Price paid: $ 699
Purchased from: AmericanMusical.com
Sound — 9
This is the bread and butter of this amp. Definitely think Marshall tube tone. This amp has it nailed but actually has a much brighter clean channel than stock Marshalls. You can really hear the EL34 sound. The cool thing is if that's not your bag you can just swap the EL34's for 6L6's and flip one Switch and you're off and running with Fender tube amp tone. Mine already gets very close to Fender cleans when I'm using my SSS American Strat. I play everything from thick blues (BB King) to texas blues (SRV) to ice pick blues (Albert Collins). I also play Metallica, Sabbath, Priest, BLS, Pantera, Hendrix... you get the picture. I've played for 30 years. I can dial in great tones for all these artists with just a few tweaks of the dials. There is separate EQ for each channel and each band has a big range. I hate amps where the EQ has a very short frequency range and you can turn a knob from 2 to 10 and not hear much of a change. Not with this amp. The great EQ allows you to really explore a very broad range of tones without over complicating the issue. I'm giving this a 9 only because I'm an eternal tone chaser and will never think any amp is perfect. Honestly though this is as good as a Marshall, Fender, or Mesa tube amp. Definitely leans more Marshall at a fraction of the Marshall price.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall? I love this amp. Why specifically? It's easy to use, it sounds amazingly good, and it only cost me $699.00. I've owned $3000 Marshall and Mesa combos but always felt like I paid too much for what I was getting. I've also owned Line 6's with a zillion features but felt those took too much tinkering to come up with any decent tones. That outstanding tube tone that all us tone chasers are looking for is there. I'm always trying, buying, selling, using, and abusing amps in my Quest for the perfect tone. I can't think of another tube amp in this price range that is as versatile and sounds as good as this. The Fender Hot Rod line has killer tone at a comparable price but that amp doesn't have the tone range of this amp. With that one you get what you get and you won't find many different tones. With this amp you will.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I haven't owned it long enough to write a credible review about this amp's reliability and durability. I will tell you mine works great and is built very very well. Although they're made in China if you look at Bugera's web site you can see that they have their own factory there and these are all hand-made. It's really a new kind of amp company. Anyway, mine seems built very well and the footswitch is all metal and should last forever. For first impressions on this though I'll give it an 8.
Features — 8
Mine was made in 2008. It's got 3 completely independent channels. Clean, crunch, and lead. Mine is very versatile. I own two American strats. One is HH the other is SSS. I got mine at American musical's web site. The great thing about them is they allow you to do 3 payments on any credit or debit card so you only have to pay $233/month for 3 months. As far as features you can just go to their web site and read about them. I will say they all work well. The EQ has very good ranges on all 3 channels. That allows you to dial in a very wide range of sounds. The footswitch is built like a tank. The effects loop has it's own volume so if you prefer you can just use it as a boost on all 3 of your channels for soloing or whatever. That's how I use it and consider it a great feature. The XL feature I really haven't found does much of anything. I don't really care about it one way or the other, the amp sounds great with or without it. One nice feature, the amp remembers if you have reverb enabled or not on each channel. Overall this doesn't have the features of a Line 6 but you don't need a PhD to operate it either. It's got all the features that any serious guitar player would want.