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Bugera V5
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Bugera V5

Tube Combo Guitar Amp from Bugera belonging to the Vintage series

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« Top value for the money »

Published on 05/17/15 at 15:59
Value For Money : Excellent
Audience: Anyone
The Bugera V5 tube amp is the best purchase I have ever made and it significantly boosted my motivation to keep on practicing. Before this amplifier I used a solid state practice amp, which is good in its own way, but the V5 brings you to a completely new world of sound and tone quality. I didn’t want to believe all those people who said that choosing a tube amp over a solid state one is a no brainer, but it is true, you simply can’t compare them. If you are currently considering purchasing a solid state practice amp, you should certainly try this one out before making up your mind. The V5 costs only a little more than the standard solid state amp of the same category, but its sound and tone simply surpasses it. I haven’t found a single flaw with this amplifier and I love the sound and features for this kind of entry level investment.

Features

This vintage looking tube amp with its 8 inch speaker has a rather basic design, offering you all the controls you really need to shape your tone. You can get a wide variety of tones fast and easy by adjusting any of the gain, volume and tone knobs. The V5 also comes equipped with a control for reverb that is digital but it sounds extremely good to me and I use it very often. Quality-wise the reverb offered by this amp is much better than on any of the solid state amps I tried.
The Bugera V5 also features an attenuation switch that gives you the possibility of setting your amp’s output power to 0.1, 1 or 5 Watts, making this amp perfect for bedroom practice. It also has a handy headphone jack allowing you to play during the night without disturbing anyone who’s sleeping and making the neighbors call the police. I’ve used this feature on many occasions when desiring to play late at night and it works great, making me very happy for having this option. Another important feature is the fact the V5 gives you the option to connect it to another speaker cabinet, making the amp work as a head. While the speaker isn’t a Celestion or any other well-known quality speaker, you at least have the option of connecting it to one if you so desire. To me the speaker sounds great and for now I have no intention of purchasing a different one.

Sound

It’s important for me to mention that this amp is not for metal unless you are planning to also buy a distortion pedal. The V5 has no effects other than the reverb and it has no high gain settings like you encounter on other practice amps. You have only the lively tube sound which you can naturally overdrive by raising the volume and achieving a great classic rock or pop punk like sound. The amp can be used clean or overdriven without the use of any pedals, so if you are into any kind of hard rock and heavy metal you need to consider the additional costs of distortion pedals and any other effect pedals you might need to shape your sound.

Bugera’s V5 is meant to be used as a practice amplifier mainly, but you can also use it in a practice hall with your band mates, or even at a small gig. 5 Watts may not seem much, but for some reason 5 watts from this amp sound much louder than the 5 watts you get from any solid state amp. I own a Vox DA5 which is a 5W solid state amp and there is a huge difference in volume, despite having the same output power. I can’t explain why this happens, but it makes this little amp even more versatile than it already is. This amp is also great for some home recording by simply putting a microphone pointed at the center of the speaker. The recorded sound is live and clear without causing any background noise or adding any weird hum to the recording.

I mainly play progressive metal and punk rock, therefore I use distortion pedals together with the V5. Its clean sound and reverb are of great quality making it a pleasure to play through the clean parts of a song and then switching to a beefy distorted sound with the pedal is easy and very practical without losing any of the great tube tones. Even without the use of a pedal you still have plenty of options you just can’t really play any dirtier than overdrive. If you want a clean, warm sound simply turn down the gain, raise the volume a bit, add any amount of reverb that is to your liking and adjust the tone knob according to your taste. If you want something slightly heavier, more bluesy or pop-punk-ish, then simply raise the gain and if you are able to play loud, also raise the volume as high as possible. This will set the tube amp into a natural overdriven state, giving you a great variety of sounds and tones. When thinking about a naturally overdriven tube amp without any overdrive pedals, think of bands like Green Day, that don’t complicate themselves and simply use the basic amp. Adjusting your picking hand will also increase the overdrive effect. The beauty of having a tube amp is that it will actually respond to your changes in playing technique. For instance if you want to get most of that overdrive tones, then strum the chords as hard and heavy as you can and if you want to kick it down a notch simply begin strumming lighter. This can be very useful when wanting to switch from a clean sound to an overdriven one without making any modification during the song and without using any pedals.

Another added bonus which I discovered when switching from my solid state practice amp to the V5 is the fact that now I can actually do proper volume swells and even adjust my guitar’s sound during a song simply by lowering or increasing the guitars own volume. With the solid state amp volume swells seemed impossible, because as soon as I went from 0 to 1 the volume just shot up as if I went straight to 10 and there was no sound or tone difference between any of the volume settings. With this amp, I can actually enable my heavy distortion setting and when wanting to play a cleaner riff during the song, I can just roll back the guitar’s volume and it will lose some of its distortion and sound much cleaner and mellow. The possibilities are limitless, especially if you consider in investing in pedals and the quality of sound and tone which comes from a tube amp simply can’t be denied and anyone will appreciate it.

Reliability and durability

The V5 seems solidly constructed to me but I didn’t have many opportunities to knock it around to try out its durability. Been using this amp for nearly a year and there is no wear and tear that I can notice. I only use it for practice and rare, occasional recording and so far everything sounds in proper order. The speaker isn’t crackling or humming and the tubes are still in perfect condition without rattling or causing any strange noises. The build seems solid and you can always change the speaker or tubes later on if you desire any upgrades or you need to replace them for some reason. This amp can easily be upgraded even though its factory setup should not pose any kind of problems. The V5 seems highly reliable so far, never encountered the slightest problem since I bought it and I would confidently use it anywhere without being afraid that it might break down on me. It is however still advisable to have a backup if you are planning to play at a small gig because even the most expensive pieces of equipment can break down for unforeseen reasons and it is better to be safe than sorry.

Overall Impression

The V5 was certainly the best choice for me when I bought it and if I would lose it or completely destroy it, I will certainly buy a new one. The quality can’t be beaten in this price range and even if you are a metalhead looking for an aggressive sound, you can simply buy any distortion pedal and further shape your sound however you like. The clean setup sounds beautiful and lively while also having the ability to dirty it up a bit and play some crunchy riffs. The only thing that it’s lacking when it comes to practicing is an effects loop, but having that feature for this price would be far much to ask already. In my opinion this amp gives you the best value for your investment and I would recommend it to absolutely anyone, no matter the genre he or she enjoys.


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