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Post new topic Bugera V5. Anyone played one?
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Author Topic:  Bugera V5. Anyone played one?
Karl Paulsen

Post Posted 25 Oct 2017 11:52 am     Reply with quote

Anyone have any experience with The Bugera V5 Infinium?

I'm looking around for a very small and light amp (ideally tube, but I'm flexible) that would be loud enough for very small gigs, sound good for practice and had built in Reverb. Something for my Lap Steel and possibly also my PSG when I don't want to bring along my Milkman Half and Half. I'm also trying to keep it well under $250. Currently my mini practice/backup is a tiny Dean Markley K15 that sounds better than you might expect considering it only cost me $10, but isn't really adequate.

Long story short, I tried everything within my parameters at GC and a couple of local shops (Some Fenders, Peavey, Orange, Marshal) and this little amp was the best sounding of the batch by far. Nothing fancy, and it didn't have the tone or the reverb adjustability of some of the more expensive Fender's but I was really impressed. The attenuator was quite effective also. I'm a bit skeptical of Bugera due to it's Behringer parentage, but at $200 new, $140 used, there's not much to lose and I'm really giving this some serious consideration.

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Bob Carlucci

Candor, New York, USA
Post Posted 26 Oct 2017 2:26 am     Reply with quote

Bugera has had serious quality issues.. Some people like them and they are cheap, but it has NOT been a brand that is know for reliability at all.. So, $200 amp blows up, and th repair extimate is $250, what do you do???.. If you buy a brand new one, its under warranty for a couple years, and just to be fair, I have read that Bugera has addressed many of the issues that were causing the many catastrophic failure issues they have had. However even if the quality has improved, the brand name is tainted... Behringer made stuff is entry level gear for the most part, its not generally used by pros, as it just doesn't have the quality and ruggedness needed to perform day in and day out.
Its designed to give you good bang for the buck.. Really low price level, but the components and reliability are lacking... I would save up a little longer and get something that you won;t have to replace in a year or 2... bob
I'm over the hill and hittin'rocks on the way down!

no gear list for me.. you don't have the time......
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Jack Stoner

Inverness, Fl
Post Posted 26 Oct 2017 4:34 am     Reply with quote

There was a recent thread on the Cakewalk (Sonar) forum about Behringer. It was agreed that it USED to be not very good and was "throwaway" if it broke, but in recent times both the quality and reliability have greatly improved. Many, including myself, have some Behringer recording gear and its as good as others. Repair is iffy or pricey, but no different than many other brands. I had a Focusrite "Saffire Pro 40" recording interface unit that developed a problem and the quoted repair estimate price (would have been at a minimum) was $400 and I only paid $425 new. I had a Roland device that developed a problem and it was going to cost similar to the Focusrite. Roland and Focusrite are both not considered in the same category as Behringer.

I have a Behringer 8 channel headphone amp, as good as others in both sound quality and reliability. I also have a Behringer X-Touch "control surface". It is on a par with the Mackie and at $500 less. The motorized faders are "dead quiet".
Franklin D-10, Hilton VP, POD X3, MatchBro, SG Black Box, Carvin BX500, EPS-15C, Sonar DAW but migrating to Studio One 3, MOTU 896mk3 Hybrid
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Karl Paulsen

Post Posted 26 Oct 2017 7:57 am     Reply with quote

Thanks for the advice folks.

I've heard roughly the same regarding Behringer/Bugera quality. We used to mock it pretty hard when I worked for GC around 2005, but things have reportedly improved quite a bit in the last 4 years. A $140-200 amp is essentially disposeable if anything other than the tubes, speaker or some other easily replaceable part dies, but I'm prepared for that. Also, I'm not sure if there are any amps in the $150 range that are going to be worth the repairman's bench fee if they have problems I have also had pretty good experience with a Behringer minimixer, also purchased used.

I'll give it some thought before I decide though. The nearest amp that I liked as much or more as the V5 was around $400 IIRC, and that's more than I really want to spend.
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Spring Branch, TX
Post Posted 26 Oct 2017 8:46 am     Reply with quote

Don't have any experience with Bugerea, but worth mentioning:

There was a craze a while back with the Epiphone Valve Jr. amps (class A - 5 watts) - guitar players buying them and tricking them out. Kits are available to upgrade the pcb, electronics, speakers ,... to improve the quality / sound.

Lots of used ones available - cheap - and it's a great way to *learn about tube amps, and wind up with a great bedroom amp in the process.

The Valve Jr. was made in both a combo amp and a head / speaker cab configurations.

* Generic Warning - tube amps contain lethal voltages - plenty of internet info on how to work on them safely.

