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> Shall We Discuss Bugera?, and their presumed quality problems
MickeM
post Jan 5 2010, 09:04 PM
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I remember when Bugera (new amp brand from Behringer) showed up in the news as a new amp to be released at killer price.
People had high hopes but short after they were released music dealers started to report quality issues. Bugeras were dropping like flies according to them.

Dealers put a bad quality stamp on Bugera.

Users have reported about some plastic connetor inside that break. A standard error that according what I've read has been corrected in mid 2008 by soldering wired instead of using that plastic connector.

I've not read so many reports from Bugera users who claim quality is bad. Mostly it's people who by hearsay tell others Bugera amps break. I too would warn people about what I've heard. No smoke without a fire, right? Assumin many others do the same we'd end up with a whole lot of people trash talking Bugera based on what they've heard or read somewhere.

Thomann took it out of stock a couple months ago.

Current status is that a lot of people are talking it down, dealer(s) won't carry it and many many see it as lottery getting one.


Before I continue I will take a side track here.
In November I was on the look for a noise gate pedal from Behringer. Not one store in Stockholm had it in stock. All I heard was "too low quality, get this instead" and I was suggested to get one five times more expensive. Two stores refused to order one for me and one claimed the lead time would be 8-12 weeks before I had it.

Why is that? I recalled a cnversation I had with a music store owner some years ago when Behringer pedals were released. He said they didn't want to carry these pedals at all but the head office foreced them. Ofc I wanted to know what was wrong with the pedals, was it quality issues? No, he said, they work just fine; but we don't make any money on them.

A-ha! Cheap pedals, small winnings, bad business concidering you could sell a more expensive pedal and make more money.

Back to Bugera. Cheap amps, small winnings, bad business etc. Surely they'd rather sell a Marshall or a Peavey than a Bugera. Better for business.

Who started bad mouthing this brand? I were following forums back then when Bugera first was released and dealers were reporting their bad quality and others joined spreading the word.
Questions now are
- was there bad quality at the beginning?
- is there still or did quality get better after the first batch?

Either way the bad rep still lives on. What if the bad rep is all faulty, the day people will swear by Bugera's good quality is the day price will double. The latter would be in the interest of the stores talking it down at present, but I think they just don't think that far. Business is now, today. If Bugera is stealing market shares by selling cheap that's their problem, not something dealers want to help them with since it's bad business today.


Intersting to find out what you think of the brand?
My point is as described, maybe there infact was faults with it from the beginning but that passed. The bad reputation lives as long as stores rather earn more from selling a Marshall than the Bugera with lower margins.
I don't know anyone who owns a Bugera so I don't have any information first hand. So I can only belive, I don't know for sure.

So post your thoughts and what you base it on. Hearsay or first hand information.
Any further speculations?
Anyone who knows for a fact? Anyone who owns one? That'd be intersting.


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Staffy
post Jan 5 2010, 09:12 PM
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Not quite on Bugera, but I had several Behringer stuff (mixers, pedals, a tube pre-amp), and that is imo. just bad quality - and it even doesn't sound good...

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ZakkWylde
post Jan 5 2010, 09:23 PM
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I have heard several Behringer products and I didn't like the sound of any of them. Also their stuff doesn't seem to be very reliable, our bassplayer busted his behringer tuner by stepping to hard on it; another band I know had blown their behringer vocals monitors...

Bugera Amps sound very good, they are all copies of famous amps and they come extremely close to the original's sound but the quality is extremely bad! Knobs fall off, knobs cease to function - and all that happened while I was in the store playing it!!!
You also hear that they get retourned very often because of major problems, especially the first production run.


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Marc_Maiden
post Jan 5 2010, 09:28 PM
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I remember reading somewhere (not sure where) that they got better in quality.

I almost bought one but went with blackstar for noise reasons.


in all honesty, it is a good amp if you know how to fix the "small" problems that may come with it. that is true for many other chinese made products.


if know how to spray contact cleaner, or know how to solder a wire, then you should be fine since these are the small problems you hear most about with bugera.

i think for the price it has a great sound but because its chinese and they cut a few corners with it, it suffers in quality.


