333XL-212 review by Bugera

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  • Features: 10
  • Sound: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.1 (33 votes)
Bugera: 333XL-212
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Price paid: $ 500

Purchased from: Worldmusicsupply.com

Features — 10
3 channel 120 watt 2x12" tube amp, the XL has EL34's and the regular has 6l6 I believe but both feature auto biasing and are compatible with either kind of tube and possibly others. The lead/ crunch channel have a noise gate that is great for taking some of the hum out of high gain settings. Built in spring reverb, presence control and an FX loop/ boost. All 3 channels and the loop are controllable via a foot switch. The loop features in/ out volume controls which can be used to reduce or boost your signal with or without anything in the loop! Also features a line out, 4/8/16 switchable impedance and 2 speaker outs. I have only used it with the built in speakers but they sound great! Line out works alright as well. For the price it has all the basic features most guitarists will need and then some!

Sound — 10
I mostly play classic rock/jazz so I tend to stick to the clean channel. On its own it produces beautiful thick lush warm tones. I like to play through it with single coils and the presence set pretty high for beautiful bell like highs. With the channel volume pushed and the mids cranked you can get a great tube OD especially with humbuckers/ hotter pups. The clean channel is an absolute workhorse and has taken every pedal I have thrown at it very well. Also sounds great for keyboards and vocals.

The crunch channel does a great job nailing hotter classic rock tones. This channel is identical to the lead channel pretty much but has considerably less gain. I keep the gain down low and the EQ cranked for a great classic rock crunch tone. Throw in an OD/boost and your screamin! This channel can really scream all on its own when cranked though.

The lead channel I use the least due to its insane gain levels. I tend to have the gain as low as it can audibly go and the volume near 50% to compensate with a mild EQ. This gives me a pretty solid lead classic rock tone. I love to push this channel with a fuzz and use a wah pedal for some facemelting gnarly snarling psychedelic rock lead tones. The gain is a bit too far into metal territory for me but I still can get some milder usable tones and its nice having a seperate hotter drive channel from the crunch.

All in all I love the sounds it makes. I still have stock speakers/ tubes in and have had them for 2-3 years with no issues. When I do finally upgrade I imagine the sound will be even more magnificent!

Reliability & Durability — 9
Like I said I have owned this amp for 3 or so years no and have had little to no issues with it. One time a friend of a friend asked to try and it turned it off without putting it into standby first. It made a crackle I have never heard it make before and occasionally would crackle/ be finicky for awhile after but I never had it looked at and it started working fine again eventually. I have not played it live but I imagine it would do a wonderful job for small to medium/large venues. It is pretty heavy but has solid handles that make carrying it a breeze even though it weighs in at 70 pounds! I have moved it around a decent amount pretty easily and it has held up.

All in all it has been extremely reliable for me and I imagine I will keep it forever. Eventually I hope to upgrade it with some mods and replace a few parts but there is nothing urgent it really could use.

Overall Impression — 10
I love this amp! It is great for jazz, rock, funk, blues, metal, country, and everything in between! Does a great job with keyboards/ synths as well as guitar and handles all sorts of pedals. If it was stolen I would definitely buy another one or maybe upgrade to a Bugera TriRec.

Here are the few cons I can think of:

The reverb can be a bit noisy when turned up past 75% and the noise is present even with the reverb disengaged. Turning it down around 50-60% fixes it though and that area is plenty of reverb for most stuff.

The EQ is pretty powerful and can make things noisy depending on how it's set up. Using a quiet humbucker set up and reasonably EQ work it can get pretty loud with minimal noise

Lead channel has way too much gain for my tastes. Hopefully one day I can add a half power switch or something to create a lower gain setting for it.

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