Price paid: $ 349.99
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 8
I have a Strat SSS, G-400 (SG) with dual humbuckers, and an Ibanez acoustic/electric. I love them all equally and play them equally. I have only played the Strat through the V55HD thus far, but I plan to use the other two very soon. I love the sounds that I can get with my single coils, especially the cleans. They are beautiful and fit for the blues, country, light rock or whatever you need from a clean channel, and they get loud! When I flipped it over to the gain channel, using the tough as nails footswitch, I immediately heard a Clapton-esque tone. Playing a strat helped this, but I was honestly shocked. This, however, is not the tone that I want all the time. This is where I lost a little bit of that honeymoon feeling, it took me a few minutes to dial in a tone that I really liked. I love Boston, and this amps mids are a bit lacking, and anyone who is familiar with Boston (the band) knows that you have to CRANK the mids to get a Boston sound. Once I got over my mini-tantrum, I realized that there were some sexy smooth gain tones coming through my Bugera head and cab. If you are looking for super-distortion though, you should look elsewhere or buy some pedals. It can happen with this head, it will just take some patience and maybe some extra coinage.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall this head is a great value; for the buck, you get a whole lotta buck. I would challenge anyone to find me a better head in the 50 watt all tube range, for this price. I have been playing for almost 7 years now, and have been a bargain oriented gear shopper since day one. I owned a solid state 15 watt to start, then moved to a 212 Peavey ValveKing Combo and now I have this beauty. I could be happier...that is if I had roughly 10 thousand bucks. However, considering I am in college still and work during the summer only, this head does the job better than I ever expected. I had a budget, and got a steal! This head plays like its worth twice as much. Do I wish it said Marshall on the front, sure, but am I happy with the value I got for under $400? Damn straight. Overall, I give it an 8, only because I can't quite get those mids to boost well and because its a tone freaks nightmare. With only a global EQ, I am constantly fidgeting and adjusting after I change channels...but that's just me! I'm never satisfied with my tone. It never sounds bad, I just seem to find something I want to tweak after every strum. A well deserved B+ for this head, and I strongly reccommend you atleast go to GC/Sam Ash etc and play something from the Bugera Vintage line!
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guy is less than a day old to me, so I will answer reliability questions personally in a year :) However, at first impression, this thing is built like a tank. Bugera has a bit of a reputation from their Peavey look-alikes that they burn up quickly, I would like to dismiss this reputation a bit for two reasons: The awesome guarantee that comes with the amp for a little more money, and that they visited this problem and made sure that the Vintage line and anything in the future doesn't have this issue. One other thing to clear up, these ARE NOT made by Behringer, nor are they relatives of any sort. Behringer only distributes them as far as I know! I'll give it a 9 for now...it may drop dramatically if something happens though!
Features — 9
The Bugera V55HD exceeded my expectations in many ways, yet there was one tonal exception that I will have to get used to. This head was made at the end of '09 I believe, maybe more recently. Either way it is a part of Bugera's new Vintage line that features combos, cabs, and the 55 watt, all tube head that I bought today. This line has a Vintage look, feel and sound. I play blues, classic rock and some newer rock like Coheed and Cambria and this head cranks those sounds out easily. With my strat a Cream/Clapton sound was like the first thing that came through the gain channel. There is a clean channel and a gain channel and both have their own volume. There is a global EQ as well as a master volume knob. This is great because you can have it cranked on the gain and gain volume, but quiet enough to enjoy and not bother the rest of the house/apt/dorm. It came with an excellent footswtich, and has an FX loop as well. I really can't say that I would personally ask for more.