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Why Does Bugera Amplifiers Copy Other Guitar Amps?

January 6, 2013 by  



Bugera TRIREC - Boutique Style Amplifier Head
Generally speaking, the guitar market is similar to every other market, in that it functions and relies on the basic principle of “You get what you pay for.”

However, the days of this age old, but sound principle might be numbered.

Specifically, I’m talking about the Bugera TRIREC, their take on the Mesa Triple Recto. At least that’s what many are saying.

Now, I know what you’re thinking; “Oh God, not another mindless article about Tube vs. Solid State.

No, my thoughts on this issue won’t be more drivel on wattage, and valves, but will focus more on tapping in to what’s really important: The Players. What they think of this, their thoughts, their ideas, likes and dislikes, etc..

“DEAR GOD.”

“Words cannot explain how excited I am right now… seriously.”

“I’ve been in love with Bugera’s for a while, and I have a single rec. I might have to get this bad boy…”

These are the words of a clearly excited player, and I can see why. Bugera, while having copied other amps before, still bear the reputation of a company that exists to serve its players. In short, they are not your run of the mill, crank-it-out-and-make-a-profit organization. Going even further than that though, here is one pro I can see already—If this amp lives up to their earlier creations, it could break serious ground for the average gearhead. Quite often, I see gear go as high as $5000 dollars, when really, its chief aim is to make money; nothing more.

One thing some don’t take into account is that not everyone has a lot of money to throw around on gear. I never did, and few people in my musical circles didn’t either. That’s not to say everything should be dirt cheap and the manufacturers should be doling out charity gear, but still, should one amp equate the cost of a used car, or more? I’ll leave this one up to you guys, I’m sure it’s a question that will ring for years to come.

There is a flip-side to this coin though; not everyone is a fan of Bugera, and certainly not a fan of the uncanny resemblance to the Mesa Series.

“You pay for quality parts and quality workmanship. If you don’t want to pay the premium for a new product, then buy it used. Save up your pennies and pay up for the quality stuff or continue to enjoy the world being overrun with Made in China pieces of shit.”

Well, as far as tone, this amp should be no different than anything else. Bugera is a solid company, who has a good reputation, both on quality, and price. So what this boils down to is this: Is it right to make a not-so-subtle version of the Mesa Triple Recto? Or is it fair game? And secondly, is this going to be a quality piece of gear – a force to be reckoned with? Or will it falter?

Personally, I have only played a handful of Bugera amps, and this isn’t one of them. Which is where you all come in, my gear minions!  Myself as well as the others here at Gear-Vault want to hear your voices! What do you think? Have you played one? What are they like?

Bugera TRIREC

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7 Responses to “Why Does Bugera Amplifiers Copy Other Guitar Amps?”
  1. Jon says:

    I read that Peavey are currently suing Bugera and Mesa definitely have possible grounds to as well so it will be interesting to see how that pans out

  2. George VanderLaan says:

    It sure will be interesting to say the least. I wonder how it will work out though, seeing as no one has ever successfully tried bugera before…..

  3. Jon says:

    Well they are apparently suing them over technology patents that they copied rather than the name or design apparently so who knows?

  4. George VanderLaan says:

    Well either way, this will turn out to be an interesting ordeal. I also think they are more likely to get a judgement in their favor if they go after hard patents rather than name similarities or design looks..

  5. Jon says:

    absolutely it’s one thing to rip off the design and name but to breach patents is asking for trouble!

  6. TT says:

    Taking another companies patented designs and reverse engineering or copying them to be used and sold in a similar product should not be tolerated, and the patent holder has ever right to pursue legally.
    That’s the whole reason for patents and patent protection.

    I’m not sure how long patents are good for. I’m sure we’ll see if Peavey succeeds.
    I wonder though if Peavey will also go after Fender and EVH, because basically the 5150 III is the former Peavey 5150, which is not named 6505+.
    Fender may have tweaked a couple of things, but from others say and hear the 5150 III is pretty much a modded Peavey 5150.