**edited - I missed reading the part about you're wanting to play out with it - the Ibanez TSA15 might be more in line - switchable 5w or 15w - and a built in Tube Screamer to boot.
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Nic Neufeld

Kansas City, Missouri
Post Posted 26 Oct 2017 11:59 am     Reply with quote

As it happens I am about to pick up one of these (now its the "V5 Infinium", some tube preservation tech marketing gimmick it sounds like) as essentially a bedroom amp. I'm not playing out on steel yet anyway, and it was either this or a similarly priced solid-state/digital modelling practice amp. It has reverb which was a selling point (digital, but I've heard it sounds good) and the low power switch is certainly interesting.

I'm not expecting top of the line quality or tone from it, but if its serviceable, as most reviews tend to claim at least, it'll work for me...I'm going for old Hawaiian styles so small tube amp is probably more appropriate than those big, clean 15" combos that it seems are more common with pedal steelers (I'm pretty ignorant I admit).

I'll let you guys know my opinion once I get a hold of one...
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Howard Steinberg

St. Petersburg, Florida & Concord, New Hampshire, USA
Post Posted 26 Oct 2017 2:28 pm     Reply with quote

I have one of these that I purchased new in 2011. I have used it as a practice amp and with guitar on some jazz trio gigs. It draws attention because it sorta looks like a boutique amp. People that I’ve played with tell me how nice it sounds. I tell them to not listen with their eyes.

The amp breaks up too easily and has little headroom. The usable volume, unless you like grit, is not much. The reverb is a bit funky but at this price who cares. I changed out the speaker for a Jensen ceramic with little improvement. Not for psg but maybe for lap steel. It’s ok as a cheap amp but is not at all versatile. I’d be looking at the 50 watt Katana at this price point.

I’ve never had a bit of trouble with this amp, but it’s use has been limited.
Justice Pro Lite (4-5), Justice D-10 (8-5), Fender Jazzmaster Ultralite Amplifier, Quilter Steelaire, Hilton Pedal, BJ's bar.
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Edward Rhea

Medford Oklahoma, USA
Post Posted 26 Oct 2017 7:32 pm     Reply with quote

Greg Cutshaw has reviewed and demoed just about every amp I’ve ever pondered...check out his webpage, or pm him...he can probably tell ya!?
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Bruce Derr

Lee, New Hampshire, USA
Post Posted 28 Oct 2017 5:48 am     Reply with quote

I avoid Beringer because they have a history of blatantly stealing designs from other companies. They then sell exact copies made in China as cheap competition to the original product.
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Len Amaral

Rehoboth,MA 02769
Post Posted 28 Oct 2017 12:17 pm     Reply with quote

I had a 5 watt Bugera I picked up cheap and ended up giving it to a friend that needed a bedroom amp. One day my friend shows and gives me a Bugera 55 watt head with two 6L6 power tube and three 12ax7 preamp tunes he bought at a pawn shop. I only use it in the studio but the clean channel is in Fender territory.
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David Nugent

Gum Spring, Va.
Post Posted 29 Oct 2017 4:48 am     Reply with quote

Behringer from what I understand does employ designs from other manufacturers but taken from mostly outdated or discontinued models. In the past, the quality issue seemed to be a crap shoot situation; if you purchased a good unit it would perform and last as long as any, find a a lemon however and you could expect it to fail at the most inopportune times..They currently manufacture (AFAIK) an RV3 clone that other than the case being made from plastic, is true to the original at one third the price. I own both (found the Behringer on Craigslist for $20.00) and have performed a side by side comparison, found little or no difference between the two.
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Karl Paulsen

Post Posted 30 Oct 2017 12:06 pm     Reply with quote

Thanks folks,
I just played the Bugera again this weekend and I really liked it. I went back and forth with a Fender (a solid state champion I think) and an Orange, all of which were similarly priced and had built-in Reverb of some sort. The Bugera was mellower and perhaps not quite as crisp, but defintiely sweeter sounding with a better reverb.

If I do decide to get one, I've now got to decide whether to buy new at 200 or save 50-70 bucks and go used.

I appreciate the recommendation. I've seen the Epi's but I'm looking for something with a bit more control and built-in reverb. My brother did have one for a while. It was fun to swap tubes and crank it.

That's great! That's the one I've been trying out. I'll be looking forward to your review.

Very good to know. I'm looking at it mostly for Lap and maybe for low key Pedal. For PSG playing of any importance I'd bring along my Milkman.

That's quite a friend. A buddy of mine gave me a gutless strat copy once...

