Why so much hate on Bugera?

Brent Hutto

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I only heard of Bugera amps recently but what I've heard has been entirely enthusiastic (until this thread). However, based on some very poor experiences long ago (15+ years) I'm not the target model for any of these cheap-and-cheerful knockoffs of ancient, crude tube amp designs. My problem with them is the whole mojo of loud, loose, rough, loud and crude (yeah I know I said loud twice) just does nothing for me. Not my thing. Back in the day I tried all the tube rolling, cap clipping and so forth and it just made for a slightly different rude and crude sound when I plugged a Telecaster into it.

So I'm with bottlenecker, if you want that kind of "a lotta loud for the price" vibe then go with the amp like they build it. You're not going to turn it into a whole different kind of thing by spending a couple hundred bucks swapping tubes and speakers.
 

Midgetje94

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I only heard of Bugera amps recently but what I've heard has been entirely enthusiastic (until this thread). However, based on some very poor experiences long ago (15+ years) I'm not the target model for any of these cheap-and-cheerful knockoffs of ancient, crude tube amp designs. My problem with them is the whole mojo of loud, loose, rough, loud and crude (yeah I know I said loud twice) just does nothing for me. Not my thing. Back in the day I tried all the tube rolling, cap clipping and so forth and it just made for a slightly different rude and crude sound when I plugged a Telecaster into it.

So I'm with bottlenecker, if you want that kind of "a lotta loud for the price" vibe then go with the amp like they build it. You're not going to turn it into a whole different kind of thing by spending a couple hundred bucks swapping tubes and speakers.
I was looking at a couple different heads. But couldn’t choose. So I kind of impulsively/out of curiosity bought this one. I have a AC15 combo. But wanted a head for my 212. Figured I could play this one until it craps out. (Giving me time to decide what amp I WANT) I honestly was on the fence. I get this isn’t a “forever” amp. But I’m pleasantly surprised. You can get them used super cheap. They would Make a great tour amp. Sounds good. Won’t last forever. But if it’s broken or stolen on the road they are quick and easy to get a new one haha
 

old wrench

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I've got an older Bugera BC 30 amplifier

It's built like tank with huge transformers and has 2 x12" speakers

The stock speakers are not both the same - they are two different types, but the pair sound very good together

It has to be the loudest 30 watt amp I've ever heard - no kidding - like Twin Reverb loud

It sounds OK clean, but when you really crank it up with the channels jumpered - it really roars

It's a pretty interesting amp and has some nice refinements like being able to run it at half-power, in either pentode or triode mode, and it'll handle a few different rectifier tubes if you want to dial-in a certain amount of sag

You can also jumper the channels to get even more gain, if you want

These amps got a bad name when they first came out because so many of them had bad tubes (generally the pre-amp tubes) when they arrived at the customer's door - there were a lot of returns, because "the amp didn't work"

It wasn't too hard back then to come across a really good deal on one "that didn't work", then test and replace the bad tubes - and end up with a real good tube amp at a low price

These guys are pretty hefty though - probably around 65 or 70 lbs.

I've considered re-doing it as a separate head and speaker cabinet to make it more manageable to lug around, but I'll probably end up leaving it as is and passing it on to someone looking for a good deal

.
 

Midgetje94

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I've got an older Bugera BC 30 amplifier

It's built like tank with huge transformers and has 2 x12" speakers

The stock speakers are not both the same - they are two different types, but the pair sound very good together

It has to be the loudest 30 watt amp I've ever heard - no kidding - like Twin Reverb loud

It sounds OK clean, but when you really crank it up with the channels jumpered - it really roars

It's a pretty interesting amp and has some nice refinements like being able to run it at half-power, in either pentode or triode mode, and it'll handle a few different rectifier tubes if you want to dial-in a certain amount of sag

You can also jumper the channels to get even more gain, if you want

These amps got a bad name when they first came out because so many of them had bad tubes (generally the pre-amp tubes) when they arrived at the customer's door - there were a lot of returns, because "the amp didn't work"

It wasn't too hard back then to come across a really good deal on one "that didn't work", then test and replace the bad tubes - and end up with a real good tube amp at a low price

These guys are pretty hefty though - probably around 65 or 70 lbs.

