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Bugera BVV3000I review

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Rokindja, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. Rokindja


    Oct 20, 2013
    So, to start off, I have to say that it was a pain in the ass to find one, and a bigger one to buy it. I don't know why that is, seems like Bugera made a small amount of them, or something. I've gone through probably all BVV3000 topics on every forum, and hardly anyone said anything about owning one, only the usual Bugera/Behringer/Ampeg slander. There is only one reliable (typical) review of the amp, from a German gear site with some audio on it. No „independent“ review, no YT video whatsoever (except those from NAMM which are hardly satisfactory, and the MIJ one which is cool).

    Getting one was a no easy deal. US sites hardly ship to EU, and considering the heaviness of this amp(33.8kg/74.5lbs), USPS is not likely to help you. Same problem with Japan. Thomann, being the biggest EU online store doesn’t have it, and my local Bugera retailers would order those, but would not get them. Finally, I managed to buy one from Musicstore for 770 euros, incl. tax and shipping.

    Some of you will probably say it's a big amount of money for a Bugera, and the usual „you can get a used CL for that money“ talk. That may be so in the US. In the EU, especially the poopiehole where I'm from, Ampeg's resell value is approx. 85%-90% of the new price (btw, used CL on sale is a rare occasion here). Simply speaking, for a new CL, you can buy 3 BVV's, for a used one, 2.5 new BVV's.

    In comparison to other Bugera amps, yes, it's more expensive. But also, it's built better. I've tried out almost all Bugera products, and BVV is definitely built best. BVV provides a heavy duty chassis, which can take its weight without problems. You'll feel safe carrying it around holding it's sturdy handles. Tone pots are really great, I didn't expect such a high quality „feeling“. They give a nice smooth resistance, and all of them feel the same. All in all, it's copy of the CL. Specs for this one are little puzzling. The ones I got in the owners manual and ones on their web are not quite the same. This goes for some minor differences in dB regarding tone controls. You have probably noticed that the tone controls are almost the same on BVV and CL. Also, some minor differences in dB, but all the HZ and kHz are exactly the same. One more thing that you find in the owner’s manual and not in the web one is the systems data for infinium valve monitoring (biasing); it says 6x34 mA .Although, being a blatant copy of the CL, it apparently has some minor differences.

    Soundwise, it's everything a SVT-CL is; a monster. These two amps sound the same, although it seems that the BVV can provide a little bit more drive. Forget about “tube simulations”, “tube” compressions, DI boxes, drive boxes, rackmounts, solid state amps, hybrid amps, hi-end tube simulating amps, signal blends and everything else out there. These are just lame solutions that are trying to sound like the real stuff. They may emulate the character of a tube amp, but will never have anywhere near enough balls or low end, and thanks to Bugera, now mortals can have it for a fair price. Don’t get me wrong; I consider CL to be the best bass amp ever, and with the BVV around, I just can’t justify it’s high price, considering it’s not built in the US anymore. OK, some parts may be better, but if BVV breaks down, you can get it fixed, and still spend way less money. With Ampeg, you are paying for the name, and that’s a fact.

    I wanted to buy an alltube head for a reasonable price, and besides BVV, two more amps were taken in consideration, VB-2 and Eden WTB300V. I could get both amps for a cca 200$ higher price than the BVV. I tried out the WTB, but was not impressed at all (maybe because I was playing an SVT-CL right before it :D). It lacked pretty much everything the CL had, and as you may have noticed, I wanted that CL tone. Unlike BVV, VB-2 has some decent yt videos, and though it sounded cool, it was no CL, and was more expensive. Buying the BVV was the best option for the amount of cash I had, and it has surpassed all my expectations; Bugera has once again nailed the sound of another amp (and let’s be frank, that’s no quantum physics). As far as reliability, time will tell. Suppose money is not the issue (and it totally is!), I would go for heritage CL or some old VR, but between non US built CL and BVV…well, as I said before, it’s hard to justify the price.