    As for the Bugera Trirec, I have one. I got it about 2 weeks ago.
    I never played it before ordering one. I had played the Bugera V55 and 6262. The V55 is a great amp for any price, and is amazing at it’s price point. If you want an old school tube amp the V22 and V55 deliver nicely.
    The 6262 is also a great amp better suited for high gain, and it sounds and play VERY much like a 6505+.

    The one technology that Bugera has invented is their “Infinium” system, which is pretty darn awesome. It allows the use of any power tube that will fit the socket to be used in the amp, and you can mix and match tubes at will and the circuit will AUTO bias each tube independently and continue to monitor the bias adjusting it for it’s life.
    I’ve been swapping a few power tubes in my Trirec and Infinium works awesomely. You don’t have to buy “matched” pairs of power tubes anymore.
    And, you can mix 6L6 with an EL34 and throw in a KT66 and KT88, one of each if you want. That gives the player tone options can possible in other amps.

    The Trirec has 3 channels. But, all is not perfect. I don’t know how a Mesa triple rectifier works or sounds, so I can’t compare the Trirec to the Mesa. What I do know is that the Trirec still needs some work to smooth out some issues.

    Tone. There is plenty of good tones to be found in the Trirec. The clean channel is nice and has “clean” and “drive” voicing and gain options.
    The eq, however, is not sensitive in the broad sense. There is the standard treble, mid, and bass, and presense, but the sweep and adjustment of the eq is limited. You can go full cut or full boost on any eq and there is change but not like the big tonal changes you get in say a Fender tube amp.

    The “Presence” control is much more active almost to a fault. There is more tonal change using the presence control than any of the other eq settings. I don’t like that. I want my eq to change and let me set it and presence should then be used for…well…presence, or a boost in the upper frequencies to help cut on stage or in the mix.
    The way the presence works on the Trirec has the same effect on each of it’s 3 channels, and each channel has it’s own presence setting.
    That’s a big offering actually in it’s price point.

    Channel 2 and 3 are the higher gain channels. Each of those channels offers 3 voicings each, “classic”, “vintage”, and “modern”.
    Pretty cool. However, ch 2 and 3 are nearly identical in tonal flavor.
    So you’re not really getting 3 unique sounding channels.
    You’re getting 2 unique channels and then a 3rd channel that can be voiced differently. Yes, some will say that’s at least 3 channels if not more.
    My point being, since the high gain channel already has 3 voicings then one can dial one tone on say “vintage” and then another tone on “modern” all within that one channel.
    What the 3rd channel gives is great for a gigging musician in that the player who wants 2 different high gain tones can set ch 2 for a “vintage” tone along with it’s own eq settings, gain, and presence and then set up ch 3 for a different voicing like “modern” and then dial it eq, gain, and presence. Then simply switch between the all 3 channels at will with the quite excellent foot switch.

    What’s the problem with that? Nothing really, except channel switching is LOUD. There is a very audible “click” when switching between channels.
    This is a known issue and I’ve experienced on both Trirec amps that I had in my possession.

    The other problem is the volume of the voicings within each channel.
    If you’re on ch 2 in say “vintage” mode and you switch up to “modern” the volume increase is huge. It sounds at least twice as loud, which is typically a 10db increase. Not a big deal as you have 2 same/similar high gain channels to set each to. But it’s still something that bothers me as it’s very odd. Bugera says that the different voicing also have different gain so that “vintage” has more gain than “classic” and “modern” has the highest gain of the 3. From what I can hear and feel there isn’t “more” gain on “modern” vs “vintage”. It’s just that “modern” is a very loud pushed high mid tonal gain, but the actual signal/tube gain is the same.
    All in all both high gain channels will give you lots of tonal options and gain options. You do get a lot for the money in that regard.

    One of the very cool features of this amp is the “varipower”. It’s like a power soak of old. This control allows you to set the power output from about 1 watt to full on at 100 watts. This allows you to set the power to a lower level so that as you increase the “master” volume, overall volume goes up slightly but power tube break up/distortion is achieved at much lower volume levels.
    You can experiment with this control to get some really cool options.
    If you set the varipower low, then you can get the clean channel to give you power tube break up at lower volume levels, but you lose the really clean clean tone. To get the very clean tone back just increase the varipower back up to maximum and play that funky music.

