Price paid: $ 330
Purchased from: audiopro.cz
Sound — 10
In general, V55HD is pretty universal head, that can do lots of sounds. The Clean channel does anything from crystal clean to some muddy crunchy blues type of tone depending on how much gain you crank and the type of guitar you use. I use it mainly for the clean tone with reverb. It can do much nicer clean tone that my other amp, the 6262 also by Bugera, where the clean tone is muddy regardless how much gain is set. The Gain channel does a nice crunchy rock tone, but it can do some heavier metal stuff provided that you have active pickups, or feed it with some distortion pedal like Tubescreamer. The important feature of the Gain channel is that the louder it is, the better sound comes out. You can set an amount of Gain, and channel Volume with two separate knobs, and also the level of Master volume. If you turn up the channel Volume, it sounds more crispy, with more high-mids and, but if you turn up the Master, the sound gets more low end. It's an important feature when you search for the tone you like to exploit all the functions the amp has. Like every tube amp, the V55HD sound better when it's louder. It is meant mainly for Vintage tones, blues, rock'n'roll and so on, but it can do also some pretty metal tones when connected to different cabinet. I tried it with my Randall RX412, fed it with ModTone DynoDrive distortion pedal and it sounded pretty decent. But there are amps better suited for metal than this one. As I said before, universal head, lots of sounds, primarily Vintage tones, but can do practically anything with right equipment.
Overall Impression — 10
Let's sum it up! The V55HD is an affordable tube amp with many functions and it can do many different types of tone from a clean to some heavier rock tones. With right setting and equipment, it can do also some metal. I looks smart which makes it also a nice piece of furniture. It's meant primarily for Vintage tones which it does well and can provide much more. I am an amateur musician, playing mostly metal with my band, but I also like rock and blues for which I purchased this amp. It suits me well, it does what I want and there have been no problems with it yet. So if you want a Vintage tube amp that is both cheap and universal, look no further. I can only recommend it.
Reliability & Durability — 10
There are still some rumors that Bugera amps are not reliable and break down often. Until now I haven't had any problems with V55HD. The amp is played almost daily, mostly at home (that is its primary purpose, I use 6262 with my band), but I did a couple of gigs with it and had no problems.
Features — 9
Purchased in March 2012. It is a Vintage style tube amp. I use it with matching Bugera Vintage 212 cabinet. It's got 3 12AX7 tubes in the preamp and 2 6L6 tubes in the power amp with the power of 55 Watts. They can be switched between pentode and triode mode. In triode it's got half power and slightly less gain, more suitable for home playing. On the front panel, there are 2 inputs on the left, Normal and Bright. The bright input is meant for the guitars with HB pickups, but I use the normal input (playing it with my Fender Stratocaster 2HB passive pickups). I didn't notice much difference between the inputs. The channels are Clean and Gain, with one EQ (Bass, Mid, Treble), Presence, Reverb and Master volume controls for both of them. There is also a Boost switch that adds more mids to the tone. The amp comes with a footswitch, that switches between the channels and turns the Reverb on and off. The only flaw it has is that the Reverb cannot be turned on for one channel and off for the other. It's a bit annoying because I use the Clean with the Reverb on but the Gain with the Reverb off. But I can live with it (after a little tap dance on the footswitch. There is also an effects loop but I don't use it.