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MickeM
post Jan 5 2010, 09:49 PM
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QUOTE (ZakkWylde @ Jan 5 2010, 09:23 PM) *
Knobs fall off, knobs cease to function - and all that happened while I was in the store playing it!!!
You also hear that they get retourned very often because of major problems, especially the first production run.

Yes, also heard of knobs falling off but like I said before, if stores don't want to sell this brand in the first place it's a clever idea to put a broken amp in the store for test playing. Who'd buy a Bugera if they fall to pieces already in the store?

QUOTE (Marc_Maiden @ Jan 5 2010, 09:28 PM) *
I almost bought one but went with blackstar for noise reasons.

*snip*

i think for the price it has a great sound but because its chinese and they cut a few corners with it, it suffers in quality.

My Blackstar is made in Korea. Peavey Windsor, one on the cheaper side without the bad rep is made in China.

I understand they are very true to the amp they were carbon copied from, more on sound than looks.


EDIT: My Blackstar HT5 head was replaced since the headphone jack was a mono one instead of stereo. Clearly a production issue where one mono jack fell into the stereo jack bucket. The stereo jack has more connections for both the tip and sleve so mixing them up is difficult incase you know what you're doing. How they managed to solder the mono jack in place in the first place without reacting (man OR machine) is a huge questionmark. But the one I got in return has been working just fine, works great.
Might be a litte hint on what goes down in the asian factories. More action than know how. No surprise the first batch will suffer until they get the quality assureance set.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 5 2010, 11:57 PM
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I don't think that it's the dealers to blame, these amps simply have bad reputation, same as with other Behringer gear. If they don't earn money on Behr stuff, it's because people really don't want to buy them. And regarding the small price-small profit theory, I think it's not true. Stores sell low-priced Marshalls/Peaveys in vast quantities to young players. Every player that wants to get a tube amp knows that he has to invest lot of money into one. So I guess people think that 500e Bugera head is not worth it, it's better to get a smaller tube amp for the same price, like a Fender or Peavey combo. At least that's what I would do (I wouldn't get Peavey tho).
The bottom line is that dealers don't want to invest in 500e heads that will collect dust in the stores. The stores take what they can sell right away, and we all know what people like to buy - an amp that says Marshall or Fender (even tho, these amps of today don't deserve to carry that name).
Another point on Behr gear, I had and still use several devices of Behr: preamps and DI's usually. They work fine, for the price you cannot beat it. Sure there is better gear, but if you need something fast and cheap, you cannot beat Behringer. It only pays out to get really small and cheap stuff from them. Also, not all is good, for example MIC800 is the worst mic preamp I ever heard, it's practically throwing away money. On the other hand, I use Ultra-G DI with cab emulation for silent rehearsals to go straight into mixer, and it works great for that. For 25e you cannot beat it! smile.gif

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MickeM
post Jan 6 2010, 01:15 AM
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QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Jan 5 2010, 11:57 PM) *
I don't think that it's the dealers to blame, these amps simply have bad reputation, same as with other Behringer gear.

A bad reputation has to spring from somewhere. The stuff I read as these amps were released were bad reviews from dealers. Not from users who supposedly returned these amps. Most of the bad mouthing comes from ppl who heard they are bad. Less from the actual users.
Could also spring from that they really are of bad quality.

QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Jan 5 2010, 11:57 PM) *
If they don't earn money on Behr stuff, it's because people really don't want to buy them. And regarding the small price-small profit theory, I think it's not true.

Like I said, the talk about small margin and no profit on Behringer pedals in specific came from a music store owner.
I know for a fact, running a toy store, that what you want in products is high margin. Small priced products are what sell the best and what earns you the money. Most people are looking for small toys and irregulary you sell a 100€ box of Lego but that's not often at all.
I doubt the music stores work any different. Since I now know Behringer pedals have a low margin and Bugera are way too cheap for tube amps I can confident say that the margin on there are very ver low. No music store in the world would like to sell to that margin, they rather sell an expensive tube amp.

QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Jan 5 2010, 11:57 PM) *
Stores sell low-priced Marshalls/Peaveys in vast quantities to young players. Every player that wants to get a tube amp knows that he has to invest lot of money into one. So I guess people think that 500e Bugera head is not worth it, it's better to get a smaller tube amp for the same price, like a Fender or Peavey combo. At least that's what I would do (I wouldn't get Peavey tho).

Yes they do, but for sure the margin on a MG is descent for the seller. No matter the price is low (infact it's not low but it's affordable to the buyer) still there's a margin = money earned.
I'm not so sure tube amp buyers are willing to cough up €1200 for a Marshall JVM when they can get away with €350 for a Bugera 1990 that sounds like a Marshall. It's a lot of money, especially if you're young. Buying a Bugera to save that much money must be tempting to anyone that can't afford an expensive amp or who has his/her mind set on a certain amp and won't settle for less.
You're an experienced musician and I don't think what you'd do applies to the huge mass of consumers of amps. They have other values and less experience and I'm sure price is a heavy factor in deciding upon what to buy.

QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Jan 5 2010, 11:57 PM) *
The bottom line is that dealers don't want to invest in 500e heads that will collect dust in the stores. The stores take what they can sell right away, and we all know what people like to buy - an amp that says Marshall or Fender (even tho, these amps of today don't deserve to carry that name).

Yes! The stores wants to sell right away! But the bottom line really is that dealers don't want to invest in €500 heads they don't earn a high margin from. It's all about the money. If the Bugera has a margin of 5% and a €1500 amp has 30% (a reasonable margin) you'd have to sell 18 Bugeras to cover for one Marshall JVM410. That I think is the main reason dealers don't want these. It's just ridicilous business with the Bugera amps pricing. Not that they would be collecting dust.



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if someone has a buddy in a music store and could ask for the margins on a Marshall MG, JVM and a Bugera that would be interesting to know.
Maybe Bugera left the marging to the stores and are taking the loss the first year(s) though I doubt it.

The guys in my store doesn't carry neither Bugera nor Marshall. They swear by Marshalls crapiness and refuse to stock them laugh.gif


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ZakkWylde
post Jan 6 2010, 01:21 AM
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My store has both Marshall and Bugera and the win margins are good on both of them!

They earn literally nothing on Fender, Ibanez, Jackson and Peavey. They wouldn't even have those brands but the customers demand them!


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MickeM
post Jan 6 2010, 01:26 AM
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QUOTE (ZakkWylde @ Jan 6 2010, 01:21 AM) *
My store has both Marshall and Bugera and the win margins are good on both of them!

Cool, can you ask the one who told you that to hand you the exact figures? cheap MG, JVM and a 100W Bugera for a comparance.
Because if the margin on Bugera infact is ok then there's another issue with them. Closest at hand, quality. And they just don't want to punish their customers with crap.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 6 2010, 02:02 AM
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QUOTE (MickeM @ Jan 6 2010, 01:15 AM) *
A bad reputation has to spring from somewhere. The stuff I read as these amps were released were bad reviews from dealers. Not from users who supposedly returned these amps. Most of the bad mouthing comes from ppl who heard they are bad. Less from the actual users.
Could also spring from that they really are of bad quality.

Like I said, the talk about small margin and no profit on Behringer pedals in specific came from a music store owner.
I know for a fact, running a toy store, that what you want in products is high margin. Small priced products are what sell the best and what earns you the money. Most people are looking for small toys and irregulary you sell a 100€ box of Lego but that's not often at all.
I doubt the music stores work any different. Since I now know Behringer pedals have a low margin and Bugera are way too cheap for tube amps I can confident say that the margin on there are very ver low. No music store in the world would like to sell to that margin, they rather sell an expensive tube amp.

Yes they do, but for sure the margin on a MG is descent for the seller. No matter the price is low (infact it's not low but it's affordable to the buyer) still there's a margin = money earned.
I'm not so sure tube amp buyers are willing to cough up €1200 for a Marshall JVM when they can get away with €350 for a Bugera 1990 that sounds like a Marshall. It's a lot of money, especially if you're young. Buying a Bugera to save that much money must be tempting to anyone that can't afford an expensive amp or who has his/her mind set on a certain amp and won't settle for less.
You're an experienced musician and I don't think what you'd do applies to the huge mass of consumers of amps. They have other values and less experience and I'm sure price is a heavy factor in deciding upon what to buy.

