The most everlasting phenomenon in music industry is probably the vintage sound. Even though a lot of time has passed since those legendary ‘60s, the character of that unique tone is still admired. Many musicians strive to incorporate that vintage vibe in their performance and the best way to do so is by utilizing the tube amplifiers. Bugera V22 is the combo of that ilk, delivering the most distinctive vintage sounds. It has power, character and abundant features – basically anything we would expect from a badass tube amp. If you are considering treating yourself with the magic of tubes, you have to try out this one. But before that, let me give you all the information about this unit so that you know what to expect. Shall we begin?
The V22, as I have already mentioned, is a tube amp with a single 12” speaker and 22 watts of power capacity. It has power pentode tubes (is comprised with 5 active electrodes), which means that its sound is way more present and intense. However, it can be switched to triode tubes (meaning that it will operate with 3 active electrodes) in order to create a subtler tone. This amp has three 12AX7 tubes in the preamp section and two EL84 valves in power stage. V22 has two channels in its preamp: Clean and Lead, which split the signal and deliver the most elaborate sound. What is more, this combo is equipped with two inputs for your instrument (Bright and Normal), two ¼” Loudspeaker outputs, dedicated input for the foot controller and the effects loop with Send and Return jacks. Bugera knew that a single speaker might not be enough for everybody, so they made V22 compatible with 4, 8 and 16 Ohms speaker cabinets. And that’s not all: this bad boy has on-board Reverb and a footswitch, that lets you select the channels and control the reverb on the fly.
Everything about V22 is quite fancy and the control panel is no exception. All the knobs are aligned beautifully without overwhelming the user and they are all easily understandable. I will cut to the chase and start the discussion of the controls right away.
The front panel starts with the Clean knob. This bad boy modifies the volume of the clean channel. Then comes the famous Channel switch, that allows you to select either Clean or Lead channel. It is followed by Gain, which modifies the intensity of the distortion (on Lead channel) and saturates it with the desired amount of girth. Then we have the Volume, which adjusts the level of the Lead channel. And of course, the EQ section. Here we have Bass, Mid and Treble, which shape the specific frequency range and balance everything out. Between Mid and Treble you will find the Boost button, which attenuates the midrange. Master sets the level of the overall output, while Presence clears the high end and makes everything sharper. Reverb modifies the amount and intensity of the said effect. The last controls on the front panel are Standby (mutes the amp’s output and preserves the valves) and Power (turns the device on and off).
When it comes to the rare panel, we have Mode switch, which allows you to substitute the pentode with triode and an Impedance selector, which toggles between 4, 6 or 16 Ohms.
The sound of V22 is loud enough to cover practice or small gig scenarios. Since this bad boy has quite a few features, we have to break them all down and emphasize the sound each of them creates. Let’s start from the channels. The Clean channel is rather clear and shimmering and can easily cut through the mix. It can get really loud without getting distorted or muddy. All the frequencies are perfect with this channel: lows are punchy and distinctive, mids have that warm “tuby” character, while the highs sparkle and shine. The Lead channel delivers the unique distortion of tube amps. It can easily go from mild overdrive with just a little crunch to extreme distorted madness (but not as crazy as metal players would desire). The Mode switch elaborates the sound even more, giving you full control over the power capabilities of the device. The Reverb has the vibe of classic spring reverb, just the right amount of thickness and texture. All in all, V22 delivers the most ethereal sound and brings the tube haze right at your feet.
In order to conclude everything said above, I will simply emphasize the amazing properties of V22 once more. This little fella will rock anything from small to mediocre venues and give you everything you desired. It has an interesting set of features, which contributes to creating the distinctive sound of this amp. It is easy to tweak and control on the fly, which makes it really flexible and convenient. What else could we ask for? Nothing much. Just try V22 out and you will be easily captured by its magic. Good luck!
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