After seeing much discussions and debate on Guitar & Amplifier Forums across the interwebs about this topic, I thought it might be interesting to draw up a comparison article with audio samples so we can hear, with our own ears, the similarities Bugera has with other — legendary — guitar amplifiers including Mesa Boogie, Peavey, and Marshall… among others.
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.” But at Bugera’s price point, and based on the quality of soud you get out of their amplifiers, that might not be true anymore… or is it?
In this section, we’re talking about the Bugera TRIREC, their take on the Mesa Triple Recto. At least that’s what many are saying.
Bugera TRIREC Infinium vs Mesa Dual Rectifier
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 into what’s important: The Players. What they think of this, their thoughts, their ideas, likes and dislikes, etc..
“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 an excited player, and I can see why. Bugera, while having copied other amps before, still bears 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 $5,000 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, which 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?
Bugera TRIREC Infinium vs. Mesa Dual Rectifier Audio Comparison
Peavey 6505+ vs Bugera 6262 Infinium – Copied or Cloned?
First up in this Peavey 6505+ vs Bugera 6262 Infinium shootout is the Peavey 6505+ (aka Peavey 5150) – Peavey 6505+ 120W Guitar Amp Head is great for hardcore or metal players. SIX – 12AX7s in the preamp add up to even more terrifying punch and mind-rattling gain. Includes foot-switchable lead/rhythm channel select, effects loop, 3-band EQ, plus resonance and presence controls on each channel. The rhythm channel includes pre/post gain controls and bright/crunch switches. The lead channel includes pre/post gain controls only. Preamp output. Footswitch included. 4, 8, or 16 ohms.
The 6505 Series guitar amplifiers are named in celebration of Peavey’s first 40 years, (1965-2005.) While known as the 5150 Series, these amps became the undisputed go-to guitar amps for scores of rock, hardcore, and metal bands because of their raw tone, relentless power, and road-proven reliability. And best of all, Made in the USA.
This Peavey 6505+ demo is played using a 2×12 Marshall 1936V guitar speaker cabinet and a Jackson guitar.
NOTE: The first video is a demo of the Peavey 6505+, then scroll down to hear the audio demo of the Bugera 6262 Infinium. Go ahead and A/B the videos for audio samples.
Peavey 6505+ Video / Audio Comparison
Next up is the Bugera 6262 tube amplifier – The BUGERA 6262 Infinium amp head is the guru of tone, designed for ultimate versatility for those who want every type of amp sound at their fingertips. From rock to country, metal to alternative, this one performs them all with raw massive power and roadworthy reliability, and virtually unlimited dynamics in a two-channel configuration. The 6262’s brutal power comes from 4 hand-selected and matched BUGERA 6L6 power valves. Six BUGERA 12AX7 valves in the preamp add up for terrifying punch and mind-rattling gain. Plus you’ll love the detail in the fine reverb tails individually controllable on each channel.
Each channel features a vintage designed EQ section with Bass, Mid and Treble. Both channels offer Classic Presence control, plus additional controls to expand upon the 6260 platform for further adjustments to your monstrous tone. BUGERA added Impedance switching to match virtually any speaker cabinet, from 4, 8 to 16 Ohms. The amp comes with a four-way, heavy-duty metal footswitch for channel and effects loop selection to tap your favorite effects.
This boutique-style valve head is constructed using precision manufacturing, blended with artisan hand assembly, so you can be confident it will stand the test of time. The next time you wield your axe, feel the Soul of Valves with the BUGERA 6262. Bugera 6262 Infinium is MADE IN CHINA. Check for price
The Bugera 6262 Infinium demo is played using an ENGL 2×12 cabinet loaded with Celestion Vintage 30 and a fully stock Epiphone Les Paul Classic equipped with the original Epi pickups.
Bugera 6262 Infinium Video / Audio Comparison
performed by Thomas Sladek
Originally Published on Aug 4, 2010
Bugera 1990 Infinium vs. Marshall JCM900
Anyone looking for that classic stage sound, but doesn’t have the classic stage budget, would do well to check out the Bugera 1990 Infinium amplifier. The 1990, built in the Behringer factory for the Italian manufacturer Bugera, comes so close to the sound of the Marshall JCM900 as to make critics split hairs when debating the two.
When presented with TheToneKings side-by-side audio/video comparison (see below), the online reactions ran the gamut of Marshall homer-isms. The 900 is cleaner, they say. A little tighter. Has thicker bass. Better distortion. Transcendent reverb. All of this can apparently be determined by listening to a set of tiny little computer speakers, played from a YouTube video, its properties broken apart and reproduced out of binary code as if sent through the USS Enterprise’s transporter room (or like poor Jeff Goldblum in The Fly).
Some opined that the Bugera is more apt to have problems if it gets moved from place to place (one can only surmise that much depends on how one throws one’s amp around). One deep thinker suggested that the Marshall has superior tubes – akin to asserting that a Mercedes is preferable to a BMW because it has better tires.
