Price paid: $ 349
Purchased from: amazon.com
Features — 8
I bought the Bugera V55HD about a year ago. It's a simple, easy to use amplifier that goes well with blues or classic rock guitar playing. It as two channels, clean and dirty, and two inputs, bright and normal. Both channels use the same EQ controls: bass, middle, treble, and presence. The clean channel just has a volume knob, and the dirty channel has a volume and gain knob. There's also a master volume control and a reverb control. Other than that, the only feature this amp has is pentode/triode switch that either runs the amp at full power, or cuts it in half. Overall simple, but that can be a powerful thing in the right hands.
Sound — 9
I play the blues, country, and a little classic rock. This amp can quite easily cover all of the needed sounds for those genres. I use no effects with this amp; just guitar, cable, and amp. The dirty channel could be better, but I've never been a fan of master volume style amps, so I tend to just use the clean channel with the master volume knob at full. From here the clean channel can go from a very full, nice sounding clean, to that awesome overdrive-type, singing sound heard on the classic blues and rock records. I have experimented with the dirty channel some, and if you're into metal or other harder types of rock then you can get a decent sound out of it. I'd recommend a good distortion pedal if you're looking to go over the top, though. But really, this amp isn't that versatile, but if you're looking for that classic sound, then this is what you want.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I play this amp regularly both at practice and in a live setting. Keep in mind I typically play at church and country music gigs so I'm not running this amp at full volume all the time; the tubes, therefore, haven't given me any trouble yet. I handle this amp like I would a baby; if it so much as bumps something I'll freak out. It's handled the road pretty well, however, just be smart and treat like it was meant to be treated, and you shouldn't have any problems.
Everything's solid on it. I haven't had any problems with the knobs on it, and all of the switches and inputs are still working like the day I got it. I've used this amp on many occasions without having backup, and it's never failed me. However, just as a precaution, if I were playing an important enough gig, I might would bring a backup. Although it's unlikely, tubes are tubes, and they will blow out. Keep a spare amp on hand. If you don't have spare amp, I wouldn't worry too much. Like I said, it's held up for a year with me carrying it around every week.
Overall Impression — 8
As I've said, if you're into that classic Fender sound, or even an early Marshall sound, this amp comes as close as you can get without spending a ton of money. If you're into the blues, classic rock, or country, this amp will bring great tone and a full sound to your playing.
I've been playing for almost 6 years, and have played numerous other amps. These include a classic Marshall Lead 12 from 1987, an old Ampeg guitar amp (this amp had one tone control, one volume control, a reverb control, and a tremolo control, and that's it!) from probably the late '50s, and many solid-state amps. As far as quality tone goes, the Bugera V55HD outdoes all of those except the old Ampeg. But hey, they just don't make them like they used to. But overall, the sound is great, and I couldn't be happier for the money. The only complaint about this amp is that I wish it had a tremolo.
I was comparing this amp to other inexpensive tube amps (I'm on a budget). These included the Bugera 1960, which is a 100 watt clone of the Marshall 1959. I was also considering just spending less and getting a solid-state Fender combo. But the tonal possibilities of this amp, the fact that it's only 55 watts and won't bust your eardrums, and that I already owned a cabinet, led me to choose it. And at the end of the day, I'm very happy with it. It's just the right volume, and I love the look of the half-stack. Like I said, all of you bluesmen, classic rockers, and country players should consider buying this amp. For the money, you won't be disappointed.