Bugera Mini Review

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Bugera Amps.

A quick review by Sensible Jones.

Well, let's start at the beginning...
Although I got to play with quite a lot of things yesterday I didn't get a massive amount of time with it all as the Shop was really busy for some reason and I ended up helping my friend and his Staff selling stuff etc. I did get enough time to form an opinion of each Amp, so in order of play were:-

The 333.

This one comes equipped with 4 12AX7 valves in the pre-amp and 4 6L6 valves in the Power Amp side.

Using a PRS Custom 24 the 'cleans' in this Amp are really pleasing with a lot of scope for tonal variety. You can get jangly (almost 12 string sounding) bright tones through to some fairly dark Bluesy style cleans, with a Strat and a Compressor you could get that Texan style very easily. Going into the 'crunch' channel, it also delivers great tones from slightly dirty through to quite heavily driven sounds. However once the gain gets past about 6 it starts sounding a bit 'thin' and not as 'full bodied' as you'd expect with an Amp of this nature. Next there's the 'Lead' channel which is basically the same as the Crunch but with a heavier Gain. Although this Channel is full of gain it didn't deliver the soaring sort of lead tone you'd want to be able to use in conjunction with the PRS. It's almost impossible for an amp to make one of these PRS's sound muddled and woolly but this amp managed it!!
I tried it with an EMG loaded Explorer and it was a very similar story. Anything heavier than Metallica and it's just not 'fat' enough.

Image:Bugera 333.jpg

The 333XL.

Same valve set-up as the 333. The XL bit means that you get an in-built Presence control as well as a Noise Gate.

Using the PRS again. Well, sound-wise it performed in a very similar way to the 333. Great cleans which stay clear even when you begin to dirty it up a little, but as with the 333 when you start getting into heavily dirty tones it doesn't deliver in the way that you'd expect. Tried it again with the Explorer and the same story applies.

Image:Bugera 333XL.jpg

Would I buy either?

To be perfectly honest I don't think I would BUT I would like to hear them loaded with EL34's instead of the 6L6's. Personally I think the High Gain settings would really sound a lot better for this conversion.

My friend has these priced at £352 (E394) for the 333 and £420 (E470) for the 333XL.

Now to the Heads!

Same Guitars etc! Both played through the 'Voice matched' 412H-BK 4x12 Cab.

The 6260.

This has 5 12AX7 valves in the Pre-amp and 4 6L6's in the Power-amp.
Yet again, great clean tones. It's very similar sounding to the smaller 333's and behaves in a very similar way too. In all respects! Unfortunately, when you start pushing it too far in the Gain stakes it just doesn't deliver what you'd expect. The main difference between this and the Combos is that by using the 4x12 Cab it does make the whole amp sound more 'airy' or 'light' which benefits any clean settings.
Just using a DD3 and a Chorus pedal with the clean channel had me smiling! Seriously! You could do impressions of the Edge for days with this thing!! It really does justice to the PRS. It has slightly different switching options to the 6262.

Image:Bugera 6260.jpg

The 6262.

Has 6 12AX7 and 4 6L6's.
Exactly the same as the 6260 except that it has separate Reverb and Presence controls for the Lead and Crunch channels.
Soundwise it delivers exactly the same way as the 6260 and only differs in that you have these extra controls for sound shaping.
Really nice cleans/crunch but just doesn't have the Cajones when in High Gain mode.

It's a real shame! As with the Combos I would like to play these loaded with EL34's as I really believe that it would give the High Gain end a bit of a boost and fatten it up! But maybe not enough?

Image:Bugera 6262.jpg

Price for these is £320 (E358) for the 6260 and £382 (E428) for the 6262 add on the 412H-BK at £198 (E222) and you can see that you are going to be around the £600 bracket. Personally I think I'd save a bit extra and go for something else or use that £600 for a high quality 2x12 Combo.

Now the Build Quality.

(I'll just comment on all 4 overall.)
In my mind they all feel 'light' and not as robust as you'd think by looking at them. The front facia panels look and feel thin and 'plasticy', there's no weight to the knobs and I could see over adjustment becoming an issue (especially in a live situation), you just need to touch up the treble a little and suddenly it's over the top. All in all not great, BUT very reasonable for the price.
The 4x12 cab was very nicely put together and looked and felt like it could take a few years of Gigging before falling apart!
Also the Footswitch seemed sturdy enough to be trodden on a few times too!!

So, my overall impression of these is this:-

They seem to be a bit confused as to what they want to be! They try to be a High Gain Metal Monster and fall very, very short!
If, on the other hand, you want an Amp for 'Brit Pop', 60's and 70's style Rock (Think Vox, Orange) then you could do worse, seriously! For that kind of clean playing these would be ideal with enough bite for some lead and enough grunt for some Classic Rock too.

--Sensible Jones 21:08, 12 February 2010 (CET)