V55HD Review

manufacturer: Bugera date: 04/03/2014 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Bugera: V55HD
With a proud pair of 6L6 power valves in the output stage, the V55HD bathes your guitar in clean California sunshine.
 Sound: 8.8
 Overall Impression: 8.8
 Reliability & Durability: 9.4
 Features: 9
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
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reviews (5) pictures (4) 29 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.8
V55HD Reviewed by: cgolden, on july 28, 2010
4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 350

Purchased from: Musician's Friend

Features: This two channel amplifier is modeled after the late 40s and early 50s guitar amps that were the pioneers into the new era of musicality sweeping the U.K. and United States. An all tube head, the V55 does exactly what it's marketed to do- give a tone reminiscent of the aforementioned time periods. The clean channel is beautiful, and gets an excellent amount of true tube crunch as it is turned up. The dirty channel (activated by an onboard Switch or the included channel/reverb switch) give a widely variable amount of gain, from very lowly overdriven to moderate crunch. The amp does not have a "heavy" sound, which does not take away from the overall quality. There are controls for low, mid, and high frequencies, along with a mid scoop Switch and presence and reverb controls, not to mention the necessary volume and gain controls for clean and dirty channels, along with a master volume switch. It has both an on/off Switch and a standby switch, which is very convenient when switching guitars live. The back of the amp is nearly as impressive as the front, with an effects loop, 2 speaker outputs with a variable 4/8/16 ohm switch, and a triode/pentode switch, which allows you to cut the wattage in half, giving you the ability to get the true tube sound at lower volumes for recording. The reverb is phenomenal. I almost always have it on; it adds a beautiful amount of depth to solos and chords. The 55 watts is enough for me. I've used this amp from places like local bars to the Congress Theater in Chicago, and it's never failed me. // 9

Sound: I play a MIM Strat and an Epi LP Custom model in a ska band. Both guitars sound excellent through the amp, however, with the single coils, as usual, I did experience a good amount of noise. This was easily solved by getting a noise gate. With the humbuckers on the LP, the clean channel becomes slightly overdriven, especially on the rhythm and middle switches. It's a great change from some other tube amps that I've played that keep a fairly stagnant sound from guitar to guitar. I love the question that UG posts here, "How brutal is the distortion?" Honestly, it's not brutal at all. I played in a BTBAM/VoM/Faceless cover band for a long time, and I would've scoffed at this amp. This is NOT an amp for metalheads. However, for people looking for a smooth sound on both clean and dirty channels, it's an inexpensive, excellent quality amp. // 8

Reliability & Durability: Bugera has had a name of being great amps, for about a week, and then burning out on users. However, in the past few years, they've switched to using quality parts and I have never had a problem with the amp failing. I've owned and gigged with this amp for 3 and a half months, and feel absolutely comfortable gigging without a backup. Bugera has finally reached a point where they are making excellent, reliable amplifiers. It's pretty sweet. // 10

Overall Impression: I can't say enough good things about this amp. It takes pedals beautifully. I play ska, and can get sounds that allow me to cover bands from The Supervillians to Reel Big Fish, and even Metallica with a distortion pedal in front (my band does a cover of Battery- it's friggin' sweet). I've been playing guitar for about 3 years, but have owned large amounts of gear, including various tube Marshalls and a Peavy 6505+. Those amps actually were a little strong for me, and I feel like the Bugera matches those amps in quality, and gives me the proper tone for my needs. // 8

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overall: 8.5
V55HD Reviewed by: BrokenDstring, on march 09, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 349.99

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: 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. // 9

Sound: 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. // 8

Reliability & Durability: 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! // 9

Overall Impression: 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! // 8

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overall: 9.8
V55HD Reviewed by: unregistered, on august 01, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 350

Purchased from: Musician's Friend

Features: This is a two channel amp that comes with a footswitch, effects loop, pentode/triode switch, adjustable impedence outputs, stock with 3 preamp 12ax7's and 2 6l6 power tubes. It is more than loud enough to gig anywhere a touring musician needs to turn up, whether it has a mic in front of it or not. I never have a problem with this amp cutting through the mix. For price vs. what you get, no amp company will give you these kind of features and sound for this price. // 10

Sound: There are two inputs, Normal and Bright. They do alter your tone exactly as suggested. Bright does give you a slightly more punchy sound, especially in the distorted channel. I use Fender Guitars through this amp. A Jaguar, and an HSS Strat. Both have no problem dialing in sparkling cleans, blues twang, all the way on up to alternative/rhythm guitar crunch. If you are into metal or a lead guitarist, a pedalboard on the clean channel just screams. The dirt channel is a little hard to deal with, but once you set your pedals up to accommodate the amp, it is a phenomenal sound. As a guitarist for hire, I have used both the effects loop and straight in. I prefer using the "Bright" input on the front of the amplifier. I prefer to run straight in vs, the effects loop. I like driving the preamp with my setup. The stock tubes are not bad at all. Throw in a new set? I fell in love all over again. 9/10 on stock tubes, 10/10 with aftermarket. Using an "A" rated set and biasing this amp makes it sound better than any Fender, Vox, or Marshall I have ever owned. You wont find an amp under $2000 USD that will achieve this kind of sound for the price. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I have had this amplifier for over a year now, using it in weekly band practices for 3 hours at a time, personal use through a 2x12 cab in my house, and steady gigs all year long. This amp has never given me any kind of problems, and I have never needed to have a backup. I have been using the stock factory tubes all this time. Because I have logged so many hours on this amp, I am re-tubing to get back some edge lost from the inevitable wear from tubes over time, but this amp has never quit on me, and I can be one of the first to attest this is a reliable, long term, gig-worthy setup. // 10

Overall Impression: I am a studio guitarist for hire. I play all styles of music, from Jazz to Metal. I have been playing for more than 7 years, a proud owner of a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe (former stage amp), Vox AC-15 (former backup), and Orange Tiny Terror (my bedroom amp) in the past. I would definitely buy another amp like this if it was stolen, just because it sounds so good, and its such a low price. I love the clean channel and how well it takes pedals. I personally use mainly the clean channel and pedals to mold my sound. The dirt channel I wish could be a little more refined, but running a guitar straight in will yield very good results, especially when cranked. For some, it may not have enough low end: Keep in mind, this is Vintage voiced. It is focused on using mids and highs to shape your sound. The low end was the Bass player's job back in the day. I compared it to all of my past rigs, but this is by far my favorite. I wish it had independent channel EQ's, but its nothing to complain about. A very solid amplifier. 10/10 for Affordability, good sound, reliability, and road-tested durability. This will be on my backline for years to come. // 10

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overall: 9.8
V55HD Reviewed by: orgeus, on october 22, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 330

Purchased from: audiopro.cz

Features: 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. // 9

Sound: 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. // 10

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 10

Overall Impression: 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.

// 10

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overall: 8.3
V55HD Reviewed by: Derek Corder, on april 03, 2014
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 349

Purchased from: amazon.com

Features: 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. // 8

Sound: 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. // 9

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 8

Overall Impression: 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. // 8

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