The Bugera V22 is a very good amp and just the sort of product that will have big names scared. Marshall for example now sells a line of Vietnam made tube amps – the MA series – but compared to these Chinese built amps from Bugera they seem very expensive. Bugera seems to be aiming to prove that the major players’ claims that we have to pay a lot of money just to wire some vacuum tubes together is a lot of old nonsense. This is technology from the middle of the last century and given that your PlayStation 3 was put together in China there’s no sense getting snobby about amps constructed there.
The V22 is by no means perfect. I’d have liked a reverb control on the amp rather than just on the two button footswitch. I’d also have liked a control for the mid boost on footswitch too. Having to press a button on the amp for a solo boost is asking a bit much. And in an ideal world I’d really like Bugera to offer the V22 in head form rather than just a combo.
Otherwise it’s hard to find fault with an amp that looks so good, is so easy to use and sounds so good at such a mad low price. For those looking to play at home it really is perfectly usable at lower volumes even in pentode mode. The clean channel is certainly more tonally complex, warm and likeable than the one offered on the Blackstar HT-5. Once you’ve figured how to tame the brightness or fizziness of the drive channel with the mid boost it’s just as usable at lower volumes as the clean channel. Meanwhile there’s plenty of power and clean headroom on offer for gigging.
Behringer has certainly put a few noses out of joint with its Bugera range of amplifiers. Many of the other amps in the range are clear clones of famous amps such as the Peavey 6505 and the Marshall JCM900. Leaving aside those companies’ propensity for cloning anyway, Bugera’s models tend to come with more features than the originals and at a much more wallet friendly price.
That’s not to say the Bugera range aren’t budget amps, the cabinet materials and quality of the stock tubes show an amp made to a low price. But what’s important is the tone on offer and the gorgeous sounds available from the V22 for a mere $250 make many rival amp makers seem like they are making fools of us. If the rest of the Bugera range is as good as the V22 then those rivals really do have something to worry about. If you’re after a vintage voiced all-tube amp for home practice and gigging, then you really should give the Bugera V22 a try alongside the usual suspects. Ignore Bugera at your peril.
More than a Guitar Amp Credit Picture License: LTD H-500 STBK & Bugera 6262 head with Harley Benton G412A Vintage cab via photopin cc