Thanks for that. I've also wondered about these more affordable pedals, though for this application I'm hoping to have a build-in reverb so all I'd bring along to a jam or hang would be my lap and amp.

Last edited by Karl Paulsen on 1 Nov 2017 7:08 am; edited 1 time in total
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Nic Neufeld

Kansas City, Missouri
Post Posted 1 Nov 2017 5:11 am     Reply with quote

Mine arrives today, will definitely put it through its paces (my "new" Stringmaster hasn't shipped out yet so it'll only be with my cheap Morrell lap steel and various fretted six strings).

An idea I've had in the flaw I could anticipate would be a lack of fullness and body, given the low wattage and small speaker. I have an extremely light travel bass amp, a GenzBenz Shuttle 3.0 combo with a 10" speaker, 175watts Class D. The whole thing weighs 18lbs so its very portable and has a nice clean tone as you'd expect. One thing I might try if I want a little more fullness and depth out of the tone, run the guitar output into the GenzBenz, then the tuner output into the Bugera. Cut some of the lows from the Bugera and some of the highs from the bass amp...then you get the tube tone and reverb on the mids and highs from the Bugera and a nice clean emphasis on the lows from the bass amp. In theory anyway! Might be especially interesting if I tune my third neck to a baritone/bass tuning.
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Nic Neufeld

Kansas City, Missouri
Post Posted 2 Nov 2017 5:07 am     Reply with quote

This is just my initial findings. Haven't really put it through its paces yet. Got it unboxed and plugged in my lap steel (butchered Morrell base model 6-string with a $16 generic Chinese PAF style humbucker...but serviceable). I pushed it to overdrive a couple times but generally stayed clean. The reverb I liked a lot...the range really doesn't get into overly wet cathedral/cavern reverb and that's fine by me, but it didn't sound "digital" or otherwise bad to my less-trained ears. The volume seemed there...for my purposes (not loud country stage gigs nor the Tapa Room at the Hawaiian Village) it is plenty to practice with, and probably more than enough headroom for small gigs...most places with sound like to mic amps anyway, so this would be a decent stage amp with a mic in front of it.

The Tone control is I dialed back the tone it felt like I had to increase volume a bit to compensate. Which makes feels a bit more like high cut than the usual EQ boosting bass or highs on either side. With the tone control up the bass still felt like it was there. I was fumbling around trying to do Blue Hawaii ala Barney Isaacs (thanks to Basil's nice video) and I really liked the warm tone with the tone backed off quite a bit.

As a note in its favor, the wife (whose initial reaction was...oh no, more gear, upon seeing the box) commented from the other room how good it sounded. She's mostly been hearing me plink around acoustically so maybe hiding the defects in my technique with high-cut and a wash of nice reverb is the ticket! Very Happy

It's quite heavy for its size. But still only 20 something pounds, so not bad, I was just surprised. And I haven't really tinkered with pushing the power amp stage and gain (or using the built in attenuator switch) but that's something I'm more likely to do with the fretted 6 strings. I feel like you're going to end up with speaker distortion or other nasty tones if you push it too hard though at 5W. Will be interesting to see what it does at 1 or .1 watt with a P-90 equipped guitar, seems like that would be a nice fit.

If you're a serious player I highly doubt this is going to be your gigging amp but for cheapskate amateurs like myself, it fits a nice niche I think. Could gig with it in a pinch and makes a nice bedroom or studio amp, for not much more than comparable solid state practice amps.
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Karl Paulsen

Post Posted 2 Nov 2017 3:40 pm     Reply with quote

Thanks for that!

It's looking more and more like this will be my next amp.

I agree about the reverb. It's not a spring, but it does sound quite good.
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Steven Pearce

Port Orchard Washington, USA
Post Posted 9 Nov 2017 9:48 am     Try the VHT Special 6 all tube class A Reply with quote

Picked up one of these combos. ALL hand wired on an eyelet board. I was at
GC trying the new Fenders, this one beat em all. New under $250.

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Nic Neufeld

Kansas City, Missouri
Post Posted 9 Nov 2017 5:51 pm     Reply with quote

Looks like a great amp! Uses a 6V6 instead of an EL84, so maybe more "Fendery", at least in theory? Surprising to me how these low wattage amps have just abounded lately, I was a gearhead in the late 90s, early 2000s when 15 watt tube amps were rare and just about the minimum you usually ran into...took a "leave of absence" on the equipment scene and these days there is no shortage of micro tube amps...

The thing that drove me to the Bugera though was the reverb. I've been playing my (new! yet 60 years old!) Stringmaster through the Bugera and it has further cemented my opinion of it as a good practice amp for my requirements.
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