crunchy amp if you're using it in amp-through mode. Channel two is unbridled, glorious overdrive!
The TRS jack gives you option of switching the pedal remotely. You can control on/off and also channel 1/2 with either a separate two-button latching footswitch or via a modern programmable switching unit. This means you can have the V4 Series Pedal Preamp off the floor and out of harm's way.
Bright is a global tone control that optimises the V4 Pedal Preamp for what you're plugging into. Amp effects loops, inputs, recording devices and so on all differ greatly, so just choose the setting that sounds best to your ears. Don't worry if other settings sound 'bad'. It all depends what you're playing through!
If you're going to be standing on it and it contains hot glass, it needs to be tough. The folded steel chassis and kick bar for the knobs means that this thing is ready for the road.
Two ways to connect
We recommend 'Amp Through Mode' for full functionality where you can choose to use your amp's own front end, or the V4 Preamp via the amp effects loop. To use it as a 'normal' pedal or if you don't have an effects loop, use 'Standalone' mode.
Live, home & studio
Put it on your pedalboard, on top of your amp or on your desktop. It's particularly good for fly dates, or other situations when you're not using your own amp. Just hit the FX loop return of whatever you're using and feel right at home in no time.
Powerful bass, middle and treble controls. These also have a significant effect on the gain character and drive levels – just like in any valve guitar amp.
What is Amp Through Mode?
Amp Through Mode Explained
Amp Through Mode utilises the effects loop of your guitar amp
When the pedal is ON, you're bypassing your amp's front end
When the pedal is OFF, you're plugged into your amp as normal
You're adding two new ‘channels’ to your amp that are independent from your amp’s own front end. Imagine if you could feed the power section of a Fender Twin, for example, with the front end of a Countess, Sheriff or Kraken. That's exactly what your doing: your single-channel workhorse becomes a three-channel monster.
No FX loop? Use Standalone Mode and go straight in the front.
V4 Series The Jack - Technical Spec & Info
Format: Two-mode all-valve pedal preamp
Power: 12V DC / 800mA minimum. DC adapter supplied
Valves: 1 x EC900, 3 x CV4014
Size 225(w) x 140(h) x 79mm(d) inc. feet & knobs
Weight: 1.65kg / 3.6lbs
Two connection modes
Two switchable gain modes
- Steel chassis and control protection bar
Remote TRS switching option
All Victory products come with a 5-year limited warranty. This covers any defects in manufacturing or faulty components.
The valves used in the V4 Series preamp pedals were originally manufactured to NATO specifications. Due to the extremely high-quality construction and proven reliability we have taken the unprecedented step of extending the warranty of these from 90 days to 2 years.
How to use the V4 Series Pedal Preamps
Official V4 The Countess Pedal Preamp Video
V4 Series Pedal Preamps - FAQ
What’s best: Amp Through or Standalone Mode?
A: If you’re using it with a guitar amp, you’ll get optimum results using ‘Amp Through Mode’ in our opinion because you still have the option of using your own amp exactly as normal. However…
What if my amp doesn’t have an effects loop?
A: You can run the V4 Pedal Preamp straight into the front of any amp in ‘Standalone Mode’ though some more extreme settings of EQ on both amp and pedal may be required. To hear the pedal in its most ‘natural’ state, we find higher headroom, cleaner amps work best. Nevertheless, you may very well love it slamming the front of your overdriven amp too. Please try it all because the ‘best’ setting is undeniaby the one you like most!
Can using a separate valve preamp like this damage my amplifier?
A: No, not at all! Just be sure to make sure of all the usual stuff: speaker is plugged in and you ALWAYS set the masters to ZERO before turning on. There can be some serious volume going here, so please take care.
If I’m running the V4 Series Pedal Preamp into the FX loop return, does that mean I can’t use the front end of my amp as well?
A: ‘Amp Through Mode’ is a four-cable connection method. When the pedal is on, you’re bypassing the front of your amp. When the pedal is turned off your amp’s front end works entirely as normal. The only thing you can’t do in ‘Amp Through Mode’ is hit the front end of your amp with the V4. If you want to do that, please use ‘Standalone Mode’.
Can I still use my amp’s FX loop for other effects if I’m using a Victory V4 Series Pedal Preamp?
A: Absolutely! Just treat it exactly as you would your own amp’s preamp. You may want to run your delays and reverbs after the V4 Pedal Preamps in your amp’s loop. You may want to run other overdrive pedals and boosts wherever you normally run them: between your guitar and the Pedal Preamp or – less common – in the loop of the amp. Either works just fine.