Yes! The stores wants to sell right away! But the bottom line really is that dealers don't want to invest in €500 heads they don't earn a high margin from. It's all about the money. If the Bugera has a margin of 5% and a €1500 amp has 30% (a reasonable margin) you'd have to sell 18 Bugeras to cover for one Marshall JVM410. That I think is the main reason dealers don't want these. It's just ridicilous business with the Bugera amps pricing. Not that they would be collecting dust.

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if someone has a buddy in a music store and could ask for the margins on a Marshall MG, JVM and a Bugera that would be interesting to know.
Maybe Bugera left the marging to the stores and are taking the loss the first year(s) though I doubt it.

The guys in my store doesn't carry neither Bugera nor Marshall. They swear by Marshalls crapiness and refuse to stock them laugh.gif


yeah, I understand what you mean, and the Lego comparison is really not needed for me to understand the problem, in fact it got me confused a bit, because we are talking about bigger priced complex devices here that do not share the same decision making when buying. The bad mouthing about Behringer is not something that is made up, we are ALL aware that their products are bad. Why should a Bugera 120W feature-packed all tube head that costs 350e be any different? Is that the true price of this kind of a head?


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post Jan 6 2010, 09:16 AM
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I have to agree and disagree with some opinions here...
I haven't tried Bugera so I won't comment on that, but I've tried a few Behringer products with different outcomes smile.gif

To say all Behringer products are bad, are nonsense in my opinion.
Yes, they don't last as long because build quality is below par, but you get what you pay for.
They're usually VERY cheap and some of their products sound pretty good smile.gif

We've been using one of their larger format digital mixers for concerts with local youth bands,
and I've been impressed with the quality and versatility of it.
The effects sounds pretty good too!

Their stompboxes I've never liked, poor sound and plastic.
For the price you probably can't complain, but I'd never buy them smile.gif

Their powered loudspeakers I've only heard on a few occasions, but I never thought of it as bad to be honest.

Their most expensive studio monitors also sounded good to my ears,
although I've only heard hem on various occasions in a friends home studio.

Their professional audio products in rack format, like EQs, Compressors, Exciters etc.,
which I've tested have been very different in quality in my opinion.
Some were pretty good, and some were pretty bad.

Of course, this is my opinion and some of you might disagree..
But considering the price they sell this for, you can't really complain smile.gif
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MickeM
post Jan 6 2010, 01:33 PM
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QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Jan 6 2010, 02:02 AM) *
yeah, I understand what you mean, and the Lego comparison is really not needed for me to understand the problem, in fact it got me confused a bit, because we are talking about bigger priced complex devices here that do not share the same decision making when buying. The bad mouthing about Behringer is not something that is made up, we are ALL aware that their products are bad. Why should a Bugera 120W feature-packed all tube head that costs 350e be any different? Is that the true price of this kind of a head?

Ok, I thought the comparision was valid since a consumer isn't richer or poorer when it comes to music gear compared to other areas.
I've heard Behringer is bad. Our band owns a mixer (don't know the brand of the rest of the PA, maybe Behringer also) which hasn't failed us ever, I used to have a EQ pedal from Behringer. Sounded ok but was so plastic I got rid of it. Never broke though. So I have no real own experience from bad quality there, just what others have said.

I don't know if it's the true price of an amp. Depends on if other brands are overprised. I can't answer you on that for sure. In the end, to be able to sell anything it's the stores themselves who has to make a profit if any market what so ever should exist. They have to make certain profit on certain products to survive. If the agent of a brand tells them to sell a product for €350 they don't have much choise.
Sure, they could try and sell it for €1000 but my guess is that won't sell one single amp.

QUOTE (audiopaal @ Jan 6 2010, 09:16 AM) *
you get what you pay for.