Such complaints may well be valid if one is playing CDs through the head and speakers, but that’s not the case. That which goes into an amplifier is a musical instrument. It’s called a guitar. It’s made out of wood, metal, and magnets (with some little bits of plastic, bone, and Mother of Pearl here and there). When Marshall-loving elitists sniff at the Bugera 1990 Infinium, they’re missing a huge point, which the makers of the Bugera most assuredly did not.
In comparing the two amps, what stands out is that the Bugera is conveying the sound of the guitar itself. You can “hear” the wood, that natural plaything that only exists because someone, somewhere, some time ago, planted a seed. The 900 may have higher-end electronics. It has more tweet. Its distortion and reverb are cleaner. Those “advantages” exist. They do.
The Bugera 1990 Infinium, however, lets the player (and the audience) hear the instrument. It doesn’t cover up any shortcomings with the kind of squealing rage that only Marshall amps and pigs that have been doused with gasoline and set afire can attain. When you listen to the Marshall JCM900, you are hearing the Marshall JCM900. When you listen to the Bugera, you’re hearing your guitar. Having played through a Marshall for several years, I can tell you that some of the cheapest, crappiest axes ever built still sounded perfectly fantastic through that blaster – not sure if that’s a good thing or not – and “good guitars” all but played themselves through it.
The debate boils down to the same argument that can be frequently heard going on among football fans. Who was better, Walter Payton or Barry Sanders? People will always say Payton because he was there first. Because he had a Super Bowl ring. Because he was Sweetness. Anything that stood in cleats after Number Thirty-Four couldn’t possibly have been better or even as good (no matter how many yards-per-carry he averaged). But the generation before will bark over their shoulders that Payton was no Jim Brown, you hear? And Brown was no Bronko Nagurski…
Any demonstration would have more impact if the demonstrator had installed the same tubes in each amp – which he may well have done but it wasn’t mentioned – or if he had played a few different guitars through the dueling heads. Lord knows there’s a world of difference between a Les Paul with 490-series alnico pickups, an SG with P90s, a Strat with Tex-Mex singles, or a classic-build Telecaster – never mind every Gretsch, Jackson, Rickenbacker, Ibanez, PRS et cetera that roams the Earth in the clutches of talented hands.
The Marshall is better because it’s a Marshall – that’s the essence of the argument – and what else would a Marshall owner say, having shelled out twice as much for an amp head that does much the same thing as the Bugera? That it’s brighter? Come on. Most people who dabble in such high-end, high-volume equipment are half-deaf by the time they get into heads and cabs anyway.
Here’s what is likely: A non-gearhead could walk into any music store and run any guitar through both amps and tell you that he or she heard very little difference between the two. Is it loud? Is it really loud? Does it come with a footswitch? Do the little lights come on? Does it have all the knobs? All right, then.
Snobs may shell out the prerequisite $900 for a JCM 900 and can tell us about the niggling differences all the way home from the bank. Buyers who appreciate value will be happy to pay half of that for the nearly-identical Bugera. The Marshall owner will always be able to hold his brand name over the other guy’s head – and they’ll both rock.
That’s the thing that matters the most; the end of the story. Unless you want to stack ’em both up next to a Mesa Boogie… See what I mean? Amps are like schoolyard bullies and Old West gunfighters. No matter how tough they are, they’re always bound to run into someone more dangerous. There’s no shame in cranking out your sound through the Bugera 1990 Infinium. If anyone tries to tell you otherwise, just look that person dead in the eye and say, “What? I can’t bloody hear you!”
Marshall JCM 900 vs. Bugera 1990 Audio Comparison
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-Vault brother and sisters! I, 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?
List of Amplifiers Bugera Cloned
- Bugera 1960 Infinium – is pretty dead-on for a Marshall 1959 Plexi, change the power tubes out for Mullard el34s to make it pretty much perfect. More on that here.
- Bugera 1990 Infinium – As you heard in this article, another perfect clone of a Marshall JCM 900 dual-channel with reverb, again uses authentic valves to make it a pretty much perfect clone.
- Bugera 6260/6262 Infinium – I posted the audio samples of the 6260 in this article, but it is a clone of a peavy 5150/6505. And as you heard above, the Bugera 6262 Infinium is a perfect clone of the 6505+ — my ears the 6260 is more authentic of a recreation of the 5150 when it was still produced by the Peavey company.
- Bugera 333XL Infinium – Probably my favorite one, it’s pretty close to the JSX with some Mesa Dual Rectifier vibes especially upgraded with some Sovtek 6L6s.
- Bugera V22 – The V22 is cross between Fender and Vox tones. They do like to be run hot on the bias which also made the gain channel quite useable. Set clean and gain master volumes at 7-8 and adjust channel gain to taste. After much experimentation, we had to accept that the original OEM Bugera speaker is what sounded best with this amp. Yes, amazing, but true. Now Bugera uses a speaker made or at least designed by Turbosound and uses the Infinium circuit.
- Bugera BVV-3000 – Wouldn’t you know it, a nearly perfect recreation of the classic Ampeg SVT-CL 300 watt bass head.
As of the writing of this article, one thing that seems to jump out at me is people are saying Bugera customer service is POOR. If they get that figured out, these could be an astounding bang-for-the-buck badass sounding guitar amplifiers.