V5 Tube Guitar Combo review by Bugera

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  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 6
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 7.5 Good
  • Users' score: 7.4 (42 votes)
Bugera: V5 Tube Guitar Combo
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Price paid: $ 217

Purchased from: Sam Ash

Sound — 7
In the showroom and through the headphones this amp sounded great. A full warm sound that goes from bright clean to a crunchy classic rock souund. Just what I was looking for. Notice I didn't mention what it sounded like in my home. The overall sound and tone are great for my tastes but definely not for a metal sound at least not with out some pedals in front. There is no effects loop. I ended up returning mine as there was an annoying rattle coming through at volumes above 4 at any power level. I could not test the clean accuratley for break up since this rattle would cut it even at moderate volumes. At low volumes the sound was clean to Vintage rock growl with the gain knob or guitar volume being very responsive. The overall tone was the consistent as the master volume was raised.

Overall Impression — 6
Unfortunatley despite all the great reviews and the way it sounded in the showroom I ended up returning it. I mainly play in my bedroom or family room areas of my home late at night, hence the power attenuator Switch being a huge plus for me. When the volume or gain was turned up past 4 I got a cymball sounding rattle during the sustain. I thought ok maybe there was something loose inside, but couldnt find it. The sound persited no matter what I tried. I tried changing power levels, pick ups, cables, guitars, even the power chord itself. I finially decided to take it back to have it checked out. The guitar manager at the Sam Ash I bought it from took the time to figure it out. At first he couldn't get the rattle to sound out, all that came out was the great tone I bougth it for and I was beggining to think it was my playing and the manager was starting to doubt my story. We tried one last idea, we moved the amp to the guitar techs work area which is about the same size as the area where I typically play at. Eureka, on the first strum the rattle sounded and we figured out the problem. As he put it, the speaker was picking up the vibrations of the tubes due to their close proximity to the speaker magnet. This was magnified by the smaller area in which in which I play that's why we couldn't hear it in the show room. I am waiting to hear from Bugera regarding the issue out of curiosty. I could keep it and just listen from headphones but what fun would that be. So reluctantly I ended up returning the V5 and am in search of a different amp. If Bugera called me and said it was just my particular amp that did had this problem I would buy it again. It sounded that good and for the price point there is nothing else out there with same number of features.

Reliability & Durability — 8
I don't gig but it is built like a tank. I was suprised at the solid feel and quality of the materials for the price point. I think this amp would hold up to heavy use, and is small enough to lug about easily especially since you can use it as a head with the external speaker jack.

Features — 9
- Model year 2011 - 5 watt all tube practice amp with digital reverb. - 8in speaker - headphones, and external speaker out - Power attenuator 1/10, 1 and 5 watts Bugera V5 is a small all tube practice amps with generous features and great Vintage tube sound. The amp has many features that make it a great value. Headphone emulated out put, and power attenuator for silent or very low volume playing that still has the saturated tube tone. It also has a great sounding digital reverb. Only thing I would wish for was am aux input. The most features of any other amp in it's class.

9 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Chaos-Serenade
    Well I'm impressed. $150 +/- for a 5 watt tube amp. Not bad. Now if we can just get the absurd prices on the bigger fellers to drop, we can all experience the primitive technology of these great sounding amps.
    c3ajeff
    Update to the above post: I've tried several 12AX7 tubes on this amp. I was impressed with the striking difference in tone between tubes. (I've tried different tubes in other amps and the differences were more subtle, to say the least.) I tried: Ruby Select 12AX7-ECC83 (Sovtek) Ruby Select 12AX7-ACZ (Sovtek) Electroharmonix 12AX7EH Philco 12AX7A All of the above tubes were brighter in tone than the stock Bugera 12AX7. The EH tube was most like the stock tube - only slightly brighter. The Ruby ECC83 was the next brightest (without a noticably higher output.) The Ruby ACZ is a real standout in that the tone is markedly brighter but the output is also noticably higher - I remember saying "WOW!" out loud after inserting this tube. (This is the tube that's currently living in the amp.) The Philco is the brightest of all, to the point of being slightly thin, but the output is significantly less the the aforementioned Ruby (similar to the other tubes tested.) That about sums it up. This is a great amp WITH THE RIGHT TUBES. It's a real shame they ship the amp with such a warm tube - not that it sounds horrible, but you really have to like THAT sound.
    MT in Austin
    Have a friend who uses the V5 with a Digitech RP500 and it works great for transparently amplifying the processor. Where it really shine, though, is plugging straight in an cranking to clipping. Nice classic rock and blues sound. I was surprised at the usable volume it can generate.
    xmdsx2
    Too bad where I come from you have to sell your ****ing soul to buy a 5w tube amp like this 'cause they're extremely costy (over 500 dollars, lol).
    mattx11
    Is the gain supposed to act as a secondary volume on this amp? I own it and noticed that you ALWAYS have to up the volume if you reduce the gain and up the gain if you reduce the volume. This didn't seem right to me. But my only point of comparison is my giant Blues DeVille which has two channels anyway...
    c3ajeff
    I own one. I'm a keyboard player that's learning Guitar and while I am in a band that plays mostly classic rock/blues-style, my personal desire is to play a more jazz-style guitar (like Joe Pass). Anyway I brought this little amp to rehearsal so our lead guitarist could compare it to his wall of amps large and small. The best comparison was the 6 watt princeton - and the V5 really sounded a LOT warmer (others said "muddy" - but I disagree, it wasn't muddy it was warmer, as the mid and lower tones weren't unclear, there just wasn't a lot of punch in the mid-high and higher tones.) When you A/B the V5 vs. the Princeton you can really hear the difference. Now for me, who likes the warmer sound, it's great, but I'd also like to have that 'punch' available. So, I am considering a tube change. I won't throw away the JJ-type Chinese tube in the amp now since, as I said, I like the sound OK. So here's what I am considering: Genelex Red lion @$32.98 (new, not sure if these would help) Raytheon Black Plate @$25 (used, tested) Philco 12BZ7 Black Plate @$21 NOS Suggestions are welcome. What I want is an ALTERNATIVE tube, so if I want a punchy brighter sound all I have to do is plug it in. I know all about preamps, stomp boxes, etc., but what I want to focus on at this point is a tube alternative for this amp. Thanks! I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Jeff
    Old LesPaulRock
    You go from the 1/4 inch speaker out jack on the head of the V5 to the input of the Ultra-G, then plug the Bugera speaker into the Direct Link to Cabinet. Do this with the V5 off. Then run a xlr output to mixer or recorder. I use a 1-spot battery adapter instead of a 9 volt as it is active. Make sure to press the Virtual 4x12 cab button. Your guitar just plugs into the V5 front like normal use.