I've considered re-doing it as a separate head and speaker cabinet to make it more manageable to lug around, but I'll probably end up leaving it as is and passing it on to someone looking for a good deal

.
Sounds like Bugera likes loud haha. Yea. I’m looking at attenuators for it. Haha. It’s not ungodly loud. But more than any bedroom needs to be. Sounds great. But need to take it down a bit. Bugera makes a PS1. $120.

But there’s some horror stories about them frying and smoking. Cutting out and amp blaring full blast. Most reviews are positive. But there’s enough to warrant staying away. Plus even at “bypass” mode. You’re still losing actual volume.

I’m leaning towards a JHS black box
 

old wrench

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Sounds like Bugera likes loud haha. Yea. I’m looking at attenuators for it. Haha. It’s not ungodly loud. But more than any bedroom needs to be. Sounds great. But need to take it down a bit. Bugera makes a PS1. $120.

But there’s some horror stories about them frying and smoking. Cutting out and amp blaring full blast. Most reviews are positive. But there’s enough to warrant staying away. Plus even at “bypass” mode. You’re still losing actual volume.

I’m leaning towards a JHS black box


For attenuation, I have an older Weber Mass unit with all the bells and whistles

It actually works very well at knocking down the volume without sucking all the tone out of the music

.
 

Nogoodnamesleft

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A lot of the hate comes from its lineage as a Behringer brand that implies a cheap copycatted product. I’ve never played a Bugera, but my studio was centered around a Behringer XR-18 for years. Was a great piece of gear that worked well for years. If it works for you, it works. That’s all that matters.
I was going to say the same thing. Behringer is a rather polarizing brand in the synth market too. But, for all of that controversy, chances are good at some point you’ll be playing a stage run by an X32 console. The parent company also bought Midas so there may have been a bit of help there, but either way it’s a very popular desk in a lot of venues.
 

bgmacaw

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Uli Behringer has made a good living borrowing other brands’ patents.

jokerherewego.gif
 

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Sounds like Bugera likes loud haha. Yea. I’m looking at attenuators for it. Haha. It’s not ungodly loud. But more than any bedroom needs to be. Sounds great. But need to take it down a bit. Bugera makes a PS1. $120.

But there’s some horror stories about them frying and smoking. Cutting out and amp blaring full blast. Most reviews are positive. But there’s enough to warrant staying away. Plus even at “bypass” mode. You’re still losing actual volume.

I’m leaning towards a JHS black box
I personally wouldnt recommend an attenuator, because they dull the sound significantly. The bass and treble response goes down the drain because of the lack of inductive elements in the designs (resistive). What you end up with is only mushy midrange left. Most of the expensive "reactive" ones dont even do it right, because of the need for an adjustable control. And you would actually need huge inductors with about a pound of copper on them, even for a non-adjustable, Reactive load box, in order to sound right.

This amp does have a master volume right?
VVR - Variable Voltage Regulation is another option, but it requires a good tech to install.
 

Midgetje94

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I personally wouldnt recommend an attenuator, because they dull the sound significantly. The bass and treble response goes down the drain because of the lack of inductive elements in the designs (resistive). What you end up with is only mushy midrange left. Most of the expensive "reactive" ones dont even do it right, because of the need for an adjustable control. And you would actually need huge inductors with about a pound of copper on them, even for a non-adjustable, Reactive load box, in order to sound right.

This amp does have a master volume right?
VVR - Variable Voltage Regulation is another option, but it requires a good tech to install.
I actually have a amp builder who lives about 10 mins away

 

Resident Bum

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Cant hurt to try out an attenuator or two, if you can borrow them from someone.
Dont take my word for it, trust your ears.

I have had good experiences with VVR, but it may be pricey to install.
 

DaddyG

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Haven't heard many negatives. Haven't had a tube amp in a couple of years, so I decided to buy a Bugera V5 Infinium. At first, It didn't seem to have much clean headroom, but I could find some very sweet spots. Then I put an MXR 10 band EQ in front of it, really made that amp sing. Just got it a month ago and I hope it will be longlasting.
 

