By Eddie Pletka 06/28/11
Bugera first came on to the seen with high power, high gain, channel switching,
feature laden ampsÖ The lower power stuff is what players seem to be
requesting info about the most. The V55 and V22 in particular. It seems like not
a day goes by anymore where we donít get a call or an email in reference to
one of these amps. So it only seemed appropriate to post some info and a little
review after the last V55 paid a visit to our shop.
The Bugera V55 runs a pair of 6L6ís and three 12AX7ís. Itís a two channel amp with shared EQ, a global master volume and non-tube driven reverb. These amps are adjustable bias and they feature a single RCA style test point. Unfortunately this test point is setup to read the negative voltage being applied to the control grids of the 6L6ís, and not the actual current flowing from cathode to plate. This same method is used by several manufactures (Peavey XXX/JSX comes to mind) and is terribly inaccurate. Because of this we recommend using a high quality bias probe and ignoring the test point all together. Bias probes can be found online from $25.00 for individual heads all the way up to several hundred dollars for full featured all in one units.
One of the interesting things we noticed with the V55 is that the plate voltage is present even when in standby. Oddly enough when the amp is in the Triode setting the 6L6ís are actually flowing current just as if the amp was fully in the play mode, even though itís not. I canít imagine what Bugeraís aim was in designing the amp to function in this fashion.
Tonally speaking the amp is on par with others in its price range. The clean channel has plenty of headroom, is very moldable (especially with the bright input) but overall can be a bit sterile. The OD channel has a fair amount of saturation on tap. At extreme settings things get a bit too muddy for intricate chords but still sound cool for lead work and more ďover the topĒ sounds. The reverb although not tube driven, is very useable and actually suits the amp nicely. Dialing even a small amount of reverb in with the clean channel was a must, and really made the reverb a nice asset to the amp as a whole.