Will my reverbs and delays in the loop still work with the V4 pedal turned on… and off?
A: Yep. You’re using your amp exactly as normal with the V4 pedal turned off in ‘Amp Through Mode’. Your reverbs and delays work whether it’s on or off.
What is the current draw: will the V4 Series Pedal Preamps run off my DC Brick?
A: Probably not – remember there are four valves in there running at proper plate voltage. That requires some serious juice. You need 12V DC and a minimum of 800mA. Each V4 Series Pedal Preamp comes with an included power supply.
Some of the settings of the ‘Bright Switch’ are extremely sharp/dull. Is that normal?
A: Yes it is, and it depends entirely on your amp. Effects loops vary drastically from amp to amp depending on how the loop and the power stage of the amp are configured. In fact you won’t believe how different they can be… so we included the three-position ‘Bright’ switch exactly for that reason. There will be one setting that is optimum for your amp. There’s no best, no worst – just use the one that sounds and feels best to you, and don’t worry if one of the others sounds broken!
Can I change the valves?
A: The valves comprise 1 x EC900 triode and 3 x CV4014 pentode. Please replace only with valves of the same type… if you ever need to. Preamp valves tend to have a much greater life expectancy than power valves – we estimate the CV4014s to have around 10,000 hours – so regular valve changes will not be necessary. We know of guitar amps from the 1950s still running the same preamp valves! However, if something should go awry, replacements are available from among others. Please note: they are NOT swappable with normal dual-triode types (12AX7/ECC83 etc). Full instructions for valve changes are in the full pedal manual, which also includes the relevant safety instructions and warnings. Please note that end-user work/maintenance on electrical goods is forbidden by law in certain countries.
Do the valves need biasing?
A: They are self biasing so require no bias adjustment.
Can I really not use different valves?
A: 12AX7/ECC83 dual triodes and their equivalents are NOT usable in the V4 Series Pedal Preamps. There are equivalents for the EC900 and CV4014, however please be aware that any damage caused by installing other valves other than the specified type will NOT be covered by your warranty. The V4 Series Pedal Preamps have been designed around 1 x EC900 and 3 x CV4014 and we strongly urge you to stick to direct replacements for those. Please also be aware that the EC900 and CV4014 are NOT interchangeable.
Can I use the preamp pedals with a rack/pedal power amp?
A: Yes, you can. Wire the V4 Preamp in Standalone mode with every pedal you would like before the preamp between the guitar and the Input of the V4 Preamp. Connect every pedal you would normally have in the loop after the Effect Out of the V4 Preamp and the input of the power amp.
Can I use the preamp pedals straight into an audio interface?
A: Yes, you can. Most studio equipment have a low impedance input which can result in volume and/or high end loss when used with the V4 Preamp. Make sure that you switch the interface to instrument input and if there is no option for that connect a buffer or buffered bypass pedal after the V4 Preamp.
Can I use the preamp pedals into a load box like the Torpedo Captor?
A: The V4 Preamps have around line level output and can’t drive a load box. This will result in no output from the V4 Preamp.
I have a multi-effects pedal (usually a Line6 Helix) which I use with four cables method. How can I integrate my V4 preamp into this setup in Amp-Through mode?
A: Connect the send of the multi-effects (which goes to the input of your amp) to the input of the V4 Preamp. Connect the Through output of the V4 Preamp to the input of the amp. Then connect the amp’s FX Send, which goes to the return of the multi-effects’ return, to the Loop In of the V4 Preamp. Finally connect the Loop Out of the V4 Preamp to the return of the multi-effects.
This way both the preamp of the amp and the V4 are in the loop of the multi-effects and the V4 works in Amp-Through mode. If your multi-effects pedal has a short-to-sleeve type switch output you can use it to switch the V4 Preamp’s bypass and channels via the Remote Switch socket.
There is a volume drop when I switch on my V4 Preamp in Amp-Through mode even if I max out the Masters.
A: This can be caused by either loading between the output of the V4 Preamp or the FX return requires high level signals. First try a buffer or a buffered bypass pedal between the V4 Preamp and the return socket. Usually delays and reverbs have switchable buffered bypass mode which eliminates the loading effect Some amps require high send levels, for example some Mesa Boogie amps, and the volume difference comes down to the fact that the V4 Preamp can’t put out such high levels. In this case you will need a boost pedal between the V4 Preamp and the return of the amp which you switch on when you switch the V4 Preamp on.