    One method I like with this amp is to set varipower to nearly minimum.
    Set the high gain channel gain to maximum. Set channel volume to minimum.
    Then set the “master” to it’s max. Now use the channel volume to adjust you’re overall volume level.
    GREAT power tube distortion along with the high distortion given by the pre amp tubes.

    There is also a “boost” feature that you can activate with the foot switch.
    It’s not bad and it works. But, it’s not like an actual boost pedal.
    If you set the amps boost feature too high there is an odd nasally quality and it seems as if gain drops or gets very compressed.
    It works best at moderate settings below the 12 o’clock position. So for an added boost for solo’s it works nicely.

    The final awesome feature of this amp is the triple rectifier options giving the amp it’s name “TRI REC -tifier”.
    There are 2 huge rectifier tubes and one silicon solid state rectifier in this amp. You can select 3 options for rectification, solid state only, tube only, and a mix of both.
    Solid state gives the tightest feel and is great if you want chug chug clarity and damping. Tube gives that great “sag” that sounds great for bluesy solo note blooming while giving it a looser feel and tone great for crunchy hard rock.
    I find I really like the mixed setting as it gives benefits of both types.

    My least favorite feature, and one Bugera needs to work on, the reverb.
    It’s not so great. It’s digital but that’s not a problem. I’ve also got an Egnater Vengeance head that also has digital reverb and it’s one of the best verb’s I’ve heard on an amp. The Trirec’s reverb is lackluster, literally. It sounds dry. Decay is too short and there is no sparkle or lushness to be had. Plus to really hear it you have to really crank it up past the 1-2 o’clock position.
    Bugera needs to rework the reverb.
    I contacted Bugera about this. In the manual it states the reverb decay can be accessed via the midi port and it offers like 7 levels of decay.
    GREAT, maybe I can get a better reverb. Well, Bugera responded that they weren’t aware of how the reverb can be altered, only that it can be reset.
    Hmmm….reset from what? If it can’t be altered, then what is there to “reset”? I think that not everyone at Bugera have all the info on the all the ins and outs of this amp.

    For the price, and even a higher price, this is one really cool amp.
    It “feels” fantastic and that is my favorite feature about this amp.
    When playing the notes come easily and freely due to the camps awesome level of sensitivity and articulation. It makes my fret boards feel like they are lubricated ice rinks and my fingers just glide on solo work.
    I wish more amps felt like this one.

    Why am I thinking of returning this amp?
    The gain mostly. There is a lot of gain on this amp, but honestly it needs more tight gain for those who want to play Metal or like me very high gain blues and hard rock, think Santana. High gain gives a liquid feel and tone for solo work. It’s not just for Drop B tuning. :)
    You don’t have Peavey 6505+ or EVH 5150 III type of gain on this amp.
    It does a great job at pre 90’s gain along with it’s pushed mids.
    I like my mids pushed but not so much as the “modern” setting.
    There needs to be more “growl” along with a bit more gain for me.
    “Modern” is an odd name imo. It doesn’t sound like current modern high gain. It sounds more like “modern” in say 1987.

    Great amp to give a test run. If you don’t like it get something else.
    But it’s an amp that deserves attention and consideration, and it will appeal to a lot of folks who want high technology and great versatility for a quite low cost outlay.

    TT

  7. Chaz says:

    Hi TT,

    Great insight on Bugera. Mesa Boogie Rectifiers can be a bit tricky to dial in. You can easily get a bad sound out of them, but once you find that ‘sweet spot’, it’s the best! Do you think that might be the case with Bugera?

    Peavey has the 5150, but I think Eddie owns EVH, so I imagine he had the right to transfer it over to Fender. That’s my guess anyhow.

    Oh by the way, do you have any videos of your Bugera? I’ve heard some that sounded really good, others that sounded bad. What are you thinking about getting if you return the Bugera?

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