    I hope I gave my 0.02$ to all of you guys trying to find some decent info on this amp. I will try to put a video of it actually playing on yt, considering Bugera is incapable of doing the same -.-
  2. Welcome to TB and thanks for posting about your journey to get the amp. Some words of advice (keep in mind they're coming from a lunkhead):

    Be careful with the terms you choose to describe your living situation or your stay at TB will be brief. Just sayin. :eek:
  3. gastric

    gastric Professional product tester for hire

    Jun 8, 2009
    Raleigh, NC
    Source Audio BETA tester
    Copied it right down to the lack of an 8ohm output tap. :p
    Ballin'bass likes this.
  4. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Maybe even down to the solid-state clipping diodes in the amplifier stage :rollno:
  5. Psychobassguy

    Psychobassguy Banned

    Oct 14, 2013
    You are mistaken. Screen grid emission-limiting diodes were only installed on early 1968 Ampeg SVT's which used 6146 output tubes that were prone to screen oscillation, hence the limiting diodes. The SVT CL, the copied amp in question, uses current sensitive relays for output stage protection and has little in common with the 1968 SVT.

    I suspect Bugera/Behringer probably commissioned the BVV3000I from the same factory(ies) that produce SVT CL's for Ampeg in whole or part lots or bought the parts from surplus liquidation, changed a few specifications such as bias current and output power ratings and sold them as a down-market alternative to the SVT CL. The apparent lack of BVV3000I's in the 'real world' attests to either a limited production number or some sort of action barring their export. Behringer is not known for making anything in small quantities.

    Not every market has the same pricing or access to gear that the US enjoys. It appears that in the absence of the actual product, Behringer is helping to sell more SVT CL's for Ampeg.
  6. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Hmmm - you remind me of someone :D

    On clipping diodes

    But really, there's no IP left on Tube amps, not since WE had patents. No patents on SVT. Bugera has IP on it's "Infinium". It can't be a clone no matter what people think of the looks. "Looks alone" don't make "a clone".

    Bugera really has a supply problem in getting these out and available. Something may not be working as well as maybe they planned. Or they're focusing on getting out a micro head - which they should prioritize. Ampeg claims their biggest seller is SS
  7. Hi.



  8. Tim1


    Sep 9, 2005
    New Zealand
    Ditto. And welcome back??
  9. Psychobassguy

    Psychobassguy Banned

    Oct 14, 2013
    Your bosses at Behringer bought a ban for PBG, not me; we're not the same person, though he does send you his love and would like to know what your company pays to have you post here without disclosing your relationships to them and this board's management to other posters.

    -that's HIS take anyway. I'm indifferent. If others cannot discern disingenuous posts when they see them, I won't lose any sleep.

    Notice the date on that schematic: 10/70, literally the first circuit revision without 6146's. Would you like a picture of an SVT power PCB from 1970 which has nothing but empty board markings for D1 and D2 (outlined in yellow with virgin solder tags) and has never had any installed? For that matter, since the PCB is so well-labelled, you ought to easily be able to find a picture of one on the web that has the 'diodes in question.'

    Not that Genz Benz was ever in the business of building big tube amps, but I take issue with the observations you linked to. I have seen too many SVT's put out a clean 40Hz tone, no harmonics and no distortion, at full power and above, an impossibility with a diode-clipping gain stage driving the power section, however, if you wish to pretend they're actually in the circuit, be my guest.

    Why, here's a nice computer model of what I've seen on scopes many times that just happens to agree with that: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f15/bugera-all-tube-head-618353/index3.html#post8948674 Odd that, huh?

    Who is the "we" in ownership of any patent? Who said anything about IP? Behringer sells an amp that is a clear copy of another amp, not the one in the discussion you linked to, probably made in same factories by the same workers who make the "Ampeg" branded SVT CL. Ampeg, under any ownership, has not made the amp you're talking about since 1979. The SVT CL was conceived around 1987 by engineers at SLM, and it is that amp which the Bugera BVV3000I copies. Maybe the Bugera amps were part of the practice run for the factory.

    Was that in the company newsletter? :ninja:
  10. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
  11. Hi.

    Apologies to the op for the derail...

    Since You seem to know the guy, why on earth use his old, banned, very biased handle then?

    You can count me as one of those people then, but I won't lose any sleep either.
    For me PBG was cool and knowledgeable, too bad he was too easily riled up for his own good.
    I do miss him.

    In all fairness, You two do have a lot of similarities when posting, as well as the same handle :).

  12. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Sorry to derail the OP
    It's a good honest review

    Updated iggy
  13. Psychobassguy

    Psychobassguy Banned

    Oct 14, 2013
    So now you're talking about the SVT CL after numerous references to the older amplifier and ignoring the simple questions I posed in my past post? I'm sorry. I'm extremely confused. :confused:

    Either I don't understand your train of logic or you don't understand the posts you've linked to because they say the opposite of what I am understanding you are. There is a communication breakdown somewhere. Maybe I'm just not getting the "point" about limiting diodes that don't engage until the amp has exceeded full rated power.

