If you have searched the market for an affordable tube amplifier at least once, you have most probably come across the catch-phrase: “this amplifier has a boutique quality at an affordable price”. Let’s be honest, such things should always be taken with a grain of salt. In most cases, cheaper tube amplifiers do not have the quality needed to create the character such amps should have. And their tubes die sooner than you learn how to tweak the thing. But there are several brands that somehow manage to put together a badass tube amplifier at a very low price. Bugera 333XL Infinium falls right into that category. Its features and sounds will not leave anybody unsatisfied, but rather they will shake you from amazement. I will stop praising this amplifier and leave that for later. For now, let’s discuss all the gems this bad boy got and decide if it truly deserves to be called one of the best tube amplifiers on the market.
At first glance, Bugera 333XL Infinium looks pretty damn fancy. It is a black amplifier with silver accents on the front. In the center you will see the signature Bugera logo which is basically the star of the show here. Looks aside, this baby packs quite a punch. It can bark up 120 watts of power, meaning that it can be utilized on almost any stage. It has four 12AX7 tubes in the preamp and four EL34 valves in the power amp. It is also hand-built and hand-wired. Bugera 333XL Infinium is configured in a three channel design, featuring Clean, Crunch and Lead. Each of them has its own individual EQs and volume controls, allowing you to take the tone shaping to a whole new level. The distinctive feature of this tube head is its INFINIUM Tube Life Multiplier technology, which extends the lifespan of your expensive tubes up to 20 times. It also makes sure that the replacements are complementary and best suited for the amplifier.
Additionally, Bugera 333XL Infinium has an in-built Reverb and effects loop, which increase the versatility of your sound. Lead channel has one special gem – the Noise-Gate system that filters your sound and gets rid of any unwanted noise. This tube head is compatible with a footswitch, that either selects the channels or controls the FX Loop and Boost. Last but not least, Bugera 333XL Infinium has two inputs for your instrument with different gain options, Send and Return sockets for the effects loop, an input for the footswitch, two speaker outputs for external cabinets, Line Out output with modifiable Level, which allows you to feed the signal into the second amplifier or a loudspeaker system.
As much as I love this amplifier, the control panel section here is a bit messy. Even though the knobs are kind of sorted according to the channels, they still are not laid out in the most appealing manner. But that is not that important. After all, what we care about here is the sound we can get by twisting these knobs. So let’s find out together, what each of these encoders is capable of.
As I have already mentioned, all three channels have similar knobs, namely Volume, Bass, Mid and Treble, which are quite self-explanatory. Each of these channel sections has a small button that activates the channel itself. Crunch and Lead channel have an additional XL buttons that accentuates the low-end and makes it punchier. The Noise-Gate knob eliminates any unwanted frequencies in your sound and guaranteed noiseless high gain tones. In order to activate the Reverb, you have to press the dedicated button and then twist the complementary knob to adjust the level. Presence changes the damping level of the higher frequencies, Master sets the level of the overall output, while FX Loop/Boost button turns on the effects loop and boost functionality.
The rare panel features several controls as well. Send and Return jacks have their own Level knobs which set the volume of these sockets, an Impedance selector allows you to choose between 4Ω, 8Ω and 16Ω, and the Level encoder of the Line Out adjusts the volume of this output.
When it comes to sound, Bugera 333XL Infinium has enough controls to tweak your tone meticulously. This allows you to create any sort of music your heart desires. This bad boy can rock any stage with its loudness and be at your disposal whenever you have a gig. More importantly, it offers versatile sounds starting from defined cleans, moving to slight overdrive and terminating with a high-gain distortion. No matter which channel you choose, you will receive a lot of texture, character and precision. And with individual EQs, each channel will sound as scrupulous as possible. The reverb sounds amazing on top of tube warmth and sweetness. On the whole, Bugera 333XL Infinium is something you cannot go wrong with. This is the case when it is harder to tweak the amp in a wrong way than it is to do things properly.
When you look at the price of the Bugera 333XL Infinium, it will not even cross your mind how amazing this amp can be. But as you get your hands on it, you immediately feel the build quality. Then you plug in your instrument and the sound follows. That’s when you get fully captivated. Bugera 333XL Infinium steals your heart and never gives it back. Exaggerations aside, this amplifier will be a pleasant surprise in each and every aspect. Good luck!
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