Most true. Though in this Bugera case I spun off thinking it's low price during the introduction. Now that must be prolonged until they get a good quality stamp since they are fighting the bad quality reputation and can't really double the price.

Kenwoon did the same thing when they were introduced as a new brand in Sweden. Went with low price for a year until ppl knew the brand and knew the quality was good. They never had to fight a bad quality reputation though and I'm sure they took the loss themselves since deales have zero margin on TV, Hi-Fi etc and make their earnings from insurances and loan interest.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 6 2010, 03:04 PM
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I'm sorry if I was a bit out of line in the previous post, I don't really think all Behr products are bad giving in respect price/performance ratios (couple of posts before I stated this as well), in fact I agree with everybody on all things about individual devices. Behr products are indeed great for the price, but I still believe they are bad, since such a small price has to bring low quality in one way or another. Usually it's either the tone of reliability issues, or both in some degree. But as Paal said - who can complain? smile.gif

Now regarding Bugera, since I don't have any first hand experience, I tried to find circuit pics on the web of Bugera amps, and this is what I could find, so we can perhaps draw some conclusions based on this pic everybody. I don't want to jump into conclusions, since I haven't actually worked with the head, but I can spot here some construction solutions that are generally not reliable. This doesn't mean that automatically whole amp is unreliable, could be working just great, but lets hear some opinions. Micke I consider you a guy who knows his amps, what do you think about it?




This post has been edited by Ivan Milenkovic: Jan 6 2010, 03:05 PM


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Jan 6 2010, 03:20 PM
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Behringer tends to be slated a lot on a number of forums, and as you said Micke it is often based on hearsay rather than actual personal experience.

To give one example - on one pro live PA forum someone said that they were considering buying a Behringer ADA mic preamp as it has remote. Cue about 300 posts (not an exaggeration) from various people all saying that Behringer are rubbish. All these were based on hearsay when anyone said that they hd a Behringer ADA pre they got flamed. As the thread progressed (last I saw it was over 20 pages) the OP asked for alternate suggestions to the Behringer - all the recommendations were for pro preamps that cost well over 1000USD, and in some cases cost 5000-10000USD. At this point someone suggested that a lot of the anti-Behringer feeling was based on a denial that a 200USD pre could be better value-for-money as a 10000USD one.

Part of being a pro-audio engineer is that you use expensive pro equipment rather than consumer grade, cheaper stuff. Part of being a pro Mastering Engineer is the same - we use expensive monitors etc. The cost of the equipment acts in several different ways: it marks you as 'professional'; it stops anyone from having access to it because of the cost; it stops you switching to other stuff because you invest a lot of money in it. (If you want this in Business/Management speak it's part of Michael Porter's 5 Force Model - cost of entry, cost of substitution, cost of retreat.)

Part of what you pay for when you hire a pro-engineer (or pro-ME) is that they use expensive equipment (lets ignore issues of experience etc). You essentially rent their Midas/SSL4000/SADiE/Whatever for an hourly rate. For 25+ Euros an hour you get me plus all my kit. Would you pay 25+ Euros an hour to a guy who does all their mastering in Isotope/T-Racks/Whatever (maybe not a good example as this happens a lot)?

In reverse how would I justify 25+ Euros an hour if I was using a 200USD plug-in to master - anyone wanting to master an album could buy the plug-in for less than they would pay me. Similarly how can you justify renting out a Behringer preamp for live work? It's easy to just renting out a Midas for a few hundred a gig... (If you apply the same breakeven rate to a Behringer as to the Midas then you'd be renting out the Behringer for maybe 5USD for an evening. I doubt any would take you seriously if you offered anything at that rate.)

Someone also made the point that if a Behringer pre went wrong you junk it and replace with a new one - cost 200USD. If a Lavry Gold (10000 USD) goes wrong you have it repaired - cost very often much more than 200USD.

WRT to Bugera - and this includes myself - most guitar players have GAS and aspire to owning, or own, a Mesa/Dumble/VHT etc. It perhaps doesn't sit well with that if a Bugera offers better value for money... Just my 2cents smile.gif .


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MickeM
post Jan 6 2010, 03:53 PM
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QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Jan 6 2010, 03:04 PM) *
what do you think about it?