Midgetje94

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Cant hurt to try out an attenuator or two, if you can borrow them from someone.
Dont take my word for it, trust your ears.

I have had good experiences with VVR, but it may be pricey to install.
Probably won’t on this amp. I like it. But not enough to throw money into it.
 

Midgetje94

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Haven't heard many negatives. Haven't had a tube amp in a couple of years, so I decided to buy a Bugera V5 Infinium. At first, It didn't seem to have much clean headroom, but I could find some very sweet spots. Then I put an MXR 10 band EQ in front of it, really made that amp sing. Just got it a month ago and I hope it will be longlasting.
Apparently the negatives and horror stories were mostly the non-infinium lines
 

Fiesta Red

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I have seen people defend to their last dying breath a total piece of crap because the brand name has some prestige attached to it. I’ve seen this with cars, amps, 🏍 motorcycles, 🎸 guitars, 🎤 microphones, even clothing and shoes/boots.

An acquaintance of mine had a Marshall amp that just never worked right, from the first day he bought it (he bought it new, by the way). In the first year he had it, it was in the shop as much as it was on the stage (the sound would just fizz out and never come back up to volume). In the meantime, he constantly derided his old amp (a Peavey) that never broke down and sounded dang good…he was forced to use that “inferior” Peavey when his “superior” Marshall was in the shop.
We could not convince him to at least get a different Marshall because “this one is so good.” 🙄 When it died yet again—after the warranty was up—he finally took it to a good tech (one I had recommended several times) who said there was problems with the transformer. It worked very well after an extremely costly repair…but by that point, the shine had worn off the Marshall name for him and he bought a high-end Paul Reed Smith amp (which sounded great, btw) and he stuck the now-functional Marshall in the corner beside that “crappy” Peavey.

The sister-in-law that I regularly bag on is hung up on brand-name items as well. At a resale shop she’ll buy a dress, blouse or shoes that are out of style and/or needs some pretty extreme mending or alterations—and even then won’t fit her well, because of the styling—just because it’s a designer brand…and oftentimes the brand name is not visible unless you look at the tag…but she’ll look down her nose at a cheap/no-name item that fits well or is more in-style, because it’s from Target (the horror!).

Bugera is a mixed bag—as some have noted, a few of them had reliability issues early on…some people don’t like their weight and LOUDNESS…and some people are hung up on the name.

Play what you like, play what works, play what you have…just play!
 

Brent Hutto

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I have seen people defend to their last dying breath a total piece of crap because the brand name has some prestige attached to it. I’ve seen this with cars, amps, 🏍 motorcycles, 🎸 guitars, 🎤 microphones, even clothing and shoes/boots.

Bugera is a mixed bag—as some have noted, a few of them had reliability issues early on…some people don’t like their weight and LOUDNESS…and some people are hung up on the name.

Play what you like, play what works, play what you have…just play!
It's really off topic but when I first started out trying to learn to play (acoustic) guitar I picked up one of those ancient all-mahogany mail order catalog guitars from the 1930's or 40's. It looked really bad and the frets were worn out and there was a slight twist in the neck so it couldn't be adjusted to play very well.

But it had the most glorious wide-open, resonant, boomy sound I'd ever heard. Just amazing...for about a month of playing it every day. Then one day I picked it up, strummed a couple of chords and it let out a dying groan. One of the braces came loose inside and I saw it starting to crack the top right next to the bridge.

I took it to a repair shop and he of course told me it was totally collapsed and unrepairable. Said it was a miracle I'd been able to even tuned it up to pitch and play it for a little while. So it was a total piece of crap, true. But what an amazing sound right before it gave up and collapsed for good!

P.S. Regarding the Bugera LOUDNESS thing, I do something wonder if the appeal of this class of throwback cheap tube amps is simply "loudness for the dollar".
 

Lynxtrap

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You know a brand has a bad rep when you're looking at amps in a music store and the guy working there points to an amp and says "Don't buy that piece of crap" 😅

That was about ten years ago though.
 




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