333XL Infinium review by Bugera

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  • Features: 8
  • Sound: 7
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.8 Good
  • Users' score: 8.3 (25 votes)
Bugera: 333XL Infinium
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Price paid: £ 445

Purchased from: Thomann

Features — 8
This is a 3-channel 120 watt amplifier head that is absolutely awesome for the price, when my Marshall TSL 100 died on me, I needed a cheap replacement quickly and came across this gem. Now I've owned Fender, Laney, Marshall and Peavey amps and after 27 years of playing, this amp had a lot to live up to. This amp competes very well with all these manufacturers. I was a little apprehensive at first, but it is a surprisingly versatile amp and it needs to be. I play all sorts from Muse to Pink Floyd, Satriani to Metallica, general pop music, pop rock like Van Halen and just good old classic metal such as Iron Maiden and Motorhead and it can deliver on all these fronts. I've now owned this amp for well over a year and had no problems at all.

Sound — 7
As stated above I play extremely varying styles and it has a nice tone. Now I play this through my 1960A cab so I can't really offer an opinion on the Bugera cab but it sounds nice with the one I have so I won't be changing the cab. It has pros and cons with the sound so I'll go through the pros first:

  • Although I don't use the crunch and lead channels very much, the range from calm to insane is a nice thing to have in your arsenal, the crunch is nice and tight and doesn't sound like glass smashing on the floor. Also the variation in the tones are good, so if you like scooping out the mids then you'll get what your after, plus the addition of the xl buttons on both these channels beefs up the sound nicely.
  • The clean channel is lovely and gives me the warm tone that I build any of my sounds on. I have my effects (which is why I don't really use the other 2 channels very often) but remember you can't build your effects on a crap tone as you'll just be increasing your problems.
  • Reverb is ok, but again I don't really use it as I have superior reverbs in my effects, but if all you wanted to do was rock without the technical crap, it will give you what you need.
  • The boost is a nice touch (available on the foot switch too) when you need to stand out during a song doing your guitar hero stuff. Now the cons:
  • The noise gate is next to useless, which is a shame as I definitely get more hiss out of it than I did on my TSL 100. Again because I mainly use the clean channel and I have a noise gate it isn't an issue for me, but if you plan on using all three channels and not much else it is definitely worth investing in a decent noise gate.
  • Reverb. I really can't fathom why they didn't build a reverb button into the foot switch I mean it's a basic thing that you expect with every amp. I have never bought an amp that has come with a foot switch not have a reverb switch on it, bizarre. Even more irritating though is that the reverb turns itself off when switching channels, so it's really not fit for purpose (whether this is a manufacturing fault or not, I don't know), either way I've never bothered with amplifier reverbs any way so I wasn't bothered, but I can imagine a kid starting out in his/her first band would be a little annoyed with this. I love the fact that you don't need to have matched valves on this amp and that you can swap between 6L6's and EL34's or have a combination of the two. I may swap them around for a bit of fun some time in the future, but for now I'm happy with the the four EL34's it came with. I also like the power tube monitor on the back so you know if one is on the way out. Another bonus, no biasing the bloody thing, plug them in and your good to go.

    Reliability & Durability — 8
    Well I've done quite a few gigs with this now and had no problems whatsoever. As I've only had it for a relatively short time (like I said over a year) so I can't comment on the long term, but I have certainly put it through its paces and it hasn't let me down once. The only thing that has let it down is the "tolex" covering, it's very soft and tears very easily, so certainly not to Marshall standards but the 333XL is about £550 cheaper than the Marshall, so you'll just need to look after it a little bit more.

    Overall Impression — 8
    Despite a few drawbacks, this amp is definitely worth a punt whether you're on a budget or not. You will not believe that such a cheap amp could sound so blisteringly good. I loved my Marshall, but in the gain department the 333XL Infinium leaves it for dead; although the Marshall (now repaired) still beats it for tonal variation. When it came down to a choice between the two it's like this: if you want to do balls out thrash metal, or whatever they call it these days, it's the 333xl all the way, just want to do indie or classic rock? Then it would be the Marshall, but it's a close call on that. If you are after an amp that is versatile and don't want to spend ridiculous amounts of money, then I highly recommend this amp.

  • 5 comments sorted by best / new / date

      skyerocket
      last wk my approx. 1 yr 0ld bugera 333xl infinity died while idling and signaled a flashing standby light and indicated numbers 1 and 2 el34 power tubes could not auto bias as their properties were to for out for compensation. with this understanding i purchased anew quad compliment of el34s and 12axs installed them fired it up and no hiss, no output no tube glow just the same signal of a flashing standby light and biasing array lights indicating power tubes 1 and 2 not close enough in properties to auto pair. Any suggestions re next step its just out of warrant!
      71GA
      Same problem here. On the power on I get no sound from my amp, then after some time my power on light starts flashing and all 4 of my LEDs are turned on... What does this mean? Why isn't there any manual about things like this???
      aldaxe
      I bought/ordered this amp and it had to be replaced right away. The first one had an intermittent noise issue. The tone in the replacement seems not quite as rich as the first. Regarding the review above, the noise gate only works on the lead channel. I don't use many effects or a processor so noise isn't a problem on mine, I find it quiet. I'm trying 6L6's when the time comes because they supposedly boost low end and give better highs, one way to find out. Reliability is the question, it's a cheap tube amp...it's not a hand wired amp, it has a circuit board and tubes get really hot. Let this amp cool off (20-30 minutes) after using it before moving it, don't move or bump/hit it while it's on. Let the tubes warm a minute on power-up before switching on the standby...I'm guessing ya get what ya pay for. lol
      dontbelilbitch
      I am looking to get this amp when i have enough money. As far as recording stuff is it a good amp?