    Perhaps you could provide some factory assembly shots of the Bugera and/or an official Bugera/Behringer branded schematic complete with operational voltages and measurements/SPICE model screen caps to clarify the matter?
  14. crguti


    Feb 14, 2011
    Smurf Village
    how long has it been the honey moon?

    has it been gigged?
  15. Psychobassguy

    Psychobassguy Banned

    Oct 14, 2013
    Worth noting from the Bugera website itself-

    -next to an unofficial FCC logo, which is extremely odd considering that any fields put out by the amp would be equivalent or less to the approved SVT CL and tube audio amps only exhibit true RF when they malfunction and oscillate at ultrasonic frequencies. Perhaps the entire stock of the amps are rebuilt salvaged Ampeg warranty returns with a different headcase and preamp and biased colder to try and prevent their original problems. That would certainly explain the similarities of the two amps and the lack of availability of the Bugera.
  16. Rokindja


    Oct 20, 2013
    Got it for cca two weeks, had a gig, everything was in perfect order. So far so good...
  17. Lindex


    Nov 27, 2013
    Frankfurt, Germany
    I 've had mine for almost exactly 1 year now.
    With a limit of 1000.- € at that time I struggled between the Bug Era BVV3000 and the Traynor YBA 300.

    The Traynor hit the limit with 998.-€ but was considered being built like a tank, Canada made and described as very clean and warm sounding from what I read.

    The Bugera was said to be also made quite well, though built in China but in Uli Behringers own plants in Behringer City.
    What I was really impressed of - at least in theory - was the Infinium technology that should make changing tubes a Kindergarten game.
    Even mixing different tubes as long as they fit the socket and no more need to buy matched pairs sounded very promising to me, too.
    Having a friend playing guitar who has swapped his Engl for a Bugera 6260 Infinium and after two years still being very happy with that amp shifted the decision pendule over a bit more to the Bugera side.
    Then I found one on the German Musicstore site selling for 666.- € incl. shipping.
    So I finally decided to give it a shot.

    It came in 2 days later, well packaged, carried into my office in the 5th floor by a sweating and swearing DHL guy.
    I didn't want to have it delivered home because of the wife, you guys know those problems...

    So I had it standing on my desk for 2 more days before we had the next rehearsals session.
    Looked good so far, of course I didn't open it to take a look into the electronics cavern, but from what I could see it looked quite sturdy with nothing to complain about at all.

    Then came the day when I finally could grab it and carry it to the band's practice room.
    33Kgs is quite a lot of stuff to carry around and I began understanding the poor DHL guy...
    I placed it on top of my Basstown custom 410s (both 4 Ohms featuring Eminence Legend BP102-4 speakers), connected it to the cabs and mains, set the switch to 2 Ohms and carefully switched it on the very first time.
    Knowing it to be a Behringer I maybe expected it to go up in flames immediately but it didn't.
    Instead the control LEDs went on, the fans started to blow (not really loud but hearable) so I dared to go one step further.
    Turned all knobs counterclockwise, plugged in my Fender 5 string J and took it out of standby.
    LED turned from red to orange, still all looked fine.
    So I turned the gain to 5/10 and slowly raised the master.

    Yes...just a bit over zero some strange sound jumped in...but what was that? Sounded nosey, thin, muffling...

    Oops...whole EQ section still set to zero.
    Ok, turned all EQ knobs to 12 o'clock which I hoped would be kinda flat and there it was.

    Damn...this beast doesn't sound bad!

    Fat, wooly, with clean mids and highs - nice!
    Cranked up the master a bit more to about 9 o'clock and the speaker cones started to dance.
    Holy cow! So this is what all those guys talk about when they mention tube watts against transistor watts.
    This amp moves some serious air - with all set flat!

    So I got my Fender standard P fitted with Fender vintage PUs, turned up gain a little more and yeah - this is what a P has to sound like!
    Just a tiny bit gritty with slightly closed tone pot, beautiful punk rock sound.
    The band also was impressed.
    And I wasn't really underpowered before, running an SWR Marcus Miller preamp into an Alto D3 poweramp capable of pushing 2x 750W RMS @ 4Ohms.

    But this all tube monster is another kind of beast, sounding even more massive and producing earthquakes with such a feeling of easyness, really nice!

    I was very happy - now it only had to survive.