I'm no expert on amp's inside except for my share of electric spraying that I've done wink.gif Not more educated stuff than that. But I can see it's nothing like the ones I've opened up where the closest in size to a 100W Bugera is the JCM800 I used to have, which looked fine inside.

The Bugera looks very untidy. The quick connectors I think we'd find in any amp that's not ptp.


Btw, I've contacted three of Germany's large music stores. Two have replied that Bugera for a fact breaks a lot. The third hasn't answered yet. Still, doesn't proove anything unless we know the other ingredient. The margin.


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Daniel Realpe
post Jan 6 2010, 05:04 PM
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QUOTE (ZakkWylde @ Jan 5 2010, 09:23 PM) *
but the quality is extremely bad! Knobs fall off, knobs cease to function - and all that happened while I was in the store playing it!!!


wow, that's pretty bad,


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 6 2010, 06:28 PM
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I have no more information about the topic, but you got me interested in the Bugera margin issue Micke. I'm going into music store tomorrow where they hold Behringer in general, and will try to find out some more info about the Bugera sales and quality from the staff. If there's time, I'll try to test one head too, this way I could make some comparison, not that precise, but I will have some point of reference. I'll post my observations tomorrow.


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MickeM
post Jan 6 2010, 06:35 PM
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QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Jan 6 2010, 06:28 PM) *
I have no more information about the topic, but you got me interested in the Bugera margin issue Micke. I'm going into music store tomorrow where they hold Behringer in general, and will try to find out some more info about the Bugera sales and quality from the staff. If there's time, I'll try to test one head too, this way I could make some comparison, not that precise, but I will have some point of reference. I'll post my observations tomorrow.

Great initiative! A couple "Marshalls" are Bugera 1990 vs JCM 900 or Bugera 1960 vs Marshall 1959
Let's hope you find the time to get some further information from them wink.gif


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 7 2010, 01:05 PM
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Small update: I will go tomorrow into store, because today is big religious day here, so nothing is working (and I was really hoping to go sad.gif )


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 8 2010, 05:34 PM
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I've been to the store today, and they had only Bugera 333 head left in the store. During the holidays, they sold the other two that were laying there, and the guy that works there told me he didn't receieve any complaints about them (it didn't past too long time from the purchase tho).
here's the head:



Unfortunately, suspicion came true, you really get what you pay for. The head is pumping out strong volume, but the sound is adequate to the pricing I must say. Clean channel is the best of the 3, and it has a nice warm quality to it, but this is generally scooped head, so I'm not sure how it will sound in live situations, my guess is that it will sound thin.
As for crunch and lead channels, they are not good. Buzzy, boomy and scooped in general. EQ is reacting very well, it can alter the tone quite a bit, but I found most of it's settings not usable. It has plenty of drive and plenty of volume (120W!?), and I cranked it as much as I could to get the sound to open, but it was not possible, it just remained muddy, and colored the guitar tone a lot. I used Strat 62 reissue guitar (awesome axe btw), to play this amp. Reverb was not good for me too, hollow and without any character at all. All in all, the head doesn't deliver a pleasant sound, it is built for metal, but it doesn't deliver pleasant sounds for that as well. They lack character, and precision.
No in terms of reliability, I'm not sure, but the head doesn't feel nowhere like it is on the picture above. The knobs are very cheap and light plastic, and the whole head built doesn't look sturdy at all, lots of plastic and cheapness. So the price is very adequate to what it gives. There is ofc some price cutting because of the negative image of the brand, but now when I tested this head, I think it's justified. Perhaps Behr in the future will become a brand like Peavey is now, but until then, they have to do a bit more quality products. Again, for the price, Behr rules, so this is the main reason why anyone would buy it, but I would suggest (and the guy I spoke with) is to buy a smaller wattage tube amp for the same price, like Night Train, or anything else. It's a lot different, but at least it's decent, and it can be cranked. Live use requires a sturdy head, and you have to pay for sturdiness too.

This post has been edited by Ivan Milenkovic: Jan 8 2010, 05:42 PM


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