V5 Tube Guitar Combo Review

manufacturer: Bugera date: 06/24/2011 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Bugera: V5 Tube Guitar Combo
The compact Bugera V5 Tube Guitar Combo runs on 1 power and 1 preamp tube and is all dressed up in classic 2-tone vinyl.
 Sound: 8
 Overall Impression: 7.3
 Reliability & Durability: 7.3
 Features: 8.3
 Overall rating:
 7.7 
 Reviewer rating:
 7.8 
 Users rating:
 7.5 
 Votes:
 40 
reviews (3) pictures (4) 31 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 7.8
V5 Tube Guitar Combo Reviewed by: bobvmagoo, on december 18, 2009
4 of 5 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 129

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: The features start simply enough: Input, Gain, Tone, Volume, and Reverb controls for signal shaping. One eight-inch speaker in a nicely built cabinet, nostalgically styled. The extra goodies include an attenuation switch, for controlling the output to the speaker (more on that later), a head phone jack, and the ability to use this amp as a head to Drive the speaker cabinet of your choice. The only thing left out, as far as I am concerned, is an effects loop. I feel this limits the sound options somewhat. However, once you start playing with this little tone generator, you don't really miss it too much. Also, the Reverb is a digital effect, not an actual spring tank. To the trained ear, it can sound a little dry. But it really adds a nice spacial effect when turned past 5. It's a personal preference that I kind of quickly got past. // 8

Sound: (Attention Metalheads: This Amp Is Not For You! So, please, stop reading, return to the review menu, and choose another amp while you kindly refrain from leaving snidely hateful comments. THANK YOU!) As stated above, this amplifier will not be the choice of those looking to mow down the first thirteen rows at Wembley Stadium. If you need the volume and tone generated by a stack of JCM 800's or Triple Rectifiers, then those are the amps you will HAVE to purchase. I feel that if you are looking for classic sounding amplification that will give good performance in the bedroom, practice hall, recording studio, or small gig, this amp should serve you well. Bugera seems to have intended that this box compete head to head with the Fender Champion 600 or the Vox AC4. If you want clean and bright with a good amount of headroom, turn down the Gain and increase the Volume. Add the Reverb in desired amounts and you can get the electric tone from Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" easily. You want the dirt, turn up the Gain and nudge the Volume control down a bit. Think "Cinnamon Girl" by Neil Young and you are getting the picture. If you are going to use this for practice or recording, the attenuation switch will prove of great service. This switch varies the output of the power amp. The choices are 5, 1, and 0.1 watts. With the 0.1 watt setting, I have used this amp set at full bore in the living room at night with the kids asleep upstairs without disturbing them. I have also used it to record a couple of guitar parts by adjusting it to the 1 watt setting and putting it in a closet with a microphone pointed at the center of the speaker. The sound produced is very lively and full of tone due to the overdriven tubes but with a controllable volume output. The speaker itself is not a Celestion or other brand name but it seems to have a really decent sound overall. But to the plus side of sound, this is not a beginner's amp. It's small size does not mean that it is a toy for a twelve-year-old to have as his first amp to go with a Lotus "Strat". The V5 produces very nice tones as only a tube amp can. // 8

Reliability & Durability: The construction of this amp seems to fall somewhere into the 8.5 (out of 10) rating. Bugera advertises this amp as being "hand-made". Without having seen inside the housing itself, I highly doubt that statement equates to "hand-wired". However, I have played this amp every night for the last four weeks for at least a couple of hours at a time and have had none of the "breaking-in bothers" that I have experienced with other amps. The tubes and speaker can always be upgraded later but she has functioned without any trouble thus far. Would I gig without a back-up? Experience has taught me that even your most prized of equipment will fail you when you least expect it to. But as far as Class "A" circuitry goes, you'd probably have to work really hard to tear this thing up. That's why there are so many Fender Princetons and Vox AC4 amps from the 50's and 60's that are still working today. I'm giving it a 7 in this category due to the unforeseen events that will happen to a new piece of equipment. // 7

Overall Impression: I am a former metalhead (we're talking about the middle 80's here, folks) and am now living in Nashville, TN. I have discovered and come to love the sound of Alt-Country, Cowpunk, Americana... Whatever you want to call the mixture of country roots played though classic rock instrumentation. This amp is capable of giving clean, tight sparkling riffs or dirtying up and allowing for some really punchy blues leads. It would work in a small club or nightspot gig (5 watts is a LOT louder than you'd think! ) but really excels in performing as a recording instrument. I wish it had an effects loop but you'd be hard pressed to find an amp at this rating and size that would have one. Also, I don't think that it will work well with distortion pedals. I believe that they would add too much extra color to the tube driven signal and make the sound muddy. I do know that just a plain old, simple boost pedal (I have an older Electro-Harmonix LPB-1) will Drive your sound into a louder zone for soloing. I compared the V5 to the Vox AC4 and the Fender Champion 600 and I think that you get a sound and tone just as good as these other two, with more features for about $70 and $40 cheaper, respectively. If this amp were lost or taken, I would have no reservations about purchasing another one immediately. I just hope that Bugera doesn't jack up the price any time soon. The rating says 8 but I actually give it an 8.5 overall. // 8

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overall: 8
V5 Tube Guitar Combo Reviewed by: jbitzel, on august 05, 2010
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 150

