Price paid: $ 285
Purchased from: a friend
Features — 9
Here goes the specs:
- all valve amp
- 3x12AX7 and 2xEL84 tubes
- 22W in pentode mode - 15W in triode mode
- 2 channels, clean, and dirty
- boost function
- digital reverb
- EFX loop
- footswitch input
- 4,8,16 ohm output
- normal and bright input
- 1x12 vintage voiced Bugera speaker
Reverb is digital but comparing them to some accutronics reverb the sound is surprisingly good. You don't want to set it past 5 in any band however. You can control the reverb with the footswitch too. Also you can boost the signal with the boost button which gives you a decent amount of midrange. You can easily cut through the mix when the boost is engaged. The only disadvantage is that you cannot control the boost via footswich. That is really missing, that's why I can only give it a 9.
Dirty channel: pre/post gain called gain/volume. This channel is only useable in low gain settings. When the gain turned up, it becomes so muddy you can't be heard over a bass guitar and a drum. It looses the clarity and you cant really hear a single note just mud. However if you dial in a light overdrive it really sings, it's like the almost-perfect clean channel sound with a touch of dirt to it, really like it.
I have bought from a friend of mine, he gave me a footswitch (looks nice, you can change the channels, and turn on the reverb), and two spare Bugera EL84 tubes he said it came with these.
Sound — 9
The sound is just pure vintage heaven. And when I say vintage it means you can use it well in a lot of musical situations from jazz to pop, or blues to rock. I have used a single channel amp with some pedals before, but I can tell you that it really shines in a band situation. Two very useable channels, plus a nice reverb... the footswitchable boost is really missing however. I was searching for an amp that I can cover a lot of styles and sounds, from jazzy clear tones, to a lot of country stuff, bluesy crunch, to rock solos. It can do it all with ease, really easy to dial in the perfect tone, the speaker sound very authentic to me too. I needed a workhorse amp, that sounds good, wont break the bank buying it, and reliable. For the money you'll get a seriously good sound, and the bunch of options you can't find in the horrible priced vintage amps, like effects loop, 2 footswitchable channels, reverb, boost, master volume, half power (triode mode) to get a creamier sound, or practice on low volume at home.
Reliability & Durability — 8
The amp looks nice, the cabinet is made of some light plywood. It's good when it comes to carrying from room to car, car to stage etc. Its good to have a nylon cover, it's around $30, a fender hot rod cover will fit perfectly and its a lot cheaper, protects from scratches and dings and light rain. I always have a feeling I will accidentally cut the drape of the amp because it feels so vulnerable and soft. If you want to improve on the sound it's worth to have good valves in it, JJ's or Sovtek will be just fine, and they're affordable too. Footswitch comes with a long cable, and it looks durable too. The handle is okay too.
You want to go for the ones with red lights. It's known that those what came with blue led-s were having serious maintenance problems. Bugera solved that and came up with the red ones, which are really reliable. Remember, go for the red lights or the newest Infinium version, and you'll have no serious problems.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall impression is great, it's inspiring to play, good sounding cheap little amp. Good for chord work, good for twangy sounds, warm clean sounds, the overdrive is fantastic on lower gain settings. Since it's 22 watts you can push the front end with a pedal easily, so the '70s, '80s rock sound is there. Those who afraid of the low wattage I can tell you 22 valve-watts will be more than enough in almost every situation, trust me. I play in a band with a bass, drum, keyboard, and lots of vocals in it. It just really shines through the mix in every situation. Headroom is enough on the clean channel. Rehearsals, small gigs, pubs okay without micing it up. If you go on a bigger gig, the amp will be miced anyway.
It's really an in-between amp. I mean the price is great, the sound is great, it's portable, the specs are great too, and since it's called Bugera you don't have to pay (a lot!) for all the marketing bullsh-t. It's good, but it don't have a name, you have to deal with it. I can give it a 9 because the footswitchable boost is missing! And one more good point in the end, you can easily sell it in days if you want to! Absolutely recommend it.