    What can I say, having owned it since Dec. 2012 it still does its job without any failures.
    Had a good handful of gigs since then and we're practicing twice a week for 3h each.

    Still love this amp so much that I have had a custom cab maker build me a nice little (300 liters net vol) 2x18"/2x6"/horn in the same design that features the amp's strenghts even more, producing a touch softer low midrange than the 10"s but way more groundshaking ultra low end as the cab has its -3dB point at 40Hz.

    Yes, FotH guys might hate me for that but I simply love it.
    You get the feeling as if you could lean back against that wall of sound while playing.
    Especially 5 string is incredibly massive.

    So, what did I take home from this?

    1st: all tube amps absolutely live up to their hype and this is not limited to the Bugera, any other 300W bulb monster would probably have been able to give me the same, or similar, sensation.

    2nd: with that Behringer stuff it looks you can have bad luck or good luck from what I see, read and hear.
    My luck seems to be far on the good side with this amp. Even if it died within the next 2 years it would have earned its money, and after one year of usage I don't have the impression that it wants to die in the near future. Of course you never know.
    But rumours have it that this could happen to any other brand, too...

    Until today I absolutely don't regret buying this amp and would easily recommend it to anyone else who is a little short on budget, too.
    Of course, if you have got 2 grand in your hands you might consider getting an Ampeg.

    Or the Bug Era and a nice cab, maybe...?
  18. David Hayes

    David Hayes Guest

    Alright I'll be that guy.

    First off, I fully understand the OP's situation regarding finances and availability and am genuinely happy for him that he found an amp he loves within his budget. I have no love for Behringer products personally, but to each their own and far be it from me to lambast anyone for their choice in gear.

    It is what it is. A copy of an Ampeg CL. As long as someone isn't going around saying how it is better and that people are stupid for wasting their money on the real thing, meh...

    For me, an Ampeg CL was within my budget and is the sweetest bass amp I have ever played. I would never consider a knock off or a cheaper alternative. Particularly a Behringer product, of which I have personally watched at least 4 of their products self destruct. I have also talked to a few techs about Behringer products. Specifically mixing consoles. There is a reason they replace them under warranty and don't repair them. ;)

    Regardless, congrats to the OP and you are absolutely correct in your assessment of the superiority of tube amps. :D
  19. punkjazzben


    Jun 26, 2008
    I've had a Behringer BX1200 for nearly ten years without a hiccup, so I'm not in the "all Behringer/Bugera gear will explode" camp. The plural of anecdote is not data and all that... Anyway, I just thought I'd chime in and say I'd buy one of these, availability issues notwithstanding. Whatever purists might think, and they're entitled to any defensible opinions they may have, companies like Behringer/Bugera do offer an alternative for those of us who don't have or earn the type of money to pay for something like, for example, a 'name brand' 300w all-tube head. Tubey goodness should be accessible to all bass players :)

    EDIT: After a quick search I found an Australian store selling them for $1299 with free shipping. Still a lot of cash, but about half the price of similarly-spec'd amps from a couple of other manufacturers. The store seems to have quite a bit of stock, too.
  20. Lindex


    Nov 27, 2013
    Frankfurt, Germany
    I knew it wouldn't take long for that answer... :D

    And I fully agree, if I had 2K to wave around with, I also wouldn't have considered getting a Bugera.
    And even then, with having payed just a third of that it's still a nice amount of money that I wouldn't have liked to throw out of the window.

    Believe me, for the next 6 months after buying it I always feared to see it burn and with any strange sound on stage and in the practice room I thought "F..k - was this my amp?"
    Thank goodness it never was.

    Then one day I watched it from the back while playing and all those little Infinium control LEDs were lighting up every some seconds, sometimes only one, sometimes 2 or 3.
    Again I was shocked though it still sounded ok and was like "what the hell is THIS now?".
    After some research in the web I found this to be exactly what it was made for: Infinium correcting the BIAS while playing when it went off the "optimum" value because of temperature changes and such.

    Now, after 1 year I begin trusting the amp more and more though still I don't go out without having at least my little GK MB-200 in the bag just in case...because you never know...

    But so far I'm still very pleased with it and that's at least more than one could expect when you see how other TBers react when you just mention the bad B-word.

    Sure, if I had the money...an SVT VR would be nice!

    But for those who haven't - the Bugera seems to be not that bad.

    At least mine isn't.
    Don't hold me accountable when yours explodes or eats your neighbour's dog, though.

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