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: This amp is feature poor and tone rich. It's pretty basic Gain, Tone, Master Volume, and Reverb. It also features a headphone out, a 4 OHM speaker out, and an attenuator. The Attenuator adjust the wattage from 5w, to 1w, to .1w. Since this is a Class A tube amp, the .1 is still louder than you would expect. You can get by playing in your bedroom at .1 as long as you don't have a baby or a wife sleeping on the other side of the wall. I am giving this an 8, not because it has tons of features but because compared to other tube amps in this range and even expensive models with less than 4w it has a lot of features. // 8

Sound: I am using a cheap Stratocaster copy with SSS 5.3, 5.6, 8.7 on the bridge, that probably would seem thin with any amp. A lot of people claim that speaker on this amp makes it sound muddy. Either they changed this or they are playing heavier axes like an SG or an LP. I find that this amp is a great compliment to a Strat. What it excels at is producing a clean to slightly crunchy warm tube tone. You wont get the jangle of a Fender, and you won't get the Brit tone of a Vox, but you can get a warm Bluesy tone like that of SRV, some Clapton tones and with some overdrive some perfect Cream, or Jack White. The amp stays mostly clean all the way to 9 if the gain is on 2. But with the gain on 5 it really starts to break up good around 5 on the master volume. And you can actually crank this thing into better overdrive than a lot of people are saying if you can deal with the loudness of it. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I just got it so I can't say much about reliability. Some people have had problems with these, but with the price on these, those bad reviewers could be rank amateurs who don't know to warm up the tubes or how to replace a tube, since some people say these come with cheap economy buy by the thousands sovteks. Of course these could be lemons, but I took the chance because there are not many amps with these features, this tone and this price... and I got the extended warranty for $20 However, I will say this thing feels like it's built like a tank. You won't find any plastic on this like the Vox AC4TV. The Two-tone Tolex is beautiful, as well as the nice chicken heads and thick leather handle. And this thing is very heavy for it's size, at 20 lbs. // 7

Overall Impression: For Blues, Funk, some country styles and some rock styles this amp is great without any pedals. I am beginner and have only been playing for 6 months and this is my first tube amp. I also own a Vypyr but it is great for metal but can't get close to this thing for that great warm tube tone. I would definitely buy this amp again. The only thing I wish is that it was not quite as loud for bedroom playing but at .1 watts that aint gonna happen with any tube amp, period. // 8

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overall: 7.5
V5 Tube Guitar Combo Reviewed by: ferdi09, on june 24, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 217

Purchased from: Sam Ash

Features: - Model year 2011 - 5 watt all tube practice amp with digital reverb. - 8in speaker - headphones, and external speaker out - Power attenuator 1/10, 1 and 5 watts Bugera V5 is a small all tube practice amps with generous features and great Vintage tube sound. The amp has many features that make it a great value. Headphone emulated out put, and power attenuator for silent or very low volume playing that still has the saturated tube tone. It also has a great sounding digital reverb. Only thing I would wish for was am aux input. The most features of any other amp in it's class. // 9

Sound: In the showroom and through the headphones this amp sounded great. A full warm sound that goes from bright clean to a crunchy classic rock souund. Just what I was looking for. Notice I didn't mention what it sounded like in my home. The overall sound and tone are great for my tastes but definely not for a metal sound at least not with out some pedals in front. There is no effects loop. I ended up returning mine as there was an annoying rattle coming through at volumes above 4 at any power level. I could not test the clean accuratley for break up since this rattle would cut it even at moderate volumes. At low volumes the sound was clean to Vintage rock growl with the gain knob or guitar volume being very responsive. The overall tone was the consistent as the master volume was raised. // 7

Reliability & Durability: I don't gig but it is built like a tank. I was suprised at the solid feel and quality of the materials for the price point. I think this amp would hold up to heavy use, and is small enough to lug about easily especially since you can use it as a head with the external speaker jack. // 8

Overall Impression: Unfortunatley despite all the great reviews and the way it sounded in the showroom I ended up returning it. I mainly play in my bedroom or family room areas of my home late at night, hence the power attenuator Switch being a huge plus for me. When the volume or gain was turned up past 4 I got a cymball sounding rattle during the sustain. I thought ok maybe there was something loose inside, but couldnt find it. The sound persited no matter what I tried. I tried changing power levels, pick ups, cables, guitars, even the power chord itself. I finially decided to take it back to have it checked out. The guitar manager at the Sam Ash I bought it from took the time to figure it out. At first he couldn't get the rattle to sound out, all that came out was the great tone I bougth it for and I was beggining to think it was my playing and the manager was starting to doubt my story. We tried one last idea, we moved the amp to the guitar techs work area which is about the same size as the area where I typically play at. Eureka, on the first strum the rattle sounded and we figured out the problem. As he put it, the speaker was picking up the vibrations of the tubes due to their close proximity to the speaker magnet. This was magnified by the smaller area in which in which I play that's why we couldn't hear it in the show room. I am waiting to hear from Bugera regarding the issue out of curiosty. I could keep it and just listen from headphones but what fun would that be. So reluctantly I ended up returning the V5 and am in search of a different amp. If Bugera called me and said it was just my particular amp that did had this problem I would buy it again. It sounded that good and for the price point there is nothing else out there with